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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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…
ASMFC Postpones Striper Quota Decision!
Important update from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s 2023 Winter Meeting! On Tuesday, the ASMFC board’s agenda included consideration of Addendum I on Ocean Commercial Quota Transfers for final approval. This addendum proposes options to allow for the voluntary transfer of striped bass commercial quota in the ocean region between states that have ocean commercial quota. In November, the addendum opened to public comment, which was collected and heard through early January.
The recreational angling community and conservationists, up and down the Atlantic seaboard, made their collective opposition to the addendum clear. At Tuesday afternoon’s board meeting, this opposition was heard again and, because of it, final decision on the addendum has been postponed. In a statement to Reel Chesapeake, ASMFC communications said:
“After initial discussion on the proposed management options, the Striped Bass Management Board voted to postpone action on Addendum I until May 2023 when analysis from the Striped Bass Technical Committee (TC) will be available. The Board tasked the TC with conducting stock projections to determine how specific quota utilization scenarios would impact the stock and rebuilding timeline. The TC projections will incorporate preliminary 2022 MRIP data in response to the Board’s interest in reviewing 2022 removals data as soon as possible (other 2022 removal data will be considered if available).
“The Board’s rationale for this TC task is to address concerns raised by a majority of public comments that commercial quota transfers would negatively impact stock rebuilding. Board members asked questions regarding how much commercial quota transfers would increase the fishing mortality rate, and what the resulting impact on the probability of 2029 rebuilding would be. The TC projections for May 2023 discussion are intended to address these questions.”
Three cheers to all anglers and conservation orgs voicing their opinions and to the ASMFC for listening to them!
Yellow Perch Staging
Welcome to cold February! Reports are trickling in of perch beginning to stage in tribs throughout the mid-Bay at expected spots, getting ready for their winter spawning run to the headwaters. Personally, I experienced several epic days of fishing for neds within the past six weeks, but just one week ago discovered they had re-routed and moved to deeper water in the Severn River creek I regularly fish. The Tuckahoe River, near Hillsboro, and nearby Choptank, at Greensboro, have some early perch collecting. The Marsheyhope, near Federalsburg, seems a touch behind. And in the past week, I also visited the Patuxent River (Governor Bridge area) and Magothy River (Beachwood Park), but didn’t hook up. Another angler at Beachwood got one nice sized yellow in about two hours of fishing. We expect the bite to improve over this month, as long as the rivers and creeks don’t ice over! (Two, great reads for techniques and locations of the perch runs are Shawn Kimbro’s Chesapeake Panfish and Lenny Rudow’s Guide to Fishing the Chesapeake.)
Trout Stocking Continues
Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced a slew of new pre-season trout stocking locations and species/numbers released into them this week. The department focused on the Eastern Shore, stocking rainbow trout in Caroline County (Tuckahoe Creek), Queen Anne’s (Unicorn Branch), Wicomico (Beaverdam Creek), and Worcester (Shad Landing pond). Crews finished the week up in Hartford County, where fish were put in Bynum Run Pond, Deer Creek, and Forest Hill Pond. For the complete stocking schedule, updates, and regs visit the DNR’s Trout Stocking program landing page.
Final Month of CCA Maryland Pickerel Championship
It’s hard to believe, but three months have already flown by in the four-month-long Coastal Conservation Association Maryland Pickerel Championship fishing tournament. February is the last month to participate, with accepted entries in the “longest three-fish stringer”-style tourney (plus a multitude of additonal calcuttas) closing at midnight on the 28th. Yours truly greatly enjoys this friendly, catch-photo-release tournament for the winter motivation it provides. Sign up, go fishing, and know that your entry fee/contribution is going to a conservation-focused, angler-run organization working to improve our fisheries. Bonus: there will be a follow-up awards party; details coming soon!
“A River Affair” Announced
St. Mary’s River Watershed Association has announced plans for it’s signature event, “A River Affair.” Celebrate the St. Mary’s River with the organization’s River Champions. Join SMRWA for an afternoon of heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations—enjoy delicacies and treasures from the rivers and lands nearby, prepared by the Ruddy Duck Seafood and Alehouse on St. George Island. The event will feature live music, and both silent and live auctions with original artwork, local services, and unique items. The event is May 29th (yes, Memorial Day), 1–4 p.m., at the Ruddy Duck Seafood and Alehouse in Piney Point. Proceeds from this fundraising event will support the restoration and preservation of the St. Mary’s River and the communities that live within its watershed. Click here for full details and to purchase tickets.
