By Bruce Ingram
Photos by Bruce Ingram
Virginia’s Early Muzzleloader and General Firearms seasons begin in November and garner much of the publicity. But outdoors enthusiasts should also note that the state’s Urban Fishing Program trout season begins on November 1. Brendan Delbos, DGIF State Aquaculture Coordinator, is enthused about the program.
“Perhaps the best kept secret within DGIF’s trout stocking program are the eight urban waters that are stocked as part of the DGIF Urban Fishing Program,” he says. “These waters receive five stockings of rainbow and brown trout between November 1 and April 30. These waters are close to population centers, are easily accessible, and provide an excellent opportunity for new and experienced anglers.
“It’s a great way to experience trout fishing without having to travel to the western part of the Commonwealth. These waters also receive stockings of catfish, bass and bream in the warmer months providing a quality, year round fishing experience.”
New this year is the fact that the DGIF will be announcing the urban stockings a week in advance on the trout stocking section of the website and phone line. The average size of fish released will usually be 10 or 11 inches, but Delbos notes that some citation-size fish will “make it into the mix” as well. “The stockings will be conducted by the Coursey Springs and Montebello hatcheries, so you can expect high quality fish to be released!”
Participants shouldn’t have to worry too much about fishing pressure, either. “We tend to get some regulars but generally speaking it’s an underutilized resource,” Delbos says. “These waters are typically located in city and county parks so they are great locations with activities for the entire family. Also, don’t forget about DGIF’s Tackle Loaner Program, if you are in need of a rod and reel or tackle box, we have you covered. Gear can be loaned from the Regional Offices and many State Fish Hatcheries.”
Eight impoundments are a part of this program: Cook Lake, Alexandria; Armistead Point Park Pond, Hampton; Dorey Park Lake, Henrico County; Locust Shade Park, Prince William County; Old Cossey Pond, Fredericksburg; Northwest River Park, Lake Chesapeake; Shield Lake, Richmond; and Ivy Creek Park Pond, Lynchburg. The limit is four trout per day, no fish less than seven inches.