The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to open 54-acre Cash Lake at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel to public fishing in June. It should be great for bass, pickerel and panfish, since it's been closed for years.

The plan would allow 25 boats per day by permit, two people to a boat, and restrict the take to one bass and one pickerel a day over 15 inches per person, plus 15 panfish a day per angler.

Some think even that's too much, and are urging strict catch-and-release regulations to maintain the lake as a high-quality, close-in trophy fishing hotspot. If you are interested, call the refuge at (301) 498-0342 for a copy of the proposal.


Edward Lynch Jr. of the U.S. Ultralight Association wrote to compliment a recent piece on these pages about little, two-seat, open recreational aircraft and was kind enough not to mention the grievous error in the story, which described the climb rate of the 48-horsepower craft as nearly 1,000 feet per second. That should have read per minute, of course.

Lynch said his club meets the first Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Gas Light Co. office in Springfield, Va. The public is welcome. Call him at (703) 548-1747 for details.


Whitewater paddlers should be preparing for the annual Rocky Island Surfing Party on New Year's Day in the Potomac below Great Falls. Interested prospects can call Gordon Bare of the Canoe Cruisers Association at (301) 656-7926. Experienced boaters only, please.


Bluebird expert Larry Zeleny offers tips on how to attract and provide for America's prettiest thrushes from noon to 5 p.m. today at the Wild Bird Co., 617 Hungerford Dr., Rockville. Call (301) 279-8999.


The Audubon Naturalist Society has issued its winter schedule of environmental education programs, including adult forays, family classes, children's prorgams, extended visits to such exotic destinations as the Everglades and Trinidad and Tobago, and conservation forums.

Most of the one-day programs are held at Woodend, the Society's 40-acre wildlife sanctuary at 8940 Jones Mill Rd., Chevy Chase, and range in price from $6 to $25. For details, call (301) 652-5964.


Starting Jan. 1, Maryland will offer a conservation license plate, with proceeds to go to the Chesapeake Bay Trust for Bay restoration efforts. The plate features a rendering of a great blue heron and the slogan, "Treasure the Chesapeake," and costs an extra $20. If you want the letters "BAY" on it, it's $100.

Tom Burke, Gov. William Donald Schaefer's man on the Bay, said the plates are made of recycled aluminum. He expects their sale to raise $1 million. "I'd be the last to suggest that having this tag is the litmus test of proclaimed environmentalists," Burke said with a chuckle, "but we will be going through certain parking lots checking who's got them."

For information, call the Motor Vehicle Administration at (301) 950-1682.


Just because it's cold out doesn't mean you have to stop fishing. The Fishbusters Fishing Club has scheduled trips to New Jersey for offshore cod, pollack and ling next month, and to North Carolina for striped bass and offshore bottom fishing slated in February.

For information on Fishbusters, which advertises itself as the only club around with no meetings and no dues, call (301) 292-8377.


Why do people ice-fish? If you always wondered, or if you have relatives locked up in the attic who ice-fish or used to, check out a funny new tome on the subject called "Hook, Line and Shelter; Ice-Fishing Tales and Photos, Too" ($9.95, Adventure Publications, P.O. Box 269, Cambridge, Minn. 55008). The stories by authors Larry Stark and Magnus Berglund no doubt explain the allure of this wacky sport. Then again, how could they?