The spring rockfish season starts a week from tomorrow. During the season, fishermen will catch and release thousands of stripers while trying to land that one allowable trophy of 36 inches or more.
So it is important that proper catch-and-release techniques are used. With that in mind, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and the Department of Natural Resources are sponsoring three workshops to teach the proper methods.
Two of the workshops will be held Wednesday and Thursday and the third will be held May 6.
An important part of these workshops is the recruitment of volunteers to carry the message to fishing piers and other locations. Volunteers will be given catch-and-release tools to use and keep as well as brochures and samples of barbless hooks to distribute. Caps, T-shirts and a new book, "Interstate Fisheries of the Atlantic Coast," will be awarded to volunteers reaching certain goals.
While spring rockfish season is a critical time for catch-and-release, the techniques taught will be valuable for other species as well.
Wednesday's workshop will be at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Annapolis. On Thursday it will be at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, and on May 6 at Harrison's Pier 5 in Baltimore. All begin at 7:30 p.m. Call CBF at (410) 268-8816, MSSA at (410) 768-8666.
* The mackerel run is about over in Ocean City, but headboats have started wreck fishing with limited success on tautog, cod, some pollack and a few sea bass. Inshore, 2- to 4-pound flounder have been taken in the Thorofare, and a few tautog have turned up on sand fleas.
Bay fishing remains slow, with no bluefish catches reported in Maryland waters.
* River fishing in tidal tributaries has been good on white perch, catfish, crappie and bass. Good spots for perch and catfish were the Patuxent above Wayson's Corner, the upper Choptank and down to the fishing pier at Cambridge, the Susquehanna near Lapidum, the North East River near the town park in North East, the Patapsco near Belle Grove Road, and the Chester near Crumpton. Try bloodworms for perch and cut bait for catfish.
* In the Susquehanna, smallmouth bass were hitting near the I-95 bridge.
* Largemouth bass and crappie were biting in the Pocomoke, Transquaking, Chicomacomico, Choptank, Gunpowder, North East, tidal Potomac and Sassafras. Pond fishing also has been good for crappie and bass.
* At Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs, crappie fishing has been good near drop-offs, and bass at Liberty are starting to move into shallow water.
In the upper Potomac, near Point of Rocks and White's Ferry, smallmouth bass have been hitting shiners or salty grubs.
* At Deep Creek Lake, trout fishing has been good near the dam and smallmouth bass are becoming more active. Also some pickerel catches have been reported.
For fly fishermen, the Gunpowder has been low and clear, although rains this week may have stirred things up a bit. Stone flies, hendricksons and red quills have been hatching. A heavy blue quill catch was reported at Hunting Creek, which is in good condition. At the lower Savage River, blue dunn and blue-winged olive hatches were reported with the river in good condition.
Today-Sunday: Annapolis Spring Boat Show sponsored by Marine Trades Association of Maryland and the Yacht Architects and Brokers Association. New and used boats, gear and services. The show, at the Annapolis Yacht Basin, opens at 10 a.m. each day.
Sunday: Baltimore County Game and Fish Protective Association gun and knife show, 3400 Northwind Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $2, or free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult. Call (410) 661-8729.
Sunday: Flea market sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland at Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. New and used nautical gear, books and clothing. Call (410) 269-0741.
April 29: Handling Fish for Release, a day of workshops sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and the Department of Natural Resources. Topics include catch-and release techniques, demonstrations of gear and barbless hooks, recruitment of volunteers to staff an outreach program designed to spread the catch-and-release ethic. Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Annapolis,
April 30: Handling Fish for Release, a day of workshops sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and the Department of Natural Resources. Topics include catch-and release techniques, demonstrations of gear and barbless hooks, recruitment of volunteers to staff an outreach program designed to spread the catch-and-release ethic. Tidewater Inn in Easton, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Monthly meeting of Maryland Fly Anglers at Ridge Garden Apartments on Old Harford Road, 7 p.m. The speaker will be Dave Blazer of DNR on the catch-and-release program. The public is invited. Call (410) 825-2695.