Concerned Anglers Can Make a Difference

 

CBAV & VDGIF Restocks Chickahominy River

 

For immediate release July 14, 2005

 

Chickahominy River - After seven months of organizing and fundraising, the Concerned Bass Anglers of Virginia (CBAV) is proud to announce the restocking of the ailing lower Chickahominy River with largemouth bass fingerlings.

 

On July 13 representatives of the CBAV and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) gathered at Chickahominy Riverfront Park and released over 113,000 largemouth bass fingerlings. The baby bass were purchased by the CBAV after intense fundraising efforts garnered a total of $26,000 in six months. Concerned angler, bass clubs and local businesses totaled around $13,000 in donations. Many of the donations were collected at winter sport shows. Others came in anonymous envelopes. Green Top Sporting Goods also collected funds from its customers as well as provided a monthly meeting place for the CBAV.
 

Philip Cornett, owner of Richmond area Topeka Steakhouses, Hooters and Max & Erma's restaurants, created a decal promotion that contributed $2,000 to the effort.

 

 What helped get the effort to its final goal was a major commitment from Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro Shops' Johnny Morris Conservation Creel of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Bass Pro Shops Outdoors, Hampton, Virginia pledged $30,000 to the effort: $10,000 per year for the next three years. CBVA spokesman and Bass Pro Shop pro-staffer Woo Daves noted, "Johnny Morris is fully committed to helping anglers with conservation efforts. He knows the sport has been good to him and wants to give back."

 

 Over 114,000 largemouth bass fingerlings were bought from a fish hatchery in Alabama with the donations. These fish were then transported to a VDGIF hatchery in Font Royal on July 11. There the fish were chemically marked so that VDGIF biologists can identify them in the future. From the hatchery, the fish were transported on July 13 to Chickahominy Waterfront Park on the lower Chickahominy River located on Route 5, via VDGIF hatchery trucks. From this point on, VDGIF District Fisheries Biologist Bob Greenlea's staff worked with CBAV volunteers to restock the river. "This is a unique effort that couldnšt have been done without the money from the CBAV. It will give us a great opportunity to study the effects of stocking largemouth bass in tidal rivers. I look forward to researching its impact," noted Greenlea of the restocking.

 

Before the juvenile largemouths could be released, the water temperature in the hatchery tanks was leveled with the river water temperature. Next, each of the bass boats were outfitted with two 50-gallon plastic trash cans filled with river water. These cans were in-turn hyper-saturated with oxygen, then filled with 12 pounds of bass fingerlings each. Then it was a quick dash to the stocking site by the high-powered boats to get the fish in the river. Detailed release site maps were provided by Greenlea. Fish were transported via bass boat as far up the river as Diascund Creek. Stocking sites include portions of Gordonšs Creek, Morris Creek, Yarmouth Creek, Blackstump Creek, Eagle Bottom and over a dozen other main river locations.

 

Most of the anglers reported excellent viability of the fingerlings as they were placed into the river near grass beds, lily pads, arrow head vegetation, cypress trees and duck blinds. CBAV Chairman Lee said he was pleased with the overall effort. "Wešve come a long way and proved ourselves to many folks. We met our goal of restocking the Chickahominy River. The VDGIF was really supportive. I didn't realize how much work was involved. Bob Greenlea and his staff were excellent. Itšs a win-win situation,"   Lee also reminded anglers that the CBAV will stock other waters in the coming months. "This is not a one-shot deal. We need continued support. This is an ongoing project," noted the Rappahannock River native.

 

CBAV volunteers present for the restocking included: Richard Addy, Gary Conner, Stuart Wood, Mike Muller, Johnny Loving, Roger Fitchet, Chris and Bruce McCotter, Bubba Wray, Bruce Lee, Frank Poirier, Brian Durham, Jim O'Neil, Ed Smiley, Rob Grike and Eric Nelson. Members of the VDGIF that supervised the effort were Bob Greenlea, Eric Brittle, Scott Herrmann, Julia Dixon, Mike Vest and Chris Dalhem.

 

The reason for the restocking effort was due to VDGIF data and angler reports of a near collapse of the largemouth bass fishery in the Chickahominy River. The Chick and other tidal Virginia rivers suffered during the three-year drought period of 2000-2002. As a result of saltwater intrusion, there was no recruitment of largemouth bass into the adult populations. In effect, there were three year class failures in a row. The restocking effort will accompany the successful year classes of 2003 and 2004 and hopefully restore the Chickahominy River to what it once was - one of the best tidal river bass fisheries in the country. Greenlea thinks the stocked bass will reach 12" by next fall.

 

The further effect of this effort should ripple through local businesses likes marinas, motels, tackle shops, convenience stores, etc. over the next few years. In turn, extra revenue generated by these businesses will be put back into sport fishing through government mandated excise tax programs.

 

The CBAV was formed in December 2004 as the result of am informal meeting called by Bruce Lee and Woo Daves with the VDGIF. Over 80 anglers attended and voiced strong concerns at the meeting about current management practices on certain troubled Virginia bass fisheries. Game commission biologists offered their own data on the situation and a dialogue was begun. Soon after, Lee, Daves, McCotter, Johnny Loving, Bill Roberts, Roger Fitchett and Mark Wagy formed the CBAV and set the following mission statement: "The CBAV wants to protect, conserve and improve Virginiašs bass fisheries by offering proactive solutions to known issues, acting as a representative liaison between anglers, the VDGIF and other legislative groups." The first goal to uphold this statement was to begin restocking troubled Virginia waters like the Chickahominy River. The CBAV continues to accept donations for 2006 efforts. Please visit www.cbava.org or call Lee at 540/226-2047 for more info on how to become a member. The next project will be announced soon. The restocking effort should be included in a future edition of Virginia Currents, a program airing on channel 23; Richmond's public broadcasting station. Current Board members of the CBAV include Bruce Lee, Woo Daves, Johnny Loving, C.C. McCotter, Roger Fitchett, Mark Wagy, Bill Roberts and Frank Poirer.

 

Contact info: C.C. McCotter 540/894-5960 photos available upon request

 

C.C. McCotter Editor-In-Chief Woods & Waters Magazine www.woodsandwatersmagazine.com 540-894-5960

 

 

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