Peter Baker's Journal


April 08, 1993

Dodging a bullet

The diesel fuel spill along Sugarland Run, a tributary of the Potomac River near Washington, has produced a light slick that runs more than 60 miles downstream.However, high water in the river and the cool temperatures of the past few weeks appear to have limited the impact of the spill on the Potomac's thriving population of largemouth bass.

"The spill was light diesel, so all you can see on the river is like if you spilled gasoline into the water," said Bruce Jones, president of Maryland B.A.S.S. Federation, which is encouraging anglers to stay off the river until conditions improve. "It is a very thin layer, right on top."

Members of the federation were posted at launch ramps along the tidal section of the river last weekend to ask fishermen either to stay ashore or to refrain from using their livewells to hold their catch.

Jones said that although no fish kills have been reported from the spill, fishermen who were putting their catch in livewells were killing fish. Livewells circulate water from the river surface, which at this point contains the toxic fuel and would kill fish.

Fish in the river, however, seem to be doing well for a couple of reasons -- heavy spring rains and late snowmelt have the river high and cold.

"We really got a break," Jones said. "The flood conditions have kept the surface waters well above the submerged grasses, so they are unaffected, and the snowmelt has kept the water temperature at 50 degrees or below. So the bass are still holding in 8 to 12 feet of water, where they are unaffected.

B6 "I really think we have dodged the silver bullet."

Weekend fishing

Last weekend, the Choptank River and Tuckahoe Creek were crowded with anglers, and while there was a lot of fishing going on, there didn't seem to be much catching.

Reports in this week still indicate that white perch fishing could be good at Red Bridges, Greensboro, Denton, Williston and Martinak State Park on the Choptank, near Millington on the Chester River, Tuckahoe Creek and the Patuxent River near Wayson's Corner and Queen Anne's Bridge and on the Blackwater River.

Grass shrimp will work well for white perch, as will shad darts and small twister tails.

Area reservoirs are still high, muddy and cold, with Prettyboy at about 42 degrees early in the week.

At Liberty and Loch Raven, crappie fishing has been good at times, as it has been on the Choptank near Martinak.

The early forecast for the weekend is for temperatures to be in the 60s, so fishing should improve quickly in area ponds, creeks and rivers.

Big Hunting Creek meeting

DNR's Freshwater Fisheries Division, in cooperation with Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park, will hold a public information meeting April 17 to discuss a draft management plan for Big Hunting Creek in Frederick County.

Interested parties are encouraged to attend and participate. The meeting will be held at the American Legion Hall in Thurmont, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Through Sept. 26: Opening of Chesapeake Changes, a natural history exhibit that focuses on the geology, geography, wildlife and human settlement in the 64,000-square-mile watershed of the bay, Explorers Hall of the National Geographic Society, 17th and M streets NW, Washington.

Saturday: Rescheduled Maryland Bowhunters Society annual banquet at Martin's Eastwind, 6 p.m. Paul Bruner will speak on whitetail deer hunting.

Saturday: Mountain Club of Maryland hike at Old Rag Mountain. For more information, call (410) 247-2563 or (410) 833-9382.

Sunday: MCM Easter Sunday bike ride on the North Central Trail. For more information, call (410) 235-6514 or (410) 366-4931.

Monday: Monthly meeting of the Pasadena Sportfishing Club, Orchard Beach Firehall on Solley Road, 7:30 p.m. Speaker is scheduled to be Capt. Charles Reichert Jr. on fishing for spring trophy rockfish. The public is welcome. For more information, call (410) 255-3678.

Tuesday: Monthly meeting of the Northwest Chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association, Knights of Columbus Hall, Catonsville, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Monthly meeting of the Talbot County Chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association, Shore Sportsman, Easton, 7:30 p.m.

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