- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2004

HILLTOP, Md. — Southern Marylanders Ed Meadows and Pat Capps very well may have caught the first yellow perch in the state since the ice began to melt earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Meadows and Capps stood on the little pier adjacent to the Nanjemoy Creek’s Friendship Landing boat launch in Charles County and caught yellow perch with abandon. The two easily caught five-fish limits, then released a goodly number of these harbingers of a soon to start spawning run. The two men hooked the gold-hued perch on high-low hooks rigged with bull minnows that they caught earlier in a minnow trap.

So what will happen now? The perch run has not yet started. That won’t occur until the end of the month or during the first several days of March, when the shallow water temperatures climb into the high 40s. Meanwhile, rest assured that early arrivals of spawning schools, plus year-round resident perch, will lie in 10- to 18-foot deep holes in creek and river bends, biding their time, ambushing minnows or looking for a few grass shrimp. Mostly it’s a waiting game.

You can cash in on the fishing with a johnboat or other craft when all the ice is gone and ramps are safe to use. There are yellow perch staging now for their upstream run in the middle parts of the Mattawoman Creek and the Occoquan River. They’re also in the Aquia and Potomac creeks, up around the Wilson Bridge and the Spoils Cove, as well as in the Patuxent River above Jug Bay.

Down around Williamsburg, the Chickahominy River, not far from the old Helen’s Hideaway marina, shows yellow perch, even some bass and rockfish.

Due to recent rain, along with the ice and snow melt, the James and Rappahannock rivers are muddy. When they clear and the water slows down, fish will be caught in both rivers.

Maryland raises fees — Starting in 2005, recreational fishing licenses in Maryland will be raised $4. That goes for the freshwater and the Chesapeake Bay (tidal water) license. So the freshwater license that now costs $10.50 will be raised to $14.50; the tidal license will go to $13. This is on top of 100 percent increases at the most popular state boat launching ramps, such as Smallwood State Park and others where launch fees jumped from $5 to $10.

The license increases amount to about 40 percent, but other licenses such as the six-pack charter captains license, which is also slated to go up, will not be raised 40 percent. No, it’s more like 4 percent — $10 — with the final cost around $275.

Want to know why our licenses are being raised? License sales have been down of late, and how do you make up the lost money? You stick it to your residents.

And when you hear state politicians brag about not raising taxes, ask them what they think are the raising of launch fees and fishing permits. It’s a tax any way you slice it.

Way to go, Maryland. Dip into our pockets some more, why don’t you?

Comments needed — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources wants public comment on proposed regulations that deal with bait, lures, hooks, and fishing methods used in certain areas, such as the Susquehanna Flats, during the rockfish spawning period, March1 through May15.

The proposed regulations address concerns of potential increased mortality of striped bass in their spawning grounds during the spring catch and release fishing season and Natural Resource Police concerns over illegal fishing for striped bass in spawning rivers during the closed spring period. The DNR may adopt all, some or none of the proposed regulations.

The Maryland division of the Coastal Conservation Association urges those who have questions or comments about such possible regulatory changes to attend a public hearing at the DNR building Wednesday, 6 p.m.


Bass fishing flea market — Saturday, , 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hillendale Firehouse, Dale City, Va. Information: Bob Pettey, 703/491-3321.

mWashington Boat Show — Feb.18-22, Washington Convention Center. Information: 703/823-7960 or washingtonboatshow.com.

• Trout Unlimited chapter meeting — Wednesday, 7:30p.m., Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, Silver Spring. Information: pptu.org or 301/593-5889.

• CCA/Southern Maryland Winter Barbecue — Feb.21, 6p.m., at Izaak Walton League Hall, Waldorf. Information: Donald Gardiner, 301/645-3323 or 301/843-3719.

• Fly Fishers buy, sell, swap meet — Feb.21, 9a.m. to 4p.m., Davidsonville (Md.) Recreation Center. (Rain or snow date: Feb.28.) Information: Mike Price, 410/320-0080.

Pigs on the Potomac — Feb.26, 6p.m., Silver Spring Knights of Columbus. Greater Washington Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association/Maryland has its annual banquet and fund-raiser with roasted pig, open bar, raffles, silent and live auctions for striper trips, rods, reels, hunt outings, ocean getaways and art prints. Information: Robert Glenn, 888/758-6580; [email protected]

Wild Turkey Federation banquet — March6, the National Capital Area Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s annual sportsmen’s banquet at West Park Lions Club in Manassas, Va. Information and registration: Linda Layser, 703/425-6665; [email protected]

• Wilderness first aid — March6-7. Alexandria. The 18-hour class results in a two-year certification. Information: 703/836-8905; wfa.net.

• Fishing and Outdoor Show — March13, 10a.m. to 4p.m., Izaak Walton League, Waldorf, Md. Free casting lessons and rope splicing. Learn where, how and what the bass are biting. Information: Don Gardiner, 301/645-3323; [email protected]

Ducks Unlimited casino night — March19, 6:30p.m., at Fairview Park Marriott, Falls Church. Includes a buffet, cocktails, raffles and prizes. The DU State Convention Awards Banquet is March20, at the same hotel, 6p.m. Information, Mike Hinton, 202/720-1764.

• Baltimore Antique Arms Show — March20-21, Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium. Show opens at 9a.m. both days and features exhibitors from 42 states and seven foreign countries. No modern handguns permitted. Information: baltimoreshow.com; 301/865-6804.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected].

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