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The Virginian-Pilot | File 2012
Fingerling largemouth bass await release into Back Bay during a May, 2012, stocking of 150,000 bass.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Saturday marks the second of Virginia's quasi spring trout openers.
Closed to catch-and-keep fishing and to the use of bait since fall, streams in the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Delayed Harvest program will open under regular put-and-take trout regulations.
That means anglers may use bait and can keep up to a limit of six trout per day.
The DGIF put the program in place to create sustainable trout fisheries during cooler months. But, because the streams have little, if any, habitat that can keep trout alive during the summer, the thinking is that anglers might as well get the fish out of the water before the fish are unable to survive.
Anglers are required to possess a fishing license and a trout license to fish Delayed Harvest waters. Free fishing days, June 7-9, do not apply.
Sections of thirteen streams are managed under Delayed Harvest regulations.
Back Bay gets more baby bass
State fisheries officials have stocked 125,000 fingerling largemouth bass into Back Bay, a once stellar fishery that the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is hoping to help revive.
This is the second year of a planned three-year stocking project on Back Bay, which was one of the nation's premier bass fisheries in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s until much of the bay's submerged aquatic vegetation disappeared in the 1980s.
That type of critical bass habitat is making a comeback, and DGIF officials hope that stocking can help kickstart the bass population's recovery.
The fingerlings are about 2 inches long, and state officials will continue to monitor the bay even after the final stocking next spring to track bass survival and growth rates.
The state stocked the 25,000-acre estuary for the first time in 2009, after acquiring some surplus largemouth fingerlings.
Those fish showed excellent growth rates, encouraging biologists to try a three-year stocking program.
Back Bay's potential renewal as a bass hot spot is exciting to anglers given the estuary's rich history.
At its peak the bay produced hundreds of trophy-sized largemouths annually.
In 1980 fishermen registered a high of 240 largemouth bass from Back Bay that weighed 8 pounds or more, then the minimum qualification for an award through the Virginia Angler Recognition Program.
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