Angling, Outdoors, and Conservation News Recap
Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news, intel, and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts concerned with the waters, fisheries, and habitats we cherish. Please email us directly at email@example.com to have your organization’s news item or event announcement considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the latest Anglers Sports Center and FishTalk Magazine Chesapeake Bay region fishing reports. This week’s catch also includes…
Fly Fishing Film Tour Coming to Annapolis
Big news this week, for the month ahead! The Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T), presented by Simms, Costa, and Yeti, among many other sponsors, will be coming to the Annapolis Maritime Museum on April 27th. The annual F3T is a traveling roadshow of the best fly fishing films in the world. Through a submission process, films are selected to bring some of the best content to the big screen in your hometown (see screenshot of a mondo brown from the fest trailer above). Each “stop” of the tour aims to create community, inspire, encourage, and support conservation efforts worldwide. The Annapolis event will benefit two nonprofits: Project Healing Waters, an organization that helps veterans in need through fly fishing, mentoring, and friendship; and our good friends at Coastal Conservation Association Maryland. There will also be giveaways, raffles, local beer (Forward Brewing), food, casting demos, and fly tyers. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and films begin at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for all ages. Check out all the details and purchase your tickets in advance, by clicking here.
Simms’ New Prez
Fly anglers may have heard the news already, but in case you missed it, Simms Fishing Products has a new President. The Bozeman, Montana, based brand named Derek Tarlecki to the lead post. He comes to Simms from a conservation and angling background as an active member of notable orgs, including Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Ducks Unlimited. “I am honored to accept the role of president for such an iconic and innovative fishing brand,” Tarlecki said. “I’ve long loved Simms, both personally and professionally, and I’m excited to work alongside this incredibly talented and dedicated team.” Chances are, if you’re serious about angling, you have a tool, accessory, waders, or clothing with the Simms name on it. Photograph courtesy Vista Outdoor, Inc.
Virginia Saltwater Rec License Update + Cobia Regs
This week, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) signed off on allowing Virginians the option to purchase multi-year recreational saltwater fishing licenses. Residents may now opt to buy a two-year license ($33.50), three-year ($49.50), or four-year ($65.50). Talk about a deal! The commission also ditched the recreational permit and mandatory reporting program for cobia. They did maintain the creel and regs from last year. This year’s cobia season in Virginia runs June 15th through September 15th; one fish allowed per person (two per vessel), with the minimum size of 40″ total length (one on vessel may be >50″ total length). And no gaffing the fish!
Virginia Extends Oyster Season
In practically the same breath, the VMRC decided on to extend the Virginia oyster season in certain waters after a recent evaluation found the Virginia oyster stock at its best condition in a generation. This extension will probably get Virginia’s public oyster harvest to top 300,000 bushels for the first time since the 1987–88 season, according to a VMRC staff evaluation. Virginia’s oyster population is “only recently beginning to show signs of sustained recovery,” VMRC staff said, encouraging the VMRC to take “a conservative and incremental approach when considering increasing harvest amounts.”
The Commission approved extending the oyster harvest season by two weeks in March and April in portions of waterways where oyster populations are strong. This is in addition to a separate season extension the VMRC approved in late January for portions of the James and Rappahannock Rivers.
In response, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore stated, “The Chesapeake oyster is still in the very early stages of a comeback after a tremendous amount of investment in reducing pollution to the Bay, years of diligent fishery management, and significant successful state and federal investment in oyster restoration. To keep oyster numbers growing, harvest increases must continue to be done slowly, incrementally, and cautiously, as VMRC staff recommends.”
York River Shoreline to be Stabilized
In Virginia, Colonial National Historical Park announced an $11.2 million York River shoreline stabilization project funded through the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The work will address three miles of eroding York River shoreline (pictured, photo courtesy National Park Service) that threatens significant archeological sites in the park and the stability and alignment of the Colonial Parkway, the 23-mile scenic roadway stretching from the York River at Yorktown to the James River at Jamestown. The parkway links Virginia’s historic triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. The project will increase the revetment height, install new rock sills and breakwaters, and enhance or add wetland and marsh habitat from Felgate’s Creek to northwest of the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown pier.
“The project eliminates a hazard that threatens the safety of park visitors and resources,” said Colonial National Historical Park Superintendent Jerri Marr. “It will allow us to reduce bank erosion, improve storm resiliency, and reinforce safe recreational access along portions of the York River.”
