Despite the unusual circumstances, the Aquatic Wildlife Resources Division has been quite busy. Field work and hatchery production has been continuing as normal as possible, and have yielded some exciting results. Early reports show that the bass fisheries of Lake Anna and Occoquan Reservoirs are in excellent condition, and worth a trip if you’re in the area. With the delayed bass spawn that we’ve had, bass fishing should be heating up right after spring turkey season wraps up.
Although trout stocking has been hampered by closures, our hatchery staff are still getting the fish into the streams. Anglers are reporting good catches and we have had many submissions to both the citation and the Trout Slam program. The warm water facilities have been busy – we have stocked almost 700K walleye, have more than a million striped bass in our ponds, and in the process of procuring feed trained musky to raise and stock as advanced fingerlings. All of this despite the strange weather we’ve had this spring. Thanks to those who assisted with broodstock collection and stocking.
I want to let everyone know that we have some new faces in the AWRD. In Region 1, we recently hired Clint Morgeson as our Regional Manager. Clint comes to us from North Carolina, and has a varied background that includes work on Asian carp. This makes him well prepared to deal with blue catfish. On the hatchery side of things, we recently hired Lauren Cheeks, who previously worked in Alaska, as a fish culturist at Vic Thomas. I also want to congratulate Marcia Davis over at King and Queen, who was recently promoted to Assistant Manager.
From a policy standpoint, we are still working on the regulatory cycle, which has been delayed several months. We expect the Board to vote on Aquatic regulations in August, with adoption in October. We will seek input from other divisions as needed. We are also making progress towards a larger, more comprehensive approach to managing the blue catfish population in the Chesapeake Bay. We’ve made progress with the Chesapeake Bay Program on plans and options that are likely to reduce the negative impacts of this species while recognizing and preserving sportfishing opportunity.