Those that braved the cold Tuesday were in for an informative presentation by Steve Reeser, VDGIF fisheries biologist. Steve brings over 15 years experience to a project that will span the next three years. The program is aimed at improving the trout stocking efforts in Virginia.
The program will entail creel surveys and garnering comments (via several communication channels) and ideas from a wide spectrum of anglers. Steve emphasized that the project team which includes VA Tech staff is very open to suggestions on how to improve trout fishing.
I may be alone in saying this, but I count us fortunate to have the DGIF undertaking such an effort. While trout license purchases have declined (from roughly 100k twenty years ago to about 60k) and that might signal fewer trout anglers overall, we’re lucky to have the department putting effort into satisfying and improving the enjoyment of what could be a shrinking demographic. Be reassured, no indication was given that the stocking program or any of its hatcheries is threatened.
This downloable pdf has some interesting facts about the stocking program. I invite you to download it and read it. Any comments and questions are welcomed by the DGIF and can be submitted via the DGIF site with this link.
- Creel surveys on our local waters will occur Oct 2014 – May 2015
- In 1996, in response to growing data, DGIF ended ‘opening day’
- In 2010 ‘Heritage Day’ was created to recreate the experience of an ‘opening day’, but year round fishing remains the norm for several benefits (see linked pdf) but some highlights are:
- Reduced loss of waters as landowner and even USFS conflicts with anglers decrease
- More efficient use of staff (VA even had to bring in outside law enforcement to protect waters before opening day)
- Nearly 50% of anglers buying a fishing license are purchasing it to fish for trout
- VA has five hatcheries of which two (Paint Bank and Wytheville) raise trout from eggs. The rest are grow-out facilities
- The Marion hatchery grows trout the slowest, it takes about 20 months to raise a trout to 10″
- Fish farming is a lot like agricultural farming, you have good years and bad years