- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I’ll take a chance and go out on a limb: Local yellow perch will be caught in all the traditional haunts this weekend.

Yes, I could be wrong about this, but something tells me there’ll be perch for shoreline anglers at Allen’s Fresh on the Wicomico River, as well as in the Mattawoman Creek around Slavin’s boat ramp and upstream from there. Both waters are in Southern Maryland’s Charles County. Perch should also be biting in the Northern Neck’s Nomini Creek and Nomini Bay in Westmoreland County.

Perch that have waited in deep holes in Charles County’s Nanjemoy Creek, and over on the Virginia side of the Potomac, in the Occoquan River on the Prince William-Fairfax counties line, have been caught with varying success all along, but in the next several days the big females should begin to show up by the numbers.

Live minnows, grass shrimp, curly-tailed grubs, shad darts fished under a bobber — all will work when the yellow beauties begin to get serious about spewing forth their roe.

Meanwhile, very little perch action has been noted thus far in Caroline County, Va., in the Mattaponi River, but the Chickahominy River near Williamsburg is giving up some fat ring perch, as Virginians call them, and more than a few crappies.

Virginia bass stirring — At Chickahominy Lake, adjacent to the river of the same name, bass and crappies are taken in good numbers. The same holds true for Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, where bass will look at a drop-shot rig. The stripers at Anna like big shiners, Sassy Shads and Bass Assassins.

Bass and stripers are possible downstate at Lake Gaston, but it’s the crappies that draw more attention there and at neighboring Kerr Reservoir. The crappie bite has been very good, especially at Kerr where at least one 3-pounder was hooked last week along with many 1- and 2-pounders.

Blue cats in the James — The tidal James River below Richmond continues to be prime blue catfish water. Nowadays, eyebrows aren’t raised when a 25-pounder is hooked, and quite a few of those took baits this week and last. The catfish fans don’t stir with excitement until a catch weighs at least 40 pounds. There are quite a few of those in this river from Dutch Gap down to and past the Appomattox River mouth.

Trout at AP Hill — The Fort AP Hill Army base on Route 301 in Caroline County (an easy drive for Washington area residents) has several ponds stocked with trout. You can try catching them. All you need to do is have your required state license, then visit the base’s recreational officer to get a base permit to fish, plus you have to pay $5 to fish for trout. Sounds difficult, but it isn’t. Call 804/633-8244 for more information.

Crab license reinstated — There’s been a lot of confusion about Maryland’s recreational crabbing license, even at the Department of Natural Resources. A reader called to tell us no one at the DNR’s license office even knew whether there was one. Now, the DNR’s Fisheries Service will have a public hearing to talk about emergency and permanent Chesapeake Bay blue crab regulations, which will also re-establish the recreational crabbing license and set catch limits for crabs in Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.

The public hearing at 7 p.m. on March10 will cover the 2004 proposed permanent regulatory changes for commercial and recreational crabbers. Proposals include modifying the times for setting and harvesting with crab scrapes, and permit the taking of hard crabs from pound nets, fyke nets and hoop nets for watermen who are licensed to fish and crab. The hearing will be at the DNR headquarters, in the C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis. The 2004 regulations are available at the Fisheries Service Web site, www.dnr.state.md.us.

Oyster season extended — Can you believe it? Here Maryland is hitting rock bottom with its oysters and the DNR announces an extension of the commercial oyster season that was supposed to end at 3 p.m. on March31. The season was extended through April13, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, because watermen faced poor weather earlier this year.

I guess there are some bureaucrats who believe it’s their duty to make sure the oystermen earn a living. Wonder if they’re willing to extend the rockfish season for me if I don’t get my share this year.

EVENTS

Pigs on the Potomac — Today, 6 p.m., Silver Spring Knights of Columbus. Fundraiser for the Greater Washington Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association/Maryland. $75 (includes CCA membership or renewal). Information: Robert Glenn, 888/758-6580; info@ccamd.org.

Ducks Unlimited chapter banquet — Today, 6 p.m. (dinner at 7:30), Fairview Park Marriott, Falls Church. Tickets $100 (includes $25 membership); $175 couple; children under 17 $35. Information: Carl Olzawski, 703/319-3825, Aaron Mulvey, 571/214-7394; info@novadu.org.

Wild Turkey Federation banquet — March6, West Park Lions Club, Manassas, Va. Contact: Linda Layser, 703/425-6665, rglayser@msn.com; embark.to/NWTF.

Baltimore fishing seminars — March 6, 9 a.m., Ridge Garden Apartments, 8509 Old Harford Road. Four one-hour seminars on fishing the Chesapeake and Delaware bays and the Atlantic coast for striped bass. Admission $15 (free with $25 membership to CCA.) Information: info@ccamd.org.

Wilderness first aid — March6-7. Alexandria. An 18-hour class in wilderness first aid. Cost is $160. Registration, information: 703/836-8905; wfa.net.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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