Thursday, May 27, 2004
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: License money already spent
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
- Virginia’s hunting totals produce mixed results
- A good trade: Virginia trout for Kentucky elk
- Forget the odds-makers; Salem’s John Crews believes he can win the Bassmaster Classic.
- The good and bad of the 2012 saltwater fishing season
- Column archive
Bill's Field Reports
- Virginia General Assembly goes soft on outdoor issues
- Quail Unlimited calls it quits
- Field reports archive
Bills in the 2004 General Assembly gave the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission authorization to adjust the fees they charge, something that only state legislators could do in the past.
Beginning July 1, the DGIF will be authorized to revise hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and motorboat registration fees. The fees cannot be changed more than once every three years, and the increases can not be more than $5. Much the same guidelines have been imposed on VMRC.
The two agencies, both in need of additional funding, are expected to begin embracing the right to raise fees sometime during the second half of this year. But even before that happens, chunks of the new money have been earmarked for special expenditures. That’s not likely to be appreciated by sportsmen who supported the new license-fee procedure, thinking the funding would go through normal channels for natural resource needs.
These mandated expenditures were born out of budget amendments, thus they bypass the scrutiny of boards that have been appointed to determine which programs merit money.
Budget language directs VMRC to spend for marine police operations no less than $300,000 annually of the additional revenue derived from increases saltwater license fees and permits. The saltwater license generates about $1.5 million annually and has been applied to a variety of projects, including boat ramps, artificial reefs and research. No one questions the need to beef up marine patrols, but shouldn’t the effort be channeled through the board established to handle expenditures?
Still another amendment elevates the DGIF from a Level III to Level II agency, which automatically upgrades the salary scale of the director. DGIF has slashed programs and services in the name of reduced funding.
SMITH RIVER STUY STALLED
Late last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced through letters to anglers that it was considering a study of the Philpott Dam/Smith River complex. This was to be accomplish under Section 216 of the Flood Control Act, with the idea of identifying needs and opportunities to improve the tailrace trout habitat.
There is widespread belief that antiquated generating equipment in Philpott Dam provides less than ideal habitat for trout in the Smith River.
At a recent Virginia Chapter Trout Unlimited meeting in Martinsville, word came that the 216 study is dead in the water due to the lack of funding. Under the best scenario, it could take eight years to complete the study once it is started.
TU members also heard a report that a 5-year, $500,000 study of the stream by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia Tech is due for completion this summer and likely will be the subject of a September meeting in the Henry County. The DGIF study is expected to show that significant cooperation from the Corps of Engineers will be needed to improve the trout habitat.
FRESHWATER FISHING HIGHLIGHTS
>Honors for the best catch of the week go to Lin Anderews of Richmond who landed two trophy largemouth bass from Briery Creek Lake. The fish weighed 12 pounds, 7 ounces and 12 pounds, 4 ounces.
>Decent catches of crappie up to 1.5 pounds are being enjoyed at Smith Mountain Lake.
>John Zenius of Big Z’s tackle shop in Radford said he thought last year’s fishing season at Claytor Lake was especially good, but this one has it beaten.
>A couple of huge bluegills were landed at Flannagan Reservoir. Their weights were 2 pounds and 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
>The best smallmouth bass fishing in the state is taking place on the Clinch River, where a green-pumpkin colored Super Fluke has been a top lure.
>Ten-year-old Ethan Cline of Covington caught a 2-pound yellow perch at Lake Moomaw.
>Look around stumps for quality bass at Lake Anna as the fish move off their beds.
>Loads of sunfish are being caught from the Nottoway and Blackwater rivers.
>Lake Whitehurst is living up to its reputation as a walleye hotspot. One angler landed three, including a 7-pounder.
>Tom Walton of Richmond caught a limit of bluegills, including six citations, from the Chickahominy River.
>Pickerel fishing is hot at Chickahominy Lake where some anglers are catching and releasing as many as 20 per outing.
SALTWATER FISHING HIGHLIGHTS
>Trolling has given way to chumming for striped bass in the mid-Chesapeake Bay. Some of the best action is around the Northern Neck Reef where as many as 70 boats work for limit catches on peak days.
>Big croakers are showing up in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries—especially the Piankitank, York and Rappahannock rivers. One croaker weighed 4 pounds, 7 ounces.
