Cumberland Times-News

Columns

May 25, 2013

Maryland has ‘secret’ trout opening days

CUMBERLAND — Shhhhhhh!

Don’t tell anybody about this, but there are some secret opening days of trout fishing in Almost Maryland.

It’s true. On June 1 and again on June 16 some streams that had been closed to general regulation trout fishing will become available for the hooking, catching and keeping of trout.

They are the delayed-harvest trout fishing areas of Town Creek, Casselman River, Youghiogheny River and North Branch Potomac River (Garrett County).

That’s what I’m talking about. I always wanted to say that.

The Town Creek portion opens to worm dunkers June 1. The other three will welcome salmon egg floaters beginning June 16. All of them stay that way through Sept. 30.

At the other times of the year, you would be breaking regulations if you possessed trout or bait or if you did not immediately return a caught trout to the water.

Once bait becomes legal on these streams, the limit is five trout of any species daily.

Be sure to go to your Maryland Guide to Fishing 2013 to ascertain the boundaries of the delayed-harvest locations. You can read that online or in the print version. Obviously, here at the TN we prefer the print version of anything.

How secret are these openers? The answer would be “not all that.”

I have participated in a couple of these openers over the years, both on the Casselman. Believe me, anglers know when the guard changes on these delayed harvest areas.

However, Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer Brian Friend has seen more recent secret openers than have I and he says the increase in anglers isn’t dramatic.

“A lot of the people who want to keep trout are still fishing the put-and-take streams,” Friend said.

Friend said there are no special enforcement assignments because of the change in regulations, but officers keep an eye on things.

“The fly fishermen, especially members of Trout Unlimited, are watchful for us,” Friend said. “Many of them have my phone number and if they see something illegal going on they call. We appreciate that. It is good community policing.”

During the time of the year when you can’t keep trout or can’t use bait, anglers use artificials to dupe the Casselman’s trout.

Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the trout on the secret opener went out of their ways to strike the garden worms I drifted. In fact, the water was low and I could see them shoot out from near the bank to check out my bait when my cast was a little short.

When I fished these “openers” the limit was two trout. That has since been expanded to five.

After all, the idea behind delayed harvest is to allow the fish to be caught numerous times during the portion of the year when water temperatures assure survival, but to allow harvesting as warm and potentially lethal water temperatures lurk.

By the time general regulations kick in, Town Creek will have received 4,500 trout this year, Casselman 8,100, North Branch Potomac 5,000 and Youghiogheny 4,400. All trout were rainbows with the exception of a single stocking of brown trout into Town Creek.

Fishery Biologist Alan Klotz said literature shows that 3 to 10 percent of the trout in catch-and-return type waters die from hooking and handling.

Delayed harvest fisheries seem to be the best of both worlds, the perfect blend, the alignment of the angling planets.

For much of the year it allows those who like to catch fish on artificials a lengthy opportunity to do so. Then it allows those who like to catch fish and eat them the chance to do that before soaring summer temperatures combine with low river flows to turn trout vent up.

Of course there are people who like to do both. Ahem!

So, remember, June 1 at Town Creek and June 16 in the high country. Just be quiet about it. It’s a secret.

Shhhhhhh!

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Peanuts and Cracker Jack beat any foam finger

    Times have changed, and for the better, as this week marks the third year in a row NFL training camps have opened and have not taken center stage in the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. That, of course, is due to the play of the three baseball teams that inhabit said cities, the Orioles, the Pirates and the Nationals — two of whom hold first place in their respective divisions, with the other one entering play on Wednesday just 2 1/2 games out of first.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hugo Perez Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?

    We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014