|In this issue:
- "Game Warden" Name Changing to
"Conservation Police Officer"
- New June Squirrel Season on
Specific WMAs, June 2-23, 2007
- Fishin' Report Returns
- People and Partners in the News
- Shad Stocked in Rivanna River
- Women in the Outdoors Event, May 26
- 2007 Chesapeake Bay and River
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart
- In Case You Missed It...
- Kids Fishing Days Scheduled
- Free Fishing Days
- View the Shad Cam Located at
- "Learn to Fly Fish" Workshop
May 12 in Harrisonburg
- Great Dismal Swamp Birding
Festival, May 11-13
- "Golden Chase" Seeks Eagle
Nesting Documentation, May 19
- Shenandoah Fishing Festival
Memorial Day Weekend
- Float Fishing the James
Workshop, June 26
- If You Find a Fawn, Leave it
- Report Dead Fish in Shenandoah
- Hunting and Fishing
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
- Fishin' Report
"Game Warden" Name
Changing to "Conservation Police Officer"
Effective July 1,
2007, Virginia's game wardens will have a new name.
The sworn officers in the Law Enforcement Division
of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries (VDGIF) will be called "conservation
police officers." The Virginia General Assembly
approved the change at their recent session. The
name change is intended to clarify the authority of
these officers who have full police powers and
In today's more
urban Virginia, game warden work often intersects
with mainstream law enforcement. In the course of
performing duties related to the agency mission --
enforcing wildlife, fisheries and boating laws --
game wardens are now dealing with situations
requiring immediate police intervention, such as
drivers under the influence, reckless drivers, drug
and gang activities, homeland security issues and
frequent assistance to other law enforcement
agencies. VDGIF's law enforcement personnel patrol
the Commonwealth every day. They are on the waters,
in the woods, and on the roadways, encountering all
the same public safety issues as other police
officers do. According to Colonel Mike Bise, Chief
of the Law Enforcement Division, "This name change
is so folks who don't know who we are will better
understand our law enforcement role. It does not
mean we are changing our mission focus."
Read more in the news release »
New June Squirrel Season on
Specific WMAs, June 2-23, 2007
A new statewide squirrel season
will be available for sportsmen June 2-23, 2007, on specific
VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
as listed on the VDGIF Web site. Fox squirrels may only be
harvested on Big Survey, Goshen, Havens, Phelps and Thompson
WMAs. Hunting squirrels with dogs is not allowed during the June
seven other states that currently allow hunters to
harvest squirrels in the spring/summer. Although it
may be a foreign idea to many sportsmen, a June
season is biologically justified. Squirrels have two
peak reproductive periods — one during
February-March and another during July-August.
Therefore, hunters can harvest squirrels during the
June season without impacting populations. Because
school will be out during most of the season, the
June squirrel season is a wonderful opportunity to
introduce a youngster to hunting.
Fishin' Report Returns
in this Edition
How are the fish bitin'?
Anglers across the state can get answers to this and other
fishing related questions for many of their favorite rivers and
lakes in this and future issues of the Outdoor Report. License
agents, marinas, fishing guides and bait shops have volunteered
to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing
conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state.
Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to
Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares the Fishin' Report from
interviews with contacts the week prior to publication of the
Outdoor Report. The Fishin' Report will only be available as
part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.
People and Partners in the News
Shad Stocked in
American shad fry were stocked into the Rivanna
River at Darden Towe Park, just a few miles upstream
of Woolen Mills Dam in Charlottesville. Middle
school children from Albemarle County assisted VDGIF
biologists with the release, and took the
opportunity to learn about the shad restoration
efforts. The VDGIF American Shad Restoration Program
has released 1.5 million American shad fry in the
Rivannna since 2005.
VDGIF Fish Passage
Coordinator Alan Weaver has been working closely with
the Rivanna River Conservation Society to improve
conditions on the river for shad. One of the key
initiatives that is planned, is the scheduled
removal of the Woolen Mills Dam, which has been an
impediment for the migrating fish. Removal of the
dam will restore fish passage, allow for safe
boating access, and benefit the overall ecology of
the Rivanna River.
It is hoped that
the shad fry will imprint on the James River
Watershed and return to spawn in 4-6 years. Removal
of 75% of the Dam is scheduled for this summer.
Women in the
Outdoors Event May 26
opportunity to introduce women to outdoor adventures
is being co-sponsored by VDGIF and the Women in the
Outdoors Program of the National Wild Turkey
Federation (NWTF) at Primland Resort near Meadows of
Dan. This event is designed for women 14 years of
age and over. The one-day workshop will include
educational sessions to cover fly fishing, shotgun
skills and archery, hiking, ATV riding, wild game
grilling and making a turkey call. Registration fee
is $50 per participant. Overnight accommodations are
available. Registration deadline is May 19, 2007.
See Web site for details
(PDF) and early bird discount
fees. For more information, contact Chastidy Heath
at (276) 251-8012, or
Bay and River Sojourns Scheduled
The Alliance for
the Chesapeake Bay 2007 River Sojourns will include
multi-day expeditions down the James, Patuxent,
Potomac and the Susquehanna Rivers. Come paddle the
beautiful rivers of the Chesapeake watershed! The
James River Sojourn will take place on June 16-23,
2007. The kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, June 16
at Columbia, Virginia, followed by a paddle from
Columbia to Richmond on June 17-22. After a
paddle/walk through Richmond on June 22, the sojourn
will conclude in the tidewater James below Richmond
on June 23 at Henricus Park/Dutch Gap. For more
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (410) 377-6270.
Be Safe... Have Fun
Stay Safe on the Water -
Boat Smart and Sober!
Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and
VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober,
and boat safe while out on our waterways.
Charlie Sledd, the Department's Boating Safety
Director and Boating Law Administrator, "Our safety
message to all boaters is to wear your life jacket,
do not mix alcohol and boating, and take a boating
required by law to equip their vessels with a life
jacket for each person on board and to have the life
jackets readily accessible. Life jackets must also
be in good condition and of the proper size for the
intended wearer. "With the recent designs in
inflatable life jackets, they are really
comfortable, easy to wear, and most importantly,
easy to use," said Sledd. "So we always emphasize
that a major part of boating safely involves life
jacket use." Nearly all boating-related fatalities
are the result of drowning and it is estimated that
about 80% of fatalities could have been prevented if
a life jacket was worn. Personal watercraft (PWC)
operators, passengers, and skiers are reminded that
they are required by state law to wear a life jacket
at all times while the PWC is underway.
Also important to a
safe day on the water is to boat sober. Just like
driving under the influence, Virginia boating law
states that a person is considered to be boating
under the influence (BUI) if the blood alcohol
concentration is .08 percent or higher. The
penalties for BUI are substantial and the risk to
yourself, as well as many others on the water, of
consuming alcohol is significant.
Boaters are also
strongly encouraged to take a
boating safety course.
Whether it's the new boater wanting to learn the
rules of the waterway or the seasoned boater just
wanting to update their knowledge, taking a course
better prepares boaters for a safe day on the water.
In Case You Missed It...
With numerous new subscribers each issue, we realize
that some of the seasonal features are important and
timely enough to bear repeating. So readers can
easily review these seasonal items, we have retained
the headlines and information links in this section "In case you missed it..."
Help Spread the News!
We hope you enjoy the new,
electronic Outdoor Report and invite you to share this
information with your friends and colleagues.
Simply visit the
Department's Web site and click on the Outdoor Report
subscribe. New editions are sent directly to your email
address every two weeks. Stay informed on issues and
opportunities about Virginia's outdoors!
Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how
are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more
than 25 license agents, marinas, fishing guides and
bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for
information on recent fishing conditions for primary
rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White,
outdoor writer and regular contributor to
Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares this
Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts
the week prior to publication of the Outdoor
The Fishin' Report
is only available as part of your free subscription
to the Outdoor Report.
The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report
are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you
can quickly locate the area in which you are most
interested. Consult the Regional location map below to
find the major river or lake you want to know about.
If you catch a big
one or want to relay some information about your
experience to our readers, report in at the contacts
we have noted here.
Region 1 - Tidewater
Reservoir: Charles Brittman at the local park
tells us that the largemouth bass and shellcrackers
are giving anglers plenty of sport. Pete Cheesman of
Newport News brought in two 5 lb. bass. Hal Hampton
of Mechanicsville landed some 1 lb. shellcrackers;
and local fisherman Tom Buttler came in with a 4 lb.
bass. Water quality is clear with temperatures
around 63 degrees. The fishing should continue to be
good for the next few weeks.
River: Charlie Brown (yes that's his real name)
at River's Rest says that the big bass and catfish
are being weighed in. He has had customers with catfish
well over 30 lbs. The water quality has been good,
with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s.
Catfish should continue to be active in the weeks
Tidewater/Suffolk Lakes: Bobby Kinsey at
Dashiell's Hunting and Fishing in Suffolk reports
it's been a busy couple of weeks in the area as far as
the fishing goes. Weather has been beautiful and a
good number of bass are finally beginning to wrap up
their spawning rituals. The spawn has been
incredible this year (as good as I've ever seen). In
just about every tournament on the lakes, it's taken
5 bass that weighed at least 20 lbs to win. The last
two open tournaments on Western Branch and Lake Cohoon have produced winning stringers of 25 lbs and
25.10 lbs respectively. That's world class fishing
there. Most anglers are using various soft plastics
and jigs on the bedding fish, and catching some of
the post spawn fish on floating worms and flukes.
For the next 2 or 3 weeks, concentrate all your
efforts in water that is 5 foot or less. Top-water
action should be just around the corner in the next
2 or 3 weeks if the weather turns warm as it usually
does in mid to late May. Notable bass catches in the
last couple of weeks: Bobby Kinsey, 8.8 lbs.
largemouth, Lake Cohoon; Brad Web, 9.02 lbs.
largemouth, Lake Cohoon; Rick Williams and Bubba
Driscoll, 5 largemouth totaling 25.00 lbs, Western
Branch; Bobby Kinsey and Randy Broughman, 5
largemouth, totaling 25.10 lbs Lake Cohoon; Bootleg
Tournament Trail, (10) 5 fish limits over 20 lbs
Western Branch and Bootleg Tournament Trail, (10) 5
fish limits over 18 lbs Lake Cohoon. For more
information on the local bass scene, check out
www.bassjons.com. As far as panfishing goes in the
lakes, crappie are done spawning and should be
headed back to deep water. Catches have been
sporadic at best. Shellcrackers should be spawning
as this is written and some big catches should be
coming in as soon as we pass by the full moon.
Bluegill will hit the bank and begin spawning this
month. Fly rod action should be hot and they'll
always eat all the crickets and worms you can feed
them. For more up-to-date info, don't hesitate to
give us a call at (757) 539-7854.
Region 2 - Southside
Lake: Mike Snead at the Virginia Outdoorsman's
Store reports that stripers are hitting well at
night as they seek alewife, which are coming to
the banks to spawn. The stripers are going for
jointed ThunderSticks and Redfins as well as large
Rapala original floating minnows. They are also
hitting on free lines using live bait behind planer
boards and split shot lines. In the lower lake
stripers are biting trolling umbrella rigs. Mike
also says that the largemouth and smallmouth bass
are still spawning. Sight fishing has produced good
results with these fish, especially with bright
colored worms (white, bubble gum and chartreuse) and
tube baits. Spinner baits and jigs are also working
well. Flathead catfish are very interested in live
shad and cut bait. Crappie are biting live minnows,
small tubes and crappie jigs. The water temperature
should go to 70 degrees or above in the next few
weeks, which should make the present fishing pattern
Shawn Purdue of Franklins Outdoors tells us that the
crappie, stripers and stocked trout are all
cooperating. For stripers, ThunderSticks are their
undoing during the night, while live bait gets them
in daylight hours. The largemouth bass are going for
spinners and plastic worms. Shawn says folks are
weighing in big trout. Water conditions and
temperatures have been normal for this time of year.
Look for the walleye to start hitting in the weeks
From Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, Bobby Whitlow let
us know that the crappie are active. Rockfish are
hitting on the rivers and flathead catfish and
bluegills are also being caught. J.R. Wallace from
Bluestone brought in a 2.88 lb. crappie and Brian
Triggs landed a 54 lb. blue catfish. Water quality
has been good, with water temperatures in or around
70. In the next few weeks look for the stripers to
come back to the main lake. Towards the end of the
month, the crappie should gather around deep brush
piles and bridge pylons.
Tom Risedorf says water levels have been perfect for
fishing with good clarity and temperatures around 53
degrees. Smallmouth bass action is heating up as the
water warms. Tub jigs and crankbaits are producing
well. Tom also says for people heading to the
mountain streams, good brook trout and smallmouth
bass action is heating up. An increase in insect
activity and breeding should lead to easy fishing
Region 3 - Southwest
Reservoir: Michael Mullins of Flannagan Marina
in Clintwood says that largemouth bass, bluegill and
catfish are biting well. He also says that lots of
anglers are getting lucky at night with crappies.
The bluegill seem to be hitting best on crickets,
while the crappies are crowding around sunken trees
and banks and going for small minnows. Junior
Fleming of Clintwood brought in a 5 lb. bass last
week. The area has been having good spring weather
with clear water with the water temperature staying
around 60 degrees. Next week look for more activity
with walleye and striped bass moving to the forefront.
According to Mike Buchett, largemouth bass are
hitting "big-time" as their spawning brings them
towards the banks. Stripers are being caught at
night using shad or trolling with umbrella rigs,
Redfins and ThunderSticks. Oscar Jarrel landed a
6.13 lb. walleye and Charles Harper brought in a
catfish that weighed over 12 lbs. The weather at
Claytor Lake has been somewhat hotter than usual,
but cooler weather this past week will levels things
of a bit. The water clarity has been good. Look for
excellent striper, bass and shad fishing in the next
Lower New River:
John Zienius of Big Z's shop tells us that stripers
and hybrids are really going for Redfins and ThunderSticks. Crankbaits are working well for smallmouth
bass fishing. Scottie Witten caught over 40 fish in
one day and Scott Meyerhoffer caught a citation
smallmouth. The water quality has been good, with
water temperatures in the 60s. Look for
top-water action to really take off next week.
Region 4 - Mountain &
Larry Andrews at the Bait Place tells us that folks
have been coming in with crappie weighing well over
2 lbs. Anglers have also been showing up with
brown trout, some over 16 inches. He says the bass
fishing has been "super good." Ray Diesater brought
in a 2.5 lb. crappie and another weighing 2.24 lbs.
Relative Raymond Diesater caught one weighing 2.09
lbs. The Hoffman family from Tracville had great
luck - father John brought in a 22-inch brown trout,
while his son Chris got a 4.2 lb smallmouth and
brother Eddie a 14-inch yellow perch. Water quality
has been somewhat cloudy with temperatures in the
low 60s. The whole month of May should bring great
fishing, with crappie, yellow perch, trout and bass
hitting very well.
North Fork of
the Shenandoah: Harry Murray of Murray's Fly Shop
in Edinburg reports that small and largemouth bass,
sunfish and rock bass have been hitting in his area.
The South Fork, however, is too high for really good
fishing. Trout streams in the Blue Ridge are in
excellent condition for angling. If an angler will
park on the Parkway or Skyline Drive, and hike up
to the head of any of the streams, he will not be
disappointed. Small dry flies, size 14-16, are best
for these locations. Browns and rainbows are biting
in the stocked streams in the Valley, especially
Passage Creek and Big Stony Creek, near Edinburg.
Marauder flies, size 10-12, seem to work best for
these creeks. In fact, a detailed weekly report of
the local stream conditions can be found at www.murraysflyshop.com. The water temperatures
should be in the mid 50s in the mountains and low
60s in the river. For the next few weeks the outlook
for trout remains very good.
According to Rockbridge County Park employee Barbara
Steinbrenner bluegill have been cooperating with
local anglers who court them with worms. In fact,
Carolyn Bane of Lexington brought in several lunkers.
Barbara wants to remind everyone that the park is
open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in May.
Region 5 - Northern
Ken Kirk at Anna Point Marina has let us know that
both largemouth bass and crappie are hitting well.
Robbie Mauck of Winchester landed a 1.25 lb.
crappie. Stuart Smith from Chester brought in three
largemouth bass totaling over 18 lbs. that he had caught on
soft plastics in the grass. D.W. Armstrong from
Mineral came in with an 8.8 lb. largemouth. Stripers
are also hitting on jumbo minnows down by the dam
and midlake. The weather has been windy, which has
caused the fish to concentrate and the water quality
to become somewhat stained from recent rains. The
water temperature has been around 64-67 degrees. Ken
expects a slow period in the next few weeks, as the
post spawn season begins.
Fall Line at the
James: Local fishing guide Capt. Russ Cress
tells us that the shad are still rising well to the
bait. For a fly rod, Capt. Cress recommends a
Crystal Chenille fly in bright chartreuse. For a
spinning rod, go with a 1-½ inch curly tail
chartreuse grub. The water clarity and temperatures
on this part of the James have been good for this
time of year. For the next few weeks look for white
perch, herring and stripers to hit well.
According to Mike Hazard at Gander Mountain
Spotsylvania Store, the bass are hitting well on the
Potomac. They're really responding to spinner baits,
plastic worms, lizards and chatter baits. Catfish are spawning around the shipwrecks and are
also biting. Ring perch are another species that are
cooperating with local anglers. The water quality in
the river is slightly stained with temperatures
around 68 to 70 degrees. Look for the same patterns
to continue for the next few weeks. Smallmouth bass
action on the upper Rappahannock is picking up as
the water warms, while shad are still entertaining
anglers in the Fredericksburg area.
Now go catch a
upcoming issues of the
new Outdoor Report, look for:
- What to do about nuisance
- Effective and safe insect
- New Fishin' Report