Experimental teal season opens at sunrise tomorrow

On The Outdoors

September 11, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Maryland opens an experimental hunting season for green-winged or blue-winged teal in areas of the state east of I-95 tomorrow. The season, which has a four-duck daily limit, runs through Sept. 22, excluding Sunday hunting.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered the special season to states in which 80 percent of the teal harvest comes from mid-continent nesting areas. The season dates are in addition to the normal duck seasons that open in October.

Hunting for all other waterfowl is illegal during the September teal season, except for resident Canada geese. The hunting season for resident Canada geese overlaps the teal season.

Shooting hours for teal are from sunrise to sunset, rather than opening 30 minutes before sunrise. According to DNR, the change in hours is to protect "non-teal species, particularly local wood ducks," that are most active just before sunrise.

"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 #F non-teal species," said DNR secretary John R. Griffin. "How well hunters comply with the special teal regulations will determine if the season is continued in the future."

Hunters must have all applicable licenses and stamps and a Harvest Information Programpermit.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: The bars, humps and channel edges from Poole's Island to Tea Kettle Shoals are turning up some of the largest rockfish of the late season, with drifted eels catching rock to 34 inches. Trolled bucktails or parachutes continue to work well in the Patapsco and Chester rivers, east of Sandy Point and at the head of the bay below Turkey Point. Chummers at the mouth of the Chester also are having pretty good success, although they are encountering many more smaller rock. Bay Bridge pilings and the sewer pipe off Kent Island also are holding rockfish, and feather jigs, sassy shads and bucktails will work well. Bottom fishing continues to be very good for white perch, spot and some sea trout at the mouths of the Magothy and Chester rivers and over shell bottoms such as Gayle's Shoal, Hodges Bar and Belvedere Shoal. Scattered, smallish schools of bluefish to three pounds may be encountered as far north as Still Pond.

Middle Chesapeake: Rockfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, flounder and other bottom species provide a variety of action. Chummers at the Diamonds, Hill and Summer Gooses have had moderate success with rockfish, while trollers appear to be doing much better for larger fish from Clay Banks to Cove Point, along the western shore. Parachutes or bucktails have been the best lures. Mixed schools of bluefish, rockfish and Spanish mackerel have been breaking at various times from the Stone Rock to Bloody Point. Sea trout often can be taken from beneath the fish near the surface. Breaking schools of rockfish from the enormous 1996 year class are allowing good fly rod action in Eastern Bay, Choptank River and along the edges of the main shipping channel. Flounder action continues to be very good at False Channel, Poplar Island Narrows, channel edges in Eastern Bay and along the eastern edge of the main channel from buoys 80 to 84A. White perch, some sea trout and some spot over hard bottoms from Thomas Point Light to Hackett's.

Lower Chesapeake: Some of the biggest bluefish of the year are concentrated at the mouth of the Potomac River and from the Mud Leads to the SW Middle Grounds, with many in the seven-pound range. Chummers have been doing well for rockfish from 19 to 24 inches from Buoy 72 to the Target Ship, while trollers have had better success from Cedar Point Hollow to the Targets. Spanish mackerel remain in large numbers from Cedar Point Hollow to Smith Point. Sea trout and spot on Tangier Sound, and spotted sea trout in the shallows around South Marsh and Bloodsworth islands.

Ocean City inshore: The south jetty has turned up rockfish, sea trout, bluefish, an occasional red drum, tautog and sheepshead. Plenty of spot in the back bays from the Route 50 bridge to the Route 90 span. Increasing numbers of sea trout and rockfish at the Route 50 bridge at night, but keeper stripers are few. Flounder fishing has been spotty.

Ocean City offshore: The Ocean City Marlin Club's annual white marlin tournament last weekend caught 19 whites, one blue and one sailfish, 50 percent off last year's pace, and the poor catch rate was attributed to gusty southwest winds and a full moon. Yellowfin tuna, however, are reported to be improving daily, with the peak of the fall run usually coming between the middle of September and mid-October. Dolphin numerous from the Jackspot out. Head boats getting croaker and increasing numbers of sea trout from near shore shoals.

Susquehanna: Shallow crankbaits or minnows are good choices for smallmouth bass, with poppers working well, too, especially in low light hours. Catfish action has been very good on cut bait. Action for rockfish has been fair.

Upper Potomac: Smallmouth fishing has been steadily improving most sections of the river, with White's Ferry, Point of Rocks and Brunswick-Lander all good choices. Tube lures, grubs and power worms are good baits.

Deep Creek Lake: Pickerel in the grass beds, trout suspended by the dam and smallmouth bass in 10- to 15-foot depths associated with rocky points or humps.

Pub Date: 9/11/98

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