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Weekly Creel : Angling & Conservation News

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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 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 Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine. This week’s catch also includes.

Show Me Your Shad (For Science)

Enjoy the Anacostia, a special website created by the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership, has launched the “Show Me Your Shad” campaign for anglers to help biologists and conservation efforts track migratory hickory and American shad. If you fish the Anacostia watershed—which extends from its mouth at the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., northward to Olney, Maryland—and catch a shad, photograph it and email the picture along with your location to Enjoy the Anacostia. The contact link is here. The organization says that recent cleanup efforts have enabled increasing numbers of shad to enter the watershed and reproduce.

Legendary Fly Reels To Be Showcased

We love a good virtual presentation (Zoom) and the American Museum of Fly Fishing (based in Vermont) will deliver one this month. On April 20th, AMFF curator Jim Schottenham will present a Zoom seminar highlighting a special selection of fly reels from the museum’s collection. As past president of the Old Reel Collectors Association and former reel expert for Lang’s Tackle Auction, Schottenham has spent decades collecting, studying, and writing about antique reels for numerous publications. Needless to say, the man knows his reels. He’ll showcase reels from: Thomas Barker, William Billinghurst, Treman, King, & Co. (Clinton), William Slote, Edward Hewitt, Willard Bradley, J. F. & B. F. Meek, and Ernest Holzmann. Click here for seminar details, including the Zoom link. Image courtesy AMFF.

James River Blue Cat Sets IGFA World Records

In the most recent release of newly-approved International Game Fish Association world record fish, a 63-pound blue catfish caught by Alexandra Hall in the James River made the list. The blue cat was caught in December 4th, 2022 and recently approved for two records. According to the IGFA, “With this catch, Alexandra has earned both the IGFA Women’s 10-kg (20 lb) Line Class World Record and Female Junior World Record for the species. She caught the massive catfish using cut bait and she needed 10-minutes to subdue the fish. After recording the weight on her certified scale, Alexandra released the fish safely.” Congratulations Alexandra! Photograph courtesy IGFA.

Fishery Council Meets, Talks Science-Based Management

This week, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council convened in Durham, North Carolina, for one of it’s six designated council meetings of 2023. The week-long conference brings together environmental scientists, biologists, aquaculture experts, and representatives from a variety of government, university, and businees agencies. Together, they review fishery and ecosystem data in hopes of setting policy guidelines and recommendations to steer the commercial and recreational management of the Eastern Seaboard’s many fisheries.

Topics discussed this week included “Short-Term Forecasts of Species Distributions for Fisheries Management,” “East Coast Climate Change Scenario Planning,” “Habitat Activities Update (aquaculture, wind, and other projects),” “NOAA’s National Seafood Strategy,” and the “2023 Mid-Atlantic State of the Ecosystem Report,” among many others. As word begins to trickle out about the results of this council meeting, we’ll report any fundamental policy changes or recommendations that may affect Atlantic and Chesapeake fisheries. You can review the council’s full schedule and supporting documents here.

Note: The MAFMC differs from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which we’ve reported on in past columns regarding the fishery management of Atlantic menhaden and striped bass. The ASMFC’s spring conference is set for next month, 5/1–3, and we’ll report pertinent updates then.

SERC Reopens Visitor Center and Trails

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, located south of Edgewater, Maryland, announced that it has reopened its popular Reed Education Center and trail system to the public. SERC’s four miles of trails (for hiking and biking) and dinghy dock on the Rhode River are now open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. “We have a floating dock where you may tie up your canoe, kayak, or dinghy,” states SERC’s website. “Motorized boats more than 15 feet long are not permitted, so please anchor out and come ashore by dinghy if you have a larger vessel. You may not launch any motorized craft from our docks; however, you may launch a non-motorized canoe or kayak to explore our water trails. The launch fee is $5 per kayak, payable at the Reed Center.” Full details, maps, and more are available here. Photograph by Karen McDonald/SERC.

Licensing for Offshore Waterfowl Blinds Open

Last week, Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that waterfront, or riparian, property owners can apply for offshore blind and shoreline licenses to establish sites for hunting waterfowl or prevent others from licensing their property. “After a stretch of shoreline is licensed, no other person may receive a license for the same shoreline, whether or not the original licensee establishes a blind at that location,” the Department states. Riparian property owners, or anyone who has been granted written permission from the owner, may license their shoreline for one year for $20 or three years for $60. Applicants must submit paperwork and fees by mail, postmarked no later than May 31st. Complete details available at the Department of Natural Resources’ waterfowl blind and shoreline licensing website.

Scenic Rivers Seeks Board Members

Nominations are open—including nominating oneself—for the board of directors of Scenic Rivers Land Trust, which is Anne Arundel County’s largest land trust and steward with more than 3,500 acres of land under its watch and protection. Think you have what it takes to help steer the mission, goals, and projects of this 30-plus-year-old organization? The full rundown of criteria, characteristics, and obligations can be found here. Nominations are being accepted through April 30th.

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