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Outdoors Report - February 29, 2012

 

Outdoorsmen and women should voice their opinion on outdoor issues
VDGIF has an open comment period on several boating, fishing and non-game regulations now, but the comment period will close March 6th. Take the time to let your voice be heard. Many of the fishing issues do not affect our local area but some of the boating and non-game issues do. Check it out at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/regulations/issues-2012/recommendations.asp

Remember the Boater Education Requirement
The law that began in 2007 to have everyone operating a watercraft take a boater safety course is being phased in. Now is a good time to take the course. Anyone operating a boat or PWC MUST have the course by the required time. Here is the phase in schedule:

 

 


PWC/Jet Ski
EVERYONE operating a Jet Ski must have the boater safety card by this July.

Boats 10 hp or larger
Anyone 30 or younger must have a boater safety card by July 1 this year.
Age 40 or younger by July 1, 2013
Age 45 or younger by July 1, 2014
Age 50 or younger by July 1, 2015
All ages by July 1, 2016
More info on the law or courses available can be found at www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/education/requirement/

Remember that the burn law is in effect!
The burn law banning open burning began Feb. 15 and will remain in effect until April 30. No burning before 4 p.m. if the fire is within 300 feet of woods, brush or fields containing dry grass or flammable materials.
According to the VDOF site, the law carries a class 3 misdemeanor penalty and a $500 fine. If the fire gets out of control then those starting the fire are liable for the cost of damages and for putting the fire out.

Local Hunter Education
Registration required at www.huntfishva.com
Minimum age is 10 years of age—classes are free of charge
Classes fill up really fast!
March 10 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Marshall center
8800 Courthouse Rd.
Spotsylvania, Va. 22553
class size- 100  students

Benefit Tournament for Kids Fishing Derby at Motts Run
Icebreaker Tournament held on March 10 from 7:30-3 p.m..
Entry Fee is $25 per team with $5 going towards the big fish. 70% payback with 30% going towards the kids. There is a trophy for the 1st place and big fish.
Rules—Two people per boat, 5 fish limit (culled prior to weigh in) Live well or cooler, 10” or larger, artificial bait only and no drugs or alcohol permitted. Jon boat rentals available. Contact: Ray Thomas 898-7542, Dickie Musselman 785-8087, Steve Tinsley 752-5716.
I don’t normally dedicate space to tournaments but this tournament is for a worthy cause—hooking kids on fishing.
I have been out to the Kids’ Days a few times. The place is alive with kids wanting to see, touch and catch fish. It is a well-run event and heavily attended each year.
If you think you are a good bass angler (or pike angler too) consider going out to Motts during the cold weather to prove it. You won’t find pressured fish but you will have to change up your tactics and your attire to get in the winnings!

Turkey Hunting Seminar
March 17 from 8a.m.-4p.m. at Caledon Natural Area
The course’s objective is to teach inexperienced turkey hunters successful turkey hunting strategies executed in a safe manner.  It is conducted under the auspice of the VA DGIF, Hunter Education Division.  All instructors are certified Hunter Education Instructors and experienced turkey hunters.  Appropriate field wear is required as the class is divided between classroom and practical application in the field.  This is NOT the mandatory hunter ed class but advanced training; however, completion of the hunter ed class is not a prerequisite.
You can register on-line at the DGIF hunter ED website or call Rick Wilks at 540-775-4625.

Kid’s Trout Fishing Day   
March 24 9 a.m.-3 p.m.Old Cossey Pond in Fredericksburg , Adjacent to Kenmore Park
Ages 12 and under Call 540-899-4169 for details
This is a great event for kids. Check the weather and dress accordingly. The trout bite in spurts but earlier and later seem to be better than the middle of the day. On overcast days they bite quite well. Use Berkley Powerbait, spinners, small spoons or nightcrawlers or red wigglers. It gets busy at the pond but people come and go and spots do open up.

Remember, no herring in your bucket!
VMRC imposed a ban on the take of river herring for the foreseeable future. This management decision came down from the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Shad and River Herring. It seems that the federal government has studies that show our river herring numbers at historic lows.
River herring were once so abundant that anyone with some screen, a bit of chicken wire and a stout stick could fashion a net or scoop and lift them out of the water as fast as they wanted. I recall as a child seeing a pickup truck loaded down with them pulling away from the curb on River Road in Fredericksburg. Several fish flopped out onto the street. Other dip netters walked by with their buckets full. I also recall seeing a very well dressed lady come down to the river with a shopping basket. She put the basket in the rapids and let it sit for few minutes. When she lifted it up with a rope it was half full of flopping herring.
Herring have traditionally been salted and “put up” for salt fish breakfasts. You either enjoy the salt fish breakfast and the tradition it is or you cannot stand it. My wife is not fond of the smell of salty fish frying in our house and I suspect that many wives feel the same. However, there is something about a salt fish breakfast that reminds me of spring and the new life it brings.
Additionally, many of us enjoy herring roe (poor man’s caviar) for breakfast. Thankfully, we can still take hickory shad below the fall line on the Rappahannock for the time being. Their roe is larger and actually better in my opinion.
Regardless, be very careful you don’t hook and keep any herring. I suspect many a salt fish breakfast is going to be missed. This tiny silver fish with loose scales are a big draw on the river in March and April. Sales of Sabiki rigs will likely drop too, further hurting local tackle shops who do big business in the spring selling herring and shad tackle. Perhaps the ban on herring will be short and we can once again see the fish come back in a big way.

 

 

Mark Fike

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