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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 Reel Chesapeake, On The Water, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine. The leading photograph (above): Sunrise over the Severn River, Annapolis, Maryland, taken at 6:06 a.m. on Wednesday, July 12th, by yours truly. This week’s catch also includes…

ICAST 2023 Wraps Up & Best of Show Winners Announced!

This week, ICAST 2023 officially kicked off its trade show on Tuesday and completed festivities on Friday, in Orlando, Florida. The 66th annual event is produced by the American Sportfishing Association and brings together angling’s leading industry manufacturers to debut their new model lines and innovative products. Professional and celebrity anglers, media personnel, tackle buyers, and the who’s who of fishing attend the event, building important relationships to propel the sport. They also vote for the Best of Category & Show products, which were awarded at Wednesday evening’s reception.

A partial list of winners, includes:

Best Freshwater ReelShimano Stradic FM Spinning Reel
Best Freshwater RodSt. Croix Mojo Bass Trigon Rods
Best Fishing LineShimano Mastiff FC Fluorocarbon Line
Best Terminal TackleVMC Swingin Ned Rig Jig
Best Warm Weather Technical ApparelAftco Channel Hooded Performance Shirt
Best Freshwater Hard LureZ-Man Chatterbait Elite EVO
Best Freshwater Soft LureBerkley Powerbait Nessie Soft Glide Bait
Best Motorized Boating AccessoryPower-Pole MOVE ZR Trolling Motor
Best Saltwater Soft LureZ-Man Mulletron LT Swimbait
Best FootwearAftco Deck Boot
Best ToolBubba Pro Series Smart Fish Scale
Best Saltwater RodG. Loomis NRX + Inshore Rod
Best ElectronicsWestin Fishing Escape Cam
Best Cold Weather Technical ApparelBlackfish Gale Pullover
Best Lifestyle Apparel for MenAftco Ocean Bound Hooded Performance Shirt

You can view all 1,061 new products debuted at the convention by clicking here. And save the date, next year’s ICAST takes place July 16–19.

Summer Slam 2023 in Upper Ches. Bay Next Weekend

Next Saturday, July 22nd, the Maryland Waterways Foundation presents the Summer Slam 2023 Fishing Tournament. Taking place in all Maryland tidal waters north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Kent Narrows Bridge, the tournament features several divisions of competition. All anglers will be targeting catfish species, white perch, largemouth bass, and northern snakehead. Lines in 5:30 a.m. Cash prizes will be awarded and proceeds will benefit the Maryland Waterways Foundation.

Maryland Waterways Foundation (MWF) was founded in September 2019 by Sam Weaver and Karen Wynn. “We are based at Weaver’s Marine Service on Back River and will be concentrating on the Upper Back River and Bear Creek areas but are committed to working in any area and with any group to clean up and improve the health of our Maryland Waterways and the Chesapeake Bay,” states the team.

For complete details and to register, visit

Invasives Tourney on Nanticoke River, Too

On Sunday, July 23rd, Salisbury University presents the 2nd Annual Nanticoke River Invasive Fishing Derby. The all-day event (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.) homebase will be Cherry Beach Park, but anglers may fish the entire Nanticoke rivershed, including tributaries like Marshyhope Creek and Barren Creek. SU’s Dr. Noah Bressman and his lab at Salisbury University are asking anglers to target northern snakehead and blue catfish. The lab is researching them to learn more about their effects (or potential effects) on the local ecosystem.

There is no entry fee, but there is over $2000 in prizes thanks to Salisbury University and sponsors, including the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association (with Engel Coolers), Old Skool Tackle, Addiction Baits, Drake Realty, and more! Some prizes will be for a variety of categories including biggest, most by number, and most by weight for blue catfish and snakeheads, as well as prizes for just showing up and participating!

If you are competing in the shore-based division, you must fish at Cherry Beach Park. If you are fishing from kayak or boat, you may use any boat launch along the Nanticoke and tributaries, but must bring the fish to the weigh-in at Cherry Beach by the deadline (1:30 p.m.). In any division, if you run out of cooler space or feel like dropping fish off early, you may do so at any time before 1:30 p.m. and they will weigh and process those fish, which will still count to your total. Click here for full details.

Chesapeake Bay Paddle Also Next Weekend

The Chesapeake Bay Paddle takes place Saturday and Sunday next weekend. The charity paddling event includes SUP, kayak, canoe, and even a land run. The action starts July 22nd at Haven Harbor South in Rock Hall. “We’ve got two paddle races (24 miles and 12 miles) and a 5k running race,” states Bay Paddle founder Chris Hopkinson. “We’ve raised almost $400K so far and hope to grow the event each year.”

The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure as the largest estuary in the United States and 3rd in the world. “Our mission is to help protect it by working with Oyster Recovery Partnership to plant more oysters, Chesapeake Conservancy to support their efforts to designate the Bay as a National Park and WaterKeepers Chesapeake to help keep the waters and rivers of the Bay healthy.” Register for the event and learn more at

Mid-Summer Boat Sale Coming Up

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Charity Boat Donation Program is hosting a Mid-Summer Boat Sale on the St. Michaels campus on Saturday, July 22nd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a terrific opportunity for prospective boat buyers to get discounted pricing on a new-to-you vessel for summer adventures on the water while supporting an excellent cause. This sale will feature a special selection of ready-to-use runabouts, skiffs, and cruising sailboats. CBMM’s experienced staff will be on hand to help shoppers find a great boat at a great price.

“We’re excited to add this sale to our summer schedule ahead of our annual Charity Boat Auction on Labor Day weekend,” CBMM’s Charity Boat Donation Program Director Wes Williams said. “These are all boats that are ready to take away and start enjoying on the water, and we hope that prospective boat buyers will stop by our sale to check them out.”

Payment by cash, check, or credit card will be accepted during this sale. CBMM general admission is not required for those only shopping the sale that day. Photograph courtesy CBMM.

2023 Waterfowl Blind Licenses Available

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering an online process for Maryland hunters to apply for a 2023-2024 waterfowl blind site license, which reserves a location for a landowner or authorized individual to place a hunting blind. From July 12 through July 25 at 11:59 p.m., hunters may enter the annual lottery for the opening days of blind site licensing through the department’s Compass licensing portal. 

Hunters can register to be entered into a random lottery for a county of their choice. Landowners who would like to license their own property may also enter the same lottery. Winners of the lottery will be posted on the department’s website and will be notified by email with the time, date, and virtual meeting link for the meeting. These virtual meetings will begin August 1, and continue during normal business hours. Photograph by Maryland DNR.

Weeklong Lotus & Water Lily Fest Begins

The 2023 Lotus and Water Lily Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens takes place this weekend and continues through next! Experience the annual blooming of lotus and water lily flowers, enjoy music and dance performances, arts and crafts, ranger-led tours, and more. The festival will feature extended, nighttime hours on Thursday, Friday and both Saturdays.

“We’re excited to present the annual Lotus and Water Lily Festival to highlight this spectacular bloom and celebrate this special time at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens with park neighbors and visitors from near and far,” Tara D. Morrison, superintendent of National Capital Parks-East, said. 

This year’s Lotus and Water Lily Festival focuses on people’s use of plants in culture, history, religion, health and art. Each festival day has its own theme. for the full schedule and more information on this year’s celebrations. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is open every day at 8 a.m. Photograph by Rachel Hendrix for National Park Service.

Last Cast…

A few final thoughts and words as we wrap up this week: (1) The two-week moratorium on striped bass in Maryland waters begins at 12:01 a.m. tonight, Sunday. Stripers are completely off limits to all anglers July 16th through 31st. No doubt the fishery needs a break from the beating its taken this summer, especially in the Patapsco; (2) Annapolis angler Eddie Weber scored a big win last week in the Virginia Kayak Anglers Elite Channa Classic, held on Aquia Creek in Virginia. Weber pulled in a stringer of 144.75″ of northern snakehead to capture the event. Congrats Eddie!, and (3) Play it safe this summer and practice water safety. So far this year, Maryland Natural Resources Police have responded to five boating-related deaths and eight non-boating related drownings, including four fatal incidents during the July 4 holiday weekend. Personally, when I fished the sunrise bite in the Severn River this week, I counted two paddle boarders in the main stem without any form of life jacket, lights/signal, etc. Not only is that dumb, it’s illegal.

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