The wait for trout is over

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

The wait is over. You may have spent the past few weeks pick­ing ap­ples and pluck­ing the per­fect pump­kin out of the patch, but fall is also a great time to wet a line and go af­ter some of the thou­sands of trout the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources stocks in some of the lakes and ponds across our state.

DNR just an­nounced they have fi­nally stocked trout in our local wa­ters. Now that these rain­bow and golden trout are swim­ming free, there’s no bet­ter time to get out and try your luck at catch­ing one (or a few).

The wa­ter tem­per­a­tures in South­ern Mary­land have been quite warm this fall. The cold snap that fi­nally hit made it pos­si­ble for Mary­land DNR to make a de­liver y to the south­ern part of our state.

In Calvert County, Calvert Cliffs Pond and Hutchins Pond both re­ceived 350 hatch­ery trout. In Charles County, Wheat­ley Lake, Myr­tle Grove Pond and Hugh­esville Pond were al­lot­ted 350 each as well.

An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, wasn’t there when the trout were de­liv­ered, but he tells me most of the fish av­er­age 11 to 12 inches and there are a few gen­uine 16-inch tro­phy-sized trout in the bunch. It wasn’t quite as big a de­liv­ery as he was hop­ing for, and there are al­ready some early birds at work tak­ing them back out of the lake, in­clud­ing some fly fish­er­men, so time is of the essence. Split-shot with Pow­erBait re­mains the most pop­u­lar way to catch these trout.

This is the last month Gil­bert Run Park’s gates will be open on the week­ends. But keep in mind, even if the gates are closed, you can still walk in to fish.

Jeffrey Socha, a recre­ational an­gler up to our north in Thur­mont, took a week off when the trout were re­leased in his neck of the woods and he spent his en­tire va­ca­tion fish­ing all the hot spots in Fred­er­ick and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties, in­clud­ing Green­brier Lake, Owens Creek and Rain­bow Lake. Not only did he catch some tasty fish for din­ner, but I’m will­ing to wa­ger that his blood pres­sure is lower and he’s smil­ing a lot more lately.

Take a page from Socha’s play­book and hit Wheat­ley Lake or one of the other public wa­ters that were stocked with trout this week­end. Or bet­ter yet, call in sick to­mor­row and en­joy a day of fish­ing. I won’t tell.

A word to the thrifty

This past week­end I left the kids in the com­pe­tent hands of my hus­band and spent a few hours cam­paign­ing for my can­di­date of choice at the early vot­ing lo­ca­tion in St. Mary’s County.

There were some gen­uinely nice peo­ple on both sides of the fence, and if I am be­ing com­pletely hon­est, a slight mea­sure of re­spect­ful an­i­mos­ity. What I found re­ally sur­pris­ing was the con­stant flow of peo­ple com­ing and go­ing as they ex­er­cised their right to vote.

While I was ob­serv­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties and at­ti­tudes at

the elec­tion polls, the thought crossed my mind con­cern­ing the days af­ter Nov. 8 and what the elec­tion could mean for the out­doors crowd?

While I can’t see the fu­ture bet­ter than any­one else, the thought crossed my mind that one par­tic­u­lar out­come of the elec­tion could drive the sales of firearms, and more to my im­me­di­ate point, raise the price of am­mu­ni­tion.

I might be way off base, but if you re­call how .22 cal­iber am­mu­ni­tion and other types, too, were mighty scarce a few years ago, and the prices were high when you could find it, right

now might be the best time to stock up. It looks like there is a 50/50 chance that prices could be ris­ing.

Black bear hunt

Since 2004, Mar yland has held a lot­ter y for per­mits for the black bear hunt that takes place in the west­ern part of the state. This year, the hunt was ex­panded from just two coun­ties — Gar­rett and Al­le­gany — to in­clude two more, Fred­er­ick and Wash­ing­ton. And the num­ber of per­mits granted was in­creased 50 per­cent, from 500 to 750. Over 5,000 hunters ap­plied this year.

The an­nual hunt took place Oct. 24 to 27 and a record num­ber of 166 bears were har vested.

This record-break­ing to­tal is 71 more than the pre­vi­ous record of 95 which was set last year.

Of­fi­cials with the Mar yland DNR are con­fi­dent that this record hunt­ing sea­son is ev­i­dence that they are man­ag­ing the black bear pop­u­la­tion ef­fec­tively. Bi­ol­o­gists es­ti­mate that the black bear pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing at a rate of about 12.5 per­cent an­nu­ally and black bears are slowly ex­pand­ing their ter­ri­tory be­yond the west­ern­most part of Mary­land.

The most bears were taken in Gar­rett County with 125 re­ported, 30 were re­ported in Al­le­gany and the re­main­ing 11 were taken from Fred­er­ick and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties. The largest bear was taken by John Kennedy of Flint­stone. It was a 559-pound male.

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