Fishy tale of too few trout Fishing: Anglers casting lines in Lake Waterford complain stocking hasn't yielded enough fish. But park staff speculate fish are too well fed to be caught.

April 04, 1997|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

The state Department of Natural Resources may have stocked Lake Waterford with 750 farm-bred trout last month, but you couldn't prove it by the anglers at the Pasadena park this week.

Doug Miller, 46, a Glen Burnie carpenter, said he was catching "nothing but a suntan" yesterday, and his experience was repeated by several others.

Randy Tobin, 42, an experienced fisherman, was introducing his 10-year-old daughter, Randi, to the sport, but not having much luck.

"I showed her how to cast a rod, how to bait, but she hasn't caught a fish yet," he said.

The lake was stocked March 26 as part of a statewide recreational program. Trout season opened Saturday. Those with permits were allowed to catch up to five trout a day.

This week, some fishing enthusiasts had to settle for the breeze rippling on the water and the sight of toddlers throwing bread chunks at noisy black and white ducks instead of the thrill of seeing their line sink from the bite of trout.

More than a dozen anglers complained to park officials yesterday that they had gotten a nibble or two, but no one had caught the limit.

Jay Cuccia, chief of special facilities for the county's Department of Recreation and Parks, suggested the newly arrived fish might not have figured out survival and feeding techniques, having been raised in a hatchery. "When they first hit that lake, they're so disoriented," he said.

In such a state, it's possible they were easy targets for early-bird anglers, he said.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's not possible -- it's a large lake and we have a lot of points of entry," Cuccia said. "To me there's not a whole lot of sport involved when they're at the surface waiting to be caught."

The fish also might be feeding on the bread meant for ducks and ignoring the bait dangling from fishhooks.

"Fishermen get very upset at this time of year because you'll see trout eating the bread," said park Superintendent Debbie Yeater, who oversees the park by day and lives in a county-owned house at the lake.

"Probably they're not as hungry as they would be if duck feeding wasn't going on," she said.

But one angler, who asked not to be named, complained that the lake was not stocked well enough.

"They don't put enough in here," he said, adding that he suspects that after-hours scofflaws are fishing above the limit when the park is closed.

Yeater said she has chased teen-agers looking for a place to hang out from the park at night, but that she has not seen or heard anyone fishing at night.

Acknowledging that many trout had been hooked since Saturday, Yeater said maybe it's not the fish but the people trying to catch them. "The fish are in there. I basically think it's the talent of the fisherman," she said good-naturedly.

At least one fisherman apparently had the requisite skill.

Donald Blair, 37, of Curtis Bay hooked three trout one day this week and was going for more as his son, Jason, 7, watched.

"I said I'd come and give it a try," he said. "They're good eating."

Pub Date: 4/04/97

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