Walk for the Woods
Scenic Rivers Land Trust has announced the 2023 date for its annual “Walk for the Woods” signature event, which celebrates “the joy of the outdoors and your local, protected woods.” This year’s day-long event will take place on Saturday, April 29th (rain date 4/30), beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. This is a great opportunity to explore the Bacon Ridge Natural Area in Crownsville via an access point not open to the public at any other time of the year. Enjoy a day of guided hikes, plus experts in wildlife, native plants, birds, history, and more will be on-site and throughout the trail system. Self-guided hikes also feature trail maps and educational signage posted along the trails, as well as other fun educational activities. Registration for guided hikes will open in early April 2023. The hike schedule and link to registration will be announced via SRLT’s monthly email newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and posted to SRLT.org.
Register for Youth Enviro Summit
ShoreRivers announced that registration is open for middle and high school students to attend the Upper Shore Youth Environmental Action Summit on Saturday, March 18th, from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Hosted at Washington College in Chestertown, the Summit is a free event created to inspire and empower youth in taking local environmental action. The day’s agenda includes a networking breakfast where students can mingle with their peers and local agencies offering volunteer and internship opportunities. Then students attend workshops that dive into environmental photography, fisheries, sustainable food systems, how to engage in advocacy, engineering, and more. After lunch, students go on curated excursions to experience how they can positively impact nature. Excursions include bird banding, a how-to workshop on hosting an invasive fishing tournament, and tours of wetlands and restoration sites among others. The Summit is hosted by ShoreRivers as part of its work to protect and restore Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education, and Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society.
The Summit is free and open to the public, but on a first come, first serve basis, and closes at 4 p.m. on March 3rd. To register for the Summit, or to learn more, visit uppershoresummit.weebly.com.
James River Student Expedition Program Accepting Applications
The James River Association (JRA) is currently seeking student and teacher applications for James River Leadership Expeditions (JRLE), a year-long program for high schoolers interested in advocating for the James River. The program is segmented into four sessions running from July 2023 through May 2024, and it provides students with the opportunity to enjoy river-based education, build new friendships, develop leadership skills, and carry out a community capstone project. JRA will accept 30 students in the 2023–24 program across the James River watershed. JRLE kicks off during the summer with Session One, perhaps the program’s most beloved experience: a week-long, overnight paddle adventure on the James River. These trips are divided into three excursions covering the Upper, Middle, and Lower James. Throughout the trip, students learn technical skills like how to canoe and camp overnight and they receive further education through unparalleled access to local culture, history, and environmental teachings. They also experience a highly unique setting that gives them the chance to build confidence, self-esteem, and relationships with their fellow participants. Learn more by clicking the links above.
The Changing Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s exhibition, The Changing Chesapeake, opened to the public this week, on Wednesday, March 1st in the museum’s Steamboat Building gallery in St. Michaels. For this exhibit, artists were asked to reflect on how climate change and the impact of humans on the environment shapes their Chesapeake community, how the way they identify with and are inspired by the Chesapeake has evolved, what they would want someone 100 years from now to know about life and community traditions in the Chesapeake, and their vision for the future of life in the region. More than 75 works were selected through a community panelist review process and include traditional media such as photography and painting, as well as stop-motion animation, found-object art, quilting, original songwriting, embroidery, poetry, and sculpture. The exhibit will continue on display through February 25th of 2024. Pictured: “Foamberg Fish” by Nic Galloro, image courtesy Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
Exhibit Opens at Annapolis Maritime Museum
On the western side of the Bay, the Annapolis Maritime Museum also has opened a new exhibit. Water’s Edge, a new temporary exhibit opened on Tuesday, January 28th. In collaboration with local artist Lisa Masson, the exhibit features photography and images inspired by living and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. “I am honored to be able to share my vision of the Chesapeake Bay and other waters that surround us with Annapolis Maritime Museum and it’s visitors,” Masson says. Water’s Edge explores the quiet imagery of the waters surrounding the Chesapeake Bay and beyond and captures a deeply rooted love for the Bay, boating, and culture. The exhibit will be on display until Sunday, March 19th. Special exhibit access is included in the museum admission price, and Masson’s coffee table book titled Annapolis Photographic Portrait, is also on sale in AMM’s museum gift shop. Image provided by Annapolis Maritime Museum.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to email@example.com.