Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WV Trout Stocking Changes

West Virginia's trout stocking begins Jan. 4; WVDNR announces changes for 2016

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The 2016 trout stocking season that begins Monday, Jan. 4, will see several changes, according to Bret Preston, assistant chief for the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.
Seven streams and one pond have been removed from the 2016 trout stocking schedule. These streams are either too small, have very limited angler access, few stocking locations, poor trout habitat, or a combination of these characteristics.
These streams include Deer Creek in Nicholas County, Long Marsh Run in Jefferson County, Lower Cove Run in Hardy County, Mill Run of Back Creek in Berkeley County, both the North and South forks of Fishing Creek in Wetzel County, and South Fork of Potts Creek in Monroe County. The smaller of the two Larenim Park lakes was removed from the stocking list due to the lack of adequate vehicle access.
Buffalo Creek in Clay County has been added to the stocking schedule. Remediation from historical mining activities, habitat improvement, and acquisition of public access made it a great candidate for put-and-take trout stocking. DNR personnel will stock Buffalo Creek in a 3.75-mile section in the Swandale Road area on a monthly stocking schedule.
The 2016 fishing regulations brochure, available at license agents, WVDNR offices and online at, lists which waters will receive one stocking during January. The stocking schedule is dependent upon weather and road conditions.
DNR Wildlife Resources personnel will start stocking at a high rate to promote trout distribution during periods of good stream flow. Reducing the number of trout in the hatcheries early in the year helps promote trout growth and provides larger fish for anglers throughout the entire spring stocking season, which concludes May 31.
Anglers can call the Fishing Hotline at 304-558-3399 or visit the website at to find out which streams and lakes have been stocked each day. Anglers also are reminded that new fishing licenses are required for 2016 and may be purchased at a license agent or online at    
Anglers are also encouraged to check out DNR's online interactive map at The map indicates which streams and lakes are stocked, the stream section that is stocked, special fishing regulation areas, and driving directions to stocked waters.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sportfishing Industry Lists 2015 Top Recreational Fishing Advocacy Accomplishments

