PERCH RELIEF:

Warm winter days start hard-core Maryland fishermen thinking about yellow perch, traditional first species to come up creeks and rivers of the Chesapeake to spawn.

State officials in recent years closed many rivers to give the little fish a break from angling pressure. This year restrictions ease slightly with the Jan. 21 reopening of the Patuxent watershed near Washington and the Wye River and Tuckahoe Creek on the Eastern Shore.

The daily creel limit for yellow perch in all Maryland tidewater remains five fish; minimum size is 9 inches for fish taken from the Wye, Patuxent and Tuckahoe, 8 1/2 inches in all other open waters. Also, barbless hooks must be used during prime spawning season, Feb. 1-March 15, to facilitate return of undersized fish.

Waters remaining closed are the Choptank, Chester, Magothy, Miles, Nanticoke, Patapsco, Severn, South and West rivers and tributaries (except Tuckahoe Creek, a tributary of the Choptank).

Maryland's Potomac River tributaries remain open with a five-fish daily limit; the main stem of the Potomac, which is overseen by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, is open with no daily limit but a minimum size of eight inches.

Confusing? You bet!

CHEROKEE:

The Washington area's long-awaited new ski resort still isn't open, as last-minute construction details continue to dog the enterprise.

Cherokee, 60 miles west of town off I-66 at Linden, Va., was supposed to open last winter but ran afoul of sewage permit problems; the permits were finally acquired so work could progress for an expected opening by this New Year's. Now the lodge apparently is finished and all slopeside facilities are in place. But word on the recorded public message remained that it wouldn't open this weekend, and the advice was to call back next week. The number is 1-800-622-1226.

GETTING UNDERWAY:

The 30th Washington Boat Show opens Wednesday at the Convention Center with hundreds of power boats and sailboats. Hours are noon-10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 11-7 on Jan. 20-21. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 kids 6-12, under 6 free. Call (703) 569-7141. . . .

West River Sailing Club's annual seminars start in Galesville, Md., Saturday with a refresher talk from 2-4 p.m. on racing rules. Programs continue biweekly through March 30. Call (703) 352-8983.

Finally, the biennial Annapolis-Newport yacht race has been set for June 15 with IMS, PHRF and PHRF nonspinnaker classes. Information and entry forms available from the Race Committee, P.O. Box 908, Annapolis, Md. 21404, or call (301) 263-9279.

TRAPPED:

Diane Cope of Alexandria has been named to the 1991 women's all-America trapshooting team. Cope, in her fourth year of competition, won the Virginia State and American Trapshooting Association Southern Zone tournaments at Winchester, Va., in July.

BASSIN':

Today ends the Bass Expo at Timonium Fairgrounds: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; $5 for adults, $2 children 10-14, under 10 free. Call (301) 574-6139.