Monday, February 27, 2012

Maryland Trout Stream Restoration

In Maryland, wild brook trout now have access to a few more miles of coldwater stream habitat. During the summer of 2011, the Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) held an event to celebrate completion of the Savage River Headwater Dam Removal and Stream Restoration Project.

The project restored natural stream conditions along a 600 foot section of the upper Savage River to improve habitat for Brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, Maryland’s only native freshwater trout species.

In 2006 the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) listed brook trout as a "Species in Greatest Need of Conservation" leading to the development of a brook trout Fisheries Management Plan.

The plan includes a focus on the upper Savage River resource, which includes over 100 miles of interconnected streams. The area makes of 25% of all Maryland wild brook trout habitat.

The restoration project included the removal of an obsolete dam on the upper Savage River. During the 2008-2010 summer seasons, biologists with Maryland DNR’s Inland Fisheries Management Division monitored water temperatures above and below the dam.

According to biologists, peak stream temperatures exceeded 75 degrees F below the impoundment, yet never exceeded 65 degrees F above the impoundment. When stream temperatures exceed 70 degrees F for extended periods, brook trout cannot survive.

The Watershed Association and partners identified the area as a restoration site as the impoundment was not only causing a thermal impact, it also blocked fish passage to a headwater reach along the main stem of the Savage River.

The project involved the engineering and implementation of a natural stream flow that bypassed the reservoir and converted it to a wetland. Natural stream design methods were used to create in-stream structures that add aquatic habitat and provide stream bank stability.

The restoration project allowed fish access to 2.5 stream miles upstream from the preexisting dam, restored natural stream features and decreased water temperatures in the stream.

The former pond area was converted to a wetland, providing wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, and flood storage. The site will serve as a demonstration for stream restoration activities and brook trout habitat improvement projects.

source: Savage River Watershed Association

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Catch Stocked Trout

Each spring across North America, fish and wildlife agencies, fishing clubs, and other organizations release hatchery-raised freshwater rainbow trout into lakes, reservoirs, ponds, creeks, and streams. Stocked trout provide opportunities to catch fish for fishermen of all ages and skill levels.

Fishing tackle required for catching stocked rainbow trout is basic; is a light-action rod and reel combination, light line (6-12-pound test), small hooks, bobbers, and split shot or other weights. Recently stocked trout can be caught with a variety of baits including canned whole-kernel corn, cheese, salmon eggs, small worms or pre-packaged trout baits.

The best baits and tackle for catching stocked trout vary somewhat, depending on water conditions, weather, and other factors. In areas of calm water, most anglers use bobbers (floats) to suspend baits at mid-depth. Having a selection of different size bobbers and weights allows anglers to adjust their rigs depending on current conditions.

In streams and other areas where currents are significant, other techniques may be required. When fishing in streams, some anglers rig worms, corn or salmon eggs on a short leader that can be casted and allowed to drift until it reaches the bottom.

A Carolina rig is one of the more common rigs for bottom fishing. This rig is made by adding a small inline weight on the line. A swivel is tied below the weight, followed by a hook on an 18-24" leader. By separating the weight and bait, Carolina rigs allow the bait to move freely near the bottom with less chance of spooking fish.

Eventually, stocked trout become acclimated to natural food sources, making bait fishing less effective. These "naturalized" trout are much harder to catch. Despite their selective habits, anglers still catch these fish using artificial lures, fly-fishing gear, or other equipment.

For spinning enthusiasts, the best lures for catching stocked trout often include small, brightly colored inline spinners. Jigs are also used to catch stocked trout. As stocked trout increase in size and age, their natural diets change from small insects and invertebrates to mostly small fish. Anglers fishing with spinning tackle target these trout with crankbaits, topwater plugs, or other offerings that resemble baitfish. Fly fishermen also target large hatchery-raised rainbow trout using streamers and other baitfish patterns.

Great Lakes Invasive Species Research

In January, 2012, the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative released a joint study of invasive species. The research focuses on stopping the movement of invasive species between the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins.

The study is the first major effort to provide failsafe solutions to preventing the movement of aquatic invasive species between the two watersheds. Among the solutions presented are ways in which the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins can be re-separated,

Scientific evidence indicates that bighead and silver carps would find portions of the Great Lakes basin to be suitable places to live and reproduce, likely causing ecosystem disruption, and loss of valuable fishery resources. Science behind the Asian carp threat adds pointed urgency for action on the separation study.

"Science indicates that, like the sea lamprey and zebra mussel, bighead and silver carps are likely to become permanent components of the Great Lakes if they become established in the system. We simply must not let new species—particularly ones as large and prolific as the silver and bighead carps—into the Great Lakes" said Robert Lambe, chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

source: Great Lakes Commission

Middle River Largemouth Bass Tagging Program

Anglers fishing on the Middle River in Maryland should be on the lookout for tagged largemouth bass. In the fall of 2011, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Inland Fisheries biologists along with volunteers from the Maryland Bass Federation Nation released 250 largemouth bass in Middle River as part of the state's bass fishing enhancement program.

DNR staff inserted red identification tags into 200 of the fish as part of a study to find out if the bass remain in the river. Any angler who catches a tagged fish and provides the date and location along with the tag number to DNR will earn a collectable Largemouth Bass Program Volunteer hat. The DNR Bass Program return address is printed on the tag along with the four-digit code. Anglers may also call Joe Love with the information at 410-260-8257.

This is the third consecutive year that DNR has released adult, 4- to 12-inch largemouth bass in Middle River. This year, approximately twenty percent of the fish came from the State’s Joseph Manning Hatchery in the Cedarville State Forest near Brandywine. The rest of the fish came from a Maryland-certified commercial hatchery in Arkansas.

For more information on the program, visit

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 Maryland Trout Stocking

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun releasing rainbow and brown trout for the 2012 trout fishing season.

“Early trout stocking is possible because of the warm and dry weather conditions - beginning with our eastern streams and ponds,” said Assistant Fisheries

Director Don Cosden. “Eager trout anglers will be pleased to know that they may take advantage of the great weather and perhaps catch a trophy trout as large as eight pounds.”

For 2012 Maryland trout stocking information and updates, contact the DNR trout hotline at (800) 688-3467. The stocking schedule and maps to stocked and special trout management waters are available at

Anglers may also pick up the updated (green) Spring Stocking Schedule charts at DNR Service Centers and tackle shops across the State.

Some stocked streams and ponds are reserved for delayed harvest to sustain quality angling between stocking periods and through late spring.

source: MD DNR