In this edition:
- It's Showtime!
- Proposed Regulation Amendments Pertaining to Foxhound Training Preserves & Nuisance Species Designation
- Next Edition Three Weeks Away August 13...
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Detailed Descriptions of Outdoor Events Across Virginia
- People and Partners in the News
- Mouth Artist Bruce Dellinger Demonstrates Unique Style at Sportsman Shows
- Complementary Work Force Volunteers Help Farmers Protect Crops
- Hunters for the Hungry
- The Blue & Gray Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Partner Organizations Working Together For Wildlife
- Removal of Dam on Appomattox River to Benefit Native Fish in Virginia
- Been There - Done That! Can't Wait to Go Again...
- The Virginia Bowhunters Association (VBA) will be hosting several events during the month of July and August
- Hunting News You Can Use
- Hot Topic at Info Desk
- Tie For The Oldest Bear In Virginia In 2013 Harvest
- Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
- Wildlife Conservation Projects Update
- Feral Hogs—"Not Here, Not In Virginia!"
- Elk Restoration Update
- Lockheed-Martin in Manassas and Fredericksburg Academy Complete DGIF Habitat Partners Projects
- Bobwhite Quail Recovery Initiative
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class
- Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites
- Boating Season is Here... Time to Check for Safety Items
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
- Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
- Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
- Fishin' Report
- Bruce Ingram from Troutville has completed two new fishing books: The South Branch and Upper Potomac Rivers Guide
- Safe Boating is no accident... Check your equipment before getting on the water
- Carters Wharf Boat Landing Closed Starting June 17, 2014
- Foot Bridge Crossing the Bullpasture River Closed
- VDGIF Biologists Release 2014 Forecasts for Walleye Fishing, Impoundments and Reservoir Rankings for Largemouth Bass Fishing
- The Fishing Spot by Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator
- Hot Summertime Fishing
- Sarah White's Notebook
- Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
- Ed's Virginia Outdoor Blog Report
- 4th of July Weekend Fun
- Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
- "Farm Ponds" By Matthew Reilly
Sportsman showtime that is... As we quickly approach August and the dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 65 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 28th. This follows National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting. And with the new hunting regulations Apprentice license holders are also eligible to hunt during the traditional Youth Day.
To properly prepare for hunting season there are dozens of quality sportsmen shows and training events scheduled throughout August and September in every region of the state. These events all feature numerous exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities and seminars - something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new, innovative equipment and learn from the experts about new places and proven techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Detailed information and website links for each of these events is listed in this edition. All the events are unique and offer something different of interest to hunters of all skill levels. They range from one day hands-on workshops to three day shows with over 300 exhibits and demonstrations. Locate several of these events near you and take your family and friends and get ready for a safe and rewarding hunting season. I hope to see you all at the show!
There's still plenty of good fishing action thru the Fall. The Outdoor Report is full of fishing and boating tips and information to make your outing more productive, enjoyable, and safe. To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, read on...
David Coffman, Editor
Proposed Regulation Amendments Pertaining to Foxhound Training Preserves & Nuisance Species Designation
On June 10, 2014, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries proposed amendments to regulations governing foxhound training preserves and nuisance species designation. A 45-day public comment period on the proposals is open June 25 through August 8, 2014. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries solicits the public's participation in this and all regulatory processes.
Next Edition Three Weeks Away August 13...
Since we post The Outdoor Report on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, the next edition will be in three weeks, August 13. This 'extra week' in the calendar will be well spent preparing for the 31st Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show at the Richmond Raceway Complex Aug 8-10. This is the largest sportsman show in Virginia with over 20,000 sportsmen and their families coming out to celebrate our hunting and fishing traditions and outdoor heritage. In September the Virginia Peninsula Sportsman Association in partnership with SGK Gun Shows will host the official East Regional Big Game Contest as part of the Southeastern Sportsman Expo at the Hampton Convention Center September 13-14 followed by the West Regional and State Big Game Contest sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds September 27-29. With the 'dog days of summer' we hope you take the opportunity to go fishing in a shady stream, or enjoy an outdoor cookout with neighbors and friends, or other cool activities enjoying the wonders of nature at any of the dozens of events listed in Wild Events. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for the August 13th edition and photos of the big bucks entered in the VA Deer Hunters Association Contest. Have a safe and enjoyable summer!
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
The 31st Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 350 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. The show has expanded into a third building which will include a new air gun shooting range sponsored by Crossman, an archery range sponsored by Parker Bows, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K9 teams, casting range for kids and much more. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Celebrity guests R.J. Molinere and Jay Paul Molinere - Swamp People on the History Channel, Kip Campbell, Host of Red Arrow TV and Fred Abbas Co-Host of TV's A-Way Outdoors will be featured at this year's show.
The Virginia Trapper Skills Weekend scheduled for August 15 –17 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox will include both Basic and Advanced Classes led by expert instructors. The workshop is open to ages 10 – adult (under 18 must attend with a registered parent). Detailed Class descriptions and registration information are available at: holidaylake4h.com/vatrapperweekend.php. For information on trapping visit the VA Trappers Assoc. website. Registration deadline: August 1, 2014.
The Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend will be held at Holiday Lake August 22-24. This unique program open to ages 11-90+ offers opportunities to learn new skills or fine-tune the ones you already have. Three 4-hour sessions in a variety of topics provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and include pistol, rifle, shotgun, skeet, trap and muzzleloading shooting, archery, survival, game processing, cooking, preserving your wild game harvest, and a variety of big and small game hunting techniques. This partnership program is presented by the VA Hunter Education Association, VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. Registration is open until August 8, 2014 and the cost is $120.00 (meals and lodging included); a discounted fee is available before August 1, 2014. Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred but not required; children under 18 must attend with a parent. For more information visit www.holidaylake4h.com, call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Annual Farmville Outdoor Festival sponsored by Riverside Community Church is being held Saturday, August 23 at the Five County Fairgrounds, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar from Quaker Boy Pro-Staff followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest and Appomattox River Kennels is sponsoring a Big Buck Contest. This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors! For more information, view flyer Farmville Outdoor Festival (PDF), or contact Riverside Community Church at 434-547-6770.
The first annual Southeastern Sportsman Expo scheduled at the Hampton Convention Center Sept 13-14, 2014 is also the new venue for the 75th East Regional Big Game Contest. This expo will showcase hunting, fishing, camping, and other sports for all outdoor enthusiasts. Over 25,000 square feet will be dedicated to outdoor sports equipment and services. SGK Gun Shows is proud to be partnering this year with the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association's 75th Annual Big Game Contest, the Official Virginia State Contest cosponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Izaak Walton League. This year the West Regional and State Contest is September 26-28 (see details in following article).
In addition to the regularly scheduled SGK Gun Show and the East Regional Big Game Contest there will be a new and exciting element to the Sportsman Expo: The Adaptive Sports Pavilion. This pavilion will showcase adaptive sports for our wounded veterans, from hunting to fishing and promote adaptive methods for participation in recreational and community outdoor sports, services and equipment to develop independence, confidence and fitness. If your organization provides equipment and/or services for adaptive sports enthusiasts, the Pavilion is the perfect showcase to put you front and center. Assistive technology and sports is a growing area of business targeting sports enthusiasts who have disabilities. Assistive devices are enabling exercise, training and participation in sports for all persons with disabilities. For information on exhibiting in the Adaptive Pavilion or the Sportsman Showcase visit the website. For information on the 75th Big Game Contest visit: www.vpsa.org.
The 7th Annual Youth Outdoor Day provides educational and fun opportunity for families to enjoy Saturday September 20 at Caledon State Park. Activities include, VDGIF K9 Demo, King George Sheriff's Department K9 Demo, Archery Live Fire, Hay rides, Air Rifle Team (NJROTC)-live fire, King George Fire and Rescue, Patawomeck Indian Tribe with skills displays, VDGIF aerial archery, VDGIF casting course, King George Parks and Recreation, Friends of Caledon. The event is free with a lunch snack provided and is sponsored by The Northern Neck Chapter of the VA Deer Hunters Association at Caledon State Park from 10 AM - 2 PM For more information, contact Caledon State Park at (540) 663-3861.
The 75th Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest is set for September 26-28, 2014 sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. Registration: Begins Friday September 26 at 9 AM. Trophy Entry Deadline is 2 PM on Saturday September 27. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. This year the Western Regional is also the State Championship. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks, bears and gobblers harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org
The 3rd Annual Virginia Waterfowling Workshop will be held September 26-28 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association (VWFA), in cooperation with the VDGIF and the 4-H Center provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course. The workshop will provide participants of ages 12 through 90+, the opportunity to participate in 18 hands-on classes including: Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management. Todd Cocker, VWFA Executive Director, notes that the past two years the weekend workshop was rated by its participants as "Very Good." The workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. There will be several night time mini classes and recreation' sessions Friday and Saturday night. This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities." For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VAWFA website.
The Appalachian Highlands Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society will host the Fourth Annual Sporting Clay Shoot on Saturday, October 11, at the Kettlefoot Rod & Gun Club 21101 Kettlefoot Lane Bristol, Virginia 24202. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with shooting from 9 am to noon with lunch and awards thru 1 pm. This is a fundraising event to support local habitat projects. Come rain or shine and note you must bring own shells, eye and ear protection (required). Contact Chris White (276) 494-1364 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and costs for individuals, teams and youth.
People and Partners in the News
Mouth Artist Bruce Dellinger Demonstrates Unique Style at Sportsman Shows
Bruce Dellinger, a self-taught artist from Timberville in Rockingham County, has been successfully drawing for over 15 years holding a pencil in his teeth. As a result of a farming accident in 1981 that left him a C5-C6 quadriplegic, he discovered that he could draw and write by manipulating pens and pencils with his teeth. This eventually led Bruce to the realization of how creating works of art can be enjoyable and therapeutic. Come meet Bruce in person at the Richmond Raceway during the " 31st VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 8-10, where he is the featured artist for 2014. Bruce will be demonstrating his unique drawing technique and selling his limited edition prints with custom framing available at the Show.
By using naturalistic scenes. Bruce feels that the finished composition is a reflection of his mood and adaptability to life. Bruce has worked with several types of mediums, but has found that using a no. 2 graphite pencil and working in black and white is representative of his personal character and style. The pencil allows for ease of use and gives the drawing an old-fashioned appearance and quality. An avid outdoorsman, Bruce enjoys hunting and fishing. Bruce has been instrumental in working with the National Wild Turkey Federation's Wheelin' Sportsmen Program to provide outdoor activities for persons with disabilities and participates in many of the volunteer led activities. Visit his website for more information and a gallery view of his drawings.
Complementary Work Force Volunteers Help Farmers Protect Crops
Allen Easterly, VDGIF Complementary Work Force (CWF) volunteer reports it's that time of year when area farmer's crops are under attack by wildlife looking for an easy meal. A small number of deer can wreak havoc on the tender tops of soybeans early in the season and continue to munch on them throughout the growing season. They'll do the same to young corn plants and later nibble the fresh silk before finally nawing the corn right off the cob. Bear can cause tremendous damage to corn fields. They'll wander into the cornfield a few rows, and beginning pulling entire stalks down into a big pile and then commence to engorge themselves on tender creamy kernels. Last season a farmer near me only harvested one acre of corn from a seven acre field. The bear got the rest. Squirrels will steam ears of corn and carry them back in the woods. Even raccoons will pull down corn stalks to eat the corn. Volunteers to the rescue!
Complementary Work Force volunteers like me lend a hand to law enforcement by conducting wildlife damage investigations of crop damage. We are trained to tell the difference between rabbit and deer nibbles on plants and how to identify damage caused by other critters. Then we determine how many animals are involved in putting a hurting on the farmer's pocketbook. When warranted, volunteers can issue Official Kill Permits to allow the farmer's to reduce the population of animals causing damage. Permits are rarely issued to those with private vegetable gardens. Small areas of crops like these are best protected with suitable fencing. When permits issued to farmers, they are only good for a specific number of animals, for a specific period of time and problem animals can only be taken in the fields being damaged. The purpose of the permits is not to eliminate all the problem animals, just to reduce the population enough to reduce crop damage to a lower level that permits a farmer to avoid significant financial loss. The rewards for the volunteer are many in that they receive excellent training and get to meet and chat with local farmers. But most of all is the satisfaction in knowing that you have helped a farmer put food on all our tables. If you would like to help too, contact your Regional VDGIF office for information on becoming a member of the VDGIF Complementary Work Force.
The Hunters for the Hungry program asks everyone to stop by their booth at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show at Richmond Raceway August 8-10, to learn more about the program's feeding efforts all across the State, and also how they can get plugged in to support their feeding efforts, whether they hunt or not. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions as to where deer can be donated, how people can make both deer and financial donations, or how they can volunteer to help with a fundraising event or a speaking engagement or with an exhibit at a variety of special events. They will as always feature their unique HFTH merchandise including embroidered caps, sport towels, and new HFTH t-shirts! They will also be conducting some of their annual Fund Raising Raffles which will be given away at the end of the show on Sunday August 10th. Come by and join our efforts to feed those in need and promote our hunting heritage! Visit their website.
The Blue & Gray Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold their annual fundraising event August 9, from 5:00-9:30 PM at the Middletown Fire Hall. Contact John Petrie, Chapter Chairman, 540-869-0187 for info. A portion of the funds raised at this event is used here in Virginia to support the Elk Restoration Project in Buchanan County. See details of this project in the Wildlife Conservation Projects Update section of TOR.
Partner Organizations Working Together For Wildlife
In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), we are featuring VDGIF partner organizations that support our Mission in each edition of the Outdoor Report. The WSFR is a milestone program that brings together federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups to create a successful partnership that has led to quality wildlife-related outdoor opportunities. The VDGIF is proud and honored to have the support of numerous non-profit conservation organizations, outdoor industries and local businesses that are dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. Through the involvement of thousands of citizen volunteers, as well as a financial commitment to a variety of agency projects, outdoor organizations have supported wildlife conservation efforts that benefit all Virginia citizens and that support us in our Mission "working together for wildlife."
Removal of Dam on Appomattox River to Benefit Native Fish in Virginia
Work is underway to remove the Harvell Dam on the Appomattox River—with removal of the concrete spillway started on July 15 and expected to be completed by October. As the first obstruction on the river, the Harvell Dam has long been deemed the most critical fish passage site on the Appomattox and one of the highest priority sites for migratory fish restoration in Virginia. The project will re-open 127 miles of upstream habitat for migratory fish, such as American and Hickory Shad, American Eel, and river herring. Once complete, the dam removal is also expected to enhance recreational boating and fishing, providing an estimated $68 million economic boost to the area. "Removing the Harvell dam will provide migratory fish like shad and herring greater access to their historical spawning grounds and will return this section of the Appomattox to a free-flowing river," said David K. Whitehurst, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Resources, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
The project is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), American Rivers, and the Harvell Dam Corporation, with support from the City of Petersburg, to restore migratory fish populations. Read more on the VDGIF website...
Been There - Done That! Can't Wait to Go Again...
Editor's note... The future of our hunting and fishing heritage and traditions is in the hands of the sportsmen that take the time to mentor new outdoor enthusiasts- especially children, creating memories and a passion for the sport to continue to a new generation. Family members and friends, hunt clubs, and numerous sportsmen organizations all have a part in this important mission. The following is an example of sportsmen organizations, businesses and VDGIF staff and volunteers partnering to provide exciting, educational and fun opportunities for getting anglers and hunters of any age or experience level to try new experiences to renew their interest and passion for the great outdoors and making new memories with family and friends. David Coffman
The Virginia Bowhunters Association (VBA) will be hosting several events during the month of July and August
First is the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia hosted by Sherwood Archers in Roanoke on July 26th & 27th. Contact Marie Bell at 1.888.922.9536 or 1.540.343.7334 for further details or www.sherwoodarchersroanokeva.com
The VBA 3-D Fall Classic hosted by Kingsboro Bowmen on August 16th & 17th at Lone Star Lakes Park, 401 Kings Highway, Suffolk, VA. The Championship shoot is open to all archers and using IBO Rules. Contact Andy Willman at 757.679.4888 or Ed Bickham at 757.334.3310 for further details or www.kingsborobowmen.com
Hunters for the Hungry Benefit Shoots hosted by Belvoir Bowhunters on Saturday August 23rd and will be held at Northern Virginia Archers. Contact Kevin Brown at 703.451.5196 or www.belvoirbowhunters.com ; and Kingsboro Bowmen will be hosting their H4H shoot on Sunday, August 24th at the Lone Star Lakes Park. Contact Andy or Ed at the same information above for further details.
