Maybe it's too early for the yellow perch to run. Maybe the cold winter is going to hold them back this year. Bob Bohrer isn't taking any chance: he's going out to find them.
Bohrer has been finishing this area and keeping meticulous records of his successes and failures for seven years. The figures speak for themselves.
In 1972 he fished the Corsica River near Centreville on the Eastern Shore when the yellow perch were moving upstream to spawn. On March 23, 24 and 25 he recorded the following remarkable catches: 114, 145 and 168 perch. Then he fishes three more days at the same spot and caught plain stark nothing. Zero.
In 1975 he tried the South River near route 450 in Annapolis. he started early, March 1, and fished off and on six days, ending March 24.That year's total was 103 yellow perch. Not bad.
Then last year Bohrer was all but skunked.
He started fishing at sixth of March. In four days over the course of the month, at Allen 's Fresh near la Plata and at his Route 450 spot, he managed to land a platry eight fish.
"It's feast or famine with these fish," Bohrer said. "You've got to be there when they've moving. Last year I saw roe up and down the banks, on twigs, all over the streams.
"But there wasn't a fish in sight. I just got there too late."
Bohrer loves his perch fishing - and perch eating - and he's not going to let it happen again. He's been hard at work calling everyone he can think of to make sure that when the little bay fish start moving up to fresh water to spawn, he'll be there to catch his share.
It looks as if one of the early places th be this year is Allen's Fresh, south of La Plata. The stream crosses Route 234 a mile east of Route 301 on its way to feed the Wicomico. It's small enough that when the perch are on the move, you can't miss them.
Ed Conner of Howard'd Sport Center in Waldorf fished the stream Wednesday and caught a pair of yellow perch bucks. He saw six or eight other fishermen land about the same small totals, with a few bigger roe fish in the tally.
Conner said he fished down stream of Route 234 because the fish haven't moved far enough up to spawn yet. But they're ready.
"The run is just beginning. With a couple of real warm nice days this week they can move up overnight. Then there will be real good fishing." By real good fishing, he's talking about a fish in the creel every five minutes up to 25 or 30 fish in a couple of hours.
Some folks toss back the little bucks, which run down to five or six inches, Bohrer keeps everything. "I eat fish at least four days a week, all year. I keep 'em all"
The runs generally last two or three weeks. At Allen's Fresh 'no permit in required because it's tidewater, but a half-mile and further upstream, where the spawning actually occurs, is considered fresh water and a Maryland fishing license is in order.
Most anglers use minnows to attract these little harbingers of springs. Bohrer claims that works well on this side of the Bay, but he's never caught a yellow perch on a minnow on the Easter Shore. He uses grass shrimp when he crosses the Bay Bridges, which is just another little fishing mystery no one is ever likely to explain.
The yellow perch are upon us, or nearly. After that look for the white perch to make their spawning run, and in April the bay should be alive with rock. Fishing season is here.
The D.C. Chapter of Trout Unlimited has its annual angling show and banquet Saturday at Washington Country Club. The tariff is $12 per person or $20 a couple for the whole affair from 12:30 to 9:30, or $2 at the door for the afternoon presentations.
Speakers are Bob Nastasi and Al Caucci of new Jersaey, authors of "Hatches," and Sam Slaymaker from Pennsylavania, who will talk on simplified fly fishing.
For tickets to the banquet, send checks to Trout Unlimited, 1435 Falls Mead Way, Potamac, Md., 20854.
Ocean City is blooming, too. Sportfishing Expo '77 is slated all weekend, beginning Friday at the Convention Hall. Admission is $1 or 50 cents for children. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Panel discussions are slated on anglers' stake in the 200-mile fishing limit and how to catch salt water game fish. There will be exhibits on tackle, boats fly tieing, rod making and beach vehicles. Sponsor is the Assateague Mobile Sportman's Association.
Fish tales: The word out of Falming Gorge, Utah, is almost as hard to believe as last year's. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reports that Robert Bringhurst of LaVerne, Calif., boated a 33-pound 10-ounce brown trout Friday on 10-pound test for a world record.
The old record? Why last year at Flaming Gortge, a 31-pound 12-ouncer. When's the next plane?