Savage River survey shows marked increase in trout

On The Outdoors

October 29, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The Savage River is a wild, magical place where cool mists often form over the rocky watercourse as it tumbles down through the forests of Garrett County to merge with the Potomac -- and some of the best trout fishing in the state can be had in its deep pools and pockets.

In recent weeks the Department of Natural Resources has documented record wild trout biomass and densities in the trophy area downstream from the Savage Reservoir dam.

A survey, conducted annually by the state's Fisheries Service, estimated that the combined standing crop and density of adult wild brown and native brook trout are 83.8 pounds per acre and 1,664 trout per mile.

The previous high marks for the Savage River Trophy Trout Management Area were 55.8 pounds per acre in 1996 and 1,063 trout per mile in 1992.

Brown trout make up 83 percent of the wild trout population.

Although the population of adult trout is excellent, DNR reported that reproduction for brown and brook trout was poor this year.

Anglers interested in making the drive out to the Savage can expect excellent tour angling, with blue-winged olives, caddis and cream midges currently working best.

Rockfish tagging

Maryland and Virginia fisheries services are completing the tagging of some 8,000 rockfish in Chesapeake Bay, including some 4,300 in Maryland waters. In Maryland, rockfish have been taken from pound nets, tagged and released in the upper, middle and lower portions of the bay.

Anglers who catch a tagged rockfish are asked to forward information on size and where the catch was made to DNR. Tags are pink streamers attached to the left side of the fish behind the pectoral fin and include a tag number, address and toll-free telephone number.

For anglers keeping tagged fish, DNR asks that the tag be mailed to the address and that size and catch location be telephoned. If the fish is to be released, record the tag number, fish size and location and call the toll-free number.

Fisheries biologists will use the information gathered to complement data on coastwide tagging studies. It will also help determine growth rates, mortality rates and migration patterns of rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: As Indian summer continues, the rockfish bite remains inconsistent with casters, trollers and chummers. According to DNR catch reports, rockfish can be caught virtually anywhere, from well up the tributaries to ships' channel in the bay. Over the past few days, however, there have been signs that the stripers are moving toward deeper water, where they will school once water temperatures start to drop quickly. In the meantime, casting poppers, rattling plugs or spoons is a good bet in shallows during low light hours. Chummers at Belvedere Shoals have begun to pick up greater numbers of larger fish, while those chumming at the mouth of the Chester River are catching increasing numbers of smaller rockfish. Trollers, whether working river channels or the main stem, continue to catch decent numbers of stripers, but overall the action is unpredictable. Still some reports of bluefish roaming above the Bay Bridge.

Middle Chesapeake: Here, too, the best action for rockfish to 36 inches continues to be in the shallows, where anglers score best at dusk in the Choptank River, Eastern Bay and from piers and beaches along the bay proper. Trolling has been spotty and, as in many past years, the larger rockfish have been caught from Holland Point to Parker's Creek, along the western shore drop-offs. Chumming has been producing rockfish in the 16- to 24-inch range at the Hill, Summer Gooses, Stone Rock and the Diamonds. Bluefish continue to move through the areas, with most in the 1- to 3-pound range and a few up to 7 pounds. Sea trout catches have been inconsistent.

Lower Chesapeake: Chummers fishing the eastern edge of the main channel from buoy 72 to the Target Ship have had consistent success with rockfish in the 17- to 23-inch range, with a steady bluefish bite as well. Trollers working the eastern edges also have done well for stripers and blues along with sea trout to 19 inches. Tangier Sound, the Honga River and the shallows around Smith and South Marsh Islands have been good for speckled trout.

Ocean City inshore: Small blues, sea trout, kingfish and smallish stripers in the surf. Anglers live-lining spot or using twister tails have been doing well for big sea trout and increasing numbers of stripers at the Route 50 bridge.

Ocean City offshore: Overnight trips to Poor Man's and Baltimore canyons have had good success for yellowfin tuna.

Tidal Potomac River: Largemouth bass moving to drop-offs, wood cover and rocky current breaks, with deeper holes a good bet in the tributaries.

Susquehanna River: Dropping water temperatures have rockfish and bass feeding more actively, and catches of both are increasing.

Upper Potomac River: River is low and clear and wading has been excellent. For smallmouths, try grubs, tube lures and power worms where water moves into or out of deeper holes.

Potomac River North Branch: Good action in both catch-and-release and put-and-take areas. Sink tips and muddlers and Clousers will work well for larger trout.

Casselman River: The river has been restocked and delayed harvest regulations are in effect.

Gunpowder River: Water temperatures in the mid-50s and the river is clear. Periodic blue-winged olive hatches, and trout rising to hoppers, crickets and caddis.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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