Angling, Outdoors, and Conservation News Recap
Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news, intel, and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts concerned with the waters, fisheries, and habitats we cherish. Please email us directly at email@example.com to have your organization’s news item or event announcement considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the latest Anglers Sports Center and FishTalk Magazine Chesapeake Bay region fishing reports. This week’s catch also includes…
Pre-Season Trout Stocking Resumes
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources resumed it’s annual trout stocking program, after taking a three week break during the holidays. Dubbed the “pre-season” portion of the program during winter months and ahead of the spring season, trout stocking is fundamental to providing anglers with healthy and abundant fish to target in local waters. This week, DNR released more than 8,700 rainbow trout at locations in Prince George’s, Charles, and Calvert counties. Click here for a comprehensive map of the exact stocking locations. Stay tuned for more stocking locations in the days and weeks to come. To learn more about the program, visit this page of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Photos above and right, courtesy Maryland DNR.
Mahogany Tide Appeared in Tribs
Last week and into the early days of this one, the dreaded “mahogany tide” was reported throughout several watersheds, including the Severn and Magothy Rivers. I’m sure there were others. Presumably onset by the recent spell of unseasonally warmer temperatures throughout the region (remember the first few days of 2023 soared into the mid-60sF), this “tide” is actually a widespread algae bloom that turns surface water into a brown soup of visible muck, much to the bemoan of anglers. Usually the blooms occur during the warmer months (the last I recall occurred in May 2020). In the Severn (see photo taken 1/6), these recent blooms were reported from the river’s mouth all the way up to Valentine and Plum Creeks, and possibly beyond. Pickerel and yellow perch angling took a bit of a hit during these days, but anglers searching for clearer water in the back ends of creeks had some limited sucess. Here’s to hoping the weather remains cold, the blooms die off, and the water returns to its usual winter clarity.
But There’s Good News in the Fight Against Algal Blooms
In the same breath that we learned of the recent winter algae blooms, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science reiterated that it received funding this past October to begin “an innovative incubator [that] will jumpstart efforts to control harmful algal blooms.” According to the center’s 2022 recap that it sent to subscribers this past Tuesday, “UMCES was awarded a $7.5 million grant from NOAA to lead an innovative U.S. Harmful Algal Bloom Control Technology Incubator at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology. Its goal is to advance ways to control harmful algal blooms that are impacting the health of people and marine ecosystems, as well as regional economies.” Learn more about this hopeful program, by reading the full release.
Early-Bird Tickets for Wild & Scenic Film Fest
Early-bird tickets for Alliance of the Chesapeake’s annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival are now on sale. For a limited time, purchase your in-person Wild & Scenic Film Festival ticket early and at a discount for $25 (regular price $30). This package includes one, in-person admission to the regional WSFF event of your choice as well as 5 days of video-on-demand access to the films after the live event. Held over two weekends and across venues in three states, plus D.C., the “Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser for the Alliance where our staff selects 10-15 short films for our audiences to enjoy,” the Alliance states. “Films highlight topics related to nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture, Native American, and indigenous culture. Overall, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival is designed to inspire a love for nature and activate audiences to take action in their communities through film and art.” For more details and to purchase tickets, click here.
MPT’s Outdoors Maryland Season Finale Announced
Maryland Public Television’s award-winning original series Outdoors Maryland will explore some of the state’s most unique fish, exhilarating biking trails, and tales of mythical beasts during the series’ season 34 finale on Tuesday, January 17th. Outdoors Maryland airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream. Concurrent with their broadcast debut, episodes are also available to watch on demand using MPT’s online video player and the PBS Video App. Produced in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the season finale will highlight scientists’ work to track spawning of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon in rivers along the Eastern Shore, a renowned state park mountain biking trail in central Maryland, and legends of magical beasts lurking around Frederick County’s South Mountain.
Annapolis Restaurant Week Announced
Seafood lovers rejoice! Annapolis Restaurant Week, presented by the Downtown Annapolis Partnership, will return February 25th to March 5th. This dining event will be hosted at about 40 restaurants in the Annapolis area, including downtown Annapolis, Eastport, Forest Drive, Parole, and surrounding areas. Restaurants are offering special fix price menus during the event featuring 2-course breakfasts, 2-course lunches, and 3-course dinners. A wide variety of cuisines including Italian, Asian, Central American, seafood, steak, and all-American will be offered. Price ranges for breakfast are $9.95 to $15.95, lunch is $12.95 to $19.95, and dinner is $29.95 to $39.95. Plus, some locations have bonus menu items and specials, which may include 1/2 price bottles of wine, discounted appetizers, or specialty drinks. Participating restaurants, menus, and how to make reservations will be posted at www.annapolisrestaurantweek.com as they are announced by participating restaurants.
Public Comments Requested for New Park Land
In Virgina, the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge opened a 14-day public comment period on the Environmental Assessment for the proposed opening of the new Cat Point Creek Unit, located on Newland Road in Warsaw, Virginia. Acquired in 2017, the 243-acre Cat Point Creek Unit will expand recreational access for the public at the Refuge, a priority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The area, which has undergone extensive ecological restoration over the past four years, will offer opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating (non-motorized), hunting, wildlife photography, environmental education, and interpretation. The Refuge is also proposing to transfer a building, known as the “Lodge,” to the federally recognized Rappahannock Tribe for use in outreach, environmental education, and interpretation. The public is invited to comment on the assessment for the Cat Point Creek Unit. Click here to access the Environmental Assessment. Comments may be submitted through January 29th to Marcie_Kapsch@fws.gov or by mail to: 336 Wilna Road, Warsaw, VA 22572. For more information, please contact the Refuge at (804) 366-7951.
Maritime Museum Call for Volunteers
Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park (AMM) has announced that next week a Volunteer Open House, in celebration of National Day of Service, will be held January 16th, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Museum’s Bay Room. Meet volunteer captains who oversee various volunteer opportunities, enjoy beverages and light fare, and explore how you can use your skills and passion to give back to your local community. AMM’s current group of 200 volunteers serve over 6,000 hours annually at our Museum, Park Campus, and on the skipjack, Wilma Lee. From docents to event assistance, AMM relies heavily on the support of volunteers to support the museum operations, beautify the spaces, and facilitate programs. With recent renovations and expansions in the Museum, park campus, and on the Wilma Lee, AMM is excited to welcome a new cohort of volunteers. Register here. Current volunteers will be on hand to discuss all opportunities at this event. Those who are unable to attend but are interested in volunteering can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit amaritime.org/support/volunteer to complete the interest form.
ShoreRivers is Hiring
Within the last two weeks, Eastern Shore-based riverkeeper and enviro education association, ShoreRivers, has announced they’re hiring for a bevy of positions. Education Coordinator, Restoration Technician, Finance & Human Resources Manager, and, even, a new Miles-Wye Riverkeeper are a few of the jobs up for grabs. Think you have what it takes? You can view the list of jobs and all applicable intel by clicking here.