Marylands Trophy Season April 21
Maryland's striper fishermen should know late Tuesday what their regulations will be in the trophy season that opens April 21.
The Department of Natural Resource's fisheries chief Howard King says a lengthy conference call with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is expected at 1:30 p.m. that day to review the state's two proposals; the word will be out immediately thereafter.
The final DNR proposal is actually two. Between April 21 and May 15, a slot limit in which fish of 28 and 37 inches could be kept, also fish of 43 inches and over - and if that doesn't work an alternative proposal that would allow us to keep fish of from 28 to 36 inches, also stripers of 43 inches or better. A mere inch can make an appreciable difference in the state's keepable catch because there should be many fish in the mid 30-inch class.
As for what the recent cold weather can mean for the availability of migrant stripers once the fishing starts, charterboat skippers were pretty much in agreement that it certainly won't hurt - it slowed down the migration pattern appreciably, which means better chances for the peak of the migration to coincide with the season's opening days.
Had the balmy winter continued, it was figured the fish would have made their spawning run early,
Keep in mind that this year the season opens a week later than last year when the quots was exceeded by close to 30,000 fish.
Blame that on the calendar not a planned cutback on catching and keeping.
Maryland's plan for years has been opening the season on the third Saturday of April, which last year came on April 15 as the peak of the spawning run arrived. This year, the third Saturday falls on April 21 - so if the migration peak comes the same time as in '06, we will miss out big time on some catching.
Everything depends on weather between now and mid April. The warmer the weather is, the earlier the fish will head to the spawning grounds. .
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke