9 November 2013
Fishers are back in Virginia!
Posted by Callan Bentley
I got word yesterday that the fisher, a medium-sized mustelid (Like a marten, an animal that I’ve seen once up in the Adirondacks of New York), has begun re-colonizing wild parts of Virginia.
This is pretty exciting news – a friend from high school shared the image below with me:
That’s from a wildlife camera on my friend’s family’s land in northwestern Shenandoah County, in the Cedar Creek Valley. That’s about ten miles from my place, as the raven flies. The state’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has confirmed the identity of the fisher in my friend’s photo. They have an information campaign going on:
The DGIF has confirmed fisher sightings in Frederick, Shenandoah, Page, Rockingham, and Botetourt Counties. We could very well have these critters here on our land in the Fort Valley – a tantalizing prospect!
I just purchased and deployed my own wildlife camera; I’m looking forward to sharing images – perhaps even images of fishers! – in the months and years to come.
No pics, but both my father and I saw one wandering through a wooded area in a subdivision in Loudoun County near the Fairfax border. It was alternately swimming up a little creek and walking along the bank. We both watched it for several minutes from different vantage points in the woods.
I saw one in The Plains Virginia two years ago. Didn’t believe my own eyes. Now a local is reporting she has seen them several time in Fauquier County.
Hello I’m not questioning your I’d ability but how did you tell it from a otter especially near water and swimming?
I saw one of these yesterday evening just before dusk in the Syria area of Madison County. I have chickens here and wonder if they are at risk? I had never even heard of this animal before and searched for animals in the mink/weasel family and found a picture that way. I didn’t take any pictures, to be honest I was a bit dumbfounded at the time because it was so unusual. I’ve lived here all my life and never seen anything remotely resembling it. Though I’ve heard that weasels and minks were seen here in the past, I’ve never seen one myself and I live in a very rural and mountainous area. I’ll be on the look out in the future and hopefully get a picture.
A fisher was spotted last week in the Free Union area of Albemarle County. We are so excited that these animals may be making a comeback!
Capturted a 8-10 lb Fisher on my trail camera at 06:07 AM on 03/09/2015 passing through my property in Shenandoah County near Lebanon Church.
I have seen it twice now in our townhouse community where people feed cats outdoors! I think it is definitely a Fisher because of the rounded ears and bushy tail? Staunton, VA. Hope to catch it on my IPod phone camera? It usually is sniffing around at the cat feeding stations that residents of the complex put out.
In the past couple months I heard of Fishers being spotted in wooded areas of Rappahannock County, VA. One report by a friend who is very knowledgeable about wildlife, another reported in an online bulletin board by someone I do not know personally.Then, about a month ago I saw an animal about the size of a very large domestic cat along the side of a gravel road in northern Culpeper County near the confluence of the Hazel and Thornton Rivers. It scurried into the woods as I drove up. Never having seen this type of critter before, I noted its color, rounded ears, dark beady eyes and the unusually furry medium-long tail and so did some research. Definitely turned out to be a juvenile Fisher. I would guess about 10 to 15 lbs.
i have an observatory at Claude Moore Park in Loudoun County. I observed a fisher cat there and was excited to let officials know of the news. they said it has been decades since any had been seen there. yay !!!!!
I have seen what I think is a fisher two times now and my daughter has too (at our property) the most recent being tonight, it had a large mouse or mole in it’s mouth. It actually started coming towards me, but when I stomped my foot it took off back into the woods. We live in the City of Buena Vista, but are only a block and a half or so for the National Forest.
My wife and i think we’ve seen one in Blairs Va.Once around 3:30 a.m and around 8:00 p.m.
My wife had a possible sighting tonight in our yard. We put scraps across back fence for animals. White Post area Clark county
I live in Stafford VA and have seen a fisher in the wooded section of the backyard for the past 6 years. The neighbor and I kept seeing this animal and couldnt figure what it was until I spotted a picture on the cover of National Wildlife magazine. We then had a visiting friend from MA spot it and said “Oh you have Fishers here”? They are very common in Western MA so we had our varifacation.
