- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2005

So there’s some ice on the boat ramps and even more of the slippery stuff on the water, but it won’t last forever. Sometime next week, we will resume our wintertime yellow perch search. No, we can’t look for newly arrived spawning schools of perch just yet, because the spawners don’t show up until next month.

The yellow delicacies we will be after are residents that stay year around in the tributary creeks and main stems of the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, Choptank, Pocomoke, Rappahannock and James rivers.

Just before the most recent snow and cold wave arrived, we had found some fat ones in the Potomac’s Mattawoman Creek, where they struck 1/8-ounce jigs that were fed onto 2-inch plastic grubs in chartreuse or yellow. Not only that, if you have access to the backwaters of Lake Anna west of Fredericksburg, where ice normally is not a problem, there are yellow perch as well.

Lake Anna also will give up landlocked striped bass, largemouth bass and some decent crappies.

Of course, blue catfish continue to dominate in Virginia’s James River, just a little distance downstream of Richmond, with the Dutch Gap area probably being the best place to soak bottom-fished cut baits.

For those itching to check the bass and crappies at Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), you will be greeted by high, discolored water. Fishing success stories will not be plentiful this week. Expect much the same at neighboring Lake Gaston.

If you brave the Atlantic — According to Ken Neill of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fishermen’s Association, a lot of fine fishing is had by boaters working their way from the ocean waters near the mouth of the Chesapeake toward North Carolina.

“The striped bass fishing has been nothing short of fantastic,” Neill said. “A lot of big fish are being caught from False Cape on down to Kitty Hawk. The deep water wrecks are holding jumbo sea bass when the seas are calm enough to get out there. Tautog can be found on wrecks closer to shore. The Triangle Wrecks have been a very productive location recently.”

On Saturday, Neill fished with Julie Ball and found the catches tremendous.

“We could only fish two lines because the bite was so good,” he recalled. “If you had a bait dangling in the water beside the boat, you had better have the rod in a rod holder or it would have been jerked over the side [by a striper]. We had numerous bites like that right at the boat.”

Have you tried praying? — Word has it from Canada that the Rev. Mariusz Zajak, a Catholic priest, set a Saskatchewan walleye record with an 18.3-pound specimen he hooked while sitting inside his little ice-fishing shelter. The body of water it was caught in wasn’t mentioned, but every wag in the Northland says Zajak had an advantage over regular ice fishermen because the priest had a direct line to the man who can answer prayers.

Black bear stamp artists sought — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources wants original artwork submissions for the ninth annual Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design Contest. The contest will be judged April2 at the Patuxent National Visitors Center in Laurel in conjunction with the Migratory Game Bird Stamp Contest competition.

Entries for the black bear stamp can come from residents and nonresidents and will be accepted through March23. All entries must be original, previously unreleased artwork. Each contestant may submit one entry for a nonrefundable $10 fee. All paintings, drawings, prints, photographs or prints of electronic images in black and white or color will be accepted. The designs must be horizontal, 7-by-10 inches and must arrive on a white mat not to exceed 9-by-12 inches.

Proceeds from the sale of the stamps are used to compensate farmers in Maryland who suffer agricultural damage caused by black bears.

For contest rules and more information, visit DNR online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/bearstamp or contact Doug Wigfield, 410/543-6595 or [email protected]

EVENTS

Bassarama fishing show - Tomorrow through Sunday Jan. 28-30, at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Meet bass fishing superstars, attend seminars, pitch a lure into a casting pool and buy the latest tackle at special show prices. Tickets: adults, $8; ages 12-16, $3; younger than 12, free. Information: Ronnie Bassarama.com

Washington Boat Show - Feb. 9-13, at Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW. More than 500 boats of all styles and sizes featured, plus the latest electronics, services and accessories in dozens of display booths. Tickets: adults, $10; children 6-12, $4; younger than 6, free. Advance tickets can be charged through Ticketmaster, 202/397-7328, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Information: www.washingtonboatshow.com.

Trout Unlimited chapter meeting - Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m., at McLean VFW Post 8241, 1051 Spring Hill Rd. The Northern Virginia chapter invites the public to hear a free talk about fishing for shad with a fly rod. The main program will be preceded at 6:45 p.m. by a fly tying demonstration of shad flies. Information: www.nvatu.org

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

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