- The Washington Times - Friday, March 1, 2002

Our phone and e-mail lines are buzzing with questions about the yellow perch spawning runs. Few of them mention big catches, and the complaints center on an apparent lack of action in various local tidal creeks.
But never fear so long as the "regulars" at Allen's Fresh (Wicomico River) in Charles County, Md., are checking on the perch. Southern Marylander Tony Maddox says via e-mail, "We caught more than 150 fish [earlier this week], mostly small to medium size yellow perch with a few decent roe fish. We also caught some crappies, fallfish and a dozen or more chain pickerel."
Allen's Fresh lies just a brief distance off Route 301 (turn left onto Route 234). You'll see the fishermen as you cross the Wicomico.
As you read this, there should be more catches of fat females, but the current colder nighttime temperatures can slow them down a bit. And as concerns catches of any kind, remember what a friend of mine a superb angler always tells people who ask him if the bass are biting: "Those with sufficient fishing skills are."
Elsewhere, some yellow perch have been caught at the Wayson's Corner sector of the Patuxent River, as well as the Patuxent's Western Branch and Mattaponi tributaries. The former can be fished from shore, but the two feeder creeks require a boat that can be launched at Patuxent River Park's Jackson Landing, off Croom Airport Road in Prince George's County.
A handful of yellow perch has been noted in the Wye Mills Lake spillway channel on the Eastern Shore. Hopefully, more will follow. You can reach the spillway by driving east on Route 50, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and turning right on Route 213 at Chesapeake College. The lake is just a short distance from Route 50.
In Virginia, the Chickahominy River near Williamsburg shows yellow perch, bass and catfish. The perch are heading to Walker Dam, at the base of Chickahominy Lake, where bass and pickerel have been active during the warm spell.
The Mattaponi River (Routes 301 and 2, near Bowling Green) shows decent numbers of yellow perch, according to Jack Randolph of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Bass fishermen have done well in Virginia's Anna, Buggs Island and Gaston lakes. Gaston, in fact, delivered a 10-pound largemouth for Texas visitor Ed Melton last week. And in the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg down to Hicks Landing, a few yellow and white perch have been caught.
More inclusive saltwater license After six years of behind-the-scenes work, the Coastal Conservation Association/Virginia says the legislators in Richmond finally passed a CCA-suggested bill that would expand the Virginia saltwater fishing license to include the state's ocean parts, including ocean inlets. Such areas have been exempt, with only the Chesapeake Bay's tidal reaches demanding a tidal water fishing license.
The all-inclusive license will raise additional funds for conservation and sportfishing programs. We hope it won't be spent on game warden cruisers, as Maryland once proposed.
Virginia deer hunters score big During the deer hunting season that concluded in January, Virginians bagged 214,583 whitetails. This included 110,195 antlered males, 21,394 male fawns, 79,670 females and 3,324 deer of undocumented sex. The 2001-02 deer hunt represents a 14 percent increase over the 187,878 animals checked in during the 2000 season.
The state's archers managed to get 18,191 deer, up 5 percent from the 17,323 taken in 2000. Archery constituted almost 9 percent of the total kill. Muzzleloader hunters harvested 53,525 deer, up 14 percent from the 46,848 shot the previous season. Muzzleloading comprised 25 percent of the overall kill.
The top counties, with kill totals in parentheses, were Loudoun (6,820), Bedford (6,509), Fauquier (5,497), Southampton (5,364), Rockingham (5,178), Shenandoah (5,075), Albemarle (4,941), Pittsylvania (4,617), Franklin (4,440) and Bath (4,310).

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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