Anglers in Virginia have the great privilege of access to a wide range of key gamefish species. From the creeks and marshes of the Commonwealth's many Chesapeake Bay tributaries, to our coastal waters, recreational fishing fuels our coastal economy. CCA Virginia leaders, along with many partners, works to ensure the health of many important fish species by engaging in the state, regional and fisheries resources to maintain abundant populations of game fish species, and continued access to them throughout the year
Species of Game Fish
Also known as spotted sea trout or specks, the Speckled Trout population is stable, thanks in large part to Bay anglers' support of stricter regulations. CCA Virginia remains vigilant to counter threats to the population from low value commercial sale of these important gamefish.
With the decline of stripers, more anglers are targeting both trophy red drum and smaller puppy drum. In the wake of the wasteful 2022 net spills and bycatch of old red drum, CCA Virginia remains focused on protecting this marquee gamefish
Striped Bass (Rockfish)
The nation’s most popular and valuable game fish remains over-fished, CCA Virginia work withs our partner organizations and CCA states to promote pro-active regulations that will rebuild striped bass populations to once realized levels, to hopefully return a higher abundance of these hard fighters for Virginia waters in the coming years.
Another popular game fish that has increased in popularity in Bay waters, Cobia stocks at present are considered stable. CCA Virginia supports current conservation measures that manage this hard-fighting outstanding game fish.
Historically one of the most important game fish in Chesapeake Bay, currently Bluefish numbers are over-fished and in decline. CCA Virginia supports sound regulations on creel limits yet opposes regulators' decision to allow the for-hire sector to keep twice as many bluefish as recreational anglers.
The most recent stock assessment indicates that Summer Flounder is not over-fished nor experiencing over-fishing. CCA Virginia continues to monitor this popular fishery and anglers' access to it.
Once a popular Chesapeake game fish, Weakfish (also known as Grey Trout), are depleted. Fishery biologists have no direct causes for the population’s crash.
With an active fishery in Virginia waters, CCA Virginia is monitoring regulations to ensure they adequately manage the Tautog, a popular and tasty game fish.
Black Sea Bass
One of Virginia’s favorite reef and wreck fish, coast wide Black Sea Bass populations are well above fishery targets at this time.
A welcome summer time visitor that readily strike trolled and quickly retrieved lures, Spanish Mackerel, are managed on a coast wide basis by both state and federal managers.
Fish illustrations courtesy of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission