Junior Turkey Hunt precedes statewide opening April 18
Young hunters and their mentors can kick off the spring turkey season by participating in the statewide Junior Turkey Hunt Day on April 15, which just happens to be opening day of rockfish season as well.
The regular spring turkey season for all hunters will run from April 18 through May 23 statewide. “Wild turkeys are generally abundant throughout most of Maryland so we predict another enjoyable turkey hunting season,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. “The spring turkey season is an excellent opportunity to introduce youth or other beginners to the sport. Hunting pressure is lower and gobbling activity is higher at this time of year.”
Junior Turkey Hunt Days allow licensed youths age 16 and under to hunt wild turkeys, when accompanied by an unarmed adult (21 and older), who holds a valid Maryland hunting license. Adults may not possess a bow, crossbow, air gun, or firearm while accompanying a youth.
The daily bag limit for the spring season is one bearded turkey with a season bag limit of two bearded turkeys. Hunting hours are:
April 15-16 (Junior Turkey Hunt): Half-hour before sunrise to sunset; youth hunting is allowed April 16 in select counties. Those counties include Caroline (private lands only) and Dorchester (private and public lands).
April 18-May 9: Half-hour before sunrise to noon; and
May 10-23: Half-hour before sunrise to sunset.
* * * First State expo
Delaware’s state fairgrounds in Harrington will host its first Delmarva Outdoors Expo, April 2830. The event will feature demonstrations and competitions.
A dock-dog competition will be held all three days with dogs competing for distance, height, and retrieval speed. Retriever dog demonstrations will be led by Will Kernodle of the First State Retriever Club with help from Bob and Teresa Tebbens of the Turtlecreek Retrievers of Greenwood.
A 3D archery display and competition by CJ Winks archery is open to anyone who would like to compete. Participants will need to bring their own bows and arrows for the competition. This will be a three-day competition with qualifying rounds the first two days and final rounds on Sunday.
Vendors, a yard sale, food trucks, giveaways, door prizes, presentations, and additional demonstrations will be on site all three days. The cost is $5 a day or $10 for a weekend pass, which will only be available online prior to the event.
Expo hours are Friday 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A lot more information is available online (delmarvaoutdoorsexpo.com) and on the Facebook page.
* * * Fishing report The tidal rivers of the Chesapeake are still holding white perch in the upper reaches of the tributaries. Many of the larger white perch have already spawned and can be found holding in some of the deeper holes slightly down river of the spawning areas. Spawning areas are still holding a lot of prespawn white perch in the 4to 6-inch range which seem to have arrived late. Shad darts and small jigs are good choices for lures and it doesn’t hurt to tip them with a piece of cut minnow, nightcrawler, or Fishbites. You can often find a mix of chain pickerel, crappie, and sunfish when fishing these areas.
The much anticipated Trophy Striped bass season opens April 15. The minimum size this year is 35 inches and the bag limit is one fish per person per day. According to Department of Natural Resources biologists, the real action for post-spawn stripers will not really kick in until about the last weekend of April. The striped bass are at the spawning reaches of the Potomac, Patuxent, Nanticoke, and Choptank Rivers and are still arriving at the Susquehanna Flats/ River area.
On opening day, it might be a good idea for anyone trolling to stick to the steep shipping channel edges in the middle and lower bay regions. Bloody Point Light, Thomas Point, and close to the Buoy 84 and 84A should be good places to troll. The False Channel edges and the steep edge out in front of the Little Choptank down to the inside edge of the CP Buoy should also be good places to intercept post-spawn striped bass exiting the Choptank. Often the largest female striped bass are the first to spawn, so you might find that fish of a lifetime.
Chilly bottom water temperatures will cause large striped bass to be cruising close to the surface as they use the strong currents near the channel edges. Striped bass do not like engine noise, so the mass of boats expected on opening day will likely drive them down quickly. If you can get out early, daybreak is a good time to be out there.
Using planer boards and sending flat lines way back likely will be the best option. Large parachutes and bucktails in white or chartreuse are the most popular colors, both dressed with large sassy shads.
On the freshwater scene, fishing for crappie has been excellent in many areas. The crappie are schooled up near sunken structure such as fallen tree tops. The tidal rivers offer good crappie fishing, as do lakes such as Wye Mills, Tuckahoe, and Smithville. Largemouth bass fishing in the tidal rivers has been good and the Wicomico, Pocomoke, and upper Nanticoke are great places to fish.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all On June 24, 1784, in Baltimore, 13-year old Edward Warren went airborne in the first successful manned balloon launch in the United States. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at firstname.lastname@example.org