|In this edition:
- Governor Declares State of
Emergency - Burning Ban Now Statewide
- Shotgun and Rabbit Regulation
Changes To Go Into Effect October 26
- Deer Hunting Forecast - Another
- VDGIF/VA Tech Begin Hunting With
- Hunters - Did You Remember To...
A new section to note some important reminders before you
head to the woods.
- Need a Last Minute Hunter Education
- How to Make a Personal Big Game
- Deer Hunters Must Follow Carcass
Importation Laws When Crossing State Lines
- Firearms Safety Message Updated
for Unplugged Shotguns
- People and Partners in the News
- Hunter Education Program
Exceeds Half Million Students Taught
- National Archery in the Schools
Program Featured for Congress
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- All Outdoor Users be Careful With
Fire - Be Alert
- Blaze Orange Is Not Just For
- Virginia Conservation Police
- Field reports from officers
protecting natural resources and people pursuing outdoor
- 2007 Limited Edition Virginia
Wildlife Collector's Knife
- Fishin' Report
- Freshwater Drum and Hybrid Striped
Bass Added to State Record and Trophy Fish Lists
- Reporter's Notes
- In Case You Missed It...
- Links to recent articles of
State of Emergency - Burning Ban Now Statewide
Governor Timothy M. Kaine declared a statewide
emergency and enacted a ban on open fires beginning
October 19, 2007. The statewide burning ban is the
result of drought conditions that have created a
serious risk of widespread and dangerous forest
fires in every region of the Commonwealth. "We have
looked at all the current data and reviewed the
projections for the fall fire season, and everything
points to a significant threat to public safety,"
said Governor Kaine. "I have declared a state of
emergency to exist within the Commonwealth to try to
minimize the risk of forest fires that could
threaten lives and property."
The burn ban will remain in effect until existing
weather conditions improve with significant rain or
snow. Violation of the law is a Class 3 misdemeanor
with a fine of not more than $500.
Governor Kaine has authorized the Virginia
National Guard to assist the Virginia Department of
Forestry in fighting and mitigating the effects of
wildfires. "Most areas in Virginia have not received
adequate rainfall for several months. Rainfall
deficits range from nearly six inches in the
Richmond area to more than 14 inches in the
mountains of Southwest Virginia," said State
Forester Carl E. Garrison III. "With such extremely
dry conditions, any escaped fire would have the
potential to become a major wildfire very quickly.
And, since debris burning is already the number one
cause of fires in Virginia, a prohibition on all
burning will reduce the threat."
The declaration does not have a direct impact
on hunting season, but will prevent the use of
warming or camp fires on all state-owned and
privately owned lands in Virginia in addition to the
prohibition on open burning. Governor Kaine will
continue to consult State Forester Garrison and
Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries Director J.
Carlton Courter III to determine if conditions
warrant any changes to this year's hunting season.
VDGIF Director Carlton Courter confirms that,
"There are no plans to close the upcoming hunting
season due to the extreme fire danger. Virginia
hunters have a long history of being cautious in the
woods during time of increased danger of wild fires.
We suggest that hunters refrain from smoking, carry
extra water in their hunting vehicles, charge up
their cell phones, be on the lookout for any fire
starts and quickly report them to authorities. When
the hunters hit the woods, they act responsibly and
provide more eyes to detect any fires that may
occur. It's good to have them in the woods looking.
A forest closure will depend on extreme fire
occurrence and public safety concerns for life and
property. No decision has been made and all options
will be reviewed one day at a time as the drought
continues. Virginia's sportsmen and sportswomen and
all outdoor enthusiasts must do their part to be
cautious and help keep fire occurrence low."
Shotgun And Rabbit
Regulation Changes To Go Into Effect October 26
The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries recently
passed a regulation that will take effect on October
26, 2007 that will make it legal to
use unplugged shotguns for the hunting and taking of
non-migratory game (this includes deer, bear,
turkey, rabbit, squirrel, grouse, quail, bobcat,
coyote, fox, raccoon, opossum, groundhog, and
skunk). This is a change from what is printed in the
Hunting & Trapping in Virginia, July 2007-June 2008
Regulations digest, in the second bullet under Legal
Use of Firearms on page 21.
Shotguns must still be plugged to a three
shell capacity if hunting and taking migratory game
(this includes doves, crows, all ducks, all geese
including resident Canada geese, tundra swans, rail,
snipe, woodcock, gallinules, and moorhens).