Sportfishing Industry Lists 2015 Top Recreational Fishing Advocacy Accomplishments
Significant progress made in several key areas for recreational fishing’s future
Alexandria, VA – December 15 – 2015 - Over the course of 2015, numerous legislative, public policy and advocacy activities occurred that will have a lasting impact on recreational fishing’s future. The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) today recounted seven of the top recreational fishing advocacy accomplishments of 2015.
“I’m extremely proud of ASA’s efforts to promote fisheries conservation and access to help ensure a strong future for our industry,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “While we certainly face many challenges in the future, our work in 2015 leaves us well-positioned to face those challenges and build upon the positive social, economic and conservation values that recreational fishing provides to the nation.”
Sport Fish RestorationSport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Reauthorization
This month, Congressional conferees reached a five-year agreement to operate and fund national highway and surface transportation. As part of this agreement, ASA, along with its partners in the Angling & Boating Alliance, prevailed in securing approximately $600 million per year for the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, nearly 60 percent of which goes towards fisheries conservation programs. The conference agreement cleared the House and Senate on December 3, and the President signed it into law on December 4.
KFFIndustry Unites to Keep Florida Fishing
ASA’s board of directors determined that an initiative specific to Florida was needed to ensure that anglers and the industry’s priorities were taken into consideration when polices or decisions were made that impact recreational fishing in the number one recreational fishing state in the U.S. Working with its partners in Florida, ASA launched the Keep Florida Fishing initiative, with the goal of ensuring that Florida’s resident and visiting anglers have clean water, abundant fisheries and access to both. ASA hired a Florida-based coalition manager and fisheries policy director for this effort.
Magnuson StevensFederal Marine Fisheries Law Passes House 
This past June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary statute governing the nation’s marine fisheries. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), contained several provisions including: promote transparency and science-based review of fishery allocations; help to ensure fisheries aren’t unnecessarily closed by provided limited exceptions for annual catch limits; collect and incorporate better angling data and improve the accuracy of fish stock information through greater involvement by the states; and provide NOAA Fisheries the authority to implement better management practices for recreational fishing.
EvergladesEverglades Management Plan Balances Access and Conservation
The recreational fishing and boating community expressed its collective appreciation to Everglades National Park officials for making meaningful progress to improve habitat conservation while allowing for public access in the final Everglades General Management Plan (GMP). Park officials worked closely with members of the recreational fishing and boating community to identify ways to better facilitate fishing access while minimizing boating impacts to important habitat, namely seagrass.
Capitol HillSportfishingPAC Gives Industry a Stronger Voice on Capitol Hill
In 2015, ASA reinvigorated its Political Action Committee, the SportfishingPAC, to raise funds from ASA member company executives and professional personnel to support Congressional elections and re-election campaigns of Members of Congress who support the interests of the recreational fishing community. Over the course of the year, SportfishingPAC supported 32 pro-sportfishing candidates, with a roughly even split between the House and Senate and Democrats and Republicans.
NOAA WrapupNOAA Unveils National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy
This past February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) unveiled a national saltwater recreational fishing policy which was greeted enthusiastically by sportfishing and boating leaders. ASA had urged the agency to develop a saltwater recreational fishing management policy and provided comments to inform the final policy. The first-of-its-kind, the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy was one of the key recommendations of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, of which ASA was a contributor.
Congressional VisitSportfishing Industry Leaders Meet with Congressional Members
This past April, recreational fishing industry leaders met with Members of Congress to advocate not just for the industry’s business interests, but for the entire recreational fishing community as part of the annual spring Government Affairs Committee meeting. Committee members met with more than two dozen Members of Congress or their staff, including leadership of key Congressional committees that oversee fisheries and natural resource management. Committee members are also ASA members and represent a wide spectrum of the industry and the sportfishing community.
“These positive efforts, and many others, have created a strong foundation for the future,” said Nussman. “We still have many significant legislative and policy issues to address in 2016 and beyond, such as passage of the Sportsmen’s Act; fixing the current mismanagement of Gulf of Mexico red snapper; and preventing unwarranted marine monument closures to recreational fishing.”
“Being successful in these areas and others will require an active and united recreational fishing community who are all pulling in the same direction,” Nussman concluded.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice, speaking out on behalf of sportfishing and boating industries, state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups and outdoor journalists when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring social, economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through KeepAmericaFishing™, our angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 800,000 people.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


I think that was a Little Feat song. I just pulled it from somewhere in the back of my mind. It just seems appropriate. Yes, it is here. Bleak dreary horizons and naked skeleton trees; the shades of gray have taken over. Some lucky inhabitants get to hibernate. The fortunate ones migrate. The rest just exist.
I had seen and endured all of the snow I ever needed to see by the time the seventies were over. I have to admit that when I lived in places where it didn’t snow; it was pretty nice to get a little shot of snow and cold, on rare occasions. I like wintertime beaches when nobody else is there. I guess that as we age our tolerance for inconveniences diminish. Winter and the dead of summer are to two most unwelcome things in my life. I get no pleasure from either.
The December day I dread most is that day when I harvest the last deer I need for the freezer. That is the day I know it is over. Nothing to do until it is time to dig some ramps. I don’t tend to run on the same calendar as most of you do. I know that winter doesn’t officially begin until almost Christmas. Thanksgiving week is the start of winter to me. The last days of harvest time are closing in. It seems to me that the only things we do around here are get ready for winter and endure winter. Blah.
We tend to hear a lot from the outdoor type experts about layering for the cold temperatures. I have heat in the house and heat in my vehicle. I have wool behind the seat of my truck. I can run the snow blower with my ventilators and wool socks just fine. I can make a couple of mad dashes to fill up the birdfeeders. I love wool and have all that I need, but I’m not planning on staying out in that mess any longer than I have to. The only layers I need are layers in the freezer; they start with ramps and asparagus and end with venison. There are lots of fillers in between. Those are the only layers I worry about.
I guess the only thing I like about winter is when the Great Lakes freeze over and we get an interesting push of waterfowl into our area. I always look forward to the opportunity to see some rarities. The anticipation of the unexpected is the one thing that keeps me out there in the frigid months; searching for spots of open water. Several years ago I found a spot where I could watch a flock of wild turkeys ice skate across the river to a stand of oak trees. They made the trek nearly every day. That was my favorite sight to see during the winter and I never told anyone about it until just now. The oaks were cut down this spring. Just another memory, now.

