|In this edition:
- Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be
- VDGIF Commences Chronic Wasting
Disease Surveillance for 2007
- Do The Right Thing!
- Hunters For The Hungry Needs Your
- Hunters - Did You Remember To...
A new section to note some important reminders before you
head to the woods.
- Pack Several Glow Light Sticks
- An Open Letter to Landowners -
- Remember - Feeding Deer is Illegal!
- Video Available on Field Dressing
- People and Partners in the News
- Powhatan Lakes Projects Needs
- VDOT Provides Safety Vests for
- Learn the Basics of Fly Fishing
- Educational Rabbit Hunting Workshop
December 8 in Bedford
- Education Youth Waterfowl Hunting
Workshop December 29 in Essex
- Decoy Carving Workshop Makes a
Great Holiday Gift
- Video Available to Help Virginians
Live with Bears
- Wildlife Center Receives 2007
National Conservation Achievement Award
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid
- Virginia Conservation Police
- Field reports from officers
protecting natural resources and people pursuing outdoor
- 2007 Limited Edition Virginia
Wildlife Collector's Knife
- Fishin' Report
- In Case You Missed It...
- Links to recent articles of
Be Responsible, Be
Respectful, Be Thankful...
As we approach the
one year anniversary of the new, revived electronic
Outdoor Report, I am a bit sentimental and
humbled about all the hard work and support from
colleagues, partners, contributing reporters and
readers that have made this newsletter successful. I
hope you have been informed, educated and even
inspired on occasion to do something new and
different to enhance your outdoor experiences, or
better yet, share with others.
This edition is
posted right in the middle of what I observe as the
"Great American Heritage Appreciation Month,"
where we need to be especially responsible,
respectful and thankful. This is a time to "walk the
walk and talk the talk." Election Day was last week.
As a responsible citizen, did you vote? The
following Sunday was Veterans Day, honoring the
brave men and women who have fought and died to
protect our freedoms - especially the privilege to
vote. I hope you showed your appreciation to our
veterans in some way. This Saturday is the opening
day of deer season; hunters, this is the most
important time for us to be respectful. Common
courtesy and safety are no accident - be respectful
of other hunters, landowners and the wild game you
pursue and harvest.
And finally, be
Thankful for the opportunity to participate in all
these wonderful blessings, for treasured
friendships, and for the service, courage and
sacrifice by our military, law enforcement and
emergency services people and their families. I wish
you a safe, rewarding and peaceful Thanksgiving.
Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance for 2007
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries (VDGIF) has begun its active surveillance
for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) for the 2007-2008
hunting season. To establish whether CWD occurs in
Virginia, the Department commenced statewide CWD
surveillance in 2002, and since then a total of
2,936 samples have been collected, deer have been
sampled from every county in the Commonwealth, and
CWD has not been detected.
For this season the Department will once again
conduct statewide active surveillance. Hunter and
road-killed deer from all counties in the
Commonwealth will be tested for CWD, with the goal
of over 1,000 samples during the 2007-2008 hunting
season. However, due to the detection of CWD in deer
from Hampshire County, West Virginia, additional
surveillance will also be performed in a CWD
Surveillance Focus Area in western Frederick County.
This area will include the portions of Frederick
County west of Virginia route 600.
VDGIF will be soliciting assistance from hunters
in its CWD surveillance efforts by requesting that
hunters voluntarily submit deer heads for testing.
Hunter participation in CWD surveillance is vital as
this will enable the Department to more quickly and
effectively monitor for the presence of CWD. Hunters
who are interested in participating in the CWD
surveillance should contact the nearest Department
visit our Web site.
Do the Right Thing!
None of us
is perfect. Few haven't been tempted
to pull the trigger when a deer presents a less than
ideal shot, step across a fence line without first
getting the landowner's permission, or give up the
search for a downed animal on a cold, rainy day. But
if we all hold ourselves to a strict code of
personal ethics, even in the isolation of the woods,
it enhances our enjoyment of and pride in our sport.
Perhaps even more importantly, it sets a positive
example for kids and new hunters, and sends a good
message to those who don't hunt. This makes the
personal ethics of every hunter very important.