The Board also passed a modification to the
rabbit season, which begins November 3, 2007, by
extending the season to the last legal hunting day
in February. This change will be effective for this
season. This is different from the season ending
date listed in this year's Hunting & Trapping in
Virginia, July 2007-June 2008 Regulations
digest. All other rabbit hunting regulations as
outlined in the regulations digest remain in effect.
At their meeting, the Board also approved other
Wildlife regulations that will go into effect July
1, 2008. Additionally, they approved Wildlife
Diversity and Fisheries regulations that will go
into effect January 1, 2008.
For more information about hunting, fishing and
boating regulations, hunting seasons, bag limits,
license requirements, and to find a free Hunter
Education course near you, visit the VDGIF Web site
Deer Hunting Forecast - Another Record Year?
"The 2007-08 deer season should be another good
deer season over most of Virginia. After four
consecutive years of record female deer kill levels,
statewide deer kill levels should be stable or
declining." This is the forecast reported by Matt
Knox, the Deer Project Supervisor for the Virginia
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He adds, "Over the majority of Virginia, we are at the point
that, if a deer management mistake is to be made, it
will be to overkill, not underkill, the deer herd.
The 2006 deer kill total of 223,000 was unexpected.
After three consecutive years of record female deer
kill levels, last year's deer season forecast had
predicted that total deer kill levels would decline.
Overall, it was up slightly by 4%. The good news is
that female deer kill levels were at record levels
for the fourth consecutive year. Hopefully, this
high and sustained female deer kill will lead to a
decrease in the statewide deer herd and a decline in
total deer kill numbers in the near future.
Deer kill totals below the past decade's average
of 208,000 are hoped for soon. Over the vast
majority of the state, deer population management
objectives call for the deer herd(s) to be
stabilized or reduced. The reason for this is that
deer management over most of Virginia is based on
the cultural carrying capacity (CCC). Simply put,
CCC can be defined as the number of deer that can
coexist compatibly with humans. CCC is a function of
the tolerance of humans to deer and the effects of
deer. Over much of Virginia, it would be safe to say
that the CCC has been reached, and in some cases,
exceeded. Deer hunters who would like to know the
exact deer kill data for their specific county or
find the data from 1947 to 2006 on the Department's
Web site. For additional details
read the entire
deer forecast article (PDF) as published in the Whitetail
Times magazine published by the Virginia Deer
Hunters Association. Knox concludes, "Hunters and
landowners alike are working to do their part for
responsible deer management. Please support the
Virginia Hunters For the Hungry program. Most
importantly, be safe!"
VDGIF/VA Tech Begin Hunting With Hounds Study
In recent years, the VDGIF has received an increasing
number of comments and complaints regarding the use of dogs
for hunting in Virginia. While this is certainly not a new
issue, the level and tone of these comments has become
increasingly challenging, suggesting strongly that we
examine more closely, in a proactive and positive fashion,
the issues surrounding hunting with hounds. Ultimately this
issue involves all hunters because it could impact all
VDGIF is committed to preserving the tradition of
hunting, including hunting with hounds,
in a manner that is fair, sportsmanlike and
consistent with the rights of property owners and
other citizens. The process we are following in this
study is open, inclusive and designed to allow
sportsmen, landowners and individuals with an
interest in the issue to determine the future of
hunting in Virginia.
One of the key attributes of this process is the
complete and total involvement of the public, from
beginning to end, especially the primary issue
stakeholders. This process will not be led by VDGIF
staff; rather experienced researchers at Virginia
Tech will manage and conduct the project. The
decision to involve Virginia Tech was made, in large
part, to guarantee that no results would be
The process includes many avenues for interested
citizens to participate. The public input
opportunities include focus group meetings with
individual stakeholder groups, a survey conducted
through the Department's Web site, ample opportunity
to review all developments, public meetings and by
letter or email. About half of the focus groups will
be made up of bear, deer, fox and raccoon hound
hunters. The remainder of the focus groups will be
populated by landowners, government representatives,
other hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
Your participation and support for this
undertaking is vital to ensuring a successful and
positive result. Opportunities to get involved
- A survey conducted by Virginia Tech, linked
through the Department's Web site and by mail
(available early in 2008).
- Public meetings held throughout the state.
