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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 on Sunday, August 27th. Photo by yours truly.

Severn River Report Card Released

After months of scrutinizing data collected during the past year, Severn River Association released the 2022 Severn River Report Card this week. The report card factors in water quality and environmental variables into the final “grade” for the river. Dissolved oxygen was slightly better than average, earning a “B” grade, but underwater grasses were reported shockingly low with an “F” grade. Water clarity earned a “C-.” Taken altogether, the SRA gave an overall grade of “C-” to the Severn, rising slightly from the previous year’s “D+” grade. If what I’m seeing on the river this year is any indication, I would expect the 2023 grade to improve. I’m seeing more grasses in more areas than in previous years, an indicator of both better water quality and even more dissolved oxygen. Fingers crossed!

Bay Oxygen Levels Better-Than-Average

Confirmed (!) good news for the Chesapeake Bay, anglers, and the fish we’re trying to catch. In the latest report released by Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Old Dominion University, collected data shows that July 2023 dissolved oxygen conditions in the Chesapeake Bay mainstem of Maryland and Virginia continued to be much better than average. The results are from samples collected during regular, twice-monthly monitoring cruises conducted by research vessels. In late June, this forecast expected Chesapeake Bay mainstem hypoxic volume to be 33 percent lower than the 38-year average, due to reduced river flows from January through May 2023, as well as less nitrogen carried to the Bay because of nutrient management efforts. Maryland and Virginia’s monitoring results thus far have matched the forecast of better-than-average conditions. Read more here.

Shenandoah National Park Suspends Fishing

If you’re planning a Labor Day Weekend camping trip to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, you should probably leave the fishing gear at home. As of yesterday, Shenandoah National Park’s streams and rivers are closed to fishing due to low stream flows and high water temperatures. This closure is being implemented to ensure the long term health of the fish populations in the park.

Dry conditions have led to extremely low stream flows throughout the Park, including some river sections that are completely dry. Under low-flow conditions, high water temperatures occur with hot weather and dissolved oxygen levels go down, which are stressful and potentially fatal for fish. Angling during these conditions could harm the native brook trout populations. This closure is for all streams including both open-to-harvest and catch-and-release waters. The closure will be lifted when stream conditions improve. Stream flows are expected to remain low until significant precipitation occurs across the area. Photograph courtesy NPS staff.

Good News from “Upriver”

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Senators passed an amended House Bill 1300 by a vote of 29-18, providing $150 million for fiscal year 2023–24 and each thereafter, for the Clean Streams Fund. Eighty percent of that, $120 million, is to be distributed to the State Conservation Commission to implement the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP). HB1300 now goes back to the state House for consideration.

According to HB 1300, money for the Clean Streams Fund and ACAP will be transferred from the Game Fund. The Pennsylvania legislature created the Clean Streams Fund and ACAP in 2022. Start-up money for the Clean Streams Fund came from the state’s portion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act. We’ll follow and report whether PA’s House passes the bill or not. Images courtesy Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

St. Croix Labor Day Sale Ongoing Now

I don’t get kickbacks or anything from St. Croix, but I do love their rods. And now through September 8th, the company is holding its Labor Day sale—more specifically, excellent deals on retired lines. Bascially, the factory needs to clear house and make room for the 2024 models. This means, great savings for you! Retired lines include: Avid CastingAvid SpinningAvid Inshore CastingAvid Inshore SpinningAvid X CastingBass X CastingBass X SpinningHigh Stick Drifter FlyLegend Glass CastingLegend Tournament MuskyLegend Tournament Walleye SpinningMojo Bass CastingMojo Bass SpinningMojo Bass Glass CastingMojo Bass Glass SpinningMojo Trout FlyReign CastingReign SpinningSole Fly, and Wild River Salmon & Steelhead rods. These are all brand-new handcrafted St. Croix rods. Retired simply means they are not from the current model year. Check ’em out and step into the St. Croix family. And Happy Labor Day weekend!

“Keep Maryland Beautiful” Grants Up For Grabs

Now’s your chance to score some moolah for your community or organization in the name of conservation/beautification. The Maryland Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation, and Agriculture, along with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, are partnering to accept applications for this year’s Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants program.

These grants are offered annually to volunteer groups, nonprofit organizations, communities, and land trusts in Maryland to support environmental education projects, community stewardship, and the protection of natural resources in urban and rural areas. The deadline to apply for funding is November 15, 2023. Awards will be announced in March 2024. About $318,000 is available for this year’s grant round. Learn more by visiting the sites linked herein. Photograph courtesy Maryland DNR.

Striper For the Record Books

This biggun was caught a wee bit south of the Chesapeake, but because we love all things striped bass…here you go. On March 27th, 2023, Emily Hanzlik traveled to Lake Allatoona, Georgia, U.S., where she caught and released this 10.26-kilogram (22-pound, 10-ounce) landlocked striped bass while drifting a live shad. With this catch, Hanzlik set the IGFA Women’s 8-kg (16-lb) Line Class World Record for the species. She was fishing with guide Marty Petza of River Fishing Adventures, and she released the record striper after the fish was properly weighed and documented. Check out the most recently recorded IGFA world records here. Photograph courtesy IGFA.

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