Many calls to our information centers deal with
common courtesy and common sense (or lack thereof)
rather than legal transgressions. Complaints come in
about things that are more a matter of ethics than
law, like hunters set up right on property line
fences, irritating the landowners next door. Shots
taken too close to a farmer's grazing livestock, or
at distances too far for a clean kill. Downed game
left lying in the woods without an earnest recovery
effort. Things like this may not be illegal, but
they give all hunters a bad name and frustrate true
sportsmen and sportswomen.
Prepare yourself for difficult choices in the
field. Determine the effective range of your rifle
when practicing before the season, and refuse to
take a shot farther away. Realize that the law
prevents you from retrieving game on someone's land
without permission, but ethics dictate whether
you'll set up your tree stand near a property line
in the first place. If it's getting close to dark
and you're still hoping to see a deer, but don't
want to comb the woods on your hands and knees with
a flashlight, go ahead and pack it up for the night.
One of the easiest ways for all of us to do the
right thing is not to put ourselves in difficult
situations in the first place. For those who do not
want to follow the law, our wildlife crime line
heats up with reports of everything from trespassing
to spotlighting to shooting across roads.
This season, hold yourself to the kind of
standard you'd like to see in all hunters. It's
sometimes harder than it sounds. But an ethical hunt
is always a successful day afield, and when we are
fortunate enough to take home game, it's a trophy
This valuable information is reprinted from an
article in The Outdoor Wire from Hayley Lynch of the
Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
She is an avid hunter and shotgun shooter. It's good
advice for any of us who take to the woods during
Hunters for the Hungry Needs Your Support!
Attention hunters! Hunters for the Hungry needs your
support. This uniquely Virginia program was started
by hunters in 1991 and is primarily supported
financially by hunters. This grass roots effort,
more than any other program, gives hunters and
hunting a good image. The following comments are
from distinguished outdoor writer Bill Cochran, from
come right out and say it: Hunters for the
Hungry is struggling. Yes, this great
organization that processed and distributed
356,054 pounds of venison for the needy last
year -- that's 1.4 million servings -- is
finding it increasingly challenging to keep up
financially with the demands being placed on it.
Where is the money going to come from to process
all these deer?
funds come from various fund raising events at
outdoor shows, raffle ticket sales or golf
tournaments entry fees and banquets. This is
worthy, even pretty spectacular, but it hardly
is the financial foundation required to maintain
a program of this magnitude. Hunters get much of
the credit for the program's success, which,
since its modest beginning in 1991, has set
records each year in pounds of venison
distributed to the needy. I can think of no
other program that gives hunters and hunting a
need to do more. They have the option to check
off $2 for Hunters for the Hungry each time they
buy a hunting license, but few do, even when
asked. Since it costs about $40 to process a
deer, hunters should also consider paying the
processing fee as well.
You might ask
why hunters should be forced to support a
benevolent program. The answer is that the
state's deer management plan simply can't work
unless there is a system to deal with the excess
of deer. Hunters can't eat them all. So why not
share the bounty by feeding the needy? It is the
right and noble thing to do and it is vital to
the well-being of hunting.
For more ideas on
supporting Hunters for the Hungry,
To read Bill Cochran's latest column, visit
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
Pack Several Glow Light Sticks
VDGIF Videographer, Ron Messina knows
the importance of good light. An
avid bowhunter, he offers this tip to deal with loss
of sunlight if you shoot a deer just before dark and
need to track it with the light fading. "Crack" a
glow light stick and hang it at your stand to find
your way back in the dark. Carry several of these
inexpensive light sticks to hang along the trail to
keep you on track.
An "Open Letter" To Landowners and Deer
Hunters in Bedford, Fairfax, Fauquier, Franklin,
Loudoun, Patrick, Prince William, and Roanoke
Help VDGIF reduce deer populations in these
areas! High deer and human populations have led to
increased deer-human conflicts (e.g., deer-vehicle
collisions, property damage, habitat damage, etc.).
Despite very liberal deer seasons, doe harvests
remain too low to control the herd. A change in
hunter and landowner attitudes is needed. Hunters
need to take more does and landowners need to
encourage it! If hunting does not reduce herds to
optimum levels, then the public will demand deer
herd reduction using other methods (e.g., out of
season kill permits, sharpshooting). In the long
run, reducing the deer population will benefit the
deer herd, society, and deer hunters themselves.
Less deer will mean bigger, healthier deer,
healthier habitat, and less damage.