- Email updates on the progress of the study
throughout the project (starting December, 2007)
by going to
- The opportunity to review reports and
comment on them as they are developed (most
likely to occur in spring/summer 2008).
- You are invited to write letters and send
e-mails which will be included in the
information to be reviewed by the advisory
group. Email letters to:
HoundHunting@dgif.virginia.gov or mail
letters to: VDGIF, Wildlife Division, Hunting
with Hounds Study, 4010 W. Broad St., Richmond,
Hunters - Did You Remember To...
notes are quick reminders of things you may have
overlooked in your efforts to get ready for hunting
season. Most of these notes are reported from
numerous calls we received recently at our
Need a Last
Minute Hunter Education Course?
Since most Virginia
hunters are interested in deer hunting, many wait
until just before deer season to take a Hunter
Education course. Each year, some are unable to hunt
because all of the "last-minute" classes are full,
even though many classes were available earlier in
the year. If you need to complete hunter education
before hunting this fall, you should take a class as
soon as possible.
Classes are held free of charge and can be found
on the VDGIF Web site
or by calling 1-866-604-1122. You will need your zip
code to find out about classes near you. There are
160 conservation police officers (formerly game
wardens) and 750 trained volunteer instructors that
certify 14,000 students in Hunter Education each
year. All 12-15 year-old and first-time hunters are
required to complete a Hunter Education course prior
to purchasing a hunting license.
How To Make A
Personal Big Game Check Card
If you are exempt
from purchasing a hunting license, you still are
required to create a personal check card to have
with your harvested deer, bear or turkey. Since you
don't have license tags to "notch" to check your
kill, you need to make a personal check card. The
personal check card can be written on any type of
paper using a pen and must include the hunter's full
name, date of kill and telephone confirmation
number. For a complete list of persons exempt from
purchasing hunting licenses, review page 5 of the
Regulation booklet or
go to the VDGIF Web site. If you have checked
your animal using the telephone (1-866-GOT GAME), or
online checking system, a personal check card is
also required to have with the carcass if
transferred to someone else or left unattended. Only
deer and spring turkey may be checked using the
online or telephone checking system.
Must Follow Carcass Importation Laws When Crossing
To prevent the
spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into
Virginia, regulations were adopted in 2006 which
prohibits the importation or possession of whole
deer carcasses, or specified parts of carcasses
originating from a state or Canadian province in
which CWD has been confirmed.
learn whether or not the state in which they intend
to hunt deer or elk has CWD, a fatal neurological
disease affecting deer and elk. The disease has been
found in 14 states and two Canadian provinces. These
include Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota,
Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma,
South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin,
Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan. If you're going
to be hunting in a CWD-positive state, be sure to
check that state's regulations for proper handling
of deer and elk and if samples are required.
Message Updated for Unplugged Shotguns
Education staff offer some safety guidelines that
relate to the use of unplugged shotguns. Since most
Virginia hunters are accustomed to using shotguns
which will only hold three shells, it is important
to double and triple-check to be sure that shotguns
are truly unloaded. It is possible that out of
habit, hunters will only eject three shells from
their shotguns, accidentally leaving one or more in
their firearms. Follow these extra steps to ensure
your shotgun is truly empty:
- When emptying
any firearm, operate the action several times
after you believe it is empty.
- Look into the
chamber and magazine to make sure the firearm is
- Feel inside
the chamber and magazine, wherever you can, to
make sure the firearm is empty.
Hunters must also
be aware of their safe zones of fire. These are the
areas where it is safe to shoot. Hunters should talk
to those they hunt with to plan zones of fire before
a target appears. This is especially important with
shotguns capable of holding more than three shells,
because it could be easy to forget where partners
are located after the first shot or two.
People and Partners in the News
Program Exceeds Half Million Students Taught
hunting? Start with a Hunter Education Course. Since
the introduction of mandatory Hunter Education in
1988, the VDGIF has certified more than a half
million men, women and children through the Hunter
Education program. This is an impressive milestone
for the program and for the Department. Hunter
Education is taught primarily by trained volunteers.
Conservation Police Officers also participate in the
program, because of the impact on public safety.
Since 1988, there has been a 25% reduction in the
rate of firearms-related hunting injuries.
