Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Summer Muskellunge Tagging Study Begun

By Hunter Hatcher, DGIF Aquatic Biologist

Photos by Hunter Hatcher

Biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and researchers from Coastal Carolina University are requesting the help of anglers. A total of 45 muskellunge fish in the upper James River have been implanted with tags to investigate the impacts of catch-and-release mortality on fish during the summer months.

Anglers who capture a tagged fish can report the tag to Cory Bauerlien of Coastal Carolina University via phone or text at 443-974-6171 in exchange for a $50 reward during the June to September study period.

To claim the full reward, anglers will need the fish’s tag number, a photo of the fish with tag visible, and the date, time, and location of their catch. Anglers are also encouraged to report the capture of tagged fish outside of the June to September study period. It is imperative that anglers do not remove tags from fish.

Understanding the impact of catch-and-release mortality on musky will allow DGIF biologists to better manage this unique fishery moving forward.

Fishing During the COVID-19 Outbreak

  • If you choose to fish during the pandemic it is essential that you follow CDC guidelines.
  • Purchase your fishing license online instead of in-person.
  • Fish alone or with family members or others that you live with and are isolating with during the Governor’s “stay at home” order.
  • Do not fish if you feel sick or think you might be sick.
  • Stay at home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizer even while afield or afloat.
  • Do not share equipment with anyone, and wash your equipment when you’re done.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other anglers you encounter and try to avoid crowded access points.
  • Do not float in a raft, drift boat, john boat, or canoe with friends that you are not isolated with during the “stay at home” order.  If you choose to float please do so with individuals that you live with and are isolated with.
  • Try to fish near home as much as possible and avoid traveling long distances.
  • April 9, 2020