Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 41

October 10-16, 2002

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Duck Season off to Slow Start

Unless the rainy weather forecast for our area changes things dramatically in the next three days, it’s safe to say the first split of the duck season has been an overall bust, at least for this writer. The September teal season wasn’t much to speak of, either. Even if some migratory birds had arrived in Chesapeake Country, I’d be hard pressed, more so than usual, to get off a clean shot with the hordes of repellent-resistant mosquitoes swarming around my head.

Several hunters in my circle either did not go afield or, if they did, never fired their guns. Only a few that I know had any success, and that was on private lands, like wood duck ponds and headwaters of small rivers. Outdoor outfitters and sporting-goods stores report the same: very few ducks checked in.

So what is the deal? Plain and simple, I think it’s the weather: the lack of any cold temperatures pushing the birds south. (Par for the course, as I write this thousands of Canada geese, fresh from their flight from up north, are leaving their evening roosts on creeks off of the Wye River to feed on the corn and bean fields.)

Of course, many outdoor enthusiasts welcome these Indian Summer days; kayakers, hikers and campers would be hard pressed to ask for more ideal conditions. But these days are a bane for waterfowlers, and with such pleasant weather in our region and along the Atlantic flyway, there has been no need for the birds to migrate in any large numbers. The good news is that the next season isn’t too far off, and the first split of the 30-day goose season is set to open November 19. Let’s hope for a cold November and a fat Thanksgiving goose.

For all the latest information on Maryland’s waterfowl season, log onto Maryland Department of Natural Resources website:

Fish Are Biting
If the weather isn’t fit for duck hunting, it’s almost ideal for fishermen. Now this might sound too picky, but the only way it could be better is if the water temperature would drop five degrees or so, to really get the fish active. Schools of malicious bluefish, mostly in the one-pound range, are foraging anchovies and silversides with abandon. As typical this time of year, especially in a balmy year, they aren’t very dependable. Young rockfish and blues will pop up and turn the water frothy one minute, then completely sound, only to resurface 200 yards away or never to be seen again that day.

Shallow-water fishing is the name of the game for many of us. Points and drop-offs in any river will probably produce, and if one doesn’t, just keep moving until another does. Drew Koslow is heading to his secret spot to get his limit of rockfish. Chuck Flourney and his wife, Cathy, of Lynchburg, Virginia, fished with me on Saturday. They took more than 30 stripers, mostly sub-legal, on fly gear, including several no bigger than the Clouser they inhaled. But a 28-inch nine-pounder ate the same fly and peeled backing off the fly reel.

Sea trout are starting to school in deep water, at the Rockpile at the Bay Bridge and in Eastern Bay. From Cedar Rips past Parkers Creek, there have been reports of many schools of legal rockfish.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly