Get ready for spring fish­ing

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

The time is now to get ready for spring fish­ing.

If you made a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to spend more time out­doors, we’re not even two months into the year yet, so there’s still plenty of time to make good on that one.

In the spirit of new begin­nings, it might be time to add a new hobby to your reper­toire to give you a rea­son to get out­side more often. There’s noth­ing quite like the thrill of catch­ing a fish, and fly fish­er­men will tell you there’s no more en­joy­able way to catch a fish than on a fly. The sport takes a bit of know-how, but suc­cess is well within the reach of a be­gin­ner.

Or per­haps you are al­ready hooked on fly fish­ing and need a lit­tle re­fresher to brush up on your skills for the up­com­ing sea­son. Ei­ther way, there is a show com­ing up that can in­tro­duce you to the ba­sics of fly fish­ing or help you get ex­pert ad­vice if you al­ready have ex­pe­ri­ence and need a bit of guid­ance.

The 17th an­nual Lefty Kreh TieFest, the mid-At­lantic’s fore­most fly fish­ing event, will be held March 18 at the Kent Nar­rows Yacht Club.

“We will once again bring many of the le­gends of fly fish­ing to TieFest, but at­ten­dees also will see that TieFest 2017 is go­ing back to its roots,” event or­ga­nizer Tony Friedrich said. “We are re­turn­ing to a fo­cus solely on fly fish­ing with a spe­cial em­pha­sis on young anglers.”

The Lefty Kreh Tiefest will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be demon­stra­tions on cast­ing and fly pat­terns that have proven suc­cess­ful in the mid-At­lantic area. Ven­dors will be on hand, of course, with their lat­est prod­ucts which you can see first-hand and even try out. And there will be spe­cial ty­ing classes for kids and novice ty­ers. Ad­mis­sion is $10 for adults, and chil­dren 16 and younger are free.

Fly fish­ing ex­perts will be on hand to talk with at­ten­dees.

“Anglers can get their tough­est fish­ing ques­tions an­swered, whether it’s ask­ing Lefty which is the best knot for a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion or find­ing out from one of the many lo­cal guides the best time of the year to fish a spe­cific area,” Friedrich said.

The event will fea­ture more than 30 ty­ers, in­clud­ing Bob Clouser, Steve Sil­ve­rio, Eric Sny­der, Richard Till­man, Mor­gan Kupfer and a cer­tain fel­low who is the head­liner of the event.

Bernard “Lefty” Kreh has fished all over the globe, writ­ten dozens of books on the finer points of fly fish­ing and is the mas­ter­mind be­hind the pop­u­lar com­mer­cial tie called the de­ceiver.

Kreh was born in Mary­land in 1925 and still re­sides here to­day. His name was added the show’s of­fi­cial ti­tle in 2013. It’s a real treat to hear him talk about fish­ing (he’s even been on ex­pe­di­tions with the likes of Fidel Cas­tro and Ernest Hem­ing­way) or

pre­vi­ous years.

Sur­vey teams of pi­lots and bi­ol­o­gists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice and Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources counted about 812,000 wa­ter­fowl spend­ing the win­ter here. This es­ti­mate higher than the 663,000 birds ob­ser ved in 2016 and sim­i­lar to the fiveyear av­er­age of 795,240.

The num­ber of can­vas­backs rose dra­mat­i­cally from last year (75,100 vs. 19,800) Canada geese in­creased slightly to 394,700 in 2017 com­pared to 293,800 in 2016, but still be­low the five-year av­er­age.

And the long-tailed duck had quite a pres­ence in this year’s sur­vey. Only 100 of this species were sighted in both 2015 and 2016, but this Jan­uar y teams counted 2,700 of these birds. I’d love to catch a glimpse of a male of this species. They aren’t trends and also lets wildlife bi­ol­o­gists know where the birds have de­cided to spend each win­ter.

As you can imag­ine, the num­bers vary from year to year. Much of that vari­a­tion is at­trib­uted to weather pat­terns. If the win­ter is harsh, many wa­ter­fowl will seek refuge far­ther south, which would in­crease the num­bers in Mary­land. But a rel­a­tively mild win­ter means the wa­ter­fowl are more likely to stay put in places such as the Ber­ing Sea, Great Lakes and Hud­son Bay, so our count would likely go down.

North­east­ern states ex­pe­ri­enced quite a cold snap this past De­cem­ber, which drove a lot of wa­ter­fowl, par­tic­u­larly div­ing ducks, south to Mary­land waters. It’s no sur­prise that the num­ber of win­ter­ing wa­ter­fowl was up a bit from have the honor of pick­ing his brain for a great piece of ad­vice or see him cast with your own two eyes.

If you meet him at TieFest, make sure to shake his hand. He’s a gen­uine fish­ing leg­end. Midwinter Wa­ter­fowl Sur­vey

The re­sults are in for the Midwinter Wa­ter­fowl Sur­vey that has been con­ducted an­nu­ally since the early 1950s.

Ever y win­ter, aerial sur­vey teams of pi­lots and bi­ol­o­gists take to the sky to make a visual es­ti­mate of how many ducks, geese and swans they spot along the state’s Ch­e­sa­peake Bay shoreline and At­lantic coast. This yearly sur­vey pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about pop­u­la­tion show­ing proof of pur­chase of the Mary­land Mi­gra­tory Game Stamp and Har­vest In­for­ma­tion Pro­gram cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

In ad­di­tion, hunters must pur­chase a $5 Mar yland Snow Goose Con­ser­va­tion Or­der Hunt­ing Sea­son Per­mit and carry it with them while hunt­ing. A Federal Duck Stamp is not re­quired when hunt­ing dur­ing the con­ser­va­tion or­der sea­son.

There is no bag limit for this sea­son and hunt- ers may har­vest greater snow geese, lesser snow geese and Ross’s geese. Shoot­ing hours are from one-half hour be­fore sun­rise to one-half hour af­ter sun­set. Shot­guns ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more than three shells and elec­tronic calls of light geese may be used.

The per­mits re­quired to par­tic­i­pate are avail­able at any DNR sport li­cense agent or on­line at https://com­pass.dnr. mary­land.gov/dnr­com­pass­portal. called long-tailed ducks for no rea­son. Light goose per­mits

The light goose con­ser­va­tion or­der sea­son will con­tinue through April 15.

Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties are in­cluded in the per­mis­si­ble hunt­ing zone, as well as the por­tion of Charles County east of U.S. Route 301. Hunters must pos­sess the printed val­i­da­tion

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