Recorded audio of a Fisher cat in my back yard this morning. I live in Manassas, VA, right off the Prince William Parkway near the Occoquan River. This is the second time it has come near my house. I visualized it with a flashlight from my deck but could not get the video to record. It was a pretty good size. It made the most God awful sound I have ever heard, elevated screeching noise, sounded like a baby screaming. My dogs were going absolutely bonkers over the noise. It lasted for about 15-20 minutes. I plan to put a hunting camera in the woods to get some video of it.
Good luck! Let us know if you capture some good imagery!
I’ve been looking for one in Highland county on the West Va. line since early spring with no luck. Because of my proximity to Shenendoah Nat Forest I will start looking there now. No reports of sightings in the forest but they have been seen in Grottoes and Elkton so I can’t believe they’re not up there. Any tips,thoughts would be appreciated.
I saw one in the road in winter 2011 at night in Augusta County. I didn’t get a picture, but was able to observe it for close to a minute. It was less than 50 ft from my vehicle in the head lights. I checked my game camera this morning and had three night pictures of one passing through. My camera is less than a mile from where I observed the first one.
Hunting this Morning on the Virginia West Va border in Frederick Co Had a Fisher Cat right under my stand. Pretty neat. Probably about 10LBS.
I have cought a fisher in a trap accedently for beaver . this was in december 2016 in cumberland county VA unfortunately it died but I didn’t let the hide go to waste , I figured it was a Martin or something , I had no idea they were rare even though iv never seen one
Maybe you could help me identify this road kill that I found by the Short Hills in Loudoun County. It was too big for a weasel and I thought it must be a mink but I am not sure. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good head shot. I can’t attach the picture. Is there a place I could email it?
You might post it elsewhere (Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, SmugMug, Twitter), and then link to it here.
i saw a fisher in Wise County Virginia two months ago on South Mountain Rd. near Haddonfield graveyard.
I just saw one on the middle river in Augusta County didn’t know what it was at first. I’d tryed to get pictures but the little thing just wasn’t having its picture taken today
A friend of mine who lives near Lunenburg County Virginia saw a pine marten near his home that he first thought was an otter. He was out with his dog who chased it and had brief fight with it until it ran up a tree. Once in the tree it went from tree to tree while the dog on the ground Chase and barked at it.
I just saw one in my back yard this morning in Berryville, Clarke County VA. There were no other animals moving because of the high gusty winds. My trail cam on tripod had been blown over during the night (dang it!) but I saw it coming into my back yard from the woods because I had been watching for a ground hog. Instead this long skinny thing came crawling in, then quickly up a tree. It didn’t stop much, just up and down, circled a few spots, then moved on to another tree. I saw it clearly through binocs … round ears, stout bushy tail about half it’s body length; probably about 5-8 lbs?
Saw one in the vicinity of Great Run, a couple of miles west of Warrenton, Va. On Friday evening, March 30th. I rounded a curve and caught it in my headlights. It was a mild night and frogs were out on the road. It was feasting apparently. It bolted toward a downed tree trunk and quickly disappeared. Amazing. Even slinkier than an otter.
I believe it was a fisher that I saw last night in a newer subdivision off Rt #17 and Rt. #28 in Bealeton. I went to let my little dog out and saw something moving up the sidewalk. My first thought was a medium size dog, but when I saw it’s tail I knew it couldn’t be. I then made eye contact, and realized that this was an animal I had never seen before, it went down in toward a ravine, as I hightailed into the house. I couldn’t believe what I had seen, and had to research until I saw in a picture what I had actually seen just 25 feet from my property.
I’m curious is any fishers have been seen in Southwest Virginia , particularly Pulaski County ? My husband and I have property there . We have a picture from one of our game cameras of an animal that I do not think is a raccoon or fox .
I saw one today running across the southbound I-81 on-ramp right in front of me at mile marker 213 near Greenville at 5:15 PM
I live next to Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal- just over the mountain from Fort Valley. Our land is across Pan Handle Road from the national forest. My in laws are from NH and have heard and seen fisher cats up north. They swore they’ve been hearing one scream recently. Last night, they pulled into the driveway at 9:30, and saw one! SO much bigger than our cats!
It was very exciting… though not necessarily welcome. My daughters have three outdoor cats (we put them in the porch at night, when they come to our call) and we just erected a chicken coop.
