- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

After mentioning last week that the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s nearby Rocky Gorge reservoir was so low that boat ramps were closed to anglers, with the WSSC public information office suggesting that a body could carry a car-topper to the water’s edge and launch it, it wasn’t long before Shirley Huffman of Clarksville, Md., was in touch.

“I have been fishing there for over 40 years, and I’m quite upset by the way the water levels have been handled in recent years. There never seems to be any rhyme or reason [to] the water levels,” she wrote. “It is either real, real high or so low you can’t put a boat in. This was not the case for many, many years that we fished there. My husband, son and I bought a license this year ($30 each), only to find out Triadelphia was closed due to dam repairs, but they hoped it would open later in the year, which hasn’t happened. Now there is very low water in Rocky Gorge, and they have now locked the gates at Brown’s Bridge and Scott’s Cove. If you want to put in a car top boat you would have to carry it a distance longer than a football field.”

Huffman also said she and her son talked to a WSSC official at Brighton Dam.

“He assured me that it was possible to put in at the Supplee Landing [at Rocky Gorge] and that the boat would only need to be carried about 20 feet. When we got there they had a wire across the top of the ramp which made the carrying distance about 120 feet and the last 40 feet were through lots of mud.

“I held up the wire and my son drove our truck under it down to the end of the concrete ramp and we dragged and carried boat, motor, two batteries, tackle boxes, rods and reels, boat seats, ice chest and several other items through the mud. It’s amazing what we will do to go fishing. Of course we had to repeat the above when we came in.”

Huffman said the fishing wasn’t all that great, but it beat working. Besides, she saw a bald eagle and other wildlife.

Local reservoirs, of course, are meant only to provide water. However, in the case of a number of them, state fisheries departments stocked the impoundments and reservoir managers eventually allowed some fishing — perhaps with some trepidation.

It’s not just the WSSC whose primary concerns must be water shortages and supplying the necessary liquid — certainly not fishing. Some reservoir managers even tell fishing fanatics that they’re not welcome. Just ask anyone who used to fish in Virginia’s Lake Manassas and now isn’t allowed to wet a line there anymore.

Even more bothersome is the fact that impoundments not owned outright by the state could be closed to fishing. All it would require is an unfriendly reservoir management.

CastingKids championships set — The Maryland State BASS Federation has sent invitations to all the children who qualified to compete in the CastingKids state championships on Oct. 28 at noon at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, in Hanover, near Baltimore (Exit 10 off Route 100).

The qualifiers competed in and won their age categories, 7-10 and 11-14, during various CastingKids events in the past year. Winners in each of the two age categories will go on to Alabama in January to compete during the Federation National Championships. CastingKids state champions will compete in a semifinal to establish winners in each of the six federation regions. The winners advance to compete at the Bassmaster Classic in February in Birmingham.

The goal is to involve America’s youth in fishing and to foster an appreciation and concern for the outdoors. CastingKids competitions are similar to the old NFL punt, pass, and kick events, except the challenge here is to flip, pitch and cast — important skills needed in order to catch fish. Scoring is based on a points system.

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

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