Skip to Main Content

From the Aquatics Division

Spring is the busiest time of year for the Aquatics Division – biological sampling is ramping up, hatcheries are producing warm water fish, and trout stocking is at its peak. If you get the chance to spend some time assisting us with our work, please reach out to your colleagues and join us for a day on the water.

Division Director Mike Bednarski was lucky enough to get out to Vic Thomas a few weeks ago and assist (well, to watch and ask questions, mostly) our dedicated staff during walleye spawning. The fish in those tanks represent the future of Virginia’s walleye fishery and contain fishing stories that have yet to be told. After seven years with the agency, Mike is still amazed by the walleye fishery and what it offers to anglers.

You may have noticed that the Aquatics Division has been taking a track that focuses on the economic impact of freshwater fishing in Virginia. Recreational freshwater fishing generates nearly $600 million in economic impact and supports more than 4,000 jobs in Virginia. We’ve been highlighting the fact that many of our fisheries – including inland striped bass, walleye, and stocked trout – would not exist without DWR’s efforts and the efforts of our hatchery system. We believe this helps to justify the “why” in all that we do to folks who may not go fishing and to better demonstrate how strategic investments into our program will pay off to local communities.

From an operational perspective, we’re in the middle of our regulation cycle and are in the process of considering general comments that were submitted during the scoping period. We received about 170 comments, which is about the average. The most commented item was stocked trout, which is usually the most commented on issue. Our constituents also expressed concerns on emerging issues such as bass stocking, the impact of new sonar technology on our fisheries, and concerns about wild trout. These are all items that our biologists are actively working on better understanding.

Before we forget, we want to highlight some new additions to the team. Welcome Hannah Schul, who joins DWR as the Environmental Services Manager. We also welcome some new folks in the hatchery system: Marcia Davis, who was promoted to manager at King and Queen, Lauren Cheeks, who was promoted to assistant manager at Vic Thomas, Caleb Price is our new assistant hatchery manager at Front Royal, Maleah Manion was promoted to Fish Culturist at Paint Bank, and Adam Porter is our new culturist at Wytheville.  Lastly, to continue our important work in Human Dimensions for the agency, Mallory White has been promoted to Human Dimensions Program Manager, after serving as DWR’s Survey Coordinator since 2022.

Click here for our visitor's guide to DWR properties for all the info you need to make sure your adventure is a successful one.
  • July 1, 2024