The Department of Natural Resources is cooking up a cookbook and asking for your favorite recipes featuring Maryland species.
Submissions must include a list of required ingredients, preparation instructions, and a wild species found in Maryland. Submissions of recipes for invasive species like snakeheads and blue catfish are strongly encouraged. The addition of family anecdotes and a few words about the history behind a recipe are welcome.
You can email your favorite recipes to Recipes.DNR@maryland.gov for consideration. The deadline for submissions is March 7. A maximum of five recipes per person can be submitted for review.
Recipes will be reviewed by a panel of department experts and cooking enthusiasts, using the following criteria:
Is the recipe complete? Does it include all of the information necessary to make the dish?
Does the recipe feature a species found in Maryland?
Is the recipe easy to follow?
Are there duplicates of the same recipe?
Selected recipes will be featured in a new DNR cookbook entitled “Wild Maryland.”
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Tackle the blues
The DNR is urging Congress to address rules that are hindering the market for blue catfish — an invasive species in Maryland that consumes native fish and crab species.
The department is supporting a joint resolution proposed by the Maryland General Assembly that will move the state closer to controlling the blue catfish population by commercial harvest.
A native of the Mississippi River basin, blue catfish were introduced to the mid-Atlantic in the 1970s. Since then they have exploded in population and range and can now be found throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River watersheds. Blue catfish are a significant threat to the ecosystem because of their rapidly increasing populations and capacity to consume significant amounts of native species, like crabs and striped bass.
Previously under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration, Congress directed USDA to take over regulation of all species of catfish in 2017. The regulations have required the presence of a USDA inspector on premises during blue catfish processing. These inspectors are a significant cost to the dealer and inspectors’ schedules don’t often match up with the working hours of the dealers. Additionally, the processing rooms have to be cleared of all other products, causing disruptions to the rest of the business. All other seafood processing continues to be conducted under the FDA.
The DNR continues to increase its outreach and promotion of blue catfish as a fishery — both commercial and recreational. There’s a new video that features a commercial harvester that can used by all anglers to successfully target the species with a hook and line.
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The yellow perch bite seems to be picking up in tidal tributaries and they will chase after shad darts and small twister tails or a minnow under a bobber, among other offerings. Pickerel are also biting and largemouth bass, with a trusty Mepp’s spinner a good choice to find them and lure them. And, of course, there’s always catfish to be had on bait.
While you can still legally catch and release striped bass, they’ve been schooling up at Calvert Cliffs and can be found hanging around the Bay Bridge Pilings. Larger plastic lures have attracted fish over 30 inches when the wind’s not howling and you can get out there.
On the freshwater scene, crappie had a hard time resisting shad darts and small jigs with twister tails. Real minnows and Gulp minnows under a bobber will entice them where they’re hanging out looking for a meal. Largemouth bass are now sucking in soft plastic crayfish and Beetle Spins with the morning bite often the strongest of the day. Snakeheads are becoming more active in the Blackwater area as the temperatures increase. The DNR recently stocked 100 rainbow trout in Queen Anne’s Unicorn Branch.
On the Atlantic Coast, tautog are biting at the offshore wrecks and reefs with green crab producing the best bite.
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Duck blind know-it-all
Yellow-perch egg skeins contain noxious components that deter predators.