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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
BILL: I read the letter from "anonymous" last week (Bill Cochran Mailbag) who complained about the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' method of trout stocking. Many of us who regularly fish the Smith River (in Henry County) whole-heartedly agree.
A little over a year ago, the Smith River Chapter of Trout Unlimited sent a letter to DGIF suggesting it coordinate Smith River stocking with the Philpott Dam generation schedule. Our letter in part said:
"Better distribution or spreading (of trout) can be accomplished on the Smithy by coordinating of stocking time with the generation schedule. If stocked during generation, hatchery-reared trout will not pool up at the bridges and other easy access areas as is currently the case. They will move downstream with the flow until they eventually find a rock or eddy of their own choosing. They'll still be available to fishermen but they won't all be as easy to catch as when pooled up on the downstream side of a bridge.
"Any fish stocked in or just ahead of the surge will be moved downstream considerable distance before it adapts to its new surroundings. If they stock behind the surge or several hours ahead of the surge, 50 percent of the fish will be gone before the truck returns to the hatchery."
We did not receive a response to our letter. I have since passed it on to a friend at DGIF who passed it to the hatchery manager. The verbal feedback was they would look into it, but personnel shortages make any changes difficult.
I recently talked with some of the locals, some of whom actually follow the stocking truck, and the majority would welcome the opportunity to help spread the fish out. I see this as a win-win for everyone. Whatever you think of people who regularly follow the stocking truck, most are good people who purchase a license just like everyone else. We want to include them in the protection and management of the resource. Allowing local volunteers to form "bucket brigades" will instill a sense of pride and ownership with the fish and the river.
BILL: Although I do not have a "dog in this chase," I find myself on the side of the fox hunters (in the debate over foxhound enclosures).
I have a neighbor who is big into rabbit hunting. He belongs to a club near Lynchburg that maintains an enclosure in which they train their rabbit dogs. It is set up much like the fox enclosures.
The whole idea behind it is to have a safe area to train their dogs. It is not to kill the rabbits. The same is true of the fox hunters. Killing the rabbits or foxes would not benefit the hunters, for without them they would have no chase.
To me, this is just another attempt by a certain segment of our population to do away with all hunting. I would hope the game commission would continue to be supportive of the rights of hunters in general. It is the hunter who helped established this country in the beginning, and who has defended it on all fronts to this day.
READER INPUT: Shannon Wheeler of Missile Baits in Salem informed me that I had incorrect information on Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews of Salem in last week's Cochran Field Reports. I credited Crews with two Elite titles, when in reality he has won one, the Duel in the Delta in California, March 14, 2010.
Address questions/comments to Bill Cochran at email@example.com.
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