I’m not a total scrooge and I hope that everyone wanting a white Christmas gets their wish. You can even have it right into the New Year; but that should be enough. So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if I don’t win the Powerball; I’ll still be here.

This is my article for the December 2015 issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c)2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved

Virginia Deer Attractants

The Outdoor Report

Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia – Alert to ALL Virginia Hunters…

To Virginia’s Deer Hunters,
As all of you hopefully know by now, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries adopted a new regulation effective this fall that made it illegal to possess or use deer scents and lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.  The Department took this proactive action to help minimize the risk of introducing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into new areas in Virginia.  CWD poses a real and significant risk to Virginia’s deer herd.  It could also have a devastating impact on deer hunting which generates over $500 million dollars annually to the state’s economy.
Over the past months, there have been several articles in Virginia newspapers or in the national outdoor press by persons questioning the need for, and the science behind, Virginia’s CWD urine ban.  Unfortunately, these writers have based their opinions on distortions of the facts and truth about CWD.  The most basic fact that is omitted from these articles is that nearly all of the critics of the Virginia urine ban who have taken time to write have direct economic ties to the captive deer industry.  To quote Upton Sinclair, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”  Let’s take a look at a few of their CWD facts and science.
The first item the urine ban naysayers will mention is research that suggests CWD transmission by urine is a low risk.  Low risk is not zero risk.  What they fail to mention is the rest of the story.  The infectious agents that cause CWD (prions) are shed by CWD-infected deer in urine, saliva, and feces and saliva and feces are reported to be higher risk than urine.  Deer urine is collected from captive deer by housing these deer on grates or slatted floors, and any other fluids shed by these deer (saliva, feces, etc.) are also collected.  Consequently, these deer urine products also contain both deer saliva and deer feces.  Furthermore, research has clearly demonstrated that environmental contamination from CWD-infected materials (urine, saliva, and/or feces) will continue to transmit CWD for years.  No CWD-infected animals even need to be present, only the environmental contamination from CWD-infected urine, saliva, and/or feces.
The second assertion the critics of the urine ban make is that the urine only comes from captive deer herds that have been continuously monitored for CWD for five consecutive years and are considered certified deer herds.  This statement is false.  Deer urine is not a regulated industry or product and there is no federal or state agency that can certify deer urine based products as CWD-free.
In fact, there is no CWD-free captive deer certification or monitoring program.  The five-year CWD monitoring program the urine supporters frequently mention is a loose reference to a voluntary national US Department of Agriculture (USDA) CWD captive herd certification program that was initiated in 2012.  Under this USDA program captive deer herds that have been monitored for at least five consecutive years are certified “as low risk for CWD”.  This national CWD monitoring program is administered by individual states whose state CWD monitoring programs are USDA approved.  Unfortunately, since 2012 CWD has been detected in at least four captive deer herds that were certified as low risk for CWD.   A fifth CWD certified captive deer herd withdrew from their state/USDA CWD monitoring program and was found to be CWD positive several months later.  When this fifth deer pen was depopulated 80% of the deer in it were CWD positive.  The national USDA CWD herd certification program commonly cited as the captive deer industry’s safety net is not mandatory and, more importantly, recent CWD events clearly show that it does not and cannot guarantee that captive deer herds are CWD-free.
Lastly, the most outlandish of the critics of the urine ban assertions is that the captive deer industry deer herds are less of a CWD risk than wild free-ranging deer.  To date, CWD has been found in more than 140 captive deer herds in 16 states and two Canadian provinces.
Over the past twenty plus years, the Department’s deer management staff has taken deer management positions and enacted regulations to be as proactive as possible with regards to trying to keep CWD out of Virginia.  Our goal with the urine ban is to minimize the risk of introducing CWD into new areas in Virginia to protect the long-term health of the Virginia deer herd and to protect our wild free-ranging fair chase Virginia deer hunting heritage for the current and future generations.

Matt Knox
Deer Program Coordinator
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries