If you went to put-and-take areas of the lower Gunpowder River for the opening of trout season there yesterday, you know already that it was largely a waste of time. If you are planning to go today, don't bother, because the areas have not been stocked.
The reason, according to the Department of Natural Resources, is that water levels in the Gunpowder below the Loch Raven Reservoir dam are too low to allow the scheduled stocking of 1,800 9- to 17-inch brown and rainbow trout.
Even though there were heavy rains last week, a spokesman for DNR said, water levels in the reservoir have not recovered from last year's drought and are still several feet below the spillway.
The trout scheduled for the lower Gunpowder instead were to be divided among Little Gunpowder Falls, the Avalon Section of the Patapsco River and Deer Creek.
Each year the put-and-take areas of the lower Gunpowder have received some 4,000 brown and rainbow trout, but plans for this year's stocking were incomplete as of Friday afternoon.
* Spring turkey season opens in the middle of next month, and during the next few weeks there are a number of opportunities around the state for the novice hunter to learn a great deal or for the experienced hunter to recall tips.
One of the very good seminars is put on at Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County by the Maryland Forest and Park Service, DNR's Wildlife Division and the Natural Resources Police, April 11 and 12.
This program, as are several others, is taught by experts in tactics, safety, shooting, biology and field care and cooking of bagged birds. If there is an advantage to this course, it is that it is taught on forested land where a turkey call demonstration is likely to be answered by a wild turkey or a predator call is likely to be answered by a real predator.
The activities are free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
* On Saturday, the Cumberland Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the North American Rod and Gun Club will hold Spring Thunder, another comprehensive program dealing with turkey hunting. The session will be held at the club on Belvedere Road Extended near Hagerstown starting at 10 a.m.
The seminar will feature state turkey calling champion and guide Ron Bohn, an update on Maryland's turkey management program, shotgun patterning clinic and turkey shoot in open and junior classes. Admission is free. For more information, call (301) 824-2625 or (301) 473-8104.
* On April 12, a spring turkey hunting seminar will be held at the Howard County Fairgrounds starting at 8 a.m. The emphasis of this course will be on safety, equipment and shotgun patterning. Pre-registration and a fee are required. For more information, call (410) 461-3007.
* If you want to talk more than turkey, the second annual Turkey Expo will be held at the Worton Arena on the Eastern Shore Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to hunting tips from expert turkey guides, the show offers seminars in fresh and saltwater fishing and taxidermy, as well as waterfowl carvers and painters, fishing and hunting retailer exhibits, and guide services.
Admission to the show is $2, with children under 12 admitted free. The show opens at 10 a.m. For more information, call (410) 778-4728.
* Shaw E. Grigsby Jr. of Gainesville, Fla., won the recent Bassmaster Texas Invitational on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with 15 bass for 62 pounds, eight ounces.
Frank Ippoliti of Mt. Airy, Md., finished in 116th place, one step ahead of Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla. You may remember that two years ago Biffle led the BASS Masters Classic in Richmond, Va., for two days.
Leo "Buck" Doran of Belcamp, Md., finished in 271st place and Bruce Jones of Gaithersburg finished in 300th place.
Fishing the tournament was complicated by receding floodwaters and spawning bass moving between hydrilla and timber cover.
* The Maryland Natural Resources Police has changed its VHF marine radio identifier to Natural Resources Police Annapolis. The previous designation was Marine Police Annapolis.
* Will Wilson of Baltimore has won the Department of Natural Resources Maryland Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Design Contest. Wilson's oil of a bufflehead drake, which was selected from among 101 entries, will appear on the state waterfowl stamp hunters must purchase for next season.