Stocking season brings a little history report

OUTDOORS

February 14, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

Weather permitting, Westminster Pond, the Farm Museum Pond, Morgan Run and Piney Run Reservoir will be stocked with nearly 3,000 trout this week by the Department of Natural Resources.

Beaver Run, Piney Run and the Patapsco River at Route 32 will be closed March 7-27 and April 11-17 for stocking. The Westminster and Farm Museum ponds will be closed March 21-27.

Trout stocking totals are: 1,800 for Beaver Run; 1,250 for Westminster Pond; 3,400 in Piney Run; 1,250 to Morgan Run; 2,000 in Piney Run Reservoir; 3,750 to the Patapsco at Route 32.

Statewide, the DNR will stock more than 300,000 trout by the end of April. Complete stocking schedules are available at most local tackle and sporting goods stores.

I have a copy of an interesting document dating back to 1899 that dovetails nicely with the above stocking schedules. This is a legislative report from what is now the Department of Natural Resources, ruled by Commissioners of Fisheries John Sterling and A. Frederick George.

George, who was from Garrett County, was heavily involved in trout stocking operations. These were not the artificial put-and-take stockings we have now, but rather for the propagation of the trout species in the western shore's waters.

The system worked like this: The commission published the requirements of a trout stream. If you had a stream running through your property that fit the description, you notified George and received a suitable number of trout fry. You were trusted to follow the instructions shipped with the trout and stock your stream yourself.

I've been catching and releasing native trout from the waters I'm about to mention for decades, so the system must have worked.

According to the report delivered to the state Legislature, on April 20, 1898, William B. Thomas got 4,000 brookies for release into "a stream near Westminster," while on the same day, the same number were delivered to J. E. Lambert for his "stream near Union Bridge."

E. J. Hammond, George D. Day and Hiram T. Hobbs put some 9,000 brook trout in streams in and around Hood's Mills in April 1899. Major A. G. Davis and Dorsey Runkles released 12,000 brookies in the Mount Airy area, and A. G. Gordon Cummings planted 6,000 in the Sykesville area. On May 3, 1899, John Beard dumped 3,000 in a stream in New Windsor and released another 3,000 "near Westminster."

Turn-of-the-century Carroll County sportsmen responsible for the release of what we now refer to as native rainbow trout included Hammond, Thomas H. Hogg, George W. Baseman, Thomas Appleby, Hobbs, Davis, Runkles, H. G. Hood, Cummings, John T. Beard, Lambert and M. E. Armacost.

Winning sport fishermen

Westminster's Jeff Aaron and Joe Widener of Hampstead won first-place prizes in Maryland's 1992 Sport Fishing Tournament.

Widener's 16-pound bluefish caught at the Jackspot was the biggest of its class for off-shore fish, and Aaron caught a winning 19-pound catfish last August at a farm pond.

A farm pond also provided Woodsboro's Frank Angleberger with a 1-pound, 9-ounce sunfish and Sparks' Chris Forbes' 8-pound brown trout. Other fish of note include Wayne Dillion's 8-pound, 13-ounce largemouth bass and Marty Chrzanowski's 6-pound smallmouth.

Jim Gwynn, 12, of Belle Vernon, Pa., set a northern pike Maryland record when he pulled one weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces from the Youghiogheny Reservoir. Alan Sosslow of fTC Edgewater broke Eric Shank's 1978 striped bass record when he claimed a 64.7-pound, 50-inch rock last May 5.

The popular yearlong tournament handled more than 2,000 entries.

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