DNR accepting comments on cownose rays and cobia
The Department of Natural Resources is accepting comments through Thursday, Nov. 10, on possible changes to cownose ray management. The department is considering prohibiting the use of archer y equipment to catch cownose rays from July 1 through Dec. 31.
According to the DNR, cownose rays are a migratory species that range from Florida to New Jersey and use the Chesapeake Bay as nursery habitat between the months of May and October. Male cownose rays depart the Bay in late June to early July. Therefore, cownose rays present in the Bay after July 1 are predominantly pregnant females and young-of-theyear pups.
Cownose rays are a species that matures late (males 6-7 years, females 7-8 years), has a prolonged gestation period of 11 months, and has only 1 pup per year. This combination of traits limits population growth and causes the animal to be sensitive to additional sources of mortality including fishing.
Comments on the proposal (and another one detailed below) can be submitted through the DNR webpage (dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/ regulations/changes. aspx).
The DNR is also considering listing cobia as “in need of conservation.” Cobia are caught in both state and federal waters along the Atlantic Coast and in Chesapeake Bay. According to the DNR, in 2015 both the recreational and the total annual catch limits of Atlantic migratory group cobia were exceeded. As a result, changes in management are needed in order to protect against the potential negative impacts resulting from an unregulated fishery.
The addition of cobia to the “in-need-of-conser vation” list provides the Secretary of Natural Resources authority to adopt rules and regulations necessary to conserve the fish when federal recommendations are made.
* * * Fishing report Striped bass are biting along main channel edges in Chesapeake Bay such as Brewerton Channel and the main shipping channel. Jigging has been one of the more productive methods when birds can be spotted or suspended fish can be located on a depth finder. Trolling has also been a good way to fish when heavy inline weights are used to get bucktails and spoons down deep to where the fish are holding.
White perch in the upper bay are also holding deep in the channels near the mouths of the tidal rivers and the bay. Many anglers are using bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or jigs. Channel catfish and yellow perch can also be part of the mix. At the Bay Bridge, white perch are holding near the rock piles and some of the bridge pylons.
South to the middle-bay region, striped bass are spread out over a wide area. Most of the legalsized fish are holding deep along channel edges or in the channels. One of the better ways to locate them is to watch depth finders near these areas and then jig metal or soft plastics. Slicks are a good thing to look for and also jigging deep near smaller surface feeding striped bass, which are often marked by diving sea gulls.
Shore bound anglers have been enjoying some good fishing for rockfish and white perch at some of the fishing piers within the region that offer access to deeper waters, and the Kent Narrows offers good fishing from the bulkheads. Casting jigs on an angle up current and jigging as the current sweeps a bucktail along is usually a good bet. Crankbaits and jerkbaits can also be a good choice where the current is not strong at prominent points and jetties and bloodworms or cut bait work well on bottom rigs.
Farther south, the Middle Grounds has been holding a lot of striped bass and sea trout as well as the Cover Point and Point-No-Point areas. The mouths of the Nanticoke, Wicomico and Pocomoke rivers are offering good fishing for striped bass, sea trout and white perch.
On the freshwater scene, fishing for largemouth bass is good this time of the year due to cooler water temperatures pushing bass to actively feed. Chain pickerel, northern pike, and northern snakeheads will be part of the mix depending on where you’re fishing. Transition areas that have structure such as sunken wood, rocks, or grass are great places to target with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, soft plastics, and stick baits. In tidal waters, working the outside edges of grass beds or spatterdock fields on a falling tide is always a good bet.
On the Atlantic Coast, surf casters are picking away at rockfish on cut bait and small bluefish on finger mullet. Fishing with bloodworms, clams, or sand fleas can get some black drum action also. Boat anglers fishing the wreck and reef sites are reporting limit catches of sea bass and flounder.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all A 3.5-ounce portion of crickets offers 26 percent (13 grams) of the USDA recommended daily allowance of protein.
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