If you’ve ever joined me on the River Steward skiff, you know I like fishing stories. As a boy growing up through the striped bass moratorium, good fishing tales filled a void left by the closed fishery. 2015 has provided us with stories of hope on the Rappahannock River, and I’ll do my best to offer some scientific or photographic evidence of these tales!
Earlier this year, Virginia announced that oyster harvests topped 500,000 bushels in 2014! And this fall, Gov. Terry McCauliffe opened Virginia’s
Oyster Trail, offering a taste of our seafood AND our river culture, from tong to tongue!
In November, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
released its annual juvenile striped bass survey. Virginia numbers
continued an upward trend, with juvenile abundance index numbers hovering just above the average of all data collected since 1967.
On the water, we’re catching a lot of “tail squeeze” 20-inch rockfish that are part of the extraordinary juvenile class of 2011. These fish are fun to catch AND good for stories, but they aren’t quite big enough to take home for dinner. Remember, the Virginia Marine Resource Commission extended the striped bass minimum-size limit to 20 inches this fishing season.

And finally, this fall local waterman Wayne Fisher caught and released a 5-foot sturgeon from his pound nets in the Rappahannock River, just above Fones Cliffs. This visit from an ancient Friend of the Rappahannock should be taken as a sign of
progress and hope as we work towards a healthier and cleaner Rappahannock River in 2016.

By Richard Moncure, FOR River Steward

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Seine Survey.jpg

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Sturgeon on the Rapp.jpg

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