Get prepared for that first fishing trip
If your fishing gear is collecting dust in the garage, now’s the time to gather it all up and get everything in working order because, ready or not, spring fishing is already underway in Southern Maryland.
Before your first fishing trip, go ahead and examine your gear and make sure everything works as well as you remember. New line is a must on all your reels and, while you’re at it, pack in a dab of grease. It’ll get distributed nicely while you’re cranking the new line on the spool. Clean up your tackle boxes, fix what you can and replace what needs replacing.
And if you need professional help fixing a lure, rod or reel, try talking to the folks at your local tackle shop. They have lots of years of experience and can be a great resource for you. You’d probably expect to walk in and have them try to sell you something new, but I have had good luck with getting help to troubleshoot and fix a few things I just wasn’t ready to replace yet. A special tip of the hat to the guys at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park for their service over the years.
Hatchery trucks have already begun making their deliveries across Southern Maryland for anglers who are itching to get a jump on spring fishing.
The folks from the Department of Natural Resources have already dispatched thousands of rainbow trout across Calvert, Charles and Prince George’s counties. Stocked waters include Hutchins Pond in Calvert County; Hughesville Pond, Myrtle Grove Pond and Wheatley Lake in Charles County; and Cosca Lake, Melwood Pond and Tucker Pond in Prince George’s County.
Now this stocking is the preseason round. Regular spring trout stocking will occur later in 2017 and extend into May, and there will be one final round of trout stocked in the fall.
The hatcheries division grows about 500,000 trout annually for stocking and about 10 percent of these fish get to grow to trophy size. The trout that are stocked in our region are from the Manning Hatchery in Cedarville.
If you’ve ever wondered about the hatchery operation, DNR has a short and informa- tive video about the program at the bottom of the trout put-and-take page on the web at http://dnr2.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/hatcheries/trout.aspx.
‘Tis the season for fishing shows. The weather will be up and down all of February, so when it’s too cold outside to do any fishing, you can cruise the shows and sales instead to gear up for fishing season.
Now’s a good time of year to check out what’s new and stock up when the price is right. With the mild weather we’ve experienced so far this
winter, you don’t want to miss a good fishing day if you’re presented with the perfect fishing opportunity and you’re not prepared yet.
Bass Pro Shops in Hanover is having their annual Crappie Madness event and sale this coming weekend and next. If you are just getting into fishing and haven’t been to a Bass Pro Shops store before, you’re in for a real treat. The store is located in the Arundel Mills mall, which is easy enough to get to.
Bring the kids along, too. They will enjoy seeing some of Maryland’s state record-holding fish cruising around the 23,000-gallon aquarium. I’ll bet you’ll like seeing them, too. The staff there is always helpful, and the store has a family-friendly vibe.
The event takes place the weekends of Feb. 3 and 4 and 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Learn some crappie fishing techniques from local pros at a free seminar. And the event coincides with Bass Pro Shops’ Spring Fever sale, so you can do a little shopping afterwards.
If the weather gods send us more spring-like days in the weeks ahead, you can hit up Wheatley Lake at Gilbert Run Park for some of those aforementioned trout, and you just might encounter a crappie or two, as well. St. Mary’s Lake is another good destination for crappie, and pickerel are a good bet there this time of year.
Penrod at Great American Outdoor Show
I’ve got a little more information about Ken Penrod’s presentations at the Great American Outdoor Show that begins Feb. 4 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. If you were on the fence about making the drive, this ought to sway you.
Penrod and his guides from Life Outdoors Unlimited are going to be in Booth 2008. They’ll be on hand to discuss fishing trips, the LO-PO Club, and what to consider if you’re thinking of buying a boat. Penrod’s books will be on sale, and you can talk with him about his summer camp for boys who love to fish and hunt.
He and his guides will be presenting 12 seminars over the nine-day show and you can sit in on one of those seminars to learn about fishing in the tidal and upper Potomac River, the upper Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore rivers, and the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers. Want to know how to catch a snakehead or a musky? They’ll give you the information you need.
Plus, if you attend one their seminars, you’ll have a chance to win a door prize from one of their sponsors. Ardent, Case Plastics, Snagler Lure company and Riverfront Campground are just some of the sponsors donating prizes for the drawings.
The Great American Outdoors show takes place Feb. 4 to 12. For more information, go to www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org/.