Visitors will see work on the shoreline from the river and parkway, and may be impacted by rotating, periodic closures of the Ringfield (Felgate’s Creek), Cheatham Annex, Powhatan Village, and York River pullouts during construction, which is anticipated to take about 16 months. Closure alerts will be available on the Colonial National Historical Park website.
Next Gen Land Stewards
On March 1st, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) announced its new partnership with ShoreRivers to launch Next Generation Land Stewards, a new program to educate and empower the next generation of Eastern Shore agricultural landowners to feel confident as they navigate the decisions that will define our landscapes and waterways for years to come. Members of the first cohort will be invited to a series of four free, in-person events. Some of these events will be held on local family farms, which will feature expert speakers on conservation and land management. Food will be provided, as well as the opportunity to engage in informal conversations with these experts and your fellow rising Stewards.
Workshops with expert partners, including ESLC and the American Farmland Trust, will explore topics such as succession planning, equitable farm leases that include conservation, forest stewardship, government incentives, and conservation easements. This program will connect participants to existing efforts and resources—such as the Conservation Reserve Program and the Natural Lands Project, among others—that will educate and empower the next generation of land stewards to make conscious, informed choices for the use of their inherited land. “Whether you are the first generation on family land or the 15th, this program is for you,” the ESLC stated. To learn more about this program, contact Larisa Prezioso, ESLC Conservation Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-690-4603.
Sultana’s New Nature Center
The Town of Chestertown and the Sultana Education Foundation (SEF) announced this week that SEF has received a grant of $150,000 from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Community Legacy Program for construction of the Harwood Nature Center (see rendering, courtesy SEF) at its Lawrence Wetlands Preserve in Chestertown. Support from DHCD will complement existing funding already committed by the National Park Service, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, along with multiple private foundations and individuals. Under development since 2018 and anticipated to open in 2024, the Lawrence Wetlands Preserve is an 8.5-acre urban nature center that will join the replica schooner SULTANA and LEED Platinum Holt Education Center as key components of SEF’s Chestertown campus.
Hops on the River Announced
Enjoy craft beer, food and fun along the Wicomico River during the Hops on the River beer tasting event, which returns to Downtown Salisbury on Saturday, April 15th. The event, produced by the City of Salisbury’s Department of Arts, Business and Culture, will run from 2 to 5 p.m. and features unlimited sampling of over 30 craft beers, along with food trucks, music, games and local vendors. “We are excited to host the festival for a third year in Downtown Salisbury and look forward to raising a glass to the incredible craft breweries found here on the Eastern Shore and the surrounding areas,” said Caroline O’Hare, events and culture manager for the Department of Arts, Business and Culture. “Hops on the River signals the start of our outdoor event season, and we have tons in store for 2023.”
This year’s event will take place in the area of Division and Market Streets and the Riverwalk Games Park in Downtown Salisbury. “Hops on the River has become one of the most exciting events in our annual lineup,” said Mayor Jack Heath. “There’s so much to look forward to—whether that’s the craft beer selection, the food or the entertainment—and folks keep coming back for more. We’re looking forward to yet another successful year of Hops, and we’ll catch you on the Riverwalk.” All attendees must be 21 or older. Tickets are $35 in advance, and only 350 tickets will be available. Remaining tickets will be $45 at the gate, payable via credit card only. Tickets can be purchased at salisbury.md/hops.
Sea Glass Fest Will Return to CBMM
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is set to welcome the Eastern Shore Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival back to its waterfront campus on April 22–23. The popular festival kicks off CBMM’s slate of annual events, running 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sunday, with all tickets valid for admission on both days. Tickets are on sale now at cbmm.org/seaglassfestival.
“I’m really excited about this year’s festival!” Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival Founder and Organizer Kim Hannon said. “We have amazing new artisans from all over the country, plus so many of our returning artisans who always bring beautiful art, jewelry and so much more. We hope our guests have a great time hunting for unique treasures during the two-day event while making some great memories and new friends along the way!”
This edition of the Eastern Shore Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival will highlight more than 90 artisans and craftspeople from around the country exhibiting and selling coastal and sea-glass related jewelry, home décor, art, and more. A full listing of vendors and more information can be found at seaglassfestival.com. Photograph courtesy Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to email@example.com.