Virginia's basic Hunter Education course covers
hunting safety, principles of conservation, and
sportsmanship. Specific topics include safe handling
of firearms and archery equipment, tree stand
safety, first aid, proper care of harvested game,
ethics, landowner relations, wildlife management,
wildlife identification, wildlife laws and more. The
course is free of charge and is taught statewide. To
find a course near you,
visit our Web site.
in the Schools Program Featured for Congress
Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) was featured
as the theme of the Congressional Sportsman's
Foundation breakfast for the Members of Congress and
their staff on October 3, 2007 at the Capitol
Building in Washington, DC. NASP VDGIF Coordinator,
Karen Holson reported that, "Ten students from
Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke, Virginia,
proudly demonstrated their shooting skills and the
Eleven Steps to Archery Success that they had gained
with the NASP equipment. The Congressmen and their
staff members were impressed with the positive
educational aspects of this growing program."
Visit the VDGIF Web
view the video highlights of the demonstration,
showing the students working with Congressional
Members as they shoot the Genesis bows. The VDGIF
conducts NASP training for school teachers who are
interested in offering archery as part of their
curriculum. Virginia currently has over 100 schools
that are offering the National Archery in the
Schools Program. For more information on getting
NASP in your school,
the National Archery in the Schools Program Web site
and contact your NASP State Coordinator. For
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Users Be Careful With Fire - Be Alert
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the
Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) are urging
hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to use extra
caution while in the woods. Extremely dry weather
conditions have prompted Gov. Tim Kaine to issue a
statewide open air burning ban October 19, 2007. The
ban will remain in effect until conditions improve
with significant rain and/or snow.
The Early Archery
Deer Season is underway statewide and the
Muzzleloader Deer Season and General Firearms Deer
Season will be opening in November. The agencies
offer the following tips to hunters, campers, hikers
and other outdoor enthusiasts:
- Remember, with
the burning ban, campfires and other open flames
are not permitted.
- It is
recommended that you not smoke in the woods, but
if you do, be careful when lighting and
extinguishing cigarettes. Never throw a
cigarette butt from your vehicle window or leave
burnt cigarettes behind.
- Do not park on
dry grass or leaves. Your vehicle's exhaust and
catalytic converter can easily start a fire.
- Keep spark
arresters on chain saws and on off-road
- Carry an extra
water bottle in case you need it to extinguish a
small fire or sparks.
- Keep your cell
phone charged and call 911 to report fires.
Early detection of
a wild fire and quick response by firefighters is
critical to protecting lives and keeping damage to
property at a minimum.
The remote chance
of starting a fire in dry leaves and brush with a
muzzleloading firearm comes from the unburned powder
that is shot out of the muzzle of the gun. Most
muzzleloading hunters no longer use the primitive
black powder "patch and ball" type ammunition, but
those who do should follow the shot path, checking
the area 15 to 25 yards along the shot path for the
hot patch to make sure it does not ignite any dry
leaves. It is recommended that they stay in the area
for five minutes after shooting to watch for and
extinguish any smoldering embers.
information on fire safety and regular updates on
the status of the burning ban, visit the
VDOF Web site.
For more information on hunting, seasons and
regulations, visit the
Blaze Orange Is
Not Just For Hunters! Be Safe, Be Seen.
Except for hunting
waterfowl, wearing blaze orange during the general
firearms hunting season is not only smart - it's the
law! And a good one that saves lives each year. But
blaze orange is not just for hunters. This
high-visibility "safety orange" is recognized in the
workplace, both indoors or out, so you can bee seen.
If you are a landowner, jogger, hiker, or walk your
dog on woodland trails, you would be wise to wear a
blaze orange hat, vest, or coat so a hunter can see
you and not mistake your movement for game. Just
like driving defensively, you should take the same
precautions and awareness if you go to the woods for
any reason during the hunting seasons from October
through January. Dress defensively. Wear blaze
orange to Be Safe and Be Seen. Also, if you
should fall and get injured, rescuers will find you
easier... time saved that could keep you from
further harm. If you have dogs that "roam" out of
the yard, put a blaze orange collar on them so they
are not likely to be mistaken for a fox or coyote.
Remember whether you are a hunter, or just enjoying
the outdoors, cutting firewood or walking a woodland
trail, wear "safety orange"- it's the woodswise
thing to do!
Virginia Conservation Police
Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of
activities encountered by our officers, previously
called game wardens, who protect
natural resources and people pursuing outdoor
recreation in the fields, woods and waters of
Virginia. The Notebook entries are listed by Region.
