Cold weather puts chill on perch fishing

OUTDOORS

March 17, 1992|By PETER BAKER

On weekends, the spit of land running to the bridge from Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County to Golden Hill often is crowded with vehicles and fishermen. On Sunday, the quarter-mile strip of road held three cars and seven fishermen.

Across the bridge, before the road curves away, another fisherman sat in the cab of his pickup truck with the heater on, his lines set out and his rods close at hand.

All among us, judging from bloodworms and grass shrimp being used, were anticipating dinners of white perch. All among us -- and all who passed and stopped along the road -- were shut out.

If you sit along Route 335 long enough, someone will come along and stop to chat. Usually, they have been elsewhere and, if they are not bird watchers down to watch the eagles soar, usually they have been or are going fishing.

On the shore, the hot spots were supposed to have been Millington on the Chester River, Martinak State Park on the Choptank River and Red Bridges at the head of the Choptank, Tuckahoe Creek off the Choptank and the Blackwater.

At the Blackwater, the only action was on a half-dozen 7-inch or 8-inch catfish that hit on bloodworms on No. 6 hooks and were released.

"Catfish? Well that's more than anyone else we have seen catching," said one of a pair of fishermen who had spent their morning near Martinak State Park.

Another fellow who had spent his time at Red Bridges said neither he nor his friends had had any luck. "Nothing there today," he said. "Couple of days ago, there were herring, white perch, yellow perch. Guess the weather has put them all off."

Certainly, the cold, windy weather last weekend put a dent in fishing for white perch, and after what is expected to be a warm, lTC sunny day today, the weather through Friday may further slow the fishing. Temperatures are forecast to reach highs in the mid- to upper-40s, with thunderstorms possible Thursday and blustery conditions Friday, the first day of spring.

If you are thinking about going to the Blackwater to fish the causeway at this time of year, take a few minutes to explore the shoreline before baiting up.

Much of the water is shallow and foul with dead grasses. Try rigging just a sinker and casting it to find the drop-offs, which will hold fish, and the areas where the debris will not easily cover your bait when bottom fishing.

If you can find room, try fishing the channel edges just above the bridge on a rising tide and those below it on the falling tide.

If fishing beneath a bobber, keep the length of line between the bobber and the baited hook to a length that will keep the bait from being covered with debris.

For the white perch run, bloodworms and grass shrimp are the most versatile baits.

* Reservoir update: The bad news is that there has been no change in the delay of issuing boat permits for Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs, which were closed to boaters late last month in an effort to prevent zebra mussel contamination.

Public Works probably will not issue permits until a consultant has been hired and steps to prevent mussel contamination have been taken.

If there is good news in all this, it is that interviews of prospective consultants have been completed, said James Kapplin, public information officer for Public Works.

"They have reviewed all of them, but no one has been named officially yet," Kapplin said yesterday. "Other than that, there is no change in the boat business on the reservoirs."

*

A reminder: Pickerel or pike is closed to fishing in tidal waters through April 30 to protect the fish during the spawning season. It is illegal to catch or possess pickerel during that time.

*

Meetings: DNR Wildlife Division public meetings on proposed bag limits, seasons and regulations for upland and forest game and furbearers continue tonight at 7 at Loch Raven High School, 1212 Copwens Ave., Towson.

On Thursday at 7 p.m., a public meeting will be held in Salisbury at the District Court Multi-Purpose Center, first floor conference room, 201 Baptist St.

The final meeting is Friday at 7 p.m. in Annapolis at the Department of Natural Resources, C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave.

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