As I wrote about in my column today in The Roanoke Times, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is in its scoping phase for updating its fishing regulations.
The way it works is the department’s staff has introduced a number of possible regulations changes in order to gauge public sentiment on the issues. Official proposals will come in early June, with the agency’s board taking final action next fall. The effective date of any regs changes will be Jan. 1, 2011. (The department isn’t locked into that date but changes it only for special circumstances.)
A couple of ideas being floated pertain to striped bass — such as the nice one here boated a couple years ago by Travis Patsell — at Smith Mountain Lake. One would eliminate the lure ban on fishing during the spawn in Witcher Creek, aka Cedar Keys. The ban is no longer necessary because the hordes of stripers that were susceptible to snagging no longer congregate in the area. The other would delay by a month the start of the winter slot limit to Nov. 1. The thinking is that potentially warm water could be leading to some release mortality, especially of larger stripers such as those in the 26-36-inch slot, during October.
I also wrote about a couple of potential changes to trout regulations on the Jackson River and Smith River tailwaters.
A couple issues that didn’t make the column are a proposal regarding rules for jug fishing for catfish and implementing a protective slot for smallmouth bass on the Staunton River downstream from Leesville Lake.
All of the issues are posted on the DGIF’s Web site, where a forum also allows comments.
I think most of the proposals make pretty good sense but I’d be curious to hear what you all think about the proposals.