Lastly, the VBA State Closed Championship hosted by Singers Glen Bowbenders, Singers Glen, VA. Guest are welcome, but must be a VBA member to shoot for awards. Contact Shannon Nesselrodt at 1.540.271.2228 or www.singersglenbowbenders.com
To view the VBA newsletter "In Flight" Summer Edition and other VBA events visit their website at www.vbarchers.com
Hunting News You Can Use
The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in getting ready for hunting season, or reports of interest compiled from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk.
Hot Topic at Info Desk... Vance Shearin at the Richmond Headquarters Info Desk reports that a lot of people are asking when the fall hunting regulations will be available. The 2014-2015 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia regulation digest is now available as downloadable PDF on the Agency website, www.dgif.virginia.gov. The printed hard copies should be available at license agents and Agency offices in early August. The regulation digest has the seasons for bear, deer, turkey, small game and trapping as well as info on public hunting lands, quota hunts, and a whole lot more. Be sure to get a copy either online or in person in the coming months.
Tie For The Oldest Bear In Virginia In 2013 Harvest... Black bear hunter harvest age data has just been received by VDGIF for the 2013 hunting season. Jaime Sajecki, VDGIF Black Bear Project Leader reports that a female black bear killed by an archery hunter in Giles County in October 2013 was found to be 30 years old. The age of that bear ties the record with another 30 year old female bear that was harvested in Tazewell County in 2011 during a firearms hunting season. Since VDGIF began collecting age data from hunter-killed bears in the 1970s, only 60 bears (0.2% of records) have been found to be age 20 or older. The average age of hunter-harvested bears in Virginia typically is 4-6 years. Age of hunter-killed bears is determined by examining a tooth extracted from the bear and submitted by the hunter. Requiring a premolar tooth to be extracted from each bear by successful hunters is a mandatory part of the bear checking process and allows VDGIF to monitor population composition over time, estimate population size, and calculate annual population growth rates. A total of 2,322 black bears were harvested by hunters in Virginia during the 2013 hunting season. Hunters may look up the age of their harvested bear online. Bear ages from the 2013-2014 harvest should be available online by end of July.
Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
We're looking for some good deer, squirrel, rabbit, bear, and turkey hunting photos from youth, or novice hunters. Congratulations to those who have taken the time and commitment to mentor a young or novice hunter - the dads and moms, uncles, aunts, grandparents, or friends for discovering the passion for the outdoors and providing this most important opportunity for developing new traditions, resulting in wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime.
Keep sending in great photos of smiling young hunters. Also, any unusual pictures or stories from any hunters are considered for posting. The pictures need to be in good taste for publication—minimal blood, classic pose, etc. Our award-winning professional photographers offer a few tips on composition of your photos so as to capture the moment with a good photo—consider background, good light, contrast, and have both young hunter and mentor in the photo, especially father-daughter, or mother-son, etc. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction.
Send us the basic information to email@example.com for a caption including: names, age, hometown, location and date of harvest, county, private, or public land, first deer, doe or # antlers, turkey, coyote, bow or gun specifics, comment from the young hunter or mentor.
Joseph Sullivan Gets 11 Pointer as First Buck
Quintin Sullivan from Fredericksburg, sent this picture of his 12 year old son Joseph with his first buck... not only is this his first buck, it is surely the buck of a lifetime! This 11 point, double drop tined, symmetrical 24 1/4 inch inside spread beast would make any hunter at any age proud. Joseph killed the buck in Stafford County. Joseph is planning on entering this monster 11 pointer in The Virginia Deer Classic big buck contest at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 8-10 at the Richmond Raceway. The Contest is a hallmark of the Show now in its 31st year and is run by the VA Deer Hunters Association and sponsored by Keystone Tractor Works. Certified judges will be awarding ribbons and trophies in five antler classes. Awards will be presented to the winners on Sunday August 10th at 5pm. Crossbow hunting will also be included as a separate class of competition. Crossbow hunting continues to grow and is starting to become the fastest growing segment within the deer hunting community. Hunters must have a certified VA Game Check Card or their confirmation number from the VDGIF Telephone Check System in order to enter a deer in the contest. For more information go to the VDHA website or call Denny Quaiff at (804) 590-3481.
Note that Josephs buck will also be entered in the official 75th East Regional Big Game Contest sponsored by The Virginia Peninsula Sportsman Association and VDGIF this year being held for the first time in conjunction with the SGK Gun Show as part of the Southeastern Sportsman Expo at the Hampton Convention Center September 13-14. This buck should certainly score high enough in the east Regional to qualify for the West Regional- State Contest sponsored by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Izzak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds September 27-28.
Wildlife Conservation Projects Update
Editor's note... In the past two years VDGIF has established restoration programs for bobwhite quail, mussels, elk and other species. Our readers have noted great interest in updates on these programs in particular and other species that are "in the news" and subject to special management considerations by VDGIF staff and partner agencies and organizations. These news items are featured in this section. DC
Feral Hogs—"Not Here, Not In Virginia!" is the campaign slogan developed by the Virginia Feral Hog Stakeholders Group lead by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) through the Feral Hog Committee and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture- Wildlife Services (USDAWS),U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Virginia Farm Bureau. VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Aaron Proctor is the Coordinator for the Stakeholders Group and has just posted the first newsletter. Updates on the feral hog issue will be posted in each edition of TOR in this section. Read the newsletter at online (PDF). Additional information can be found on the VDGIF website.
Elk Restoration Update
Update Elk Release Completed April 2014
Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) made the final transport to move 45 more elk to Buchanan County from southeastern Kentucky on April 10-11. VDGIF and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources employees trapped elk in January in Kentucky. The elk were tested for infectious diseases and held in quarantine in Kentucky until their historic transport to the release site in the Warfork area of Buchanan County, now firmly established as the "Elk Capital of Virginia".
Read more in the May 14 edition of TOR...
Look for exclusive updates in this section of future editions of the Outdoor Report.
For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:
- Dr. James Vance, Associate Professor of Mathematics, The University of Virginia's College at Wise, has joined the Elk Restoration Project to conduct research associated with the movements of the herd and other data needs. Follow his research »
- Elk Restoration and Management Options for Southwest Virginia (PDF) »
- Elk Restoration Operational Plan (PDF) »
- Watch the VDGIF video »
- swvaelk.com »
Bobwhite Quail Recovery Initiative... VDGIF Quail Project Leader Marc Puckett has provided information on the recent coordinated, Multi-State Plan that illustrates the habitat basis for Bobwhite decline. The complete NBCI Coordinated Implementation Plan is available online. Marc also called our attention to another good quail information story that appeared Wednesday June 18 in the Lynchburg News and Advance by Shannon Brennan, who monitors a section of the Appalachian Trail and the James River as a volunteer. Her column, "For Love of Nature" appears on the first and third Wednesdays of each month in the Lifestyle section.
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class... September will soon be here and the fall hunting seasons will begin. Are you ready?! For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Course to qualify for your license. Our team of over 900 volunteer instructors have over 140 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. This year, the Virginia Hunter Education Course is more convenient, combining the flexibility of self-study with less classroom time. Go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/education/ for more details. Note that resident adults at least 18 years of age can take their Hunter Education course completely online.
With the Youth Deer Hunting Day September 27th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together for a refresher. There is a Hunter Education course scheduled Saturday August 9 during the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show at Richmond Raceway. Students registered for this class get free admission to the Show.
This is also a good time to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends. This year Apprentice License holders are eligible to participate in the traditional Youth Hunting Days for Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl . Visit the VDGIF website for details.
Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites... Remember spring is the time to be aware of ticks and the potential for Lyme disease. Especially for turkey hunters walking through grass fields and woods. Information about Lyme disease and what people should do if they are bitten by a tick can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website. Virginia Wildlife Magazine featured an article about Lyme disease prevention that can be read on our agency website.
Boating Season is Here... Time to Check for Safety Items...Stacey Brown, VDGIF Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education advises, "This is the time of year to get ready for another season of responsible, safe, and fun boating on Virginia's waters! Be sure to check all your safety equipment." Read these tips and check list in the May 28, 2014 edition of TOR.
Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober... Currently, all PWC operators 14 years of age and older as well as motorboat operators age 45 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater must have completed a boating safety education course and carry such proof in their possession while operating the vessel. On July 1, 2015, motorboat operators age 50 or younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater must have completed a boating safety education course and carry such proof in their possession while operating the vessel.
Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
|To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.|
Reports from the field officer's notebook...
Region I - Tidewater
Boat Patrol Cites PWC Operators - On July 4, Conservation Police Officers Baker and Goodwin were on boat patrol on Diascund Creek in New Kent County. At 8:00 PM the officers stopped two PWCs for life jacket violations as they passed by their patrol boat. One of the PWC operators was given field sobriety tests and subsequently offered a PBT which registered .09. The subject was arrested and transported by Officer Baker to the magistrate in New Kent County and processed for operating a PWC under the influence of alcohol. Several summonses were also issued for the PFD, lanyard and registration violations on the two PWCs.
BUI and Reckless Operation - On July 5, Conservation Police Officers were conducting a Boating Safety Operation on the Pagan River at the mouth of Jones Creek District 14 in Isle of Wight County. During the operation a vessel was stopped and the operator was determined to have been operating the vessel under the influence of alcohol. The operator performed poorly on the field sobriety tests administered by Officer K.D. Skinner. A PBT was offered; the operator showed a BAC of .11 on the Alco-Sensor. While conducting the arrest, a 40 foot Chesapeake Deadrise workboat entered the area at a high rate of speed and on plane. The workboat passed within 20 feet of the two VDGIF patrol boats with emergency blue lights illuminated, almost striking the SAFE Boat broadside. The wake from the workboat was approximately four feet in height and it almost threw Officers Skinner and Popek and the arrestee off the boat. Senior Officer Jones, Officers Booden and Chitwood pulled away and stopped the workboat. A compliance check was conducted of the vessel and the operator was cited for reckless operation.
Region II - Southside
Outreach Event - On June 7, Conservation Police Officer Shannon Smith, the Botetourt County Recreation Department, the Bank of Botetourt and other local businesses joined forces to hold the Fifteenth Annual Botetourt Children's Fishing Carnival. The event consisted of trout tanks, casting competitions, fly tying and casting, an air rifle range, fishing on the James River, fish and aquatic knowledge quiz, and river clean-up. There were also exhibits set up by the local fire departments, NWTF, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Trout Unlimited, and Orvis. Over 350 door prizes were given away in addition to awards for the competitions. The Virginia Bear Hunters' Association donated the grand prize for the age six and under kids consisting of a bicycle, helmet, tent, sleeping bags, folding chairs, fishing poles, and tackle. The grand prize for the kids aged 7-15 was a $250 gift card to Sportsman's Warehouse. A total of 640 children attended the event with 557 adults or parents tagging along. Lunch was also provided for all attendees.
River Patrol Yields Narcotics - On June 26, Conservation Police Officer Joe Williams was patrolling the Green Hill Park along the Roanoke River in Roanoke County when he noticed a suspicious vehicle that appeared to be hidden in the tree line near the river. This location is commonly known to be an area where individuals go to use drugs and Officer Williams has received numerous reports of other illegal activity at this location. As Officer Williams approached the vehicle, the driver cranked the vehicle and sped away from the area. Officer Williams identified himself and yelled at the driver to stop. The vehicle continued to leave the area at a high rate of speed. Officer Williams initiated his lights and siren and followed the suspects out of the park, onto a nearby street. The three occupants of the vehicle then began throwing items from the vehicle. After approximately ½ mile, the vehicle stopped at a nearby residence. Upon investigation, it was determined all three subjects had been consuming alcohol and smoking marijuana. A subsequent search of the vehicle and nearby area uncovered additional evidence of alcohol and drug use. The three subjects were ultimately charged with a variety of offenses including underage possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana, and eluding police.
Double OUI Arrests - On June 27, Conservation Police Officers Dallas Neel and Shannon Smith were on boat patrol on Smith Mountain Lake when they observed a boat not displaying proper navigation lights after sunset. As the officers initiated the boat stop, the male operator left the driver's seat and another male began to operate the boat. As the officers began to speak with the current operator, it appeared the operator may be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Neel asked the operator to come aboard the patrol boat to conduct field sobriety tests. The operator agreed, came aboard the boat, performed poorly on field sobriety tests and was subsequently placed under arrest for OUI. Officer Neel then began to question the first operator which also appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Neel eventually offered the first operator field sobriety tests and eventually arrested the first operator for OUI as well. The two operators were extremely belligerent throughout the process. Final evidential breath tests taken nearly two hours later revealed BAC levels at .18 and .20.
Illegal Turkey Kill - Conservation Police Sergeant Karl Martin and Senior Conservation Police Officer Jeremy Hood investigated a Crimeline report that turkeys had been shot at in Henry County late in the evening of July 1. Turkey feathers were found in a wooded area near Philpott Lake after a motorist had seen a flock of turkeys cross the roadway and heard a shot. The motorist had slowed to allow the birds to cross the rural road. A suspect was developed which led to a hen and a gobbler that had been field dressed and prepared for cooking that night, a little early for a Thanksgiving dinner! A 38 year old Bassett, Virginia man was charged with taking game during closed season and exceeding the daily bag limit for turkeys.
Region III - Southwest
Conservation Police Officers Provide Boat Training to Rescue Squad - On June 29, Conservation Police Officers (CPO) Jim Anders and Eric Rorabaugh provided Boat Operation training to members of the Lead Mines Rescue Squad. The CPOs took the members out on the Rescue Squad's Zodiac and gave them instruction on how to operate the boat in swift water, how to read the water for the best route through rapids and how to avoid the "hydraulic" area of a "drop off" ledge of water.
Citizen Complaint Leads to Charges - On July 3, Senior Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings received a complaint from a citizen of a possible unregistered motorboat operating on the New River in Wythe County. Officer Billings responded to the area and was able to locate the boat and occupants about two miles downstream on an island. Officer Billings positioned himself to observe the subjects and soon one of them began to smoke from a small pipe that is commonly referred to as a "one hitter." A short time later, contact was made and a small baggie of green plantlike material and a pipe were recovered. Charges were placed for the drug violation and a fishing license violation.
Drug and Underage Alcohol Charges on Group at New River - On July 4, Senior Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Randy Hurst and Sergeant Rolland Cox conducted a patrol of the New River in Carroll County. Sergeant Cox observed a group of individuals consuming alcohol and at least two of the individuals appeared to be underage. One of the subjects produced a silver smoking device, lit it and began sharing it with the group. Other individuals began producing clear plastic baggies that they were carrying on their person. CPO Eric Rorabaugh was contacted to assist due to the large size of the group. Officers Hurst and Rorabaugh approached the group and made contact resulting in five charges of possession of marijuana and three charges of underage possession of alcohol. Sergeant Cox made contact with two other associates of the group and charged them with littering.
BUI in Jon Boat - On July 4, Conservation Police Officer Tosh Barnette was patrolling the Powell River when he observed two subjects in a small Jon boat. A juvenile subject was fishing while an adult subject was operating the vessel. The vessel did not display any registration numbers and was being propelled by a trolling motor. When the vessel came to shore, Officer Barnette observed four empty beer cans on the deck and no PFDs on board. An odor commonly associated with alcoholic beverages was observed about the operator. The operator was given field sobriety tests which were performed unsatisfactorily and a preliminary breath test indicated a BAC 0.085. The operator was transported to the Lee County Sheriff's Office where a final BAC of 0.06 was recorded. The operator was charged with operating a motor boat while under the influence of alcohol, operating an unregistered motorboat and failing to have required PFDs.
