Thursday, August 16, 2012
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: New angling regulations aimed at growing bigger fish
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
If you are inclined to take home fish you catch, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries made that option easier on Tuesday when its board passed regulations to lesson restrictions on largemouth bass fishing in Briery Creek Lake, largemouth and spotted bass fishing in the Staunton River and striped bass and hybrid fishing in Kerr Lake.
The regulations were aimed at giving anglers the opportunity to remove some of the overabundance of small fish in order to grow bigger ones. They become law on Jan. 1.
Regulations for yellow perch in Lake Moomaw were made more restrictive. A 10-per day limit was established where there has been no limit in the past.
In Briery Creek Lake, the largemouth bass slot limit of 14 to 24 inches was eased to 16 to 24 inches.
In the Staunton River, where anglers have been required to release any black bass—smallmouth, largemouth or spotted—that is less than 20 inches, a new regulation will allow the taking of smaller largemouth and spotted bass while still protecting smallmouths.
In Kerr Lake, the minimum size for keeping a striper or hybrid was lowered from 26 to 24 inches.
Waterfowl regulations change little
Duck hunters in Virginia will be operating under a 60-day season this fall and winter, plus two youth days. The regulations set Tuesday are little changed from last year. They include a three-way split season designed to take advantage of early migrating, homegrown wood ducks in October and late migration ducks in late January. The general bag limit is six per day.
The hunting dates are Oct. 4-8; Nov. 17-Dec. 1 and Dec. 8-Jan. 26.
Youth days are Oct. 20 and Feb. 2.
Check the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Web site for additional information, www.HuntFishVA.com.
* A 26-pound, 8-ounce freshwater drum caught in Kerr Reservoir by Nancy Cash of Martinsville has been certified as a Virginia record for the species. The old record was a 22-pound, 6-ounce Kerr catch taken in 2008. Cash hooked her monster drum on a Stingsilver Spoon and battled it for 15 minutes before her fishing partner Jimmy Cannoy was able to get a net under it and bring it into the boat.
* The Virginia Deer Hunters Association big buck contest in Richmond this past weekend drew 324 entries and was won by a non-typical rack that scored 225 under Boone and Crockett. Details on the contest are being held up by computer problems, said Denny Quaiff, executive director of the association, which sponsor of the event. Quaiff said a record number of people turned out for the contest and outdoor show in Richmond.
* No speakers showed up Tuesday for a hearing in Richmond to gather public input on plans of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to enter into a comprehensive agreement to construct a new headquarters building in Hanover County. “The attorneys are still working on the contract,” said Larry Hart DGIF infrastructure director. “We hope they agree soon.”
* David Dudley of Lynchburg finished fifth in the FLW champions, behind the winner, 21-year old Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis. Dudley, the 2012 FLW points champion and winner of more than $3 million in his career, must have seen a little bit of himself in Wheeler. Dudley began tournament fishing early, the youngest entry in a Bassmaster Classic. The FLW championship was held on Lake Lanier in Georgia.
* Tomorrow is the deadline for applying for a number of quota hunts sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. These hunts provide sportsmen an opportunity to access public land that otherwise may be closed to hunting. They range from a bear hunt in the Great Dismal Swamp; to a hog hunt on Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge; to a deer hunt on Hog Island. Information is available at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/quotahunts/
* Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s pick of a running mate, is being described in outdoor circles as a sportsman and avid archery hunter who has served as co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, one of the largest bi-partisan caucuses in the U.S. Congress, its mission to protect America’s sporting heritage.
* Stripers Forever has charged the Maryland Department of Natural Resources of illegally using more than $3 million in Wallop-Breaux funds to finance a tagging program for the state’s commercial striped bass fishermen. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mandates that Wallop-Breaux funds, raised through an excise tax on sporting equipment, be used to pay for wildlife and sport restoration programs, including the enhancement of fishing opportunities.
* West Virginia’s squirrel season opens Sept. 8, the second year in a row the Mountain State has had an early opening. The season runs through Jan. 31. Officials are telling hunters to expect to see fewer squirrels, the result of a poor hard mast crop last year. But don’t be discouraged, said wildlife official Curtis Taylor. The state’s squirrel population remains strong and the early season is a great time to introduce kids to hunting, he said.
Saltwater Fishing Tournament
Kenneth Flowers, an angler from Vinton, is the new leader in the sea bass category of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. He entered a 6-pound, 9-ounce catch from the Norfolk Canyon off Virginia Beach. Here are the tournament standings:
* Amberjack: 35 release citations
* Black Drum: 86 pounds, caught by Matthew Hamay, Gloucester, off Fisherman’s Island, 29 citations.
