Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, near Rock Hall, is hosting a free youth fishing derby from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.

June 8 is a license-free fishing day in Maryland so no license is required.

This rain-or-shine event is located at the refuge’s Headquarters Pond on the road to the Bayview-Butterfly Trail. A free rod and reel are available for the first 40 participants. Anglers should bring their own rod and reel as a limited supply of fishing equipment will be available. Bait, food, and drinks will be provided for free. A parent must accompany all youth.

For additional information, contact refuge staff at 410-639-7056 or Kent County Parks and Recreation at 410-778-2083.

This event coincides with National Fishing and Boating Week (June 1-9).

According to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, every year 49 million Americans participate in fishing, making it the second most popular outdoor activity in America.

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Rockfishing 101

Registration is now open for the Rockfishing 101 Workshop, Friday, July 19, hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors Woman.

Anglers can learn the basics of catching striped bass (aka rockfish) on the Chesapeake Bay with Captain Charlie and Captain Doug aboard Backdraft. The Backdraft is a USCG Certified 46-foot bay-built fiberglass charter boat. All fishing gear, lunch, and licenses will be provided. The location is Tracys Landing in Anne Arundel County.

The morning will start indoors with an introduction to rockfish ecology/biology and current Maryland regulations. The captains will teach about the two main strategies of catching rockfish — trolling and live-lining — as well as the different baits, lures, and techniques used. After the morning class, participants will board Backdraft and head out on the Chesapeake Bay to go fishing.

A working head (bathroom) is available on board for those who need it. Any rockfish caught on the trip will be filleted and distributed among participants that want to take fish home.

This outing is limited to 14 participants. Due to limited space, priority will be given to those who have not participated in this workshop before. Previous participants are still encouraged to register. The cost is $125. The registration form is available on the DNR’s website. For more information, call Letha Grimes at 301-791-4736 ext. 103.

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Fishing report

Trolling continues to catch striped bass along channel edges in the upper Chesapeake Bay. Swan, Love, and Podickory points have been good places to troll and the various knolls and reefs west of Baltimore Harbor have also been worthwhile places to look. The stripers seem to be on the move, so it pays to be flexible when scouting. Spoons pulled behind inline weights or planers have been a good choice as are bucktails and Storm type swimshads behind umbrella rigs.

Chumming has been popular along channel edges where rockfish can be found suspended. The 30-foot channel edge at Podickory Point has been a good place to chum as has the sewer pipe, Love Point, Swan Point, and anywhere suspended fish can be spotted on a depth finder. Blue and channel catfish are part of the mix as well.

A little south, a few of the more popular locations for jigging for stripers include the outside edges at Hacketts, Thomas Point, and Bloody Point. Many anglers are using light jig heads, often as light as ½-ounce, with 6-inch or more soft plastic bodies.

Chumming has been popular on the western side of the bay at the 30-foot channel edge at Hacketts and Thomas Point and also on the eastern side of the bay at Bloody Point. Catfish and cownose rays are uninvited visitors to chum slicks and have been taking baits intended for rockfish. Anglers are reminded that non-offset circle hooks are required when chumming or live-lining this year.

Fishing for white perch has been good in the deeper waters of the bay and lower regions of tidal rivers. The perch have been holding on hard bottom in about 15 feet of water. Pieces of bloodworm or grass shrimp on a bottom rig will catch them. Casting small spinnerbait-type lures along shoreline structure is always a fun light-tackle way to catch them.

Fishing for northern snakeheads in the upper tidal areas of Dorchester County is slow a bit slow due to spawning activity. Harassing the preoccupied fish with noisy buzzbaits seems the best way to get them to strike.

In the Tangier Sound area, anglers are catching a few speckled trout along with a red drum now and then. Drifting soft crab baits in water flowing out of the marshes is one of the better ways to target speckled trout.

Tidal rivers are offering good fishing for largemouth bass. The waters of the Nanticoke, Wicomico, and Pocomoke rivers offer plenty of peace and quiet while presenting excellent fishing opportunities. Chain pickerel and northern snakeheads will be part of the mix along with scenic views.

On the Atlantic Coast, surfcasters continue to enjoy pleasant weather and good fishing along the beaches of Ocean City and Assateague Island. A wide range of species are being caught. In the early morning and late evening hours a few large striped bass are being caught with casting plugs, and bluefish are being caught on metal. Rockfish are also biting large cut baits of mullet, menhaden, and clams. Kingfish can be caught on bloodworm baits. Flounder are the main target in the back bay channels and are being caught on squid, minnows, or white soft plastic baits.

Near shore reef fishing is producing mostly small sea trout, blowfish, ling cod, and spiny dogfish sharks. Farther offshore, sea bass fishing has been good on wreck and reef sites. Limit catches are common with a nice grade of sea bass being caught. Offshore the main body of northward bound school-sized bluefin tuna have passed through our waters. A few small yellowfin tuna are being caught along with some dolphin-fish.

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Duck blind know-it-all

Ring-necked snakes are rarely aggressive to larger predators, suggesting their venom evolved as a feeding strategy rather than a defense strategy.

Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at cknauss@stardem.com

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