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Angling, Outdoors, and Conservation News Recap

Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts of the Chesapeake Bay region. Please email us directly at editor@reelchesapeake.com to have your organization’s news item or event listing considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the lastest, local fishing reports from Reel Chesapeake, On The Water, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine. This week’s catch also includes…

New Crab Regulations Possibly Coming

On Thursday evening, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources held its annual blue crab committee meeting in Tilghman Island. The committee meets each spring after the annual winter dredge survey results are released, to discuss the potential of any needed updates to commerical blue crab regulations. Last year, for example, after a dismal dredge survey indicated a significant decrease in the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population, revised creel/bushel limits were enacted, including the first-ever change to male crabs.

This year, the blue crab population seems to have rebounded strongly, according to the latest dredge survey. So, the big question at Thursday’s meeting was whether to adjust this year’s planned bushel limits for commercial watermen or leave them as is? The committee introduced two options for discussion. The first option would be an increase of 0, 1, or 2 bushels of females per outing depending on the type of license held. For male crabs, bushel limits would be imposed. Option two would simply have no bushel limits for male crabs. You can click on the graphic at right to view the options proposed.

At the end of the meeting, however, a motion was made to suspend the discussion and make a final vote at a future committee meeting to be held before fall. We plan to report any updates.

Maryland State Record Fallfish Caught

Bigtime angling news this week in the Land of Pleasant Living! A state record has fallen, broken by a youth angler fishing the North Branch of the Potomac River. On Memorial Day Monday, 14-year-old Crosby Abe caught a 2.27-pound fallfish, breaking the 2.14-pound mark set in 2021 by Maxwell Diegel of Harford County. The new record also measured 19.5″ long and was weighed on a certified scale at Martin’s Market, Cumberland. The species was confirmed by Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist Matt Sell. 

Abe was using a light spinning rod, 6-pound test line, and a metal spinner. The lure was a small, silver-bodied metal spinner with a gold, spotted blade. “When I first hooked the fish, I thought it was a nice smallmouth (bass), until I saw it jump once, and then I knew it was a fallfish,” Abe said. DNR maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions: Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive. Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and complete a state record application and call 443-569-1398 to report a potential state record catch. The department recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed, and certified. Congratulations Crosby! Photograph courtesy Crosby Abe, via Maryland DNR.

New Bay Water Quality Buoys to Be Deployed

Thanks to a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists with the Chesapeake Bay Program will be able to use new buoys to gather and report data from throughout the water column every 10 minutes. A team of scientists will deploy a set of sensors at three locations: at the mouth of the Choptank River, west of Hoopers Island, and south of Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac River. The buoys and sensors will stay in the water, capturing data, through late fall.

At each location, a Soundnine Ulti-Buoy will be stationed that includes an onboard computer and cellular modem that allows data to be transmitted. The buoy will be anchored to the Bay bottom at that location using an inductive wire to which several sensors are attached. There will be a sensor one meter below the surface and then every two meters below that. Each sensor will monitor dissolved oxygen, temperature and salinity, and will send that information to the computer on the buoy. That computer will send data back to a database on shore every 10 minutes.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, “It’s a novel way to tackle the issue of getting data both frequently and from throughout the water column.” This data will help researchers learn more about how changes in the Bay’s hypoxic area (the volume of water with very low dissolved oxygen levels), temperature and salinity affect the distribution and abundance of different species. The intent is to make data from these buoys available as part of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System website. Photograph by Kim Couranz/NOAA.

ShoreRivers Pump-Out Boat Running the Miles/Wye

Nonprofit river advocacy group, ShoreRivers, officially launched its pump-out boat for the Memorial Day Weekend and the season is already off to a great start the organization reports. Captain Jim Freeman, who commands the boat, said the rivers were busy despite the rain.

The pump-out boat helps prevent more than 20,000 gallons of concentrated marine waste from entering local waters annually. For those who boat the Miles and Wye rivers, the ShoreRivers pump-out boat is a free service that operates from now through November.

The route of the boat is subject to change, but will include popular anchorages on the Miles and Wye rivers, including: St. Michaels Harbor, Long Haul Creek, the Miles River Yacht Club area, Long Point, Leeds Creek, Hunting Creek, Hambleton Cove, Tilghman Creek, Shaw Bay, Dividing Creek, Granary Creek, Wye Landing, Skipton Creek, Drum Point, and Lloyd Creed.

For more information, contact Capt. Freeman at 410-829-4352 or VHF Channel 9, or click here to use the pumpout request form on ShoreRivers website. Photograph courtesy ShoreRivers.

IGFA Day 2023 on June 7th, Plus Photo Contest All Month

Held annually on The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) anniversary of June 7th, IGFA Day is a global celebration of recreational anglers and their conservation efforts worldwide. In 2023, the IGFA has announced Habits for Habitats, a new initiative focused on cleaning and restoring game fish habitats to remind the international angling community of simple habits we can all adopt to better the health of aquatic habitats around the world.

The IGFA is also inviting recreational anglers everywhere to join the celebration throughout the month of June by engaging in one of three activities for a chance to win an IGFA Lifetime Membership, valued up to $2,000: (1) Go fishing or teach someone to fish, (2) take IGFA’s “Intro to Fishing” course online, or (3) clean up your favorite fishing spot. To enter the 2023 IGFA Day Sweepstakes, participants simply need to snap a photo of themselves engaging in one of the above activities and complete the sweepstakes form online. One grand prize winner will receive an IGFA Lifetime Membership and the accompanying benefits including the new 2023 IGFA World Record Game Fishes book, a Daiwa Saltist MQ 4000 spinning reel, a YETI Flip 12 soft cooler, COSTA sunglasses of your choice, a signed and personalized limited edition Guy Harvey lithograph, and more. Twelve second place winners will receive an IGFA fish species logo hat of their choice. The sweepstakes is open through 11:59 PM EDT on June 30th to participants ages 18 and older worldwide. For additional details, including the complete terms and conditions, visit www.igfa.org/igfa-day-2023.

License-Free Fishing Days Announced

More Maryland DNR news—the department has announced dates for the state’s annual license-free fishing days. All state residents and visitors may fish without a license on Saturday, June 3rd (today!), Saturday, June 10th, and Tuesday, July 4th.

Maryland’s annual license-free fishing days offer anglers a unique opportunity to explore the state’s diverse fishing without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. On these days, any individual may catch and possess finfish for recreational purposes in any tidal and nontidal waters of Maryland.

All anglers must follow current size and catch limits found in the department’s fishing and crabbing guide

GreenGive is June 6–7th

The GreenGive is a local, environmentally-focused, online fundraising campaign designed to both raise funds and expand residents’ and businesses’ engagement with local environmental organizations, issues, projects, and actions. On June 6–7th, the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County community is invited to join the Seventh Annual GreenGive to support clean water in our own communities. Through an interactive online platform, individuals and businesses can invest in clean water by donating to the 13 GreenGive partners.

Funds raised through the GreenGive will be used by the 13 GreenGive partners to invest in actions that have a tangible impact on our own local waterways and quality of life. Every dollar raised will be turned into projects and programs that really do make a difference right here in Anne Arundel County. The 13 partner organizations are:

And that’s a wrap for this week’s Creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to editor@reelchesapeake.com.