OT- Virginia closes striped bass fishery in salt water

The Marine Resources Commission took an important first step to address the striped bass decline and calls on other states to follow suit to protect this crucial species. The Commission voted unanimously (7-0) to enact an emergency closure for the spring recreational striped bass trophy season. For more information see here: http://mrc.virginia.gov/news_releases/2019/MRC_Striped_Bass_PR%20FINAL_4...

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Yea but it's just the Spring season according to that doc. They need a full moratorium for five years, including Maryland, and Omega needs to be shut down and allow the menhaden to recover.

Neither of those will happen though.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Yup unfortunately Omega has voices in the right ears I'm afraid. The moratorium is a big win for the fishery unfortunately for those who enjoy keeping them more may be on the way for a while.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Can those of us who are kind of totally ignorant about fishing and conservation in Virginia get some background on this?

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Yes. I'll keep it as short as possible and it will include a bit of politics.

The striped bass (rockfish) is very popular, if not the most popular sport fish in Virginia. Most definitely in saltwater. They fight well when hooked, used to be very plentiful and taste great to eat.

The sportfishing community in Virginia, as well as Maryland, and other states along the mid Atlantic make money on fishing for these fish. There are two fishing seasons for the big adults (breeding fish). Many captains are paid to take clients out fishing where they are allowed to keep several of the breeding fish during the spring and late fall season. Overfishing has caused the numbers of striped bass to decline, according to those making these decisions. You can find reasonable examples of decline in places like North Carolina, where fall runs of them used to be a common thing. Fisherman could catch them off the beaches. I haven't seen or heard of one being caught in at least a dozen years down there. I have a friend who has read Native American fishing logs in libraries in King William County where a hundred years ago a 90 pound striped bass was a fairly common occurrence in the Chesapeake Bay. These days a 40 pounder is huge and becoming less and less common.

This spring moratorium will result in less breeder fish killed, theoretically. The other component to that is Maryland is on the other half of the Bay, so they will still keep killing those fish in the spring unless they also do a moratorium. The economics / politics of it come into play as captains will lose spring clientele, but on the flip side, this should mean more fish for everyone down the road. Maryland following suit will make Virginia's decision either pretty effective, or not so much. If Maryland anglers continue fishing for those big breeders, they could still take out a lot of them and likely some that Virginians would have caught and kept.

As a fishing guide, this decision is a positive in my eyes, because I don't take clients to fish for the breeder fish and if there are more fish in the upcoming years in the Bay, myself and my clients will have more success. It doesn't hurt me like it may hurt some other spring fishing captains.

The other side of the argument that the politicians do not discuss because of $$$ is what the striped bass eat, which is primarily a baitfish called menhaden. The menhaden is a filter feeder, meaning it keeps the water clean. It is also the main food source of lots of predators, like various species of birds and fish. As nature intends, there was a massive amount of menhaden along the Atlantic seaboard historically because menhaden is at the bottom of the food chain, short of plankton. The Chesapeake Bay is where many of the menhaden breed, thus there used to incredible numbers of them there. The fish is so important a book was written on it, called The Most Important Fish in the Sea. A company called Omega Protein located Reedville, Virginia has been in operation for several decades that nets the menhaden for sale for use in dog food, makeup, fish oil tablets and some other products. They have wiped out an incredible amount of the population of menhaden and if you talk to their captains, they sure seem damn proud of it. This has resulted in the population of menhaden being a fraction of what it used to be naturally. I've read studies where scientists believe it to be at 10% or lower of natural numbers. This means the striped bass natural food is essentially not there. Often times I'll catch stripers with lesions on them, which scientists have shown to be a result of lack of nutrition. Basically, the fish aren't able to eat enough menhaden and must seek out other food sources.

Every state along the eastern seaboard has banned commercial netting of menhaden, except Virginia. The sportfishing community as a whole doesn't like that Omega operates under such freewheeling conditions but no matter what the public wants, the state turns a blind eye to it because Omega pays off the right people in the right political positions. Omega claims the science is all wrong and there are plenty of menhaden in the Bay and Atlantic Ocean. As a captain and guide and fan of the environment, particularly fish, I don't dislike Omega, I absolutely F-ing hate them.

The current debate amongst Bay fishermen is whether the lack of menhaden or overfishing for big breeder is causing the striped bass population to decline. In my opinion, I think it's both, but I lean more heavily to the menhaden side of the argument. Without food, those fish just don't survive or grow. Virginia is taking a step in the right direction to rectify the situation but more help from Maryland is needed. The garbage that is Omega Protein really needs to be taken out so the health of the Bay can inch closer to its natural status quo and thus have more striped bass and other fish species for everyone.

