OnTheSquareVA Employee Activities

FISHING CHALLENGE 2019

Governor's Fishing Challenge September 28 at Occoneechee State Park on Buggs Island Lake

The OnTheSquareVA Governor's Fishing Challenge will take place at Occoneechee State Park on Buggs Island Lake near Clarksville, Va., on Saturday, September 28, 2019 (National Hunting and Fishing Day). It will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. Winners will be announced after 2 p.m.

The Fishing Challenge is free and open to all state employees, retired state employees and family members of state employees; however, there is a fee to enter the park of $7 per vehicle and an additional $3 boat fee. These fees will be paid on site.  

In order to participate, please read over the rules and fill out a registration form below for either the boat-based team event, kayak/canoe-based individual event or shore-based individual event. Registration is limited to the first 50 boats, 50 kayaks/canoes, and 100 shore-based anglers. 

The OnTheSquareVA Fishing Challenge is done in partnership with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of General Services and the Virginia Lottery. Let the fishing begin!

 

Registration

Please register based on the category you would like to enter. Each person must be registered. For the boat-based event, you can register yourself and your teammate on the form below. For the kayak/canoe-based event, you can register yourself and another participant in the same kayak/canoe. For the shore-based event, you can register yourself and up to four others. *The event is open only state employees, retired state employees and their family members.

Shore Registration is FULL

Kayak/Canoe Registration

Boat Registration

 

Rules

All boats greater than 14 feet in length are eligible for the boat event. There is no horsepower limit; however, participating boats may not be equipped with an engine that exceeds the limit indicated on the boat's capacity plate. All boats must have valid registration and have all safety equipment required by law. Boats are not required to have a working livewell as this is a catch and immediate release event. All operators of motorboats with a 10 horsepower or greater engine must have completed a boating safety course and have their completion card on board when operating the boat. No personal watercraft (Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, WaveRunner) are allowed in this event.

The boat portion of this event is a two-person maximum team. One team member must be a state employee or a retired state employee. The teammate must either be a family member of the state employee, another state employee or a retired state employee. Individuals can fish without a teammate; however, we strongly encourage participants without a teammate to find a co-worker to accompany them. This is a great opportunity to introduce someone to fishing – and loaner rods will be available to those who do not have their own equipment.

All competitors in the boat portion must check in prior to 6:30 a.m. (check in begins at 5:30 a.m.) and be in the water prior to 6:45 a.m. at the designated take-off location. Upon check in, boat operators will receive a number that will indicate when they can leave. Boats will leave in sequential order, based on their number, at 7 a.m., and pass by the check-in boat.

This is a catch and release event, and to be eligible for scoring all black bass must be released alive and be 12 inches or greater in length. Anglers should photograph any fish that they wish to enter next to a measuring board or ruler. Rulers will be available at the check-in station, if needed. At weigh-in, anglers will need to provide photos to the tournament director, who will score each fish and calculate the team's total score at the weigh station. Teams may submit up to five black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted). Participants may use artificial lures or live bait during this event.

All competitors must be back at the boat ramp by 2 p.m. Late competitors will be penalized 4 inches from their score for every minute they arrive late. Competitors can enter their fish prior to the end of the event at the weigh station; however, the weigh station will not be open until 1 p.m. All competitors must check out at the weigh station prior to leaving, even if they do not enter any fish. This is to allow the organizers to verify that everyone has returned safe and sound.

All kayaks used for this portion of the event must be in seaworthy condition and contain all safety equipment required by law. Canoes are allowed and must meet the same conditions.

Participants may be either a state employee, a retired state employee, or a family member of a state employee. Up to two anglers may fish out of the same kayak or canoe, but each person is considered an individual entry and fish totals may not be combined. 

All competitors in the kayak portion must check in prior to 6:30 a.m. (check in begins at 5:30 a.m.) and be in the water prior to 7 a.m. at the designated take-off location. Kayaks will begin competition after all motorboats have left their starting area. Kayaks will be launched and will leave from an area separate from the boat launch.

This is a catch and release event, and to be eligible for scoring all black bass must be released alive and be 12 inches or greater in length. Anglers should photograph any fish that they wish to enter next to a measuring board or ruler. Rulers will be available at the check-in station, if needed. At weigh-in, anglers will need to provide photos to the tournament director, who will score each fish and calculate the total score at the weigh station. Anglers may submit up to five black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted). Participants may use artificial lures or live bait during this event.

