Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program

... Welcome ...

Susanna Musick took over the VIMS' portion of the VGFTP for Jon Lucy, so he can enjoy his retirement.  Jon will still be working with the program as a consultant.  The Commission and Recreational Fishing Advisory Board presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Jon at the Commission meeting on 10/26/2010.

Certificate of Appreciation for Jon Lucy
Pictured from left to right:  Ed Rhodes (RFAB), Jon Lucy (VIMS), Jim Deibler (RFAB)

In the pictures below, Lewis Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament,VMRC, Susanna Musick and Jon Lucy, VIMS, along with some experienced taggers, hold training sessions for the new taggers joining the Virginia Game Fish Tagging (VGFT) program.

The program currently tags 10 species: black drum, black sea bass, cobia, summer flounder, gray triggerfish, red drum, sheepshead, spadefish, speckled trout, and tautog.

PLEASE, PLEASE, report all fish caught with tags (whether kept or released) to the phone number listed on the tag. If it is a VGFT program tag, the phone number to report to is 757-491-5160 or the website is:

There are other tagging programs, so it is important to report the fish to the proper tagging entities.  If you cannot read the contact information on the tag, Susanna or Lewis may be able to assist you with identifying the tagging program.  Many offer rewards!

Susanna explains how to complete the data recording sheets...

Game Fish Tagging 1
Hampton, VA 4/5/11

Jon demonstrates the use of the T-Bar tagging gun with some of the new anglers to the tagging program...

Game Fish Tagging 2
Cheriton, VA 3/20/08

Game Fish Tagging 3
Cheriton, VA 3/20/08

Practicing with the tagging equipment...

Game Fish Tagging 8
Hampton, VA 4/5/11

The T-Bar tags are for the smaller fish. The stainless steel dart tags are for the larger species, such as red and black drum...

Game Fish Tagging 4
Gloucester Point, VA 2/26/07

Game Fish Tagging 5
Wachapreague, VA 2/20/07

More dead, frozen fish to practice on...

Game Fish Tagging 6
Hampton, VA 4/5/11

Game Fish Tagging 7
Cheriton, VA 3/20/08

Tips from Kayak Kevin Whitley on organizing your tagging data sheet and tagging process (video was shot at the 2009 Tagging Workshop):

For more information on the VGFT program or a review of the results from:
2011 VGFT Annual Report.

Call 757-491-5160 for information on what to do, if you catch a tagged fish.  The best approach is to write the tag number down with additional information such as total length, condition of the fish, and catch location, and release the fish with the whole tag attached.  If you must cut the tag before releasing the fish, only cut the end tag number off and leave the phone number and second tag number in place.  If you kept the fish or it died, please let the Program know.  There is additional information and links to the printed forms on the main VMRC Game Fish Tagging page.



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