Hope this helps, sorry for breaking the rules and discussing politics. I think the point of French posting this was for those of us in the TKP fishing community and to raise public awareness to the health of the striped bass and Chesapeake Bay in general, without mentioning politics.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Thanks for the detailed response. I'll admit to being extremely ignorant about all this, so this was really helpful.

The fact that Virginia is the only state on the East Coast that hasn't banned commercial netting of menhaden is pretty astounding. I'll just leave it at that to avoid getting political.

Flyguy has pretty much summed it all up. As for not getting political, that ship has sailed if you want to talk menhaden and Omega. The oversight of the menhaden fishery is completely political, and both sides of the aisle have culpability over the years. Why is it so political? Because menhaden are the only fish in Virginia that are under the direct supervision and management control of the Virginia General Assembly. That's right, Omega paid the pols long ago to usurp management from our fisheries professionals and cede it to themselves for the benefit of the deep pockets at Omega. That they are allowing one company to essentially plunder public resources in this matter is definitely political...and definitely wrong.
On the other hand, recreational fishing is also a problem in this current crisis. I have recently read that 90% of the striper harvest in the Chesapeake Bay is credited to recreational fishermen, so denying we're part of the problem while blaming netting and big fish harvest is maybe a bit disingenuous, but regardless, the result is an incipient crash in the entire striper population. Mortality of released fish, and greedy double dipping locals who'll go out in the morning in the fall, catch their limits, then go home for lunch, only to return in the evening for another limit is just one of the many things that occurs, along with folks with false bottoms, hidden coolers, etc., designed to thwart casual oversight.
When I was a kid, stripers were the big thing in the Bay, but by the 70s, those fish were almost nonexistent in the Bay, replaced by schools of chopper blues, which have gone away as the striper fishery was slowly restored by moratoriums, etc. Like flyguy, I have caught those underfed skinny fish in recent years, and the numbers and size available in the fall bears out the need for restriction, lest we return to the days of blues in lieu of stripers.
My humble conclusions include putting Omega out of business with a long term moratorium on netting menhaden, and STRICT ENFORCEMENT of all fishermen, netters and recreational, alike, with an absolute moratorium on taking the big breeders. As long as it is legal, spring or fall, those big fish will be taken, that's just a fact.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

But the funny thing that happens in a lot of the situations you describe is that a restriction will get passed on recreational fisherman, but rarely is there a companion regulation for the industrial side of things. Now I would think the recreational folks would outnumber the industrial folks and could have an impact at the polls, but it never seems to come about...

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Now I would think the recreational folks would outnumber the industrial folks and could have an impact at the polls, but it never seems to come about...

They do, but money talks and Omega has enough of it apparently that it has been very difficult to change so far.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I think something else to add about the situation is that when you put a ban on catching certain fish other species populations get decimated because most people focus on something they can bring home for dinner. Now this won't be as severe because it is just the spring season. It would be a huge shake up if they did a full moratorium as Flyguy suggested. I don't know what people would fish for if striper was out of the equation

Let them eat blues!, I say.
Seriously, though, like flyguy, I would prefer a full moratorium on stripers, but also for some species that have suffered from chronic overfishing, like flounder, stripers, and trout. That's easy for me, because I fish for the fun of it and wouldn't skip a trip based on groceries, but like 3rd says, some folks won't fish for fun fish to catch if they can't take them.
My years on the New made me a firm believer in catch and release and slot limits and some rigorous enforcement as being vital to a fishery that could easily be overfished. Smallmouth are delicious table fare, but most sportsmen, and all guides on the New (well, except for a few from WVA) practice strict C&R, and it never seemed to keep folks from hiring me.
Huge shake up, indeed, but it's time for some long term thinking and that may just need to be serious reduction of harvest, by both recreational, and commercial interests. While I don't care to eat stripers, or trout for that matter, I do like cobia, flounder, reds and croaker, and enjoy eating them, but my freezer isn't going to be full of fish. If folks just fish for food, they might as well get a net, but the fall could be a lot more fun for everyone if we can reverse the decline.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I think we are more in the minority of we would fish for pure catch and release fun. I think getting people to charter for stripers on pure catch and release is low. People are used to keeping and eating striper. They are almost idolized as you have said but not the same way people idolize freshwater bass and a very high percentage don't keep bass. I agree for long term thinking but I'm for 1 fish slot limit. It worked in NC on drum, I think it will work in VA on stripers. I think it finds the balance of guys could still charter fish. Commercial fisherman would also have a reduced amount they can keep. If they close it would be a lot of fun because there would be no pressure on the fish. I can see fish busting now.

