Ponds are quiet treasures County stocked with angling spots

OUTDOORS

March 14, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

A few years back I suffered a heart attack. When I was moved out of Carroll County General Hospital's superb cardiac intensive care unit and into a private room overlooking the Farm Museum Pond, my health improved and I discovered a great fishing spot.

Early in the morning and late in the day I watched huge bass jumping out of the pond's water to nab bugs, frogs, etc.

What I didn't see was a single person armed with a rod and reel through those late August and early September days. That changed a couple of weeks later when I got out of the hospital.

Some of the best fishing is practically at your doorstep. In addition to hundreds of private farm ponds throughout the county, we have no fewer than nine top-notch community or public ponds awaiting your hooks and worms.

The Upper John Owings Pond and Lake Hashawha are on John Owings Road about 1 1/2 miles north of Westminster. The John Owings Pond covers an acre and holds bluegills and sunfish begging to be caught. The same fish also are living in the two-acre pond at Hashawha, which also sports a nice picnic area.

The Union Mills Pond is on Route 97 right at Union Mills. This one-acre pond holds largemouth bass, bluegills and sunfish. It -- also has a picnic area and restrooms.

The Bennett Cerf Pond has furnished me with some good fishing with a fly rod. Here I have caught bluegills, some jumbo sunfish and a surprising number of very good largemouth bass. The pond covers an acre and is off Route 27 in the Random House Industrial Park in Westminster. It also has a picnic area.

The Farm Museum's pond is five acres stuffed full of largemouth bass, bluegills and sunnies as well as trout stocked by the Department of Natural Resources. It is a great little fishing pond and within easy reach (even walking distance) of thousands of locals. It also boasts a nice picnic area, a

playground and restroom facilities.

Another sleeper is the North Carroll Community Pond off Route 30, beside the North Carroll Middle School in Manchester. This is only an acre pond, but I've caught sunfish, bluegills and bass there. The area also has picnic spots, a playground area and restrooms.

The most-fished community pond in the Westminster area is the Westminster Community Pond on Route 140. The pond has a well-deserved popularity and sports good fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, stocked trout, sunfish and bluegills. And it's only one acre in size. It, too, has a picnic area and restrooms.

Moving up considerably in size is Piney Run Reservoir, off Route 26 in Eldersburg. This 300-acre body of water offers top-notch fishing for largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, channel catfish, yellow perch, bluegills, sunfish and stocked trout. Facilities include boat ramp and rental, a fishing pier, picnic areas, playground and restroom. It is also accessible to the disabled.

Lastly, the 3,100-acre Liberty Reservoir forms a large portion of the county's eastern border. The fishing prospects include largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, tiger musky, walleye, crappie, yellow perch, bluegill and sunfish, carp and brown and rainbow trout.

Last month the Maryland Aquatic Resource Coalition arranged a meeting with Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke concerning last year's fishing shutdown at area reservoirs by Baltimore City over fears of zebra mussel problems.

"I did not realize how many people had a great love for these reservoirs and had I known you guys would raise so much heck, I would have given the issue more consideration," Schmoke said. He then went on to assure MARC and Reservoir Anglers Association president W. T. Staniford that he would "never again put a moratorium on these reservoirs without consulting MARC first."

Also discussed was the then-unsettled issue of live aquatic bait (shiners, etc.) that subsequently has been nixed by George Balog, director of the Department of Public Works for the city and one of the strongest forces behind last year's reservoir lockout.

While you are enjoying these public waters this spring and summer, here are a few tips.

When fish follow your lure but won't take it, suspect that the lure is too gaudy, too large, moving too slowly, acting unnaturally, or the fish sees you.

Learn to keep your mind locked on what the lure is doing and your eyes glued to what the line is doing. Either can tell you a fish has taken the lure.

Whenever you are fishing and the wind dies to leave the water surface flatter than a skillet, think top-water lures. Use spinner, chugger and twitching lures that send out shock waves that travel. These register on the sonar sensory system of fish (especially bass) and bring them out of cover to attack the lure.

Most of us use plastic worms slowly in order to entice wary bass. Try just the opposite for a radical change when fishing is very dead. Put on a ball-bearing swivel to prevent line twist then retrieve a Texas-rigged plastic worm at a speed of four turns of the reel handle per second. On hard-fished public waters this is something bass haven't seen before and it can trigger strikes when nothing else works.

Hunter hearing scheduled

One of the four scheduled statewide hunter hearings is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Carroll High School in Hampstead. This is the time to voice your support or opposition to this year's proposed regulations.

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