BUI on Jon Boat - On July 4th, Senior Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips patrolled Gatewood Reservoir in Pulaski. Officer Phillips observed a jon boat with two occupants traveling towards the Gatewood Marina and that the operator was drinking from a silver and blue aluminum can. He met the operator of the boat at the marina and smelled a strong odor of alcoholic beverage about the man's person. After performing poorly on the field sobriety tests, the operator was placed under arrest and transported to the NRV Regional Jail where his BAC was determined to be 0.24.
Claytor Lake BUI - On July 5, Senior Conservation Police Officers Troy Phillips and Mark Brewer patrolled Claytor Lake in Pulaski County. They observed a pontoon boat with no registration numbers visible, stopped the vessel and interviewed the operator. Officer Brewer observed beer in a cup at the operator's controls, and the operator had about his person the odor associated with consumption of alcoholic beverages. The man consented to field sobriety tests, some of which he did not perform satisfactorily. He consented to the preliminary breath test, and the result was in excess of the legal limit. Officer Brewer arrested him for operating a motorboat under the influence of alcohol and transported him to the NRV Region Jail. The evidentiary breath test result was .09 g/210L of breath. He was also issued a magistrate summons a boater safety education violation.
Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont
Conservation Police Officer Assists in Fatal Accident - On June15, Senior K9 Conservation Police Officer Wayne Billhimer came upon a vehicle accident involving an intoxicated driver who hit a husband and wife riding a motorcycle in Page County. The intoxicated driver got out of his truck, looked at the scene, and then fled. Officer Billhimer asked the VDGIF Communications Center to put a BOLO on the driver of the suspect truck, who was quickly apprehended by a Deputy and two Virginia State Troopers. Officer Billhimer utilized his issued AED on one of the victims. Billhimer performed CPR until EMS arrived on scene. Unfortunately, the male victim was pronounced deceased. The other victim was flown to UVA Hospital with severe injuries. The suspect was arrested and blew a .10 at the Page County Jail.
Investigation Continues on Lake Anna Boat Crash - On June 28, at approximately 2330 hours, Virginia Conservation Police Officers Joyner and Eller were dispatched to a boat incident on Lake Anna. Officer Eller responded to an area in which a pontoon boat had been struck and severely damaged by another vessel. The occupants were still on scene and uninjured other than a few minor abrasions. Officer Joyner responded to a nearby campground in which the Sheriff's Office had been dispatched in reference to a group of people fighting. Upon arrival, Officer Joyner was notified that the subjects had been fighting over a possible boat accident that had occurred. The suspect vessel and operator were identified as well as the other six occupants that had been riding on the vessel. The vessel's operator stated that they were coming back from a local restaurant, at night, at a high rate of speed when he hit what he thought was a log and one of the passengers was ejected. They found the ejected passenger and left the scene, returning to the campground. The incident is still under investigation with charges pending.
Multiple Summonses Issued - On July 2, Conservation Police Officers (CPO) Davis and Inge received a call from a Park Ranger from Shenandoah National Park who reported three males illegally using a net across the river to catch fish. CPOs Davis, Inge, and Hebberling responded to the North Fork of the Morman's River where Sugar Hollow meets the National Park. They located three subjects fitting the description as they were leaving their fishing-hole. They were carrying a bucket, one fishing rod, and a full plastic trash bag. Upon entering into a consensual conversation with them, two of the men admitted to fishing using the rod and a net. They did produce freshwater licenses; however, they had been fishing in a fly rod only area as well as a catch and release only area. They had 36 fish in their possession including a few native trout. Most of the fish were only 2-3 inches in length. The trash bag contained the casting net that they had been using as well as several pounds of stinging nettle (they planned to use in a soup). Multiple summonses were issued for illegal methods, possession of undersized fish, and removing plants from a park.
Tracking Device Nets a "Hard to Catch" Poacher - After three consecutive years of road hunting, spotlighting, and over the limit complaints, countless hours spent in the bushes running surveillance and decoy operations to no avail, it was time for something different: a tracking device. Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Heine developed enough probable cause during the 2013 deer season to obtain a search warrant for a tracking device and placed one of the VDGIF's tracking devices on the suspect's vehicle in the wee hours of December 1, 2013. By all means a team effort, Capt. Clarke, Sgt. Martin, CPO Boulanger, K9 CPO Billhimer and CPO Ostlund gave their time, effort, knowledge, and gave up plenty of sleep to make this case a success! Freezing temps, sleepless nights, snow covered decoy, spotlighting, and surveillance ops followed for two straight months. The suspect, a convicted felon and prolific poacher, was on the road and on the move every day of the week at all hours of the day and night. The suspect operated in the entire southern half of Shenandoah County and parts of northern Rockingham County. Thanks to the tracking device though, CPOs finally knew where he was and when. The tracking device data yielded a mountain of evidence, but as the suspect rarely sat still, most operations were mobile and on the fly. Using covert vehicles, drop offs, video cameras, night vision, a thermal imager, and countless man-hours, a substantial case was built against the main suspect and two members of his self-described "crew."
In April, 2014 a large-scale "knock-and-talk" was executed in Shenandoah County. VDGIF Investigator Cianciotti, CPO Ham, Sgt. Martin, K9 CPO Billhimer, CPO Ostlund, CPO Heine, and Shenandoah Sheriff's Office Investigators Mason and Poe participated. After a full day of tracking down suspects, conducting interviews, and collecting evidence, two rifles were seized and full confessions obtained from all three suspects. VDGIF GIS Specialist Lenee Pennington processed all of the data from the tracking device, making for an easy display of routes and stops for the prosecution. After processing all of the evidence and confessions, CPO Heine obtained 102 magistrate summonses against the three main suspects. Offenses committed by the "crew" included spotlighting and killing deer, shooting from the road, hunting from a vehicle, failing to tag and check deer, continuing to hunt after obtaining the season limit for deer, illegal transport and possession of deer, exceeding the season bag limit for deer, possession of marijuana and violating an active protective order. It was determined that these three quietly killed well over 30 deer from the roadways of Shenandoah County using a tiny LED flashlight, crossbow, and high-powered pellet rifle. Special thanks to Sgt. Martin, K9 CPO Billhimer and CPO Ostlund of District 41 who assisted CPO Heine with this investigation and gave the most of their time and determination. Thanks also to the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office who conducted coordinated traffic stops on the suspect, finding deer in the back of the suspect's truck on multiple occasions. Thanks to SCSO Investigators who gave time, equipment, and expertise during the surveillance and interview of the three suspects. The sportsmen of Shenandoah County can breathe a sigh of relief as the main suspect said, upon being served with his share of the 102 charges,......... "I'm done."
These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!
If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at
To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to The Outdoor Report.
Keep your camera handy to catch those smilin' faces of the kids as they catch that special fish. Keep the best ones and enter that special snapshot in the Kids Fishing Photo Contest. Read details at: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/kidsnfishing/
Also for groups doing a fishing event contact VDGIF Angler Education for our Tackle Loaner Program at: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/education/fishing/tackle-loaner.pdf
Bruce Ingram from Troutville has completed two new fishing books: The South Branch and Upper Potomac Rivers Guide, and the second edition of The Shenandoah and Rappahannock Rivers Guide. Folks can order signed, dedicated copies of both books directly from the author for $20.75. Bruce is a frequent contributor to Virginia Wildlife Magazine and Whitetail Times – Virginia Deer Hunters Association official magazine and other sportsman publications. The books are designed for anglers, paddlers, and birders primarily with some history. They can find out more about the books at www.bruceingramoutdoors.com and contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safe Boating is no accident... Check your equipment before getting on the water. This is the time of year to get ready for another season of responsible, safe, and fun boating on Virginia's waters! Be sure to check all your safety equipment. If you haven't already taken a boating safety class, check out all the class opportunities on the DGIF website. If you have already taken a class, review the Virginia Watercraft Owners guide to keep your knowledge fresh. Let's make this a great summer – Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Have Fun! Read More in the Be Safe... Have Fun Section of this edition of TOR
VDGIF Fisheries Biologists have released their annual reports to inform anglers on forecasts for Walleye fishing, Impoundments, Largemouth Bass Fishing and River Fishing. Virginia is an anglers paradise with over 176,000 acres of public lakes, primarily man-made impoundments, and 28,300 miles of fishable streams (1,000 miles tidal) that provide fishing opportunities for more than 600,000 licensed anglers. To review these four reports, click on these links:
- Walleye Fishing Forecast
- Impoundment Forecast
- Largemouth Bass Lakes Report
- 2014 River Fishing Report
The Fishing Spot
by Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator
Welcome to The Fishing Spot! Through my role as Angling Education coordinator for the VDGIF, I am able to connect with a variety of anglers across the Commonwealth and this is an opportunity for me to share those experiences and fishing related topics with you. My sincere hope is that you can always come to The Fishing Spot for interesting and educational fishing articles, intriguing interviews with anglers and the latest on fishing in Virginia. Please enjoy!
