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Thursday, April 21, 2011

For shad fishing, it's location, location, location

Yes, the location is beautiful. The picture above is looking downstream at Deer Creek from Stafford Bridge. But what I really mean is that specific location on a stream can make a huge difference in shad fishing success, even when the difference is just a few feet.

Today I caught a few fish shortly after arriving in the afternoon but not any after that. This seemed to be true for the other fishermen except for those at the positions shown upstream from the bridge who continued to catch hickory shad at a steady pace all afternoon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Catch and Cook Trout Fishing

Since I don't believe the stocked trout at the pond survive over the summer, I always keep and eat any trout I catch there. These all came on an olive marabou bead head. Today, I also caught and released a few bluegill and lost a couple more trout.

I like the look of the combination of red buds and white blossoms that appear this time of year.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Catch and Release Shad Fishing

Catching fish and releasing rather than keeping them for food has been described as needlessly cruel. I don't have a good counter argument for this point of view even though most of the fishing I do is catch and release. In many cases, not releasing your catch is breaking the law so to reject the practice is to reject fishing, and this I will not do.

For a number of years, fishing for both the American and the Hickory shad must be catch and release in Maryland. The regulation was passed because the numbers of both species became dangerously low. Recreational fishing was a factor is reducing the numbers of these fish, but the greater problems were commercial over-fishing and the building of dams which often stopped the upstream spawning migration. Sport fishing for shad is probably about one hundred years old, but commercial fishing goes back to colonial times as we know from entries in George Washington's diary in 1760 about netting large quantities. Before the coming of the Europeans, Native Americans along the eastern seaboard caught them for centuries.

Yesterday, I drove to Deer Creek which flows into the Susquehanna River right at the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. I've fished the April shad run in the Rappahannock River, the Patuxent, and, especially in recent years, in the Potomac at Fletchers Boathouse, but this was my first time at Deer Creek. At Stafford Bridge, I met my friend Ken, and we joined other fly fishermen in the stream. I would describe the fishing as steady/slow because every 20 to 30 minutes someone would hook a fish but the action never got as hot as I've seen shad fishing get.

I enjoyed fishing for these strong ocean fish in a relatively small freshwater stream. Water was high and cloudy and the level was 2.71 at Darlington.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'll Remember April...

And I'll smile.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Warm weather home for our canoe

We've had this canoe for about 30 years, and it's been tied atop various vehicles for trips ranging as far as the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York as well as closer tidal rivers, lakes, and campsites.

It hasn't been used much in recent years, however. At over 70 pounds and 16 foot length, it's a chore to load on top of a car and even more so as I've aged. For fishing, I choose the smaller, lighter kayak. My last kayak trip last fall was to Triadelphia Reservoir and made me remember the day trips Pam and I enjoyed there or at its sister lake Rocky Gorge. I then remembered that those two WSSC reservoirs allowed people to seasonally keep a boat locked in mooring for a fee.

So a few weeks ago, I registered the canoe and paid the fee. A few days later, my son Greg who's young and strong helped me transport it to its new temporary home at Scott's Cove at Rocky Gorge.

I think the canoe enjoys being outside beneath the pines.

I'm looking forward to a number of outings this spring, summer, and fall where all we have to do is throw life jackets, paddles, and refreshments in a car and drive 20 minutes in order to lazily drift and paddle while enjoying the scenery.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Only in America

A girls softball game was being played in the park this afternoon, two local high schools. Playing third base for one of the schools was a girl wearing a Muslim scarf.

There was something heartening about seeing that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More trout

Although I don't plan to take pictures of every fish I catch this season, since I'm going to eat these anyway it's easy enough to do. These were caught from the pond on black bead head marabou streamers.