All competitors must be back at the launch area by 2 p.m. Late competitors will be penalized 4 inches from their score for every minute they arrive late. Competitors have the option to enter their fish prior to the end of the event at the weigh station; however, the weigh station will not be open until 1 p.m. All competitors must check out at the weigh station prior to leaving, even if they do not enter any fish. This is to allow the organizers to verify that everyone has returned safe and sound.

The shore event begins at 7 a.m. and will last until 2 p.m. Anglers may check into the shore event between 6 a.m. and noon.

Participants may be either a state employee, a retired state employee, or a family member of a state employee. There will be separate categories for adults, children between 12 and 15, and for children younger than 12.

All species of fish – including sunfish, striped bass, catfish, and carp – are eligible for prize consideration for the shore event. Anglers should photograph any fish that they wish to enter next to a measuring board or ruler. Rulers will be available at the check-in station, if needed. At weigh-in, anglers will need to provide photos to the tournament director, who will score each fish and calculate the individual's total score at the weigh station. Anglers may submit up to five individual fish for consideration.

Weigh in for the shore event will occur at 2 p.m. Late competitors will be penalized 4 inches from their score for every minute they arrive late. In the event a competitor wishes to enter their fish prior to the end of the event at the weigh station, they may. The weigh station for the shore event will open at 10 a.m.

 

FAQs 

 

The event is being held at Buggs Island Lake to provide the opportunity for state employees in southern Virginia to participate in one of Gov. Northam's OnTheSquareVA events. In future years, this event will be held at other locations to provide all state employees the opportunity to participate.

Yes, each person who will participate in the Fishing Challenge must be registered. Click on the appropriate form above to register.

Yes. We will be limiting the event to the first 50 boats, 50 kayaks/canoes, and 100 shore anglers that sign up. So, sign up early to get your spot!

There is no cost to participate in the Fishing Challenge; however, there is a fee of $7 per vehicle and an additional $3 per boat to enter the park that you will pay on site.

There are a variety of things to do at Occoneechee State Park including camping, biking, and hiking. Please visit this  website for more information.

Occoneechee State Park has a handicap-accessible boat launch for handicapped anglers. 

No. This event falls on the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Free Fishing Day, so fishing licenses are not required. 

No. To fish the boat event, one team member must be a state employee or retired state employee. The teammate must either be a family member of the state employee, another state employee or a retired state employee. Participants in the kayak/canoe event can either be a state employee, a retired state employee or a family member of a state employee. Participants in the shore event can either be a state employee, a retired state employee, or a family member of a state employee. Both full- and part-time state employees and their families are eligible to participate in this event.

Black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass) are the only species eligible for prize consideration for the boat and the kayak/canoe events. All species of fish – including sunfish, striped bass, catfish, and carp – are eligible for prize consideration for the shore event.

Adult children and children can certainly participate! There will be two separate categories for the shore-based fishing event for youths under the age of 16 – one for ages 12-15 and one for those under the age of 12.

Yes. Fly, spinning, spincast and baitcasting tackle are all allowed for this event.

Yes. Live bait can be used in any category.

Yes. Fish will be evaluated based on a photo and a length measurement. Because of this format, boats without a livewell are allowed to participate.

At this point, there is no scoring mechanism for a specific agency team. However, we encourage agency staff to come to the event as a group, and we will include the associated agency when we announce final results.

The prizes for the event will be provided by the sponsoring agencies, including the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of General Services, and the Virginia Lottery. Prizes will include items from DGIF's eStore such as T-shirts, hats, and collectible items as well as offerings from DCR such as cabin stays and state park passes. Cash prizes will not be awarded – the purpose of these events is to foster friendly competition.

Staff will be on site from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The boat and the kayak/canoe events will run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shore event will run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contestants may report fish early if their schedule requires.

Gasoline engines are permitted. There is no horsepower limit; however, participating boats may not be equipped with an engine that exceeds the maximum indicated on the boat's capacity plate.

Yes, participants will need to provide their own boats.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will provide loaner rods and reels, as well as tackle, to anglers who require such gear. Anglers requiring this gear will need to indicate this on the registration form.

Yes. Canoes can be used and will be considered as part of the kayak event.

Staff from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Department of Conservation and Recreation will be available to provide fishing instruction. If you have never been fishing before, this is a great time to learn!