I see your point, and so will most of the folks involved, I think. Compromise is the way stuff gets done, but a complete moratorium has been done in the past because the compromises apparently didn't work. I fully acknowledge that I am in a minority on this, and selfishly want better fishing more than fish for dinner. As for drum, I'm all for eating a puppy drum, but the bigger ones aren't most folk's idea of good food, no need to keep a big one except to brag on. Used to be some monster drum in the surf back in the day, when the surf would turn copper and the Indians could spear them from the shore. I know, long ago, far away, but the recovery of the whole drum fishery from a serious crash brought on by overharvest (thanks, Chef Paul Prudhomme) took serious moratoriums on commercial and recreational harvests. The rebound has been fantastic. That stuff works.
I do have feelings for the commercial and sport interests, with the exception of Omega where while I feel for the 300 or so folks that depend on the menhaden harvest I have no care for the interest of the company itself.
Just my take, and I'm not informed enough to be too firm in my opinion.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Totally agree with you on moratorium working for reds. It needs to happen for stripers and menhaden.

Omega where while I feel for the 300

Half of those are part-time jobs. I know two of the employees and based on their attitudes towards the environmental health of the Bay, I don't feel bad for any of them if Omega goes out of business. And one of those two guys is a Hokie and fraternity brother of mine.

As for the others, if I was in charge, there's plenty of gubmint money handed out freely, they can have a small stipend for forcing Omega out of business. The amount of money created by having a much better fishery would far overwhelm that amount paid to those people.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

If half of those jobs are part time, they still must make a decent amount of money. The average salaried employee makes over a hundred grand, so those are tough jobs to replace. I feel for anyone losing their jobs, but feeling ain't dealing and I understand those folks being as protective as they can be, especially since they reject the science of overharvesting. Wishing those folks would realize the reality of their harm is a fool's errand, especially these days. My compassion, however, stops there. Omega Protein is a greedy and insidiously harmful company making a fortune on our dwindling public resource. Agreed that we should shut them down and try to cushion the economic blow as best we can for them and the folks that rely on their business in Reedville, but I ain't agonna hold my breath.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I can remember eating bluefish growing up. Is that no longer a thing?

"Tajh Boyd over the middle . . . and it's caught for an interception! Michael Cole, lying flat on his back, ARE YOU KIDDING???"

it is, just have to prepare it differently than most fish.


.and Whit puts on his batting gloves and steps up to the plate....

I know we ate a lot of them growing up, but we never did figure out how to consistently produce good table fare from the bigger ones. Under a pound or so, their filets fry up perfectly well, and are as good in a big fryer as most other pan sized fish. We had to feed 10 at a beach house one year, and while we found some croaker, spot and whiting, little snapper and tailor blues were the bulk of our semi-panic harvest as we desired to avoid supplementing with bought fish. Essentially, with the exception of we who caught and cleaned them, nobody could tell the difference between the blues and the others, and we could by configuration, not taste. They were great, and all concurred.
I have actually enjoyed a few dinners made with 10-14 lb bluefish that were cooked by an accomplished chef with some complicated toppings and some broiling, but I've never done better than "meh" with fish over a couple of pounds, myself. They still love bluefish up Nawth, though, and I'm sure coastal families still eat them readily.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

As I recall, these were some pretty large fish, and my mother would bake them whole. There may have been some pre-soaking involved, but I may be confusing bluefish with shad roe here. Anyway, her bluefish always turned out really good, which is kind of funny considering my mother, a Nelson County gal, NEVER ate seafood of any kind. But she learned to cook oysters, fish roe, and all kinds of fish for my dad, and really well. Thinking back, I'm sure his mother, my grandmother, must have taught her. Our Northern Neck roots run deep, and seafood is practically in our DNA.

I'll try to remember to ask my dad and some of my older cousins about it.

"Tajh Boyd over the middle . . . and it's caught for an interception! Michael Cole, lying flat on his back, ARE YOU KIDDING???"

Now this is kinda weird, I grew up a NN'er and both my mom's parents are from Montebello in Nelson Co.

I lived for almost ten years in Nelson. On 151 on the side of Afton Mt. and that vicinity.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Holy bluefish, that is weird! How in the world was there another Nelson County native in the NN and my mother not know about it? You know how it is there — it seemed we knew everyone, and were related to half of them.