Hot Summertime Fishing
The hot months of summer can present some challenging fishing days. Not only is the heat difficult to bear, but the fish are not cooperating as well as they did so recently when it was cooler in the spring. Don't give up; there can be some hot fishing action in the summer. Summer is a time of extremes which can be a great advantage to anglers... read the rest of the story.
Sarah White's Notebook
Region 1: Tidewater
Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestly, (757) 566- 2277, email@example.com No report this edition.
Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Ranger Michelle Maynora-Hostinsky. Crappie have made a big comeback this week, being the most common catch in the lake. They are schooling the waters again, hitting anything from grubs to the minnow on a gold hook. Quite a few citation crappies have been measured in at over 22 inches. The bass catch has been scarce, although they are biting for the occasional angler. Monday, a local fisherman was slaying bass with suspended crank bait in 12 to14 feet of water; they have also been hitting dark worms in the grassy beds early in evening. Early morning, as the park opens up, big bass can be seen jumping out of the water chasing bait. The bait fish boils in the lake right now, causing a feeding frenzy at any given time. Bream are scattered around the lake as usual, getting ready to spawn again for the second time this season. A fisherman from out of town said he did not have any luck with the bass, so he turned to the night crawler and started to pull up bluegill until he was bored. The Cat fish have left their fry, and are swimming around the lake again ready to eat. Not a lot of fishermen are targeting the catfish right now so they continue to get larger. I pulled in a 24 inch Bull Head cat using a white mister twister in the shallows, likely a catch by foul, but they are there.
Last week, we took the kids fishing for our Nature Explores camp; children were lined up on the dock pulling in crappie and shellcrackers for hours. It's easy to keep the kids smiling when they are pulling in fish. Thank you to the Ras family for all of your help. The water is 86 degrees, at full pool and clear to 4 feet. The grass is moderate at the East end of the lake and heavy in the North. August 1st will be our next Night Fishing adventure, registration is $5 it will begin at 4pm until midnight, lights are provided. It's a perfect time to test out some of the top water baits, or to find our giant catfish. For more information about night fishing or any of our upcoming events call (804)693-2107 or email at Beaverdam@gloucesterva.info. Enjoy and fish responsibly.
Virginia Beach: Contributed by local guide Skip Feller of Rudee Inlet Charters (757) 425-3400, www.rudeeinlet charters.com. No report this edition.
Chesapeake: Contributed by Dr. Julie Ball. The recent cold front brought some mild relief from the heat this week, but breezy conditions could hinder some fishing efforts over the weekend. When boats can get out, inshore species are providing good action, while the offshore bite is once again showing promise. For more info check out Dr. Ball's awesome website at www.drjball.com.
Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475 Chickahominy Lake mid day water temperatures were in the low to mid 80s in the main lake and up major creeks on Friday (07/18/2014) and the lake level was about six inches above the top of the dam. Crappie were scattered along the creek and main lake shorelines and on channel edges and mid depth wood cover and were hitting live minnows and small jigs and swim baits. Bluegill and shellcracker were scattered along shorelines and on mid depth flats and were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, and small tubes and jigs. Yellow perch were in small schools in the creeks and along shorelines in the main lake and were hitting small jigs and tubes. Bass were next to shoreline vegetation and shoreline and mid depth wood cover in the creek mouths and main lake and were hitting frogs, stick worms, and live minnows. Pickerel were scattered in the creeks and main lake and hitting spinnerbaits and live minnows.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest, (804) 829-2753. No report this edition.
Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. While I have not fished directly for gar in Cat Point Creek, the gar are starting to congregate in several places and should be ready for catching whenever one wants to target them. I was back up in the far reaches of Cat Point Creek fishing with Hans deKoning for yellow perch (ring perch) and we caught quite a few nice perch. The surprise of the day came with a hook up of a 47 inch gar on ultra light outfit using 6 pound monofilament. After a lengthy battle Hans was able to net the fish with a quick release for another day.
North Landing River and Back Bay Area: Contributed by Taylor Etheridge from West Neck Marina. No report this edition.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room, (757) 539-7854. No report this edition.
Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers: Contributed by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner. Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 17th through the 19th on the Nottoway below Hercules. The water was clear, normal and 82 degrees. Air temperatures ranged from 57 to 88 degrees. Trash was light except for the electric cooler I found. The only other trash I found was a bunch of limb lines down by the Bronco Club. They had tags, but no information was on the cards. That's why it's just better to go ahead and take the lines down when you leave. Here is one of many reasons to take them down. If you leave your lines on the river, even if you hang the hooks up in the tree, somebody could come along and fish them. You're the one that has already done all the work to hang the lines, all they got to do is bait'em. Then they get the fish off your lines and leave the lines in the water. Guess who is going to get the ticket when Fish & Game comes along and sees those lines in the water not being checked daily? YOU WILL. Speaking of fishing, it was just so so this trip. I caught 10 largemouth. Most of them were really small but one was really nice at 5.2 pounds. All were caught on top water. I did not do good either night catfishing with only two cats and three blackfish being caught. I also hung a couple of big gars but could not land them.
Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker, 434-941-9550, www.confluenceoutfittersva.com. No report this edition.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518, www.lifesrevengefishing.com. No report this edition.
Middle James: Contributed by local angler Doug Reynolds. Fishing has been fair to good on the middle river with lots of smallmouth being caught, most in the 12 to 14 inch range. Look for shallow rock ledges next to deeper pockets of water. Finding grass and rock boulders together in the middle river will also help increase your odds of finding fish. Bait fish and other critters love the grass and the smallmouth will be scouring the grass for an easy meal. The early mornings and late evenings are still great times to find smallmouth chasing bait in the shallows. Shallow running crankbaits and top water baits continue to be good choices. All of your soft plastics continue to be effective; st craw, scoundrel worms, stickbaits, grubs, paddle tail worms and swimbaits are all good choices. Best colors have been darker colors; black, black/blue to green colors in soft plastics. As always, let's go fishing! See you on the river. For all the current river conditions, catches, weather, maps, times and tips. www.jamesriversmallmouth.com
Swift Creek: Contributed by local angler Archie Fisher. No report this edition.
Region 2: Southside
James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366, (434) 996-5506, www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com No report this edition.
Kerr Reservoir: Bobcats Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381, www.bobcatslakecountry.com. No report this edition.
James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200, www.anglerslane.com. Smallmouth are hitting white baitfish, zonkers and chartreuse Boogle bullets. Water levels are normal and clarity is good. Clawdads and Crittermites in early morning and in deeper pools working well. In the Smith River, brown trout are hitting size10 and size 12 prince nymphs well. Hatches are infrequent but fishing can be good if you use nymphs.
Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski says that the smallmouth action is hit or miss. Try Carolina rigs or deep diving cranks fished at 10 to 15 feet down. The night bite is much better than the day; try using a black buzzbait with a gold blade. Crappie have tapered off and schooled up. The trick is to be in the right place at the right time. Catfish are in the creek mouths and channel edges, and will take clam snouts, cut bait and chicken livers. Perch and bluegill are in the shallows attacking small spinners, minnows and popping bugs. The water is in the lower 80s and fairly clear.
Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by local guide Captain Travis Patsell of Cats N' Stripers Fishing Charters. (540) 580-3487, www.catsnstripers.com. The water temperature is around 83 degrees. Looks like the dog days of summer is starting to settle in. It's hot, but I'd rather have this than cold. You can always go for a swim! Even with the warm temps, the fishing can still be good, fishing early and/or late is your best tactics to practice for a successful trip and here is what to look for!
Stripers: It appears that a thermocline is starting to establish in the lake. Which is actually a noticeable line on your sonar. To sum it up, below the thermocline is poor oxygen and colder water than above it. Some fish can tolerate it more than others. Baitfish cannot tolerate it. While bait fishing, if your notice you bait is not living long at all, due to the depths your are fishing them, you are probably fishing below the thermocline. Try fishing a shallower depth. Normally at our lake, you can notice a thermocline in the upper reaches around 18 to 25 ft. And as further as you go down lake, you will find the thermocline slightly deeper and deeper, if visible at all. This is one reason why the stripers will continue to push back down lake as the summer months roll on. Downlines, and light lines behind planers and the floats are going to be your best method as the dog days get started. Locating the fish on your sonar, be it schools or scattered fish before you start putting out lines, will help you to not be fishing over dead water. Alewives are going to be your bait of choice. Look for the fish to be in the 20 to 35 ft. range, even over deep water in the mouths and inside creeks and large coves.
Artificial: The jigging bite should pick up soon. We are seeing good schools of fish showing up for the summer. It's really hard to beat the ole' reliable of a jighead and a fluke. Using a 1/2 or 3/4 ounce jighead matched with a white, shad, albino, chartreuse, and other natural shad looking colors if you best choice. You can also match the jig with a grub or sassy shad of the same color. Spoons and heavy bucktails will also work! Jigging in an up and down motion, with a pop or three as you jig upwards. The more erratic in your jig motion the better, but just the standard up and down motion will also work. Roughly your rod tip should movie 3 to 5ft in a jig. You don't want to look like your trying to whip the tar out of the water, that's too erratic. Simple and easy with a slight pop is your best method.
Catfish: Look for the cats to be on the prowl, as spawning is about to wrap up. But still remember to release those large flatheads over 10 lbs! Live and fresh cut bait will be your best methods. Fishing along 5 to 15 ft. of water for flatheads and 10 to 20 ft. for channel cats. Focus on structured areas right now with the spawn ending. The fish nest in crevices of logs and rocks.
Crappie: Look for crappie in 12 to 20 ft of water around docks and deep brush. Night fishing can also be good under lights. I have heard mid creeks towards the main channel are best, rather than in the backs of the creeks.
Smith Mountain Lake: Lt. Burnette of SML bass masters reports for us on the bass bite. The bass have definitely fallen into their summer patterns. Deep brushpiles and rocky points in the 15 to 20 foot water depth continue to be productive during the day or night. Deep diving crankbaits such as shad colored Strike King 6XD or the Norman DD22s and big plastic worms such as the Zoom Ol Monster Texas or Carolina Rigged will be effective in these situations. I would go with a natural color worm during the day such as watermelon or green pumpkin and then switch to black or grape at night. Jigs, dropshots, and shakey heads are also effective for catching the deeper fish as well. It is important to try a couple of different techniques at a spot before moving to another one just to give the fish a different look. Stay safe, good luck and good fishing!
Region 3: Southwest
Lower New River: Big Z's, (540) 639-1651. No report this edition.
Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, www.newrivercharter.com. No report this edition.
New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415 firstname.lastname@example.org. Shawn Hash told me the smallies are "phenomenal ". They will take soft plastics, top waters and jerkbaits. Muskie are hitting well early and late with big inline spinners The water is "gin clear" and in the 80s.
Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC., email@example.com. The river continues to be low on the Top New, Mouth of Wilson to Fries. Vegetative growth in the water requires the use of top waters and weedless rigged plastics. Other lures, carefully placed, can also be used. Some rain would be a welcome site. Enjoy your summertime fishing.
Region 4: Mountain and Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont
Upper James River: Contributed by Andrew Fenstermaker, 540-921-7438, of James River Outdoor Co. No report this edition.
North and South Forks Shenandoah River: Harry Murray, (540) 984-4212, www.murraysflyshop.com. Fly guy Harry says that the smallmouth streams in his area are giving good fishing. The Clinch River and the North fork of the Shenandoah are especially good. The water is at a good level, clear and 75 to 80 degrees. Good flies are: Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; Murray's Magnum hog sucker; and the Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 6.
The trout streams in the Valley are low and very clear. The water is 72 to 75 degrees. Cautious anglers should do well. Best flies are: Mr. Rapidan Streamer, size 8; Casual Dress, size 4; and Shenk's Cricket, size 12.
Mountains streams are varied in level from one part of state another; but most have good levels for quality dry fly fishing. The water is 67 degrees and very clear. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, size 14 to 16; Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Black Caddis, size 16; and Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 16.
Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenberger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. No report this edition.
Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Lake Moomaw is very tough right now for daylight fishing of any species. Most success can be found in the evening and after dark hours. Reports of some decent catfish catches using cut bait for bait in 10 to 15 ft. depths. Water levels continue to decline, so be careful near points and flats that may have had adequate water depth earlier in the year. Water temps are near 80 degrees.
Quantico Creek: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I fished Quantico Creek the last couple of weekends and had good success with my early morning endeavors, catching several bass and a couple of snakeheads, including my personal best 10 lb. 2 oz. snakehead, on a mix of top water lures and Yamasenko worms. I'm happy to report the water conditions are becoming more consistent, with the murkier water moving with the tides and the clearer water closer in to the spatterdock and milfoil / hydrilla weed beds. Water temperatures were in the low 80s last week and in the high 70s this week thanks to the cooler weather, and I'm still finding the better bite on the outgoing tides. The bass have consistently hit my top water Pop'R and Tiny Torpedo offerings out above the weeds, plus my Booyah Pad Crusher dark frogs in and amongst the spatterdock/lily pads, while the snakeheads have been most consistent hitting the frogs in the pads...though I did entice one 5 pounder above the weeds with a Mann's Baby 1 Minus. I'm not catching any bass over 3 pounds...but they sure are fun when they hit those top water lures above the weeds! Good luck to one and all.
Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is stained with temperatures in the mid 80s. Largemouth bass are suspended 8 to 10 ft. range feeding on soft plastics. You can also target shady areas during mid day. The top water bite is good during low light periods of the day., Crappie seem to have locked down on structure in 10 to 15 ft. water with nice fish being caught on small minnows. A few nice walleyes have been caught on the deeper end of the lake using harness rigs with live bait. Catfishing remains strong on the upper end of the lake using live bait and chicken liver. Pan fish can be caught throughout the lake on red worms. Good Fishin'.
Lake Anna: C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service 540.894.9144, www.mccotterslakeanna.com. McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service has been enjoying clients' requests for striper, bass and even crappie this summer. Catching all three in one trip; the coveted Lake Anna Hat Trick, has also been popular. The lake has remained relatively cool (about 87 degrees tops, main lake) and at normal pool due to ample rainfall this summer.
Stripers: For the stripers, anglers should expect the larger fish to remain between the first two bridges and the marinas. The mouths of main lake creeks like Mitchell, Pigeon, Marshall and Ware are common hotspots. Trolling, spooning and fishing live bait on downlines has been excellent and should continue. Trollers have been doing the best using Dale Shelton umbrella rigs with green Sassy Shads. The Toothache spoon is the best jigging lure. Big gizzard shad have replaced blueback herring as the top live bait. Depths to look for striper range from 26 to 38 ft. There will be more and more surface action in the morning and late afternoons but most of these fish will be under the 20 in. minimum size requirement.
Bass: Largemouth bass anglers have been doing well using top waters just about all summer. When the fish won't hit a popper, Hub's Chub or Super Spook over a humps, around points and along shoreline willow grass, it's time to drop back and fish shaky worms in brush and deep rocks. Retrieving a crankbait over up lake rocky points can also be productive this month. Don't overlook schooled bass on bait in the down lake region over open water humps and in the backs of select creeks. A great lure to use in this situation is a Paycheck Repo Man.
