The spring trophy season for rockfish, or striped bass, opens at 5 a.m. tomorrow in the main Chesapeake Bay south from the north span of the Bay Bridge and including Tangier and Pocomoke sounds.
The season runs through May 31 with a limit of one fish 36 inches or longer per person.
Fishing hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., with possession while on the water prohibited from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Fishermen targeting stripers must obtain a free permit from an area tackle shop or DNR office before going out, and stripers must be checked in on the day they are caught.
Live baits, including eels, are prohibited, as is the use of gaffs.
Bluefish have been reported in the inlet at Ocean City and in the surf, with some weighing up to 10 pounds. Large blues have been caught in nets offshore as well and the sport fishing fleet will start to run trolling trips tomorrow.
Flounder from 2 to 4 pounds have been taken in the Thorofare, and a few tautog have turned up on sand fleas.
Bay fishing for blues remains slow, but more frequent catches are being made by netters in Virginia waters. A week or so of warm weather would go a long way toward getting the blues into Maryland waters.
White perch, catfish, crappie and bass fishing is good in tidal tributaries, with the perch beginning to move back downstream.
Perch and catfish hot spots are 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, 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 are moving onto the beds and fishing has been fairly good 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, which has been high and muddy from recent rains, smallmouth bass have been hitting shiners or salty grubs near Point of Rocks and White's Ferry.
At Deep Creek Lake, trout fishing has been good near the dam and smallmouth bass are becoming more active. Also some pickerel catches.
For fly fishermen, the Gunpowder has been low and clear. Hunting Creek is in good condition, as is the lower Savage River.
Today: "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.
Tomorrow-Sunday: Havre de Grace Decoy Festival at the Havre de Grace Middle School. Decoys, painting, carving contest, gunning rigs. Friday, 6-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, show opens at 10 a.m. Admission $5, children under 12 free.
Tomorrow-Sunday: Wildflower Camping Weekend for nature enthusiasts at Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland. Activities include field trips, canoe trips, bird walks and evening campfires. Reservations are required. For more information, call (310) 777-2138 or (301) 777-2139.
Sunday: Dogwood Classic Mountain Bike Race at Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County, 11 a.m.
NAMES AND PLACES
* The headboats in Ocean City are planning to start daily trips to the wrecks for sea bass and ling cod this weekend.
* The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association expects to pour its 1,000th fishing reef unit Saturday at Martin State Airport. The reef units will be transported by DNR to a location south of Pooles Island.
* The Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission has decided not to stock grass carp this year in ponds as a form of aquatic weed control. The problem with grass carp, which may grow to 100 pounds and live 20 years, is that they feed heavily and habitat for other species suffers. Grass carp also tend to move out of pond habitat toward moving water and, should they move as far as the Susquehanna Flats, for example, could wreak havoc on the grasses there rather than controlling pond weeds.
* Beretta U.S.A. is introducing a semi-automatic shotgun with what it says is a gas system that will handle a wide variety of 12-gauge loads. The A390ST features a self-regulating gas valve that will handle 2 3/4 -inch target loads as well as the heaviest 3-inch magnums.
* The Piedmont Pacers Volksmarch Club will hold a walk fest at the Union Mills Homestead in Union Mills on May 30-31. The walk, with distances of 10K or 15K, is open to the public and there are no fees involved. For more information, call (410) 795-7855.
(Items for the Outdoors Journal may be mailed to Outdoors Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001.)