Region 1 -
for Spotlighters... Sgt. Keith Harver and
Officer Cameron Dobyns were working adjacent
spotlighting complaint areas in King and Queen
County on Saturday, October 20, 2007 when Sgt.
Harver observed a vehicle shining a light into the
field where he was staked out. As Sgt. Harver tried
to reposition his vehicle without headlights, he
realized the spotlighting car had crossed the ditch
from the public roadway and was driving through the
center of the large field. Sgt. Harver was able to
observe the car chasing a deer across the harvested
corn field while the passenger was shooting at the
running deer. Officer Dobyns provided a quick backup
and the vehicle, a 1997 Camaro, was stopped as it
exited the field. Two 20 year old subjects were
arrested for Spotlighting/Attempt to Take and
Trespassing. For more information contact Lt. Ken
Conger at (804) 829-6580.
Region 2 -
Tip Leads to
Multiple Turkey Poachers Arrest... On
September 22, CPO Zach Adams received information on
the closed season killing of two wild turkeys by an
alleged convicted felon in Campbell County. The
informant was able to provide specific details and
was able to give the exact location of the kills.
Officer Adams went to the scene of the crime and
found a dead turkey in the woods which had not been
found by the suspects. The informant was also able
to provide names of two additional individuals who
were in the vehicle at the time of the kills.
Officer Adams then verified the criminal history of
the suspected shooter and found that he had seven
prior felony convictions. Officer Adams met with one
of the suspects who provided a written statement of
the illegal activities and verified that the firearm
and one of the turkeys was at the suspected
shooter's home in his freezer. This individual also
provided information about possible stolen crossbows
and other weapons that may be located in the
information, a search warrant was obtained for the
suspected shooter's residence and on September 24,
Officer Adams and Officer Richard Howald, assisted
by several Campbell County Deputies, executed the
search warrant. During the search, the firearm and
turkey were located, as well as large quantities of
ammunition and two crossbows, one still new in the
box. The suspect was arrested for possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon, taking turkey during
the closed season, and shooting from the road. He
was transported to Campbell County where he was held
on $5000 bond. After the arrest of the shooter, the
officers located the third individual in the vehicle
who provided a written statement that matched all
previous information. Additional charges are
forthcoming on all three suspects. During follow-up
interviews, these suspects have now provided
information on a neighbor who is also a convicted
felon who hunts behind his house. The investigation
continues. For more information contact Lt. Tony
Fisher at (434) 525-7522.
Region 3 -
Hunter Put in Jail... On October 13, Officer
George Steele encountered two hunters in the
Jefferson National Forest in Dickenson County. While
Officer Steele was checking their licenses, he could
smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on one
of the hunters. Officer Steele had the suspect
hunter perform some field sobriety tests, which he
failed. Officer Steele then offered the impaired
hunter a Preliminary Breath Test. The impaired
hunter was arrested for hunting with a crossbow
while under the influence of an intoxicant. Further
investigation revealed that this subject had a
felony conviction for possessing a sawed-off
shotgun. The subject was held at the regional jail
in Dickenson County under a $1,250 bond. He is still
under federal probation at this time. The second
hunter in the incident also was charged by Officer
Steele for having no hunting licenses. For more
information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Region 4 -
Mountain & Valley
Missing Elderly Woman has Happy Ending... On
October 16, Conservation Police Officers assisted
the Highland County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State
Police, local emergency services volunteers and SAR
groups in a search for a missing woman near the
small community of McDowell in Highland County. The
64 year old woman had gone for a walk near her home
at approximately 4:30 p.m. on October 15 and had not
returned home. She was found at approximately 4:14
p.m. the following day several miles from her home
near a section of the VDGIF Highland County Wildlife
Management Area. Volunteers spent the night
searching areas close to the residence before
requesting through the State Emergency Operations
Center (EOC) in Richmond that Conservation Police
Officers join the search efforts. Sgt. Jones and
Officers Barnette, Kester and Entsminger joined the
search on Tuesday morning and utilized VDGIF ATV's
to cover large areas of the almost 1200 acres owned
by the missing woman and her husband. Special Agent
Hull who is the VDGIF tracking expert and
Conservation Police Officers from Region 2 including
Sgt. Thomas, Officers Howald, Nipper and Adams had
just arrived and were set to join the search when
the missing woman was discovered sitting next to a
State road. Apparently, she had managed to walk out
of the remote area to a road and had the common
sense to sit tight and wait for someone to pass by.
