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Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle

Expect new regulations on size and hooks in 2018 rockfish season

       A couple of critical changes are coming to the 2018 recreational rockfish regulations on the Chesapeake. Relax, for the news is good. These changes will have a positive impact on sportfishing in the Bay.       Baring any complication, these modifications would go into effect May 16 or soon thereafter.

Change species

       I had arrived on this narrow section of the river just after dawn, my breath clearly visible in the still chill morning air. With fingers trembling from the cold, I lip-hooked a small minnow on the shad dart positioned about 18 inches below a small, weighted, orange casting bobber. Yellow perch were on my mind.

Fishing resumes with yellow perch

      Now is the time.       One of the better tasting fish (tied with white perch for first place), yellow perch are making their spring spawning run as you read. This is the best time to go after them, indeed probably the only time of the year when they are concentrated enough to make them your target. 
Meet angling legends, acquire knowledge and tackle
      Chesapeake Bay has produced some of the nation’s best-known anglers, starting with Lefty Kreh and including Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, Kevin Josenhans, Steve Silvario, Blane Choklett, Joe Cap and Tony Friedrich. These angling luminaries and many more will be on hand to meet and share information at the 18th Annual Lefty Kreh Tie Fest on February 24 and 25 at the Lowes Annapolis Hotel.

I’m buying long rods to fish from shore the windy days of early ­trophy rockfish season

       My latest fishing quest originated in last year’s trophy rockfish season as I was putting in a supply of ice for my skiff’s fish box. Parking near an SUV, I had paused to compare notes with the occupants who were as eager to get into some action as I was, using a different sort of gear.

The cold-weather cycle opens up ice fishing at Deep Creek Lake

       A number of fish lay scattered upon the ice: slab-sized crappie, a few big northern pike, some nice yellow perch, a beautiful walleye and a few giant bluegills. It was cold, really cold, but the anglers gathered at Deep Creek Lake were glowing with excitement.

The season is already underway

      It’s starting now. The yellow perch run is on the way, with the white perch run right behind it. Despite our wildly unpredictable weather this time of year, Maryland’s 2018 fishing season is opening up — whether you’re ready or not.

When the cold really sets in, the hardy angler goes fishing

      Bitter cold is not enough to describe the single-digit temperatures that descended on Chesapeake Country in late December and early January.      In Erie, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, this is what winter is like. This year the small city broke into the news (yet again) for not only low temperatures but also record Christmas snows: over five feet in four days. Weather like that is one of the reasons I moved to Maryland some 50 years ago. But for people thereabouts, it’s no big deal.

Plenty to do until you can get back on the water

     As our new year begins, opening day of trophy rockfish season, April 21, 2018, is a little over 100 days away. That opener is almost a week later this year than last (by regulation the third Saturday in April), meaning a bit of extra protection for the big spawners, which is a good thing. Last season’s Young of Year rockfish count was above average for the second year in a row, a great harbinger for better fishing throughout the Chesapeake.

Gifts they’ll really appreciate

     What to give the dedicated Chesapeake Bay angler on your list?      The most helpful suggestion I can offer — if you haven’t already received exact, specific instructions from the individual in question — is to remember the Rule of Don’t.