Fishing is ranked seventh in the 2006 Virginia Outdoors Survey. Each year more than 721,000 freshwater anglers and 384,000 saltwater anglers spend some 14.5 million days fishing Virginia's 2,800 miles of coldwater streams, 25,000 miles of fishable warm water streams, 13,400 acres of public small impoundments, 139,100 acres of public large impoundments, 1.5 million acres on the Chesapeake Bay, and 5,300 miles of ocean shoreline. In Virginia, anglers boost the economy by spending $640,728,000 annually on fishing related expenses. Recreational fishing accounts for a total annual economic output of $1,213,253,000, supporting 11,238 jobs with $278,441,000 in earnings.
DGIF, DCR, U.S. Forestry Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, county and city governments, conservation organizations and private entities have all teamed up to help create a statewide network of assessable fishing piers and platforms at 51 different lakes and streams. These sites offer access to public waters ranging from mountain top trout streams to expansive tidal rivers. For a list of accessible public boat access areas and fishing piers and platforms, go to: www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/ accessible.
Perhaps because bank fishing doesn't require a boat or fancy fishing equipment, it is one of the most sought after types of water access in Virginia. The simplicity of taking a fishing pole and a can of worms to the shore makes bank fishing affordable and accessible to all Virginians. Anglers will find places to fish banks along shorelines of most public fishing lakes and streams and rivers. For more information about freshwater fishing opportunities and facilities on public lakes, streams and rivers, go to the following DGIF website: www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/. Managers of public water bodies must consider the demand placed on the resource by anglers. Designed bank fishing opportunities not only protect the resource, but also create opportunities for those who don't have boats to access other parts of the water.