Hmm, maybe I should make the coop a little more secure…
You can now add the Eastern Shore, on a farm a mile north of Occohannock Creek near Belle Haven. I do not have a picture nor a pelt, but I got a very clear view of the fellow as he headed back into the woods. It was so distinctive as to not be confused with any other mammal.
Several years ago, some friends south of Nassawadox, had one underneath their back porch. They heard it, then saw it guide clearly. They are very experienced in the ways of the woods, and have seen them in New England.
I never doubted them, but this came as a delightful surprise.
October of 04 during bow hunting season i was less than ten yards from a fisher cat and watched him hunt a scurry up and down trees.. this was in Suffolk Va. yes, in the flat lands! It was a swampy area full water foul and small game animals. Two days later i saw it again (probably the same one)
With a a mouse in its mouth no more than ten yrds from my blind. He climbed up a cypress tree and reates onits lowest limb to enjoy his catch. Beautiful animal, very agile and swift.
I spotted what I thought was a mink in our back yard June 12,2018. I have since learned that it was a fisher since it was dragging a rabbit across the yard. When we tried to get a closer look it ran towards the wooded area. We returned inside and watched as it came back and got the rabbit. We are located in Greensville County, Virginia right on the Virginia North Carolina line.
Well there is now a pair of them in Richmond Va that I know of. No pictures but I am familiar with being from Mass. Keep your pets close to home. The homeless here are wondering where all the racoons are this year. Well this answers that question.
For the past several weeks our dogs have been going nuts around our shed. The shed is enclosed front and sides with wire, the back is against the woods and off the ground. Today we saw what we thought at first was a cat (from the back through the flowers) then we thought woodchuck and then got a profile of it, it’s definitely a fisher. We haven’t seen our local bunnies in awhile either. Fredericksburg, Va.
June 30, 2018 Galax Va. I seen what I thought to be seal-like creature with a long tail in the woods on my farm last year. Last night I seen it again and after finally researching, proves it to be a fisher. I raise sheep and hope they keep their distance after reading about their aggressive nature.
I captured a Fischer on a trail cam (2017) at our cabin off Panhandle Rd. in Front Royal/Bentonville. Our property borders the Geo. Wash. Nat’l Forest on two sides, near the Tuscarora Trail in Warren County, VA.
Just saw one on a trail that runs by a golf course in Hot Springs VA. There was a drainage hole with a few pipes. He stook his head out and stared for a while. My mom moved and he went into the pipe.
Around the 1st of July, my husband and I were going out to dinner and just a short drive from our home an animal came down the bank and crossed in front of us. Neither one of us had seen this animal before and I did some research and found the animal we saw to be a Fisher. It was black in color with some grayish color around the face with very short legs. This was around 6:00 in the evening. We are in Southwest Patrick County and on top a mountain and it is somewhat remote. Glad to know they are making a come back and we will be checking our wildlife camera for possible sightings.
Just had one cross the road in front of us last evening about 4:45 pm 8/15/2018 on the entry road to James River State Park. Heading towards the James.Very well-lit; it was clearly a fisher.
Spotted one in southeastern Warren county playing on a hill and down and into a culvert early this evening. Very exciting. I haven’t seen them here in the east before. I grew up out west so both fishers and martens weren’t uncommon. It took me awhile to figure out what I was seeing.
Possible sighting of Fisher 2 miles from Millwood VA east. It was 1 am near driveway and very brief. My first thought was badger but after investigating on net more likely Fisher. I did not even know of existence of Fisher until I found this blog.
I saw a Fisher (killed on Rt 19 in Marion Cty WV) Beautiful young one. It apparently, came down off the hillside, crossed the road heading toward Paw Paw creek when hit . The body was not smashed beyond recognition, beautiful reddish brown face and body with a black area down the spine. Rounded ears. bare black feet. May have weight between 2-4 lbs.
My name is John. I live in Green lane, PA outside Philly. I just spotted a Fisher with a small rodent in it’s mouth in the creek bed behind my house. What an amazing sight. I didn’t realize they were back thriving in the states.
I live in southern Fauquier County. I believe I saw a Fisher climbing our hickory tree this morning. The sun was coming up and the silhouette of this creature was very distinctive. After doing some research on mammals that climb trees in Virginia, I found some images the match the silhouette.