My mother was from Faber, just off 29 north of Lovingston. Her roots in the area ran almost deep as my dad's in the NN. I'll actually be heading up that way next week for the first time in ten years, to spend some time with the last remaining family member of her generation.

It wouldn't surprise me if we are related on at least one side. Feel free to contact me at 4him8792 at gmail com if you'd like to compare notes.

"Tajh Boyd over the middle . . . and it's caught for an interception! Michael Cole, lying flat on his back, ARE YOU KIDDING???"

You have to go all the way up Rt. 56 almost to the parkway to get where my kin lived. My Grandmother's sister owned a small farm that bordered the parkway.

Smoked Bluefish is delicious

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

A serious omission on my part not to mention that. Delicious, indeed.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I am still stunned by how much weight the argument of "all of the many scientific studies are wrong/incorrect, I can tell with my eyes/experience" still seems to carry. Experts in a field of research will spend years measuring and analyzing and the results get ignored because average citizen won't take the time to try to comprehend a complex topic. I guess the twitter-sized counter-argument is easier to digest and therefore believe?

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Yep. They don't care that two anecdotes don't make a data.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm somewhat stunned by the treatment of complex topics in the media, which often boil the topics down to simple partisan politics and polling that cater to people's most basic primal instincts.

How often do we read an article about a topic that consists of a biased headline and no substance whatsoever about the actual topic? Hint: probably more often than many of us realize. Many articles seem placed only to give people their adrenaline hit for the hour, but little actual knowledge of a subject.

Try a simple test: Ask yourself "What do I now know about this topic that I didn't know before I read this article?" Then ask yourself "Was this article just designed to push my buttons?" You'll be amazed.

The "media", whatever they may be, are merely catering to their financial base by dumbing down topics from complex to just enough to keep uninterested and uninformed people reading a little further. Folks don't want complex anymore, if they ever did. For that, exists the scientific publications, etc.
I find that it also matters and depends largely on where folks go for news. If you don't seek, you usually don't find, and if you don't listen, you don't hear. Or in the words of Paul Simon, "A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest."

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Can menhaden be raised via aquaculture? If it is so important to the ecosystem and to Omega seems like a good solution. As a filter fish it should be easier to farm them than an open swimmer.

I'll probably look this up later on google. Any info though would be interesting.

I doubt it. They need some serious space to cover.

Aquaculture brings its own environmental issues as well.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Well they farm salmon so should be possible.

Environmental issues are moot because they both have those problems. Farmed fish would give Omega the fish they need for business and let the Bay be managed. Farmed fish can have less nutritional benefits but they are processing for oil and other byproducts so could work I assume. Could be way off though

I don't have the science, but what seems to occur, usually, with those smaller filter feeders, as it seems to be with most "bait" types of fish like menhaden, is that they are fairly short lived, and therefore prolific breeders. If Omega would leave them alone in the Bay, they'd likely exponentially repopulate their native system pretty quickly. As for Omega farming them, like flyguy said, there's a cost there as well. They must be fed and they must eliminate waste, just for starters. I also have no idea of what it would take to farm the volume of menhaden Omega relies on for their business, or if they would even consider doing so when they can get them by just buying them ready to process. But I'm all for whatever will return the Bay closer to what it used to be before we screwed it up, though I know that's a pipe dream for my lifespan. And as long as commercial interests blame reduced harvests on regulation, not depletion, it'll be an incremental, uphill battle. There are folks out there who'd take the last crab, last oyster, and the last striper in the Bay and claim they'd have caught more if it weren't for the government.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Just curious, but was the menhaden population in crisis even before Omega came along? I left the area a long time ago, but I definitely remember the smell of Reedville during menhaden season. People always said it was the smell of money, and they weren't joking.

This is a really interesting (and saddening) subthread, and I thank everyone who has raised my awareness of the situation. South Carolina may be home now, but I'll always be a Virginia girl at heart. I feel bad for not knowing about this already.

"Tajh Boyd over the middle . . . and it's caught for an interception! Michael Cole, lying flat on his back, ARE YOU KIDDING???"

I don't know about the population prior to Omega. I'd be willing to take a guess that it was not at 10% of its historic/natural size.

I definitely remember the smell of Reedville during menhaden season. People always said it was the smell of money, and they weren't joking.

This makes me cringe thinking about the captains I know who work for Omega. Greedy bastards.

