Rockfish season to end at `Flats'

Outdoors

May 09, 2007|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,Sun reporter

State fisheries officials will not extend the catch-and-release striped bass season on the Susquehanna Flats beyond midnight tomorrow.

Biologists said yesterday that the water temperature was closing in on the 65-degree threshold where fish begin to die faster when they are removed even briefly from the water.

The area, known as "The Flats," is where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay between Harford and Cecil counties. It sits in the middle of the East Coast's largest striped bass nursery, where the large migratory fish stop each spring to spawn on their way north.

Under a policy enacted last year by the Department of Natural Resources, the season, which begins March 1, can be prolonged if water and weather conditions are favorable. On April 30, the agency extended the season a week after consulting with recreational fishing and conservation groups, guides and Natural Resources Police.

Marty Gary, a DNR biologist, said the water temperature yesterday was 64.51 degrees. With air temperatures projected to reach the upper 70s later this week, the decision was made to shut down the season.

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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