For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke at
Region 5 -
Nabs Driver that Rammed School Bus... On
September 27, at 8:30 a.m., Virginia Conservation
Police Officer Wayne Weller was on patrol in
Chesterfield County in the Walthal Area. While
driving northbound on Jefferson Davis Hwy, Officer
Weller came upon an accident that had just occurred
involving a loaded school bus. The school bus had
been struck head-on by a cargo truck, causing
injuries. Officer Weller began to secure the scene
and requested rescue units. As he was doing this, he
observed four subjects running east from the crash
scene into a wooded area adjacent to the highway. It
was learned that three citizens were attempting to
detain the driver of the cargo truck who was fleeing
the scene. Chesterfield County Police arrived on the
scene and assumed the investigation. Officer Weller
assisted in attempts to locate the fleeing driver.
County Police K-9 arrived and a track for the
suspect began. During this time, Officer Weller
returned to the scene to assist County Police.
Officer Weller through interviewing witnesses
discovered that there was also a passenger in the
striking vehicle and through further investigation
Officer Weller located the passenger who was
concealing himself in the crowd awaiting his
girlfriend to pick him up. Once located, the subject
was able to aid Chesterfield County Police in
identifying the suspect who had been driving the
cargo truck that struck the school bus. For more
information contact Lt. John J. Cobb at (540)
If you suspect or
witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife
Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.
Don't let the
actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of
2007 Limited Edition
Virginia Wildlife Collector's Knife
Collector's knife has been customized by Buck
Knives. This classic model 110 folding knife is 8-½"
long when fully opened and has a distinctive,
natural woodgrain handle with gold lettering. Each
knife is individually serial numbered and has a
mirror polished blade engraved with a fox. Our
custom knife comes in a solid cherry box with a
collage of foxes engraved on the box cover.
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 to
find the major river or lake you want to know about.
For regulations and
conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the
Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web site.
Species Added to State
Record and Trophy Fish Lists
Anglers who catch a
trophy-sized freshwater drum or hybrid striped bass
in Virginia can now apply for a trophy fish award or
state record. The Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries recently added these species to both
lists. The Virginia Angler Recognition Program
recognizes anglers who catch a trophy fish that
exceeds the program's minimum guidelines for weight
or total length. The State Record Freshwater Fish
list recognizes anglers who catch the largest fish
of each species certified by weight.
Freshwater drum are
native to the Clinch and Powell Rivers in Southwest
Virginia, and are also found in Kerr Reservoir (Buggs
Island). To qualify for a trophy fish award, a
freshwater drum must be at least 24 inches long or
weigh six pounds. Anglers seeking a state record
award will have to catch a freshwater drum weighing
a minimum of eight pounds.
Hybrid striped bass
are stocked into Claytor Lake (Pulaski County) and
Flannagan Reservoir (Dickenson County). Only
applications for fish caught from these two lakes
and their tributaries will be considered. A hybrid
striped bass must be at least 24 inches long or
weigh eight pounds to qualify for a trophy fish
award. A minimum weight of 10 pounds has been
established for hybrid striped bass to qualify as a
about program rules and policies can be found in the
Freshwater Fishing in Virginia regulation pamphlet,
or at the
Department's Web site.
"It is not
enough for us, nor is it worthy of the name of a
human being, merely to live and not to endeavor
to unravel the mysteries of life." - Soyen Shaku
Last night the
coyotes danced in the cow pasture some 50 yards from
my bedroom window. There was yapping, howling and
snapping of jaws. It went on for almost half an
hour. The cats all rose three feet in the air and
went to earth under the big striped sofa. Guinness
the dog barked once then went very still and
listened. What was the tame canine thinking as he
listened to the wild ones? What was I, the
"civilized" hominid thinking? Hopefully as little as
possible. Our schoolmarms and dusty professors tell
us that rational wrangling will untie the knots -
bring us the one true knowledge. They are wrong. One
part of true knowledge, which is true love, comes
from simply being still and listening; of being a
silent space for the notes to ride on. And so I lay
with my dog and was silent and took in the dancer's
pure wildness. Let me advise you, when true wildness
comes your way, thank whoever or whatever it is you
thank, and simply listen.
