April 2008

While conducting the Juvenile Fish Survey for the month of April, survey crew members made note of the ongoing influx of seasonal species to Chesapeake Bay.  Summer Flounder continue to make their way inshore with good numbers of legal sized fish being measured in the James River between White Shoal and the James River Bridge and the channel edge just downstream from the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel. The largest flounder (24 inches) captured this month by survey scientists was from the deep water west of the Middle Ground slightly northwest of the Chesapeake Channel Tunnel. Atlantic Croaker continue to increase in numbers as well, with fish between 14 and 16 inches fairly common in both the York and Rappahannock Rivers. In the York River these fish were scattered between the Poropotank River and West Point while in the Rappahannock River the larger croaker seemed localized between Towles Point and LaGrange Creek. Additionally, while working off the mouth of the Poquoson River, survey crew members measured their first Bluefish of the spring.

Spiny Dogfish remain in the Bay in fairly high densities and were seen regularly in samples from the Cape Henry wreck area across the mouth of the Bay and up the Eastern Shore as far as Cherrystone Inlet.

Large White Perch (up to 12 inches) were regular components of samples collected from the Upper Rappahannock River, in the vicinity of Tappahannock, and in the James River near the James River Bridge.

The York River System continued its trend of producing sizable Blue Catfish (approx. 24 inches or larger) with several fish in this class coming from both the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers.