Springtime fishing fever running high


March 26, 2000|By Candus Thomson

Last week's rain helped a lot of streams, but everyone from McHenry to Monkton says we're going to need a lot more if we're to avoid a repeat of last summer.

The itch to fish is running high, if the phone messages and e-mails that come into The Sun are any indication. Thanks to one and all for their tips and invitations to play hooky someday soon.

Coming back from an interview in Carroll County on Thursday, I saw some guys who had skipped out early for a little fishing on Morgan Run near the Klee Mill Road access area (your secret is safe with me as charter members of the Fishermen Protection Program).

They said the rain runoff was churning things up but that they were having some luck with the olive woolly bugger No. 8, with a tad of yellow flash -- advice from Angler's Hollow in Westminster.

Larry Coburn, guide and author, e-mailed me to note that the state Department of Natural Resources put 1,750 rainbows in the Little Patuxent at Savage Mill.

"There were some that looked to be 16 inches and healthy. Spring is just about here," he wrote.

The white perch are beginning their run, so it's time to set up on the banks of the Patapsco and Patuxent rivers. And anglers at the Maryland Sportsmen's Association's annual meeting last weekend at Pintail Point on the Eastern Shore said the hickory shad are thick on the Susquehanna River and at the mouth of Dry Creek. They suggested a 9-foot, 4- or 5-weight rod for the creek, and something a wee bit heavier for the faster-running river.

Look for The Sun's fishing report on April 14. We're experimenting now with ways to make the information more timely and accurate. Give me a yell with any suggestions.

Talking trout

The Maryland chapter of Trout Unlimited has a couple interesting speakers lined up for its final two meetings before they shut things down for the summer.

Gene Kane, an Eastern Shore guide who drifts west occasionally to man the counter at Tochterman's on Eastern Avenue, will be giving away secrets (OK, not all of them) at the April 18 meeting about catching bass and crappie.

TU director Ron Acee said the program -- "Close Encounters of the Bass Kind" -- will get members thinking about how to spend their summer vacations.

"He's done some outstanding fishing over there in places that people don't know about," said Acee.

Geographically, the chapter will switch its focus across the state on May 16 with a visit from Jay Sheppard, a terrific fisherman and birder who will talk trout of the Western Maryland persuasion.

As always, the chapter meets at 7: 30 p.m. at the Gilman School's Finney Center.

Six maps for rock

That Paul Genovese is at it again, friends.

The computer guru at DNR has designed six maps that take anglers step-by-step through the spring striped bass season.

Click on the date you're going fishing and you'll see a full map of the Bay, rivers and tributaries, showing all the open, closed, and catch-and-release areas.

The maps are listed just below the striped bass management plan update (www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries).

If you don't have a home computer, it's worth signing on at your local library.

Got two cents' worth?

There's still time to get briefed and put in your two cents on revisions to the dates for hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the next two years.

DNR has two more hearings scheduled: Tuesday at Westminster High School and March 30 at Cash Valley Elementary School in LaVale. Both will begin at 7 p.m.

Hearings so far in Easton and Annapolis have been pretty quiet, because they exclude the two hot-button issues: proposals on crossbow hunting and establishing a black bear season.

Woe for Okeechobee

The reports out of Florida are depressing if you're a trophy bass angler.

Internet chat rooms devoted to fishing are bemoaning the destruction of Lake Okeechobee, one of the world's primo bass lakes and vacation destinations.

It seems the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has turned the 30-mile by 40-mile lake into a reservoir.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say water levels in the lake are so high that the vegetation at the bottom is being destroyed and with it, young fish and other wildlife. A state biologist said that if nothing is done, the lake will be devoid of fish in two years.

Normally, the lake is 9 feet deep, but the Corps has raised it to 15.3 feet. The waters have spread into the marsh lands, killing plants that had filtered storm runoff and absorbed phosphorus from nearby farms and cattle ranches.

"Now we have turbidity worse than we've ever had. It looks like the Mississippi out there," says Carroll Head, organizer of Friends of Lake Okeechobee. "It's just a barren expanse of dirty gray water.

Head's 80-member nonprofit group is trying to get the Corps to reduce the lake level and pressure the agriculture industry to clean up its operation.

You can reach Head at 863-763-3568 or e-mail him at chead@ircc.net.

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