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Several years back I voiced concern to a good friend of mine, Angel Bowlenger of Maryland DNR of the fact that the yellow perch could no longer get very far up stream to spawn in the headwaters of the Magothy River and that I had ventured down stream from the Lake Waterford Dam towards the river finding several blockages preventing the fish from getting very far upstream. I learned from that visit about a branch within our DNR known as Fish Passage. The spawning season was well underway at that time, so any work to open the stream at that point would probably do more harm than good. A plan of action was set in motion and the following winter I was put in contact with the the departments very own,,,,,,,,,


The Thompson twins, Kinte and Jim Thompson.

Fish passage at it's finest. The three of us met at Lake Waterford on 12/20/01 and I got my first lesson in stream clearing. Wood is good they informed me, only take what ya need to open it up. We used block and tackle, a chain saw, and backbone that day, opening a couple of blockages but more work was needed. A second trip was planned for Jan of 02. Rick Holt joined us on that day and day 2 completed the task. The stream was now opened all the way from the river to the dam. Hopefully the yellows would again, arrive at the dam in March and be viewed by many during this special event that can only be presented by Mother Nature herself.


For those that don't know, the yellow perch won't jump like the salmon. If they can't get through, around, or under, they've gone as far as they can go.

Just a quick note here. The folks of the DNR like the Thompson Twins, Angel, Marty, and many others that I've had the pleasure to meet, talk, fish, work, or just interact with through the years, are all cut from a special mold, producing persons of a caliber standing them as well as others, all at the top of the heap and second to none. I believe Jim can be found active on this board from time to time. Kinte has since left the DNR for another job.

For whatever reasons, possibly water flow but I'm not sure. The yellows never seemed to get to the dam and the runs were just not happening down below either. Couple of years later it seemed I was always to busy to visit the stream. Well, 5 years later, Tuesday of this week past, that all changed. I stopped by for a look see, entering the stream from just above where it starts at the head of the Magothy. At first, disappointment. No fish, no eggs anywhere. I continued, following the stream, looking for sign. Just as I was about to abort the mission, something caught my eye. A small incomplete piece of an egg sack caught in some branches as if washed down from above. I continued upstream, finally stumbling onto a couple fish hiding under an undercut bank. Still moving onward I found more eggs, several strands in fact, deep in a hole, well above where I've ever spotted them before. Still no blockages in the stream either, so I kept going hoping to find more fish/eggs.


Well over half way up towards the dam I spotted this at the edge of the stream. Not good, but a positive sign that fish had made it that far. Well, the same briars would be waiting for me on the trip back down the stream that scratched me while going up. I decided to go back down and drive to the upper end and work my way back down from that direction.

Sometimes we never see the forest for the trees. I should have gone here first, After parking the truck I walked over to the spillway where there was a couple of elderly folks looking down as if to be watching something.

The wall, if they make it up the stream this is the end of the trail. It's the spillway of Lake Watorford.


This strand of eggs was deposited just 10' from the bottom of the spillway.




At first I couldn't believe my eyes, followed by a warm special feeling inside. They were there at the wall and they were there in numbers too. It's a great place to take the kids. It's shallow there so you can easily view them from a catwalk built for just that purpose. I spoke with a couple of older folks there that was watching them too. I ask one of em "when did they come back"? An older fella answered they hadn't been there for years and showed back up a couple of years back.
 

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Virgil, great pics and an awesome story. Just goes to show a few people can make a difference. :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

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Virgil, congratulations on a job well done. It's great to see that you were rewarded for your hard work. You obviously make a difference in this world. Thanks.
 

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Great story Virgil. Our resources would be in trouble without people like you!:thumbup:
 

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Awesome!!! Thanks Virgil, it's nice to read (and see) positive things happening to the bay!! You should feel very proud knowing you played a huge part in the YP return!
 

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Scccccchweeeeeeeeeet!!!!!!

WAY TO GO VIRGIL!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :yes: :yes: :thumbup: :thumbup: My hat's off to you sir!!!! That's an awsome story and a great thing to see!!!! I'm gonna have to stop by and take a look for myself!!!
 

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Virgil

As always a big thank you.

Waterford is only a few minutes from my house. Think I might drive down there and take a look for myself.
 

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WTG Virgil, it's folks like you that keeps our fishery alive and well, thanks for the great post and nice pic's.
 

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Virgil a story w/a happy ending we need as much of that as we can get.Thanks for the story and woow Perch pics...Buster come here get a look at this...:rockingreport: :clap: :yes:
 

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It is an impressive sight! After reading Virgil's post, I stopped by on the way home from work. I had the pleasure of meeting Virgil, as he was there taking pictures and video.

I'm sure Virgil will chime in later with more details, but the yellow perch have not only reached the wall they have gone over the wall! Numerous perch have made it up a couple of the small weirs on the side of the dam. While they didn't jump, they thrashed mightily back and forth and managed to wiggle their way up through the rocks and concrete step.

Virgil thanks for posting, also thanks for the effort 5-6 years ago clearing the stream, that has paid off now!

Jim
 
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