Vincent Grey of Abingdon asks: "Each year I always make the opening days of trout season in one of the stocked streams in Central Maryland. Normally, they are the last Saturdays of March and April, but some streams have alternate schedules that are readily available and posted online. The thing that has always boggled my mind is the fact that [the season] opens at 5:30 a.m.
"I am a morning person and do not mind the early start, but at that time of the morning, especially in March, it can be difficult to see your lure, making it much easier to cast into a tree. It is truly madness to start so early when no one can see, forcing parents to keep kids in cars until it becomes more visible.
"Why not open fishing at 7 a.m., when everyone can see? Parents will bring kids to the stream for the first half hour, which is when 85 percent of the fish are caught that day, and others are less prone to twist an ankle or fall because it is so dark. There is no reason to start fishing when folks have to use spotlights mounted to trees to see where they are casting, which is what was going on at the Patapsco River at Avalon in March."
Don Cosden, assistant fisheries director and chief of inland fisheries, replies: "The law setting the legal time for fishing on trout streams was enacted in 1941. It allowed fishing between 5:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. We later extended the fishing period to 10 p.m.
"We've never considered changing it because we've never received a complaint that I'm aware of. I suspect that moving Daylight Savings Time forward has caused the start time to be more of an issue than it used to be.
"Unfortunately, it's too late to consider this change for 2010. We held our inland fisheries regulation meetings in April and May, and a package of proposed changes ... will soon be available for final public comment. We have added this suggestion to a list of possible changes to be discussed next spring. We typically post changes being considered to our Web page in late March or early April and put out a press release with this information.
"A few weeks later, we hold five public meetings across the state to discuss these ideas and take comments and suggestions from the public. Of course, we will take comments and suggestions at any time of year by phone or e-mail, and our biologists and management staff will consider these along with our own proposals."