Region 1 -
Chuck Hyde reports that things are still slow at the
reservoir. However, a few lunkers have been brought
to boat. Otis Whitehead of Newport News landed a 2
lb. crappie on a minnow. Also some good bass have
been tricked by top water baits early in the
morning. The water is down 15 inches, is clear and
River: Charlie Brown told me that cats are
hitting well on crab, eel, cut bait and night
crawlers. Stripers are going for jigs near the
bridge and some have been brought in by cat
fisherman using cut bait. The crappie and bass are
also doing some striking. The water is clear and at
Reservoir: Walter Elliot let us know that
Snoopy and Barbie have been having good luck.
Specifically, 8 year old Rebecca Blackford landed 7
bluegill up to 6 inches long, using night crawlers
and a Snoopy rod. Emma Blackford (5 years old) had a
fine day with her Barbie rod, also landing 7
bluegill of the same size. Who knew that children's
characters made such good anglers?
Largemouth bass are
going for top water baits early in the morning; then
crank baits and plastic worms as the sun gets
higher. The bass have been moving to the creeks.
Yellow perch and crappie are both attacking grubs
around structures and in some holes. Chain pickerel
are dong well on minnows, crank baits and plastic
Walter wants us to
let everyone know that the boat ramp and pier by the
concession peninsula was closed because of low
water, effective October 9, 2007. For information on what
will be open, please call (757) 566-1702 or (757)
River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins
reports that "a little bit of everything" is
fishable in his area: stripers, cats, bass, and
bluegill. Your best bet in the morning and late in
the evening are top water baits. At other times,
minnows, night crawlers, crank baits and spinners
are effective. The bass are moving to the shallows
for winter feeding. The water is dingy and at 71-72
Region 2 -
Lynchburg: Tom Reisdorf says that the
smallmouth bass are responding all day long to top
water popping bugs. The mountain trout are "non
existent" due to "dangerously low" waters. All
waters are cooling off.
Bobby Whitlow tells us that the lake is "turning
over", that is to say that the surface is getting
cooler, not a good set up for fishing. The lake is
also 7 feet below normal, which leads to fewer
anglers. However, the lake is "still fishable" if
you are careful not to get your boat or motor hung
up on a point. A few cats have been landed and the
crappie are responding to buck tail hair jigs and
live minnows. Bobby predicts the fishing will get
better as the water cools. At present it is clear
and in the low 70's.
Leesville Reservoir: Fred Tanehill reports
that things are "slow". There have been some
successful fishermen, but not many. Crappie are
going for small minnows and the largemouth bass for
spinner baits. The water is clear and in the 60's.
Lake: Mike Snead says in his report that low
water has made several ramps unusable so be sure to
call ahead at (540) 721-4867 to find out if the ramp
you plan to use is open. Bass have been somewhat
hard to land, but some are coming to top water
popping lures and top water walking splash baits.
Near underwater structures spinner baits are good.
Stripers are occasionally brought in the early
morning using top water poppers. Sutton spoons,
swimbaits and trolling with umbrella rigs have also
has some success. Cats have been hitting well on
live shad, shiners and stink bait. White perch and
crappie are attacking curly tail jigs and small
minnows. The water is clear and around 75 degrees.
Philpott Reservoir: Bill Coe, a long-time
fisherman at Philpott Lake, reports
it's "full swing" for Fall fishing at Philpott.
Don't store your boat or put your fishing poles up
yet! Due to
an extremely hot summer and warm Autumn, the fish in Philpott are just beginning their fall pattern which
many of us believe is the best fishing of the year.
Within the next month and a half the lake
temperature should drop from the low 70's to the low
60's which creates excellent angling situations for
all species at the lake. The bait fish are now
moving from the main lake to the mouths of all
creeks and will slowly began to move into the back
of them as the temperatures drop. Of course all the
game fish are following them because that is their
steak and gravy.
Bass: Excellent catches are being made all
day by fishing points and around trees in the
water. Early morning seems to be top water bait
time and the rest of the day the fish are
suspended 20- 25 feet. The night time anglers
are also reporting above average catches.
Philpott is an exceptional largemouth fishery.
Bass: The Smallmouth have really made a
great comeback at Philpott and can be caught
around rocky bluffs. Top water early in the
morning and then suspended 25' - 30' during the
day. Some surprising catches are being made both
day and nigh.
