*** Tiny invasive The DNR has confirmed the first known presence of a new, non-native, freshwater mollusk in Mar yland waters. After being notified in early September of small snails in the Gunpowder River, department biologists and species expert Edward Levri has confirmed the presence of New Zealand mudsnails.
Gunpowder Riverkeeper Theaux Le Gardeur first reported the snail in northern Baltimore County, south of the Prettyboy Reservoir in the Gunpowder Falls mainstem near Bush Cabin Run. Biologists investigating the site collected several hundred snails in a matter of minutes.
The New Zealand mudsnail is tiny, reaching only 4-6 millimeters, and is identified by its unique color variations of gray, dark brown, or light brown. It feeds on organic matter, preferring algae, bark, and leaves for sustenance.
The mollusk is highly resilient and proliferates easily. The snail reproduces asexually, with females producing well over 100 clones in a single year. It can survive and thrive in a variety of habitats including brackish water and freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. The mudsnail has spread to other states in North America after first being discovered in Idaho in 1987.
While the mudsnails’ potential ecological impact remains uncertain, biologists are concerned that over time the species could displace native snails and aquatic insects that other native species, like fish, depend on.
The DNR is asking all anglers, boaters, and anyone else in contact with the Gunpowder River to check their equipment and decontaminate their boats (including motor and trailer), boots, buckets, fishing rods, oars, and tackle to prevent the spread of the mudsnail into other waters.
*** Pocomoke celebration Visitors to Pocomoke River State Park can enjoy an all-day celebration on Sept. 30. The celebration marks the park’s five decades and coincides with the secondannual Delmar va Paddling Weekend. Participants will launch from the park’s Shad Landing Marina at 9 a.m., paddling down Nassawango Creek and Pocomoke River.
An open house at the Shad Landing Area gets underway at 1 p.m., featuring a complimentary barbecue and music. Official presentations begin at 2 p.m. with remarks from state and local dignitaries and officials as well as the Maryland Park Service’s Scales and Tales program.
* * * Fishing report Striped bass action continues to be good in the upper Chesapeake. Right now, livelining spot along channel edges is producing keepersize fish. Spot are readily available at shallow hardbottomed areas and can be caught with bloodworms. Stripers have been holding along the channel edges at Love and Podickory points and to a lesser degree at Swan Point.
Trolling can be a good option with spoons, bucktails, and surgical tube lures behind planers and inline weights to get them down close to the bottom where the fish are holding.
More and more surface action is being encountered out in the bay as bait starts to get the hint to leave the tidal rivers. The exodus of bait will increase next month as water temperatures fall and the best fishing will switch to vertical jigging.
Tolley and Thomas points have been good places to live-line as has the False Channel and the Diamonds at the mouth of the Choptank River. Some are also finding action at the outside edge of Hackett’s Bar and off Poplar Island at times. Bluefish are also present.
Speckled trout continue to entertain on our side of the bay along marsh edges, stump fields, and small creeks flowing out of the marshes. Casting soft plastics like Gulp white mullets or drifting pieces of soft crab are great ways to catch them.
Recreational crabbing has been very good and should continue in the middle and lower bay regions. Recreational crabbers are seeing a lot of sooks as they migrate toward the mouth of the bay for the winter. Many of the jimmy crabs being caught are large and heavy.
* * * Duck blind know-it-all In the 14th and 15th century in France and England, aristocratic terms of venery were the linguistic equivalent of silly hats: colorful, fashionable, and fun. For example: A covert of coots.
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