OUTDOOR NOTEBOOK — Telephone reservations policy in Maryland's state parks this season will include 11 campgrounds, and pets will be allowed to accompany campers in nine parks.
Rocky Gap, Elk Neck, Point Lookout, Swallow Falls, Janes Island, Greenbrier, Cunningham Falls and the Hollowfield area of Patapsco Valley State Park will accept telephone reservations during business hours, Monday through Friday.
The Shad Landing area at Pocomoke River State Park will begin accepting reservations on May 1, and Deep Creek Lake State Park will take reservations starting Memorial Day.
Assateague State Park will accept weekly reservations only through applications issued by the park office.
State parks that now have electric hookups include the Hollowfield area of Patapsco Valley, Janes Island, Shad landing, Greenbrier and one loop of sites at Point Lookout.
State parks that will allow pets are: Big Run, Milburn Landing area of Pocomoke River, the Hollowfield area, Point Lookout, Susquehanna, Rocky Gap, Swallow Falls, Tuckahoe, Elk Neck and all state forests.
Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia have begun a 10-month cooperative project to learn more about the migration and spawning habits of shad, which have been declining for many years in the Chesapeake estuary and its rivers.
The project is being coordinated by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies. The work is being funded by a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The study will tag 2,000 shad on their spring migration from the Atlantic Ocean to spawning grounds in freshwater rivers and streams. Another 50 shad will be fitted with radio transmitters.
Through tagging reports from fishermen who catch tagged shad and radio tracking, scientists hope to determine the number of fish that are returning each year to the Chesapeake watershed to spawn and by which routes they come -- in through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal or up the bay from Virginia waters.
Some weeks ago C.J. Millman Jr. of Sharpsburg called asking about clubs for fishermen who have a special interest in catfish. None came to mind, so Millman has decided to start his own, The Cat Club.
The catfish, despite a tawdry reputation in some quarters, can be a challenging game fish, Millman contends.
Anyone with a similar bent is urged to write Millman and The Cat Club, 203 W. Chaplin Street, P.O. Box 480, Sharpsburg, MD 21782-0480.
Captain Mike Pivec and Tim Fisher, co-founders and past presidents of the Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermen's Association, are offering a variety of fishing classes through a new company called The Fishing School.
"There are a lot of people out there who spend too much money and too much time and never catch a fish," Fisher said. "We want to improve their knowledge and help them be selective about their equipment -- and help them get some fish in the boat."
Weeknight and Saturday classes are offered for bluefish, rockfish, drum and sea trout, bottom and drift fishing and crabbing. There also is a beginners course offered.
Classes are planned throughout Maryland.
:. For more information, call (410) 296-6013.