If you haven’t heard already, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to set a moratorium on menhaden fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. Menhaden, by their tremendous value to marine ecosystems, are “The Most Important Fish in the Sea.” There’s even a book about them by that name.
Menhaden eat plankton and as a result help prevent toxic algae blooms from occurring in waterways. They also serve as an important nutrition source for larger fish, marine mammals, and aquatic birds.
Despite that importance, one company, Omega Protein, which has a processing plant in Reedville, Va., harvests nearly 80% of the coast-wide quota.
This year, Omega hauled in 67,000 metric tons of menhaden, 31% more than the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission allows.
Do you think the Honorable Wilbur Ross, a Trump pick, will impose a moratorium on the commercial harvest of a fish species?
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Maryland duck stamp winner
Congratulations to Jeffrey Klinefelter, of Etna Green, Indiana, who has won the 46th annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest. Judges selected his depiction of a hen and a drake blue-winged teal, complete with leg band and mirror-like reflection in the water, named “Quiet Waters.”
The artwork will be featured on the stamps that hunters purchase to hunt all migratory game birds in the state, with the proceeds funding migratory game bird research and habitat enhancement on public lands.
The winner was chosen by a panel of judges on Nov. 10 at the 49th annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton in front of art enthusiasts as well as some of the entrants and their families.
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Chesapeake Bay temperatures continue to drop down to the upper 40s. The warmest waters can be found in the bottom quarter of the water column. Anglers should focus on prime habitat areas for larger concentrations of baitfish and hungry gamefish as they migrate to their winter holding areas. If the weather cooperates and you’ve had your fill of deer hunting, the striped bass season in the bay runs through Dec. 15.
The mouth of the Chester River is providing some light-tackle jigging action along the deeper parts of the channel edges. The edges of Love Point, Swan Point, and Podickory Point are also holding striped bass, often suspended slightly off the bottom in the deeper waters of the channels. Schools of bait can also be detected close to the bottom. Many anglers are jigging with 6-inch soft plastic jigs in white, pearl, or chartreuse color combinations with good results.
Trolling is also an effective way to work the deeper edges of the shipping channel and those channels leading out from the tidal rivers. You’ll need plenty of weight to get umbrella rigs down to where the larger striped bass are holding. Bucktails dressed with soft plastics trailing behind an umbrella rig is a popular way to troll.
Anglers are also jigging up striped bass and white perch at the Bay Bridge. They tend to be holding deep at the rock piles and other structure.
On the freshwater scene, yellow perch are moving into the tidal rivers and creeks in greater numbers, now that the water temperatures are colder. Anglers dunking small beetle spins, jigs, and live minnows are enjoying good fishing. A mix of channel and blue catfish are also active and providing plenty of action.
Trout fishing in the fly-fishing-only, catch-and-release, or delayed harvest management areas across the bridge offer a fine experience for anglers looking for some peace and solitude. A sunny afternoon can offer increased trout activity due to slightly warmer waters. The trout will often be found in some of the deeper pools and can be caught on a variety of flies as long as they are fished deep.
Chain pickerel are holding near sunken wood along shorelines or fallen treetops waiting to ambush anything that comes by. Crappie are schooled up near deep structure. Fallen treetops, sunken wood and marina docks are great places to find them.
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Duck blind know-it-all
A cricket’s ears are on its front legs.