Trolling with your bait at 15' to 20' will
produce large catches of excellent walleye. My
partner and I saw one fifteen pound that was
caught just last week. Troll with a small
spinner or crankbait and make sure your weight
touches the bottom to stir up the bottom a
little catching the walleye's attention. Best
time to go - all day long!
(all species of sunfish) Great action when the
sun is out. Fish near the banks and don't forget
to take the kids. There's no more fun in the
world then watching a child develop a love for
fishing and catching bream will hook them for
life. Philpott has an abundance of them and all
you have to do is find that spot were the sun is
shining, put a bobber, hook, and worm on a line
and you are fishing. Best baits are always live
baits such as crickets, small minnows, and the
ever favorite worm. Have fun.
Philpott is excellent for carp fishing but very
few folks take advantage of the great fishing.
In many countries carp are the choice fish for
fun but not so in the US. If you are so inclined
and really want to have some fun just put a #2
hook on your line, wrap a piece of bread or
store bought carp bait and toss it under the
trees in clay bank areas. Hang on and don't be
surprised when you latch onto a 20 pounder or
Best pattern is late at night with cut baits,
store baits, chicken liver, etc. Philpott has an
abundance of catfish of all sizes. There have
been numerous excellent catches in the last few
A little slow right now but can still be caught
around fish attractors, docks, trees, etc.,
using small minnows at about 15 feet deep.
Average size is about 1/2 pound but larger
catches can be made.
Large freshwater turtles can and are being
caught in Philpott. Best areas are slow moving
water about 10 feet deep. Best baits are
cut-baits, night crawlers, and minnows. Don't be
surprised when you catch more Catfish than
Turtle though. Some of the locals say they are
There seems to be a belief that Philpott has a
population of strippers. To the knowledge of
myself and the fellow anglers I talk to we have
never seen one in Philpott.
As of this writing
the lake is down about six feet but this does not
deter fishing. It does however cause a little
problem putting boats in since some ramps are now
out of the water. If you are coming in from out of
town and don't use the main boat ramp you should
call the Corps of Engineers Duty Ranger at (276)
629-2703 to make sure the ramp you normally use is
Have fun fishing
Philpott, wear those life jackets, and by all means
take a kid fishing.
Region 3 -
Lower New River:
John Zienius tells us that the river is "critically
low", and many anglers are reduced to wading. One
method that still works is the "belly boat", a sort
of inner tube, those using them are having better
luck. They seem to do best with top water lures,
crawdad crank baits, these tackle are brining in
some smallmouth bass. Overall, if you can get to the
fish, you can catch some. The water is clear and
North Fork of
the Holston River: Jamie Lamie reports that
fishing is best in the early morning and late
evening, at these times, top water lures are best.
To get smallmouth bass later in the day, try tubes
and jigs, especially dark crawdad patterns. The
water is clear and cooling.
and nearby waters: Daniel Frank Cadle told me
that the approaching deer season has driven fishing
from the minds of many sportsmen. Nevertheless,
smallmouth bass are doing well at Foster Falls and
muskies are biting on spoons there. The waters tend
to be murky and are cooling.
Region 4 -
Mountain & Valley
Larry Andrews says that the lake is down 21 feet, so
the fishing is "slow, not much happening". The
tournaments, however, are still doing "OK". Larry
thinks that as the temperature drops, fishing will
pick up. He also wants you to know that only the
Forutney Branch ramp is open. The water is clear and
Lake Robertson: Wayne Nicely reports that
the channel cats are hitting a little on chicken
livers and night crawlers. Some good largemouth are
going for plastic worms and Pig & Jigs. The water is
down 8 inches and is clear and cooling off.
North Fork of
the Shenandoah: Harry Murray says
that the north and south fork of the river are low
and clear, but still have good fishing. The best
area of the south fork is from Luray to Front Royal.
The best of the north is from Edinburg to Strasburg.
The best flies to use are the Murray's Hellgrammite,
Shenks' White Streamer and Murray's Pearl Marauder.
The water in these areas are around 58-65 degrees.
The large trout streams on the valley floor are very
low, but with a cautious approach, a good fish can
still be landed. The delayed harvest streams should
be stocked soon, which will bring a good harvest of
rainbow trout. The waters in this area range from
62-68 degrees. It is brookie spawning time in the
mountain trout streams, so fishing should not be
attempted right now.
Region 5 -
No report. Must be
gettin' ready for deer season!
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!
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