If you're out on a boat on the water and there's a big enough school of menhaden nearby, you can indeed smell them in the air. It's a pretty distinct smell and certainly not bad.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I caught a juvenile striper near Oregon Inlet (Nags Head) November 2017, so they are out there if definitely in smaller numbers.

I caught one about that size in Oregon Inlet probably 15 years ago. That's a rare fish.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Yes they are out there. Been a couple 40" stripers out of the surf this spring in OBX. It's more of a look into the future and put in regulations so we always have stripers to catch.

100% agree!

How/will this affect SML?

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

It doesn't.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Saltwater- it impacts tidal rivers and the Bay up to two miles into the Atlantic.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

See above. All landlocked stripers are stocked and essentially put and take as a fishery. Without annual stocking, there would be no striper fishery in SML or any inland water not directly connected to the ocean. The populations are controlled by the bag limits and number of stocked fish. Same goes for hybrids.

That's what I thought. I knew they stocked and, admittedly, didn't read the article.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

So striper don't reproduce in SML? I never knew this. I've never targeted or caught a striped bass in my life and know nothing about them. But I guess I assumed that fish of that size had to reproduce rather than just get stocked then get fat.

Not all. Lake Meade in 1973 quit stocking them because they verified natural reproduction, according to Wikipedia. I have read the same about other lakes/rivers in the past. Most cannot spawn because of various reasons, temperature, flow, bottom where spawning, etc., but some of them do, in fact, successfully spawn in freshwater.

Edit: Got interested and found conflicting reports of hybridization of stripers/white bass. Some say it don't, some say it do. Don't care enough to go seriously diving into it, but it does look like while not common, it does occur. Would appreciate a fisheries grad to hop in here and straighten me out. VT has 'em, where they at when we need 'em?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Our planet is in real trouble.

This is just one example of humans exploiting a resource far too much. There's numerous other fisheries across the world in as worse, if not worse shape.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

"To hunt a species to extinction is not logical"

Fisheries management hasn't helped their own cause. I am not opposed to this closure, although Virginia acting unilaterally without Maryland or the rest of the ASMFC following suite will limit the impact. Also, the bigger issue is the mortality rate for the larger schoolies caught during the summer when there is way more pressure in the upper Bay.

The opposite story is cobia management. The management decisions that were made to restrict that fishery (which has been spectacular the last few years) with embarrassingly incomplete data really damaged the managers credibility with recreational fishermen. Plus, the restrictions on catch drove more fishermen to pursue species which are much more susceptible to pressure (trout, spadefish, flounder, sheepshead etc.) The increase in cobia will ultimately have an impact on blue crab harvests (my last big keeper had 36 calico crabs in his belly.)

Now, while the SAFMC is claiming that cobia are in trouble, they are also paying $100 for tags recovered from cobia. That announcement drove a ton of extra traffic to the Cobia Public Policy facebook group, which is an indication that the announcement will promote additional pressure. I have fought hard, and at great expense to keep the fishery open based on currently available information because it is the right thing to do, even though I like to catch and release them and would have much less pressure around me if the seasons were closed. Damned-able irony.

As for rockfish, I honestly don't know enough to know. It seems like there are a ton of small fish but very few "medium sized" fish (20-30 inches). The big ones are around for folks who are willing to soak the eels in the right spots, but I have no idea if those numbers are up or down. I will go with the folks who chase them more than me, and the consensus is that this is a good thing. Works for me.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

^This is definitely an important part of this conversation. Although the blue crabs are thick right now in the mobjack, the past few years they have declined overall in the bay and it's tributaries because rockfish, cobia, etc. have been feeding more on crabs since the menhaden population has declined.

As a sidebar, the dumb blue cats that have haunted the York River have now made their way into the Rapp and closer to the bay and are also crushing the crab population. From what I have heard people aren't commercially fishing for blue cats because there are strict regulations on how they need to be sold/cleaned/monitored by food and health administration that nobody wants to deal with it. These are the fish we should be paying commercial fisherman to go after. Better yet, let's zap the rivers and shovel them out!


Don't mean to be argumentative, but you got me wondering about the blues. Haven't caught one yet here, but I guess the day is coming. I got the old google machine fired up and it does seem that there is a developing commercial harvest and market for them. One article I read said that the market harvest is limited to fish under 30", because the bigger ones live long enough to store toxins, but the smaller ones have been declared safe. Seafood markets and restaurants are selling blue cats and most accounts say they're delicious.
Problem with that is that the darned things grow to prodigious weights and eat like pigs, and the bigger ones are usually released by anglers to keep doing it.
Sounds like to me, a netter could make money on them if they're smaller fish, but like the cow nosed rays the seafood folks tried to market as "Chesapeake Ray" and push, if the public doesn't demand it, the commercial folks won't be able to market it.
And as for eradication, not gonna happen. That horse left the barn back in the '70s when those idiots transplanted them to Virginia. Eradication will occur when we get that wayback machine invented.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It just hit me. Omega should turn their focus to blue cats and just wipe those out instead of menhaden. Everyone wins there.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I haven't caught the catfish myself in the Rapp but I have heard from recreational fisherman that they have caught them in the Rapp recently. I have also heard from watermen that there are loads of them at the mouth of the York right now. They are also the same ones who have told me why they don't net them - too much red tape for the buyers. I think the people do want to eat catfish but the buyers don't want to deal with them over other fish they could be selling. The red tape might be related to what you are referring to with the toxins.

Anyways, I do agree that it might be too late to stop them, but we need to at least try. I really don't understand why it's not a bigger issue to people right now. Even in the past 5 years I have noticed their numbers growing significantly. I almost never catch channel cats anymore.


I really don't understand why it's not a bigger issue to people right now.

To the common non-fisherman, the only thing they have read about in the news are snakeheads. No one knows anything about the cats unless they are hardcore fishing unfortunately.

I think the state should be charged with getting them out since they put them in there. They certainly make an effort to get rid of brown trout from a few streams in SNP.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Agreed - state/VIMS/etc. should come together with a plan.


They are coming. Friends at Sandy Point caught them all spring (in the open Bay) and we were catching them on jigs at Calvert Cliffs. That is water that will have bluefish in a few weeks.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

70% of the biomass of the lower James is now Blue Catfish.

They are 10000% worse than the supposed awful Snakeheads, but no one in the media wants to report that.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Catch a Blue cat in the James down river of Hopewell and he is probably full of Kepone. Not something I want to eat.

Yikes. These guys could dine with Monsanto.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Solution for blue cats, use the big ones for dog food or cat food at least or fertilizer or something. Damned things have wrecked the James as a bass fishery and whipped out the bluegill population

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

if this is the same blue cat that exists in coastal southeast Louisiana, flavor-wise the small ones are as good as a channel cat to eat, if not better.

That's what the restauranteurs are saying as well. Just gotta get folks made aware. Channel cats are fine fare.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

back in the day, living in southwest Louisiana, a friend made 3 wooden slat traps, baited them, i believe, with cheese and would sometimes catch over hundred channel catfish (like 12" fish) just leaving them out overnight in Bayou Teche just west of the Atchafalaya basin near St Martinville.

don't know why that wouldn't work on blue cats

edit: like this


Did y'all ever get alligators in the traps or getting into the traps?

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

After talking with one VGDIF rep at the fly fishing show this weekend, it sounds like they don't think the Blue Cats are as big of an issue as us fisherman make them out to be. I was pretty disappointed at essentially being told that I need to educate myself more on them. Sigh.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

While I hope that's true, I don't always trust VDGIF to be totally right on some issues. A friend had a classmate who worked for one of the Western states' fisheries programs who said Virginia's DGIF was generally regarded as "not up to snuff" to put it kindly, and was known for generally being reactive, rather than proactive in nature. Dunno, myself, but maybe the blue cats are like the snakeheads, here to stay, but not necessarily the boogeyman either. We can only hope, I guess.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

To be honest, I thought people were overreacting in the past about them taking over the Bay in the past. I would have agreed with you on taking over the James and eating most of the bait sources. Now, I've seen more and more reports of people catching way down river. So it is definitely a problem.

Sounds like a bunch of hand-waving. It's definitely a problem.


But what about all those keypones and other pollutants? Of course, we could just label them something exotic and sell them to our enemies, right? Either way, I might waver on the cat if it was cheap enough, but I'd never feed that crap to my precious dogs, and I'd bet a pretty penny you wouldn't either.
Same thing applies to big flatheads in the New River system. You just aren't supposed to eat more than a serving a month or some such. Man, have we screwed up our planet or what?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

As someone from the mountains who has fished in the bay once 25+ years ago when I wasn't even a decade old, recent research surprised me when I learned the bay is brackish not saltwater and that blue cats could live pretty much all over the bay. That's a scary thought considering their predatory acumen and the lack of natural predators. I'm not confident in the future native fisheries in the bay if blue cats are allowed to continue their advance in this environment.