Live aquatic fishing bait likely to be allowed back in reservoirs


This spring it is likely that fishing with live aquatic bait again will be permitted in Liberty, Prettyboy and Loch Raven reservoirs, which had been closed to the use of live bait for fear that contaminated bait might lead to zebra mussel infestation in Baltimore's water supply.

A proposed regulation has been approved and forwarded by the Department of Natural Resources for implementation on Feb. 14, following a public hearing and an open period for public comment on the regulation.

In order for live bait to be used in the reservoirs, it must be purchased from a dealer whose source of supply and holding equipment has been certified free of zebra mussels by the DNR.

The regulation was formulated with the cooperation of the Department of Public Works and the Maryland Aquatic Resources Coalition.

The public hearing will be held Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis. Written comment will be accepted by H. Robert Lunsford, director of Freshwater Fisheries Division, Tawes State Office Building, Annapolis 21401 until the close of business on Jan. 10.

Cleanup today

Today the Reservoir Anglers Association will hold its annual shoreline cleanup at Loch Raven Reservoir from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteer registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Merrymans Mill and Poplar Hill roads.

Last year, the cleanup removed 238 bags of trash and a truckload of heavy debris from the area.

Sailing record

Intrum Justitia, representing Europe and skippered by Lawrie Smith of Britain, smashed the record for the Omega 24-Hour Challenge in the Whitbread Round the World Race recently by sailing 425 miles in a 24-hour period on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The run, averaging 17.7 knots, beat the 411-mile mark set by Fortuna in the last Whitbread.

Mute swans on rise

A DNR aerial survey of the Chesapeake Bay area in August for mute swans has shown a dramatic increase in their population. The survey counted 2,047 compared to 700 counted in 1989.

Mute swans are aggressive and DNR biologists are concerned they may have an adverse impact on other species.

"Mute swans have already caused the loss of least tern and black skimmer colonies in Dorchester County," said Joshua L. Sandt, director of DNR's Wildlife Division.

More than half of the swans counted in the survey were non-breeding adults.

But more than 60 percent cygnets counted in the survey were in Talbot County, where the feral species originated from birds that escaped captivity in the 1960s. Those young are expected to begin breeding over the next two or three years, which will swell the population.

Mute swans (year-around residents) may be distinguished from Tundra swans (winter residents) by their orange bill. Tundra swans have a black bill.

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