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Weekly Creel : Angling & Conservation News

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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 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 Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine Chesapeake Bay region fishing reports. This week’s catch also includes…

CCA Pickerel Tourney Winners Announced

This week’s lead item is the announcement of the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland Pickerel Championship results! After four grueling months—yes, four!—the winter tournament has concluded, the stringers and fish measurements calculated, and the winners crowned. In an email to CCAMD members this week, the organization’s Executive Director David Sikorski announced the results:

“Ninety-six anglers submitted 615 fish for the 2022-2023 Pickerel Championship! The longest fish of the tournament was a non-tidal 28.25” pickerel caught by Herb Floyd, earning him longest pickerel honors in the open division and the non-tidal calcutta. Raymond Vrablic III cleaned up with an 82″ overall 3-fish stringer, landing him in first place in the Under Armour 3-fish stringer division. Raymond also swept the remaining calcuttas winning the Grand Slam, Tidal Pickerel, Longest Bass, and the Anglers/Daiwa Calcutta. 

“Not to let dad take all of the glory, Talan Vrablic topped out the youth catches w/ a 26.5″ pickerel. Bradley Smith was the first of 3 anglers to catch a 15″ crappie, earning him first prize, and Ryan Altenburg took the perch division with a beautiful 14.75″ yellow perch. Noah Bressman took the Kayak division w/ a beautiful 27″ pickerel. Shawn Kimbro won the fly division with a 26″ pickerel, that also aided him in a 2nd place stringer of 79″.  Amy Fischer topped out the lady angler division with a 25.5″ pickerel.”

Congratulations to all! The official awards party will be held on March 28th at Boatyard Bar & Grill’s Angler Night in Annapolis, beginning at 6 p.m. See you there!

Rockfish Opening Day Tourney Details Announced

Boatyard Bar & Grill’s owner and diehard angler, Dick Franyo, recently announced the details of the popular Opening Day Rockfish Fishing Tournament! This year’s event will take place Saturday, May 6th throughout the Chesapeake Bay, with the official party and awards ceremony taking place on Boatyard’s grounds beginning at 4 p.m. Registration to fish for bragging rights is limited to the first 100 boats and the captains must attend the Skipper’s Meeting the evening before (which is also a very good time!).

For 20 years, Franyo and the Boatyard have organized this tournament, which heralds the opening of trophy striped bass season in the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay. The catch-and-release event also doubles as a charity benefit for Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland, and the Annapolis Police Foundation’s Youth Fishing Camp. Significant event details, how to register, and answers to most all questions, can be found at the event website here.

Perch Runs Are Popping!

Throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, reports of perch runs are flooding in! Perhaps the most telling example is taking place (or did this past week and a half) in the upper Magothy River near Lake Waterford in Pasadena, where the schools of neds were visibly thick. Chesapeake Bay magazine reporter Cheryl Costello offered this report, footage, and interview with Magothy River Association President Paul Spadaro about the run. In the Severn River watershed, Severn Run at Route 97 is also showing signs of life. Severn River Association volunteers are reporting egg sacks/deposits hanging off brush throughout the headwaters. And on the Eastern Shore, some Chester and Choptank river tribs have been sending happy anglers home with full stringers of keeper yellows. Next in line…white perch, then shad!

Maryland DNR Fishing Reports Resume

After a nearly three-month hiatus, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources weekly Fishing Reports have resumed. Organized by DNR fishery biologist Keith Lockwood, the reports cover the Maryland portions of the Chesapeake Bay (Upper, Middle, Lower), freshwater fishing, and what’s hitting in the Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays. The report link has been added upstairs to the top of each Weekly Creel column. And you can click this link to access the March 8th report.

MAFMC Responds to Climate Change

This week, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council announced the launch of a new web page highlighting the Council’s efforts to build resilient, climate-ready fisheries. The Climate Change and Mid-Atlantic Fisheries page is organized around eight themes: (1) Strengthening partnerships to prepare for governance challenges; (2) Addressing changing distributions; (3) Monitoring emerging fisheries; (4) Implementing an ecosystem approach to fisheries management; (5) Incorporating climate information in management decisions; (6) Ensuring healthy fish habitat; (7) Advancing climate science; and (8) Planning for the future.

According to MAFMC, climate change has the potential to affect all aspects of fisheries, from stock distribution and productivity to fisheries governance and management. Understanding and preparing for these impacts is critical to the long-term sustainability of Mid-Atlantic fisheries. The new page provides a comprehensive overview of actions the Council has taken to enhance its adaptive capacity and address the effects of climate change on Mid-Atlantic fisheries. New information and resources will be added on an ongoing basis.

Greenbelt Park Finally Reopens

The National Park Service (NPS) reopened hiking trails and picnic areas in Greenbelt Park yesterday (March 10th). The trails and picnic areas were closed following a severe windstorm in July 2022 that reached speeds of over 80 miles per hour and damaged many trees throughout the park. While one section of the Perimeter Trail at the southern end of the park will remain closed to repair a trail washout, all other major trails will open for hiking. Greenbelt Park is a natural oasis right inside the beltway, located in Prince George’s County. The surrounding forest and streams are a peaceful respite just 10 miles from Washington, D.C. The park offers nine miles of hiking trails, three picnic areas, 172 campsites, and more. The NPS looks forward to welcoming back visitors. For more information about this National Capital Parks-East managed park, visit Photograph courtesy NPS.

Environmental Leaders to Convene

This coming week, on March 14th, the Chesapeake Bay Trust will host a panel discussion and reception with environmental leaders at the organization’s Eastport, Annapolis, headquarters. The theme: Perspectives of Women in Environmental Leadership. The panel is comprised the region’s notable and respected top brass for several organizations including: CBT’s own Jana Davis; Wendy O’Sullivan, Superintendent, National Park Service-Chesapeake Office; Serena McIlwain, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment; Hilary Harp Falk, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Kate Fritz, CEO, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; and Anna Killius, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission. Registration to attend is required, including for the Zoom broadcast of the event. Check out for full details.

Maryland Sportsman Show in Two Weeks

Mark, circle, and pencil in your calendars for the weekend of March 25th and 26th. The Maryland Sportsman Show takes over the Howard County Fairgrounds with more than 100 vendors showcasing hunting and fishing gear, clothing, plus ATVs, boats, RVs, and trucks. Tickets are only $8 at the door and children, 10 years and under, are free. You can even bring your dog, but owners must sign a rules and waiver form. There will also be firearms training sessions, a live trout pond, and pig races on site.

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