Hot Ditch Strictly a Catch and Release Fishery

By Dr. Julie Ball

VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

I was invited by Dominion Power to attend a media briefing/fishing event at the Hot Ditch this week. The event was hosted for outdoor writers from the area in order to highlight the company’s new policy for fishing on Dominion property. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (www.vims.edu/) also highlighted their tagging program. I joined five other area writers, including good friends Don Lancaster and Lee Tolliver, to check out the Hot Ditch scene. I met the Company’s officials, Marine Police Officers, and Jon Lucy’s replacement at VIMS, Susanna Musick. Jon Lucy (who I have fished with several times) also attended to help with the transition, of course!

As most anglers know, the popular Hot Ditch is an artificially created haven for many species of fish due to the relatively enclosed nature of the area near the Power Plant’s hot water discharge. Many huge speckled trout are caught in this area, along with hoards of puppy drum during the winter months. This fishery is limited to past and present Dominion Power employees and their guests. After watching coolers fill with breeder-sized trout over the last year, company officials decided to change their policy beginning in the fall of 2010 to strictly a catch and release fishery.

We had a wonderful lunch and fished in the Ditch for a few hours. Although it was a cold and windy day, we had a blast fishing together, tagging and releasing puppy drum and speckled trout.

The company hopes the new catch and release policy will help preserve the incredible trout and drum fishery in the Hot Ditch area. Other policy makers are watching too. There’s discussion now of implementing more stringent management of speckled trout all along the Elizabeth River, which spills into the Hot Ditch.

The trend towards catch and release fishing is becoming more popular in many regions. The IGFA (www.IGFA.org) recently announced their new World Record Release program, which is mostly a response to popular demand, and the ultimate answer to allowing an option to promote conservation while still earning an IGFA World Record. There are mixed feelings about the program from the community, and official IGFA measuring devices and rules are a must.

Catch and release seems to be the trend of the future, and may be a necessity to preserve the future! And with more anglers beginning to voice their opinions about fisheries management issues, pressure from the community will surely influence new policy. Become involved if you want to make a difference!

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2011/02/07/hot-ditch-has-a-new-policy/

OFFSHORE REPORT – Febuary 4, 2011


By Dr. Julie Ball

VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

East Of The Towers Out To The Canyons

Grouper caught on board a Rudee Inlet Party boat while deep dropping

Deep dropping is becoming a topic of interest as anglers look for other species to target during the cold wintermonths. When boats can make it out, depths of 300-feet or more are holding nice blueline tilefish. These fish have become a favorite with anglers over the years. They are easy to catch and offer a hearty battle, and are excellent table fare. Other species of deepwater fish can also make these long range trips a success. Blackbelly rosefish are small, but they are one of the best kept secrets of the deep. Rosefish are by far one of the best tasting fish in the ocean, followed closely by the rare golden tilefish, also found in these same areas. A variety of big grouper, wreckfish, and barrelfish are also lurking along the deep bottom, which will certainly make any angler’s day. Remember to throw back all the seabass you catch, since the season is closed. Metal jigs are also good alternative to bait for catching deep water bottom dwellers.

Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2011/02/04/offshore-report-febuary-4-2011/

INSHORE REPORT – Febuary 4, 2011


Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers.

By Dr. Julie Ball
VBSF.net fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

Kevin and a 30" Speck

As usual, the winter weather is running the show. But for folks who are braving the elements, speckled trout and school sized striped bass are still hitting in the popular spots along the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake. Although the action is on and off, nice specks are most active near the hot ditch and cove areas. Some of these fish are super-sized, with a few specks tipping the scales to over 10-pounds this week. The trout are mostly hitting lures, with the proven Mirrolure working very well. Live baiters are struggling, while trollers are engaging a few strikes and hook ups. James Salmon of Suffolk weighed in a nice 9-pound beauty he tricked while casting a lure in the Elizabeth River this week. School sized striped bass are also plentiful all over the River, offering a good fight on light tackle.

Boats are still traveling to over 40-miles south to find fish. And finding fish, they are. Most boats are returning from Carolina waters with limits of nice rockfish ranging to around 25 to 35-pounds, with a few pigs over 40-pounds scattered in. The hot spot has been off Kitty Hawk lately. Just look for beehives of birds, schools of bait, and other trolling boats, and you should do fine. Chartreuse and white are the popular colors for swimming lures, Mojos, and tandem rigs this week. Take along your Carolina fishing license, and mind the three-mile demarcation.

Tautog are a good choice for those looking for variety and a challenge. These wreck dwellers are hitting on many offshore structures, with the Triangle wrecks a favorite area. Blue crabs work well, but they are very difficult to find right now. Some anglers are using alternative baits such as frozen crabs, clams, and mussels. Fish topping the 10-pound mark are coming from several offshore wrecks and hangs, but most folks are finding smallish fish.


Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2011/02/04/inshore-report-febuary-4-2011/

North Carolina Update


The Oregon Inlet fleet is still catching limits of striped bass.

The fishing in the surf in Hatteras has been slow. On the north side of Cape Point, lots of bunker have been snagged, but there are no signs of striped bass in the surf. Offshore, a few bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna have been caught.

No catches have been reported on Ocracoke in recent days, and, for that matter, there’s been very little effort.


Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2011/02/03/north-carolina-update-4/

Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman’s Report


Club Report

Striped bass action has been excellent north of Oregon Inlet. Boats found fish from Corolla on south. Fish over 50 pounds were weighed in this past week. These fish will be moving back towards the Chesapeake Bay soon. Speckled trout are being caught in the Elizabeth River along with some puppy drum and small striped bass. Tautog are biting on the ocean wrecks. Boats running out of Hatteras are finding bluefin tuna of mixed sizes, some blackfin tuna and mako sharks have made a good showing. Virginia’s new flounder regulations will bet set soon. Virginia is allowed to more than double their recreational flounder catch in 2011. Now, it is just down to the details. There will not be a closed season this summer. Three options are being considered at VMRC right now: 18-inch minimum with 4 fish, 17.5-inch minimum with 4 fish, or 17.5-inch minimum with 3 fish. Let VMRC know which option you prefer.

Virginia’s Marine Resource Commission hosts a free online fishing journal. It allows you to keep track of your catches and also gives Virginia’s fisheries managers a powerful statistical tool. This can be very important when we get some bad numbers form the federal survey estimates. You can start your online journal at www.vasaltwaterjournal.com.


Permanent link to this article: https://vbsf.net/2011/02/02/peninsula-saltwater-sport-fishermans-report-3/