Experimental September teal season on the horizon

On The Outdoors

August 20, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

State waterfowl hunters, who again this year will be barred from hunting migratory Canada geese, will have an opportunity to participate in an experimental season for blue-winged or green-winged teal.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state's Department of Natural Resources will allow the special teal season from Sept. 12 to 22 (excluding Sunday) in areas of the state east of I-95. The bag limit will be four per day, singly or in aggregate.

Shooting hours will be sunrise to sunset.

"Shooting hours have been modified to avoid the traditional pre-sunrise [30 minutes before sunrise] when non-teal species, particularly local wood ducks, are most active," said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. "Hunters are advised to avoid shooting at non-teal species during this season.

"The September teal season is experimental and DNR employees will be monitoring harvest and hunter activity in an attempt to evaluate the impact of the season on teal and non-teal species."

How well hunters comply with regulations for the test season will determine whether the experiment is continued, Griffin said.

The nine-day season is in addition to proposed regular waterfowl seasons and has been offered only to states that derive more than 80 percent of their annual teal harvest from mid-continent breeding areas.

According to DNR, the moratorium on hunting migratory Canada geese has been continued because the number of breeding pairs declined from 63,000 in 1997 to 42,000 this year. The season has been closed since 1995 in an effort to restore breeding pairs to acceptable levels.

A meeting to discuss and receive public comment on proposed waterfowl seasons and bag limits for 1998-1999 is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. this evening at the National Guard Armory in Easton.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake Bay: According to DNR reports from last weekend, trollers working the western shore from Belvedere Shoals to Sandy Point did well on rockfish on bucktails, while drifted eels were more productive over humps and oyster bars below Poole's Island and at humps and holes at the mouth of the Chester River. Increasing numbers of two- to four-pound bluefish are being caught above the Bay Bridge as far north as Worton Point, and at times they are causing havoc among eelers. Big white perch, medium to large spot, some sea trout and croaker are being caught by bottom fishermen at Snake Reef, Podickory Point, Hart Miller Island, Gayles Shoals, Tea Kettle Shoals and off Bay Bridge pilings. Catfish, yellow perch and white perch have been fairly abundant in the Elk, Bohemia and North East rivers, and tidal bass anglers have been doing well in the Sassafras and Gunpowder-Middle river complex.

Middle Chesapeake Bay: The opening weekend of rockfish season produced erratic fishing in many areas, but trollers working the 32-foot line along the western shore from the Silver Ball to Cove Point did well on bucktails, spoons and deep- diving plugs. Chummers at the Gas Docks also did well, although DNR reports numerous dead rockfish in the area, perhaps as the result of poor handling by anglers. Bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel moving through the region, although the bulk of the mackerel are still to the south. Bottom fishermen can hook up with sea trout, spot, flounder and decreasing numbers of croaker along eastern edge of the shipping channel from Buoy 84 south. Flounder also are being caught along channel edges in Eastern Bay, the western edge from Breezy Point to Deale and at False Channel below the mouth of the Choptank. Holland Point Bar is good for sea trout and spot. Cooks and Todd points at the mouth of the Choptank are excellent. Hard bottom areas from Thomas Point Light to Hacketts continue to be excellent for white perch and some spot.

Lower Chesapeake Bay: Chumming is the favored method for rockfish and bluefish along the eastern edge of the shipping channel from Buoy 72 to the SW Middle Grounds, although trollers, too, are doing well for stripers. Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park reports breaking rockfish, blue and Spanish mackerel in huge schools from Point No Point to Point Lookout. Croaker, the mainstay for bottom fishermen for the past couple of months, are moving out now and the focus is shifting to sea trout and flounder. Cornfield Harbor, Cedar Point Hollow, Buoy 76 and the Richland Bell Buoy are good locations for trout and flounder. Spot and weakfish are good bets in Tangier Sound, and spotted sea trout to four pounds have been hitting in the shallows around Bloodsworth and South Marsh islands in the evenings.

Susquehanna River: Bass fishing continues to be steady with crankbaits, spinners and poppers taking fish from islands, shorelines, deep holes and bridge piers. Rockfish action has been largely for smaller fish.

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