Crappie: Lake Anna crappie are around shade. They don't have to be 25 ft. deep to find them. Bridge pilings, rocks, docks and brush piles all offer a thermal refuge. Try a small crankbait on light line that dives 10 in. around up lake rocks for the largest crappie of the summer. Otherwise, it's small minnows under slip bobbers for the best results. Good luck and we'll see you on the water!
Lake Anna: Contributed by local guide Jim Hemby, (540) 967-3313, www.jimhemby.com. No report this edition.
ODU Magazine™ is a digital fishing magazine featuring entertaining and educational articles from top writers from both their sites, ODU Fishing News and ODU Hunting News, that cover daily fishing and hunting tips, new product introductions, conservation announcements, legislative issues that outdoorsmen should be alerted to and great catches and hunts from around the world. Here's this week's features of particular interest to TOR readers...
Every Summer we find ourselves searching for a new fishing hot spot and for us at ODU bass, trout and crappie seem to always make the list. We hope these three articles will help you out.
Slight Changes. Every angler has had days when a certain lure and pattern are producing very well. Then in an instant things start slowing down, often to a stop. At this time many anglers think the fish have moved, or completely stopped biting. Perhaps it will take nothing more than a slight change to produce further action. There are many reasons as to why fish slow down from biting. Most frequent is a change in the weather, or water levels as with a river or tidal areas. However, there are days or areas in which neither has caused this problem. In these instances we must look at the possibility that the only thing needed is a slight change in lure presentation, color, style or depth. The addition of a scent could also be the change needed. Continue reading:http://www.odumagazine.com/Magazines/ODUSummerFishing2014/#p=21
Bass-Tastic Trout Tactics. Every technique has its time and place. As an example, take the tactics brown trout anglers employ most often. Fly flingers are fond of unfurling tiny tidbits of spun fur and feather to fish feeding on the surface – this while the pragmatist extracts deeper fish with nymphs and strike indicators. And then there are those who toss hardware like small in-line spinners and spoons, as well folks who nip chunks of night crawler onto a bare hook—hard to argue with the efficacy of good ol' garden hackle. Continue reading: http://www.odumagazine.com/Magazines/ODUSummerFishing2014/#p=16
How to Score Summer Panfish With Underspin Jigs. Summer's arrival will bring more than just warmer water temperatures. By now submerged weeds will be developed enough to serve as a significant draw to not only larger game fish, but panfish as well. On clear water lakes, healthy strands of coontail and broad-leafed pondweed invite crappies, bluegills and yellow perch. While these fish will sometimes be located right along the edges of this cover, at times they will suspend out away from it a bit, perhaps to separate themselves from larger game fish that may be holding on the edge. Continue reading:http://www.odumagazine.com/Magazines/ODUSummerFishing2014/#p=31
Read about the Northern Snakehead Tagging Study in Little Hunting Creek in Ed Felker's Blog Dispatches from the Potomac posted in the June 11, 2014 edition of TOR...
NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. If you should manage to catch one of these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
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Ed's Virginia Outdoor Blog Report
Editor's note... With the increasing popularity of blogs and other social media in outdoor communications, Virginia blogger Ed Felker offered to share his blog "Dispatches from the Potomac," and those of fellow bloggers with our readers in The Outdoor Report. Ed is a graphic designer, writer, photographer, artist and outdoorsman who writes about fly fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking, photography and simply enjoying the outdoors. Ed serves on the Board of Directors for the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association and lives in Loudoun County with his wife and many, many animals.
4th of July Weekend Fun
The entire Dispatches from the Potomac staff took the three-day weekend off to celebrate this cherished American holiday by enjoying time surrounded by friends, nature and, of course, dogs. Here's a quick photo tour of the weekend... I'll admit it, I've been pretty slack about getting these dogs out on hikes. They forgive me, but [...]
Do you write about outdoor life in Virginia? Send your fishing, hunting, hiking, photography or other outdoor blog to Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org, and your blog may be featured in an upcoming Virginia Outdoor Blog Report!
Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) annually sponsors High School and Collegiate Writing Competitions with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience or special interest." The goal of the competition is to reward high school and college students for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The winning essays and photograph for the 2013-14 contests are now placed on the VOWA website and have been a regular feature the past few months in TOR. Visit the VOWA website High School & Collegiate winners section for details on the 2013-14 Winners.
Editor's note... With school out for the summer and VOWA Youth Contest guidelines for 2014-15 not posted till September, I wanted to take this opportunity to feature another recent article by Matt Reilly to recognize and congratulate him on his graduation with honors from Fluvanna County High School and acceptance to Emory & Henry College. An update from the June 11 edition feature on Matt- he has accepted an internship to work with Trout Unlimited at Lake Tahoe in Nevada this fall to gain some unique and valuable experience deferring his admission to E&H till winter semester 2015. Matt is one of the most gifted and talented young writers in Virginia and his passion and dedication for writing about the outdoors earned him a weekly column the past three years in The Rural Virginian weekly newspaper serving the Charlottesville -Albemarle area and surrounding counties. Matt has placed in the "top five" several years running in the VOWA Youth High School Writing Contests. Matt is a regular contributor to TOR covering a variety of partner events throughout the year. Congratulations on your many accomplishments! Matt has promised to continue to submit stories on his outdoor adventures from out West and as he begins his collegiate studies. With summer hiking and camping coming into full swing, here is one of Matt's recent columns to pass on some great tips for finding new places to enjoy Virginia's great wild places! David Coffman, Editor TOR
By Matthew Reilly
The sun beats down in heavy rays; the world hums with the sounds of dragonflies, cicadas, grasshoppers, and frogs, like the radiating drone of a heating oven that grows all the more intense until those brave enough to be out and about are fully cooked and the day begins to cool into night.
The local river offers a refreshing sojourn, and a soothing place to cast a line. Its fish are predictable, hiding beneath the shade line, waiting for falling insects, waiting for me to slide in and lose myself in the passage of time, throwing flies rhythmically as the trance of the river flows around my bare legs—calling me its own, if only for a little while. I may very well indulge myself in its cool water on many an afternoon covered in damselflies and sunshine—but even this iconic scene does not complete or define the summer season.
No, in the summer time I go to play with my farm ponds—the ponds of my youth and my upbringing, where I learned, and where I still do learn. These beloved, nostalgic settings are puddles, are an acre, are five acres. They hold the "southern mix;" the "summertime grab-bag—largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, pickerel, and catfish. When temperatures soar, they grow lily pads and grass, as I cut my hair short; and grass grows up around them—a jungle of broom sedge, blackberries, and nettles—and ticks.
The rivers of my memory have fish tales and runs and riffles of wonder and tradition. But the stillwaters of my past are storied with nostalgic stories of fish lost, caught, and mysteries still unsolved. With every outing, more of the mystery is shaved away. Yet, when a storm boils the glassy surface; when a fiery sunset stains it orange and yellow and purple; and when I gaze into the translucent, teasing depths, the imperceptibly-booming voice of a mystery still unsolved screams back.
Summer in the south is slow. Even the rivers that run turbid and aqua-colored from runoff in the spring slow to a crawl when the sun claims a portion of its body to dump over the landscape come afternoon. And so the lazy evenings spent afloat on a canoe, hoping to bring back to life one of those long-retired mammoths of personal fishing lore, become unofficially-official periods of thought; for it is a rare time when one is so lucky as to be capable of pure, unrestrained, prolix philosophy.
Farm pond fishing is not difficult. The fish that fin below you, along the grassy edges, and that pop the surface to take insects are relatively unpressured by anglers; many techniques and approaches will catch fish, and that's all that matters. For me, it's a popping bug and a long rod. Plugging along, I think little of the technical aspects of the fishing, and more about the essence of the act. As long as fish are being caught steadily so that there is a real chance of encountering one of the characters of our fishing heritage and lore, and there is enough leisure to warrant meditation, your have succeeded.
Farm ponds of summer hold a special place in my heart. They require little concentrated effort to successfully catch fish; and, to me, are the perfect settings for premeditated unwinding. Spend the evening with one of these beauties, catch fish without a worry, and ride home through a cool sky, fireflies, and the heavy chirping of peepers, and your summer is completed and defined, and your soul truly enriched.