Recently Virginia anglers lost access to another long stretch of trout stream. This is not the first time landowners have posted their land to keep fishermen out. This is a continuing situation that seems to be accelerating with more and more access being denied to the public. Much of our trout streams run through private property and depends on landowner agreement to allow the public on their land for the purpose of fishing.
Without the agreement, VDGIF will not stock those portions of stream with trout. The trout are a public resource and can only be stocked where the public have free access to the fish. So why would landowners want to keep people just out for a relaxing afternoon of fishing off their property? Quite simply in almost every case it's because of the trash left behind. Landowners are tired of cleaning up after folks that have little respect for the landowner and his property. Whether it's the fishermen leaving behind their lunch trash or someone else dumping their tires or household trash over the stream embankment, it's often the fishermen that get the blame.
If you would like to keep your access to your favorite trout fishing spots it's time you start cleaning up after yourself and others that thoughtlessly leave their mess behind. If you can carry your lunch and snacks to the stream, you can carry the empty wrappers and containers out with you. And if you stop to pick up other trash, it will go a long way in keeping access to your favorite fishing holes.
Recently a group of volunteers and VDGIF personnel cleaned up a section of Mill and Stony Creeks in Shenandoah County in the hopes of regaining a recently lost section of stream access. This is not something that is a normal part of the trout stocking program, so don't depend on this activity to clean up after you all the time. The hard working crew of 11 volunteers, four VDGIF personnel and a County Deputy pulled an unbelievable 2,800 pounds of trash from a short section of Mill Creek that was taken to the landfill by a dump truck provided by Cabin Hill Homes LLC.
Approximately 1,500 pounds of trash was hauled away from Stony Creek by 30-40 volunteers and three VDGIF personnel and taken to the landfill by Bushong Excavating and several volunteers with their personal trucks. This time the hard work paid off and these caring people helped obtain verbal commitments from two landowners to return their properties to the Mill Creek trout steam public access. One of these landowners had their property off the access list for about 10 years.