I just this afternoon saw a Fisher in the edge of the woods climbing part way up trees. This was at the very end of Shan Hill Lane – not far from Millwood village but technically Boyce. Also only about 1/2 mile to the Shenandoah River.
Not only did I see a Fisher Cat near my home in Evington Virginia, but it killed my 2 female ducks. Apparently it’s the only animal that could have scaled the 7 foot fence, & to re the heads off the ducks
In Mathews County, Virginia. we saw a fisher mink crossing our harvested corn field 30 feet from our long driveway late in the afternoon 4 days ago. It had very dense dark brown fur, very short legs, beady shiny eyes and looked surprised but walked quickly down the corn row but did not run. It was no longer than 16 inches. One of our workers saw a similar animal three weeks ago carried away by an eagle from an adjacent corn field one morning.
7:30 am, April 14, 2019. Fairfax Station, Virginia. A FIsher bounded across my lawn towards the house this morning.providing an extended viewing. I provided a detailed description to a knowledgeable friend who identified it and produced a picture of the animal. Precisely what I had observed. There was absolutely no question as to what the animal was.
March 2019 We are on the western side of the North Fork and saw a fisher cat lope up the edge of the river. Too big for a weasel or mink.
I’m pretty sure the carcass I ran past on Route 522 just south of Front Royal is one. The road runs alongside a creek between Harmony Hollow and Lake Front Royal. There was also a smaller black rodent-like carcass a little further on the same road. The first one was about 12 inches or so long.
I know I saw a Fisher Cat today on route 628 at Wake VA going across the road into the woods in front of my car. It was rushing to get across the road and looked at me. What I noticed was the tip of his tail being bright white and he was dark.
We have a pair in Western Prince Edward County. They stayed together only shortly in early March. We only see the female now at dusk as she comes to check out the leavings from the squirrel feeders and eggs left by our chickens. We’re fairly sure she has young as we have heard her calling during the day. Our neighbor has also seen her when he was cutting hay.
About 2 weeks ago we were stopped at a red light off of Franconia Road in Springfield, VA (Fairfax County) and saw what at first appeared to be a small otter crossing in the residential area. We got a very good look at it from about 50 feet away. My hubby instantly recognized it as a fisher cat which he had seen many times when he lived in Maine and Upstate New York. This was in mid day in bright sunlight. He had the distinct frosting color on his neck and chin and the narrow feline face that they are known for.
I have been getting fuzzy videos on my game camera of a critter about the size of a small fox, even dark fur, long bushy tail low to ground. Could not figure out what was. Trying to get a clearer shot but the only animal it matches is a Fisher. We’re in southern Dinwiddie. Have noticed this year there are no rabbits at all and we have lost 8 hens to something hunting in daylight. I figured it was a red fox I have seen but now I wonder.
About 4:30 PM today I saw an animal on my farm in western Loudoun County I had never seen before in the 30 years I have lived here. Body was maybe 2 feet long, low to the ground, solid brown color with a bushy, bottle brush tail. Only photo that comes close, is a Fisher…neat! I’ll be putting up the game camera tomorrow
No pic but I saw a Fisher in Fredericksburg in the late spring of 2015 I think. Lit it up perfectly in the headlights. First thought that came to mind was a Marten. But when I started looking at pics online I knew right off it was a Fisher.
I just saw one behind Lansdowne Woods near the Potomac River. Wow. I saw one in the Upper Peninsula years ago
I saw a Fisher tonight in Lucketts Va ( just north of Leesburg). It was in the road and I saw it’s eyes, As I slowed down upon approach it stayed on the side of road before going back into the woods. The kids thought it was a big ferret; I said close – same family. First time I have seen one in the wild and it was close up. Just fantastic.
Saw one in Frederick Co. west of Winchester off of Rt-522 on Ebenezer Church Rd. Last night around 8:00pm. It ran out onto and down the side of the road for about 50 feet then ran back into the woods.
Just saw one on our Browntown, Va property this morning. If someone wants to setup a cam here, let me know.
Just saw one in Bristow VA- I live right off cedar run- I thought it was a large black ferret! Very cool!!!
I have two pictures of a large fisher on my game camera. It was taken on Hunting Ridge, Frederick County, Va. at 2:59 a.m. I would be glad to send the pictures to you if you would like.
I watched one today walk along the woods on my property. Had no idea what it was! Rushed to do some research and found it was a Fisher.
I’m a bit anxious now, having small dogs and a cat. Setting up a trail camera today, but I hope it just moves on and I don’t see it again!
Spotted on the Jefferson county Berkeley county line outside of Shepherdstown
I just saw one this morning climbing a tree in woods that back to my townhouse in Dumfries, Virginia (Prince William County) I had no idea what is was until I did some research. I took a video recording of it.
Saw a fisher for the first time today in the Cave Spring area of Roanoke. Very exciting!
My wife and I were going for covid19 drive to get out of the house. We saw 2 not far from the James River in Charles City County. They were both heading to cross the road one doubled back the other briefly stopped right in the middle of the road before crossing. No picture but no question as to what they were. I’ve seen them a few times in Upper Michigan but never in Virginia!
My daughter and I saw on along dirt road (Old School House Drive) near Maurertown, VA in Shenandoah County. At a creek crossing.
I saw one walking headfirst down a big Hollow oak tree behind my MonteBello apt in Alexandria last week. Three x size of a squirrel! It confirms my sighting of one three years ago in Cameron Station. So cool!!!
I just had a Fisher in my yard.
Suffolk VA .
I just saw one in Highland County VA. He ran across the driveway. It looked like a giant mink.
Just saw one in Pocahontas State Park off the Beaver Lake Loop! Chesterfield County, VA
I saw one around 11:30am walking up a neighbor’s driveway and into the woods. I live in Fairfax VA and have lived here for over 20 years and was very confused when I saw it and had no clue what it was until I looked it up.
I just saw one an hour or so ago in my front yard when leaving for work. It kinda set me back because I wasn’t sure what it was, and I’ve lived in the area for almost 45 years and have never seen one here. I’m on the Western side of Suffolk.
I saw one in Hungry Mother State Park on one of the trails. We were hiking with our dog (on leash) so it ran from the little stream it was in.
My husband and I just saw a 10-12 pound fisher cat in our woods. It was chasing a squirrel by our pond. We live near Hillsboro, VA., about 8 miles from the W. Virginia border.
I believe I saw a Fisher alongside Fairground Rd. In Goochland County near Oilville. It was dead. Most likely struck by a vehicle.
I am pretty sure I saw one Friday, Oct 23 on the James River between Powhatan Park and Maidens. I kayak a lot and take a lot of photography (wasn’t fast enough for this one) and saw an animal about the size of a healthy cat and my first thoughts were ground hog but the tail shocked me and grabbed my attention. It was as long as the animal and fuzzy like a racoon tail with some ticking in the fur. The animal was gray. It saw me and dashed into some roots along the river under some trees. I came home and started looking this up as I have never seen this before and the closest thing I can come up with is a Fisher Cat. I have been doing this for over 10 years and have seen a lot of wildlife but nothing like this. I do have racoons in my yard so I know what those look like. this had small ears and a rounder face and definitely did not look like a racoon.
Believe I saw and captured pictures of a fisher today in Big Hollow at Lake Holiday – Frederick County. Will forward pictures to [email protected].
We’ve heard a fisher for several months behind our house in Midlothian, Va( between Hallsley & North Hundred subdivisions). Sure makes a strange sound!
Several sightings of a fisher in northern Frederick County, Va. off of highway 522 north of Winchester. Do they attack or eat domestic cats? I’m guessing our dog keeps them away from our house, but the cats do wander.
There is fisher screeching those awful sounds right now, right outside my house (9:00 PM).
Also saw one sniffing around my chicken coop this Fall.
I am in Jeffersonton, VA (Culpeper county)
Just had a fisher stroll out of the woods and by the house this morning in Fredrick County near the West Virginia border between 522 and 50. Took awhile to figure out what it was, as I’ve never seen one before, but no question after seeing pictures and seeing the multiple sightings in this area.
I think I have a picture of one taken April 10,2021. I’d love to upload the picture but don’t know where to upload it.
I believe I spotted one the other day trotting through the forest right behind Colonial Williamsburg.
Spotted one at my house a few days ago around West View in Goochland Va
Saw one this morning in northern Frederick County.
North of Reynolds Store off 522—heard and saw one in my yard tonight. It took the suet feeder right off the tree branch.
Saw small black one in Orange County Saturday July 3, been in these woods 30 years first time.
Saw one in Ashburn by lake cedar
I saw a black fisher cat with a white tip on its tail. It lives around here (lucasville road) as I here it scream often. It has been seen twice. The other sighting was when it ran out from under the air conditioner (outside unit) this winter (2021).
In October 2021 I reported my potential sighting of a fisher to Mike Fies at the VA. Dept of Game. I had no picture, but I explained to him via e-mail that I know what I saw as I have been hunting all my life, have a 50-acre riverfront property near Buena Vista, VA, and have seen mink, beavers and otters there. We were up on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Falling Water Cascades, near mile marker 76, and I only saw the animal for about 3 seconds and knew immediately that I had never seen one before. All black, big bushy tail, about the length of a fox but shorter legs. We were high up on the mountain, near the cross-over foot bridge as you come down the trail. Mr. Fies responded that I probably saw a mink as it was near the water, but this part of the falls is extremely steep, and there are no fish in the waterway. I get the annual hunting regulations magazine and have seen the pic of the fisher there, and I am convinced of what I saw. Understandable to me that without a photo it is easy for Mr. Fies to politely discount my report. No hard feelings to him, but everyone else keep your eyes open, and your cameras flashing!
Iv seen some off Middle Fork Road, Cross Junction, VA. Between Middlefork Road 695 and Reynolds Road 694
I DO INDEED HAVE TRAIL CAM FOOTAGE TAKEN IN LOVETSVILLE VA. ON THE NIGHT OF 2/11/22
Last November I saw a fisher crossing a remote gravel road in Patrick County, between Hillsville and Meadows of Dan. It was too big to be a mink and there was no water nearby.
Saw one that was sadly road kill in Henrico County today. Near a wooded area where a creek crosses under Broad St just west of Gaskins.
Caught one in a trap I set out for a Ferret cat. Wasn’t sure what it was at first. Released it and have since seen it around same area it was trapped.
April 18th, 2022 a Fisher crossed the road in front of me while I was walking. It was about 2pm and it was snowing . This is five miles west of Winchester, Virginia.
So exciting. This is my first Fisher sighting.
Something has been getting in our trash cans even though they are tied shut for a couple of nights. Thought at first it must be a raccoon. Last evening we saw the culprit making its way away from our cans, across our driveway and across our private road to the wooded area on the next door property. Was sure it was some sort of medium large weasel. Looked it up and am sure it is a fisher. Glad to see it here. We have a problem with groundhogs digging tunnels under our barn and in the horse pasture. Hope it gets rid of the groundhogs.
Varina area near the James river boat landing in eastern Henrico County, VA.
Just saw one in Washington co. Near Abingdon.It came out of a small hay field headed for the woods .
I saw one near Farmer’s Coop in Culpeper. And at Westmoreland State Park. Within 2 weeks of each other.
We had a fisher in our back yard tonight , Carrollton, Va. It was “ prowling “ around our chicken coops …. Lots of mice / rats I saw also . Hoping it was looking for a rat dinner … and not chicken !
I saw what appeared to be a fisher or weasel like animal chasing (and eventually catching) and small rabbit while I was sitting at a stop sign waiting my turn. I watched 2-3 minutes of the chase and catch . Near the Loudoun Prince William border. Catharpin creek area. I’ve never seen anything like this before in this area.
Got several close up pictures of a Fischer on a trail camera on our property in rockingham co
Sent pics to the game commission they confirmed them to be that if a Fischer
Came upon 2 mating Fishers in the woods beside a friends house about 2 months ago. They were about 10 ft from us. She lives in a very thick Pine Forest in Partlow Virginia. The sound of their scream echoing through the Pine Forest was intense. It took me 2 hours of research to identify what I saw finally walk across the driveway about 30 ft away from us. I will not go outside at her house at night without a flashlight to scan the perimeter ever again! I’ve lived in Virginia all my life and didn’t even know these animals existed.
I saw one crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County a year ago. I specialize in herpetofauna, but knew what is was the second I saw it. Trail cameras installed along the BRP in the area by Park Service personnel never captured it on “film.” I work for the Department of Wildlife Resources and confirmed my sighting with Park Service and another DWR biologist, but was told that the only confirmed sightings of fishers were from more northern counties in Virginia.