Unwanted guide finds a refuge

OUTDOORS

May 01, 1994|By PETER BAKER

Until a couple of years ago, bass guide John Hauserman was taking parties out on Loch Raven Reservoir, fishing state bass tournaments, running a small tackle manufacturing company and avoiding the inevitable move into the world of conventional business.

But the zebra mussel scare came along; Baltimore's Department of Public Works closed Loch Raven, Prettyboy and Liberty reservoirs to boat fishermen for a year; then, when the reservoirs were reopened last year, guides were excluded.

In the meantime, Hauserman, 32, has put his business degree from Towson State University to work and is employed as a financial planner. But he still manages to guide a couple of bass fishing trips a week, having moved from Baltimore's reservoirs to Conowingo Reservoir on the Susquehanna River between Harford and Cecil counties.

"When Loch Raven was closed down," Hauserman said last Tuesday, "I had to make some choices -- and maybe I had been starting to make those choices for several years anyway -- about my work and my family."

But while Hauserman places less emphasis on his bass fishing than previously, when he goes fishing he remains intense and retains the skills of a fishing instructor.

"With flexible hours, I find I can make a decent living and support my family," said Hauserman, as we started casting spinnerbaits along the southeast shoreline of Broad Creek. "But even with a 3-month-old child to help take care of, I still manage to get out here a couple of times a week.

"And as reservoirs go, this is a great place to fish."

Conowingo, an impoundment of more than 4,000 acres, is the largest reservoir in the state, beating Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County by about 100 acres.

Within its waters there are largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers, crappie, channel catfish and bluegills -- something for just about any kind of fisherman.

Unlike Prettyboy, Loch Raven and Liberty, Conowingo has few restrictions on fishermen and boaters, and access can be made from a number of good launch ramps.

Hauserman, with his bent for largemouth bass, likes the Glen Cove Marina on Berkley Road off Route 623. The ramp is steep enough to handle his 17-foot bass boat and there is ample parking for tow vehicles and trailers, plus bait, snacks and fishing information.

"From here [Glen Cove], you can start fishing right away if yowant," Hauserman said as we left the cove and turned northward along a steep shoreline of hardwoods and rock. "But at this time of year, when the main reservoir is still cold, you are better off in a place like Broad Creek."

Across the reservoir from Glen Cove lies Conowingo Creek, below Hopkins Cove is Hopkins Creek and the shoreline dropoffs to either side of all are good prospects for bass, bluegill and catfish.

Broad Creek, however, offers a couple of miles of fallen timber, boat docks, coves, small shallow flats and feeder creeks that makes it excellent for largemouth bass moving toward the shallows before the spawn.

"The creeks will warm before the main reservoir," Hauserman said, "and while there are areas along the main shoreline where bass will spawn, the creeks are more important to them."

Fishing pressure was light in midweek, with only three other boats encountered during almost six hours on the water. Fishing for decent-sized bass was somewhat slow. But the handful of fish around 1 1/2 pounds that did come aboard were healthy, showing the effects of good habitat and relatively light fishing pressure.

Even the 8- to 10-inch fish caught were sleek and feisty.

The crappie and bluegill taken also were of decent size and physical condition.

Hauserman's preferred method of fishing is the spinnerbait, which he said keeps him active through the day. But on Tuesday small Berkley Power Craws, black with blue claws, turned up the most fish. Small slider head worms worked well, too.

The bass were holding close to wood cover and the bites were light, but over the next couple of weeks, as the weather and water continue to warm, the fishing will really pick up.

"You know, when the zebra mussels closed [Loch Raven] down," Hauserman said, "I thought that maybe the guide business was done. But it made me come back to Conowingo, where I had done some guiding before, and this place has Loch Raven beat, hands down."

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