>An angler casting jigs to the second island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel hooked and landed several black drum, three of them topping 50 inches in length. Other drum are being caught a Buoys 13, 16 and 36A. More than 50 citations have been checked at Chris’ Bait and Tackle located south of Cape Charles.
>Red drum action has been brisk along the shoals of Fishermen’s Island and the beaches of the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore.
>Jumbo bluefish are holding to the lumps off Virginia Beach, especially one called the Hot Dog.
>Spadefish are so aggressive at the Tower Reef that anglers say some of them are attacking their bobbers.
>Boats out of Hatteras, N.C, are landing blue marlin.
>The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries executed a search warrant on Animal Adventures, an animal store in Bristol where authorities say an investigation revealed that native wildlife and endangered species were being sold. Charges are pending.
>Looking for a lifejacket that will properly fit a youngster? Two marinas in Virginia -- Fishing Bay Harbor Marina, Deltaville and Full Tilt Marina, Inc., Woodbridge -- are part of the BoatU.S. Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program that makes properly fitting children’s life jackets available on the waterfront.
>A two-week, off-season deer hunt at Glen Burnie Historic House and Gardens in Winchester resulted in the killing of 31 animals, and left a state wildlife expert warning Winchester officials to get serious about controlling the booming deer population throughout the city.
>Lots of people have been looking at pictures of the big shark that showed up recently along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check http://poachersportfishing.com/sharkmovie.asp and hit “Fishing Report.”
>No one from Virginian is listed in the top 50 of the Bassmaster Elite Point Standings. The first five anglers are Kevin VanDam, Mich., 563; 2. Stacey King, Mo., 556; 3. Zell Rowland, Texas, 548; 4. Gray Klein, Texas, 536; 5. Brent Champan, Kan. 529.
>Open Fields, the name of federal legislation that would offer private landowners financial incentives for opening their acreage to public hunting and fishing, is gaining momentum in both the US Senate and House of Representatives.
>Thanks to the hard work of organized sportsmen in Minnesota, the state will have its first dove hunt in over 50 years.
>NFL Coach Jimmy Johnson has agreed to serve as the honorary chairperson for National Fishing and Boating Week to be celebrated nationwide June 5-13.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT
Lots of fish got bumped off the leader board of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament with new leaders in the black drum, croaker, gray trout, kingfish, spadefish and spot categories. Here are the standings:
BLACK DRUM: 90 pounds, Shirl Johnston, Edgewood, Md., lower-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
CROAKER: 4 pounds, 7 ounces, Frankie Martin, Hudgins, upper-western Chesapeake Bay.
FLOUNDER: 9 pounds, 8 ounces, Victor Shreve Sr. Shrewsbury, Pa., Bradford Bay.
GRAY TROUT: 12 pounds, 12 ounces, Greg Thayer, Gloucester, upper-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
KINGFISH: 1 pound, 14 ounce, Bobby Smith, Portsmouth, lower-western Chesapeake Bay.
SEA BASS: 6 pounds, 14 ounces, Mark Fueller, Rio Grande, N.J., off Virginia Beach.
SPADEFISH: 12 pounds, 4 ounces, Jeff Moore, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
SPECKLED TROUT: 12 pounds, 14 ounces, Ivan Hutton, Virginia Beach, Elizabeth River.
SPOT: 1 pound, 2 ounces, Charles Wade, Highland Springs, lower Rappahannock River.
STRIPED BASS: 63 pound state record, Carolyn Brown, Virginia Beach, off the Virginia Coast.
TAUTOG: 22 pounds, 9 ounces, Julie Ball, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
Smith Mountain Striper Club meeting, June 4, 7 p.m., Moneta Community Center.
Meeting of the Smith River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, 7 p.m., June 7, bring side dish for picnic at the Corps of Engineers picnic table near Philpott Dam. Information form Ted Tomczak 276-629-2962 or Russ Williams 434-822-2168.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation American Outdoor Experience, June 11-13, Bristol Motor Speedway.
Virginia Trappers Association’s Convention and Sportsman’s Show, July 23-25, Luray, $5 admission, primitive camping available, information from Bryan Nelson, email@example.com.
Mother-Daughter Outdoors Event, Aug. 20-22, Appomattox, opportunity for women 9 and up to learn outdoor skills. More info...
Virginia Outdoors Weekend, Sept. 17-19, for families, Westmoreland State Park, details on the Web.
Smith Mountain Striper Club fall tournament, Oct. 9., information from Rex Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got an event? Let us know: email@example.com.