- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The trout stockers at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources described them as “football-sized.” They were talking about the rainbow trout the Conservation Fund and its Freshwater Institute donated and put into several of the state’s streams and rivers.

The Conservation Fund is a 501c nonprofit organization, and its Freshwater Institute is headquartered in Shepherdstown, W.Va., where it propagates trout in an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service.

Earlier this year, Maryland lost a fair number of its hatchery-reared trout to whirling disease and the state was looking around to purchase stockable trout to take up the slack. The Conservation Fund, no doubt, heard about this and responded.

The donated trout ranged in size from two to seven pounds. They were stocked in Western Maryland trout fishing areas, including Town Creek in Allegany County as well as the Casselman and Youghiogheny rivers’ Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas in Garrett County. A special catch and release season has been implemented in these areas through June 15. After June 15, regulations will permit the harvest of two trout a day until Sept. 30.

Add to the special stocked lots the Little Antietam Creek Youth and Blind Persons Trout Fishing Area in Washington County. It received 200 rainbows that should provide good sport and a great deal of excitement for the children in that part of Maryland. The Antietam Creek Put-and-Take Trout Fishing Area, also in Washington County, and the Little Patuxent River along the Howard and Montgomery county lines also received numbers of these trout.

“It means a lot to our staff to know that our work has created some great recreational fishing opportunities,” said Joseph A. Hankins, vice president of the Conservation Fund.

Ever wonder who does what? — Southwick Associates, a surveying and polling firm, recently checked out the products and fish that recreational anglers prefer. The list was compiled based on the AnglerSurvey.com service that received 11,544 angler surveys in 2006.

The top freshwater species was bass, drawing votes from 60.4 percent of all freshwater anglers. The top saltwater species were striped bass (rockfish) and redfish (red drum), with each receiving more than 30 percent of votes from all saltwater anglers. The preferred fishing rod was the Shakespeare Ugly Stik (19.9 percent of all purchases) and the top reel brand belonged to the Japanese-made Shimano with 21.9 percent of all purchases. Orvis fly rods accounted for the most purchases at 19.5 percent.

The most popular fishing line was made by Berkley with its Trilene, FireLine, Big Game and Vanish brands that saw 45 percent of all line purchases in the United States. The Rapala brand was the top “hard” bait with 24 percent of all sales, while Zoom was the most popular “soft” bait with 15.4 percent of purchases. Strike King sold the most spinnerbaits, accounting for 21.5 percent of all sales.

Trout Unlimited meeting — The Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited invites the public to its monthly meeting April 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Vienna volunteer fire department hall. Steve Schweitzer will present a program called, “So you think you know feathers — Whiting Hackle Comes to town.” For additional information contact Kiki Galvin at 703/893-7020, or at [email protected]

No chronic wasting disease found — After extensive testing, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says it has not found any signs of the dreaded chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Virginia’s wild deer herds. Last year, the department collected more than 800 samples from deer throughout the state. About 500 blood and tissue samples were collected from the western and northern parts of Shenandoah, Frederick, Clarke and Loudoun counties, which are the areas closest to the West Virginia border where cases of CWD had been detected.

Rockfish opening likely April 21

Although state officials say the dates for the 2007 rockfish season are proposed, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has given its OK. All that’s needed is a nod from a legislative review committee, and the trophy rockfish season should begin April 21 and continue through May 15. Anglers may keep one fish a person a day between 28 inches and 35 inches in length or one fish 41 inches or longer.

Stripers between 35 inches and 41 inches must be released unharmed. From May 16 through Dec. 15, it will be legal to keep two fish measuring 18 to 28 inches a person a day or one fish between 18 and 28 inches and one fish over 28 inches. Link to the Department Web site at www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/fishingreport/frmapindex.asp for standard area closures.

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

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