* Blue Marlin: 37 release citations
* Bluefish: four release citations
* Blueline Tilefish: 19 pounds, 8, Rickie Atkins, Ashburn, Norfolk Canyon, 222 citations
* Cobia: 97 pounds, Capt. Josh Jordan, Poquoson, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, 44 citations
* Crevalle Jack: one release citation
* Croaker: 3 pounds, 4 ounces, Richard Mansfield, Midlothian, Rappahannock River, one citation
* Dolphin: 40 pounds, Grant Pruitt, Chesapeake, Cigar, 16 citations
* False Albacore, three release citations
* Flounder: 12 pounds, 12 ounces, Keith Cole, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, 59 citations
* Gray Triggerfish, 5 pounds, 4 ounces, Gary Lawson, Weaverville, N.C., Santore Wreck, 17 citations
* Kingfish: 1 pound, 9 ounces, Robert Gennings, Williamsburg, Hampton Bar, four citations
* Pompano: 1 pounds, 13 ounces, Thomas Riley, Virginia Bach Virginia Beach surf, one citation.
* Red Drum: 356 release citations
* Sailfish: 14 citations
* Sea Bass: 6 pounds, 9 ounces, KIenneth Flowers, Vinton, Norfolk Caynon, 12 citations citations
* Shark: 31 release citations
* Sheepshead: 13 pounds, 13 ounces, Allen Owen, Jr., Virginia Beach, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, 80 citations
* Spanish mackerel, 6 pounds, William Artis, Suffolk, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, two citations.
* Spearfish: two release citation
* Speckled Trout: 14 pounds, 1 ounce, Michael Whittaker, Chesapeake, Elizabeth River, 421 citations
* Striped Bass: 74 pounds (state record), Cary Wolfe, Bristow, off Virginia Beach, 773 citations
* Tarpon: five release citation
* Tautog: 24 pounds, 3 ounces (state record), Ken Neill, III, Seaford, Morgan Wreck, 69 citations
* Tuna (Bluefin): 321 pounds, Jay Barefoot, Hampton, off Sanbridge, 152 citations
* Tuna (other than bluefin) 253 pounds, 6 ounces, John Cullison, Lexington Park, Md., Washington Canyon, 18 citations
* Wahoo: 122 pounds, 1 ounce, Susan Nelson, Whiteford, Md. off Wachapreague, 14 citations.
* White Marline: 211 release citations
Total citations, 2,608
Meetings, seasons and events
* Hunters for the Hungry NASCAR and Outdoor Night, Aug. 23, Lynchburg Hillcats baseball game, Lynchburg City Stadium, game starts 7:05 p.m. $8 or half-price if you wear NASCAR or camouflage apparel, information from www.lynchburg-hillcats.com or www.h4hungry.org.
* Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend, Aug. 24-26, Holiday Lake 4-H Center, Appomattox, classes cover a variety of subjects, from shooting, hunting to cooking wildlife, sponsored by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, ages 11 up, $105 includes meals, lodging and instruction, register at www.holidaylake4h.com/upcoming.
* Friends of the NRA Banquet, Aug. 25, Salem Civic Center, contact Mike Kessler for tickets and information, 540-529-7304.
* Monthly meeting of Smith Mountain Striper Club, 7 p.m., Sept. 7, Moneta Community Center.
* Eastern Regional Championship of the Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 8 and 9, Southampton County Fairgrounds, Franklin, information from www.vpsa.org.
* Hunters for the Hungry Banquet, Sept. 15, Moose Lodge, (Virginia 311) Roanoke County, doors open 5 p.m., $25 singles, $40 couple, kids under 12 free, advanced tickets only, contact Ralph and Lois Graybill, 540-427-5125 or Fred and Phyllis Wells, 540-992-3874.
* Triangle Archery and Whitetail Outfitters 3D archery shoot, New River Valley, Sept. 16, registration 9 a.m. to noon, $12 singles, $25 family, $6 kids, $15 money division, ends 3:45 p.m., range at 1250 Burley Lane, Blacksburg, information from Whitetail Outfitters, 540-381-9790.
* Western Regional Championship and State Championship of Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 22 and 23, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg, check www.vpsa.org.
* H.C. Edwards Chapter of Ruffed Grouse Society Conservation and Sportsman Banquet, Sept. 29, Augusta Expoland, Fisherville (Exit 91 off I-64), social hour and raffles 6 p.m., dinner 7:30 p.m., $55 singles, $75 couples, tickets and information from Kenny Wilkinson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Monthly meeting of Smith Mountain Striper Club, 7 p.m., Oct. 5, Moneta Community Center.
* Monthly meeting of Smith Mountain Striper Club, 7 p.m., Nov. 2, Moneta Community Center.