Read the full letter online (PDF) or see page 53 in
Trapping in Virginia.
Remember - Feeding Deer is Illegal!
Remember that it is unlawful to feed or attract
deer from September 1 through the first Saturday in
January. Feeding deer is a bad idea any time of
year. Fed deer are more likely to lose their fear of
humans, become a nuisance, spread and maintain
diseases, suffer digestive problems, become
overabundant, and destroy the local habitat. So help
keep the "wild" in wildlife - Don't Feed the Deer!
For more information
see the Department's Web site.
Video Available on Field Dressing Your Deer
Whether you are a novice hunter who may not feel
comfortable tackling the chore of gutting and
butchering a deer themselves, or a more experienced
hunter who would like to take their deer processing
to a professional level, the VDGIF has a DVD to help
you make the most of your harvest. "A
Professional Guide to Field Dressing, Skinning and
Butchering White-Tailed Deer" video begins with
step by step instructions on how to field dress a
deer as demonstrated by VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Ron
Hughes. Then, professional butcher and hunter
education instructor Rob Bingel demonstrates the
best way to cape out a deer for mounting. The video
really gets good when he shows in detail how to
de-bone and professionally butcher a deer using only
a knife and a hacksaw. Sure, many of us think we
know how to process a deer, but seeing the way Rob
does it with no wasted effort is well worth the
price of the video.
By the end of the video you will learn how to
make butterfly chops, de-bone a front shoulder, tie
up a roast using a butcher's knot, be able to
identify all the proper cuts of meat on a deer, and
more! This is one video you will watch over and
over! The price is only $12 each.
Hunters: plan your hunt, hunt
your plan. Always let someone know where you are
going and when you plan to return. Above all else,
put safety first!
People and Partners in the News
Powhatan Lakes Projects Need Volunteers
VDGIF Complementary Work Force program is
currently seeking volunteer groups and individuals
to assist with immediate and on-going projects at
Powhatan Lakes in Powhatan County. If you can
provide skills in carpentry, construction, trail
building and clearing, or just want to see how you
or your group could help, please contact Jim Battle,
CWF Region Coordinator at (804) 829-6580.
VDOT Provides Safety Vests for Volunteers
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
has contributed safety vests to the VDGIF
Complementary Work Force volunteers in the Valley
and Mountain Region (Region 4). CWF Program Manager,
Tom Wilcox, expressed appreciation to Jimmy White,
VDOT, Residency Administrator, Verona Residency, for
coordinating this effort and for VDOT's commitment
to keeping the volunteers safe while working near
Learn the Basics of Fly Fishing
Do you want to learn to tie your first fly, cast
a fly rod, or how to pick your equipment for a
better fly-fishing experience? The Chesapeake Parks
& Recreation Department, Virginia Department of Game
and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Bill Wills Chapter
of Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers are
sponsoring a series of fly fishing workshops. The
classes will be held at Northwest River Park in
Chesapeake, the first Saturday of the month
beginning November 3, 2007 through March 2, 2008.
Sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. in the activities
building and are free and open to the public. No
registration or experience is required. You may
bring your own equipment if you like, but it's not
required. For more information or directions
the Park at
421-7151, Bill Campbell at 635-6522, or send email
to firstname.lastname@example.org or
Educational Rabbit Hunting Workshop December 8
This workshop is an excellent educational
opportunity for youth, 17 years and younger, to
participate in educational sessions that cover
Eastern Cottontail biology & habitat, firearm &
hunting safety, game care, and ethics. This workshop
also includes an opportunity to harvest rabbits.
Participants must successfully complete the basic
hunter education course prior to workshop and meet
all license requirements. A $20 refundable deposit
is required to confirm reservation for the workshop.
Space is limited, call today. For more information,
contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or
Educational Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop
December 29 in Essex
This workshop is an excellent educational
opportunity for youth 17 years of age and younger to
increase their skills and knowledge about waterfowl
and waterfowl hunting techniques. Workshop topics
include educational hands-on sessions with decoys
and blinds setup, waterfowl habitat & ecology, and
firearms safety & instruction. Lunch will be
provided for participants. Waterfowl, USA is
providing a goose & duck hunt for this workshop. The
guides, decoys and blinds are included for the
hunts. Call to register today! A $20 refundable
deposit is required to confirm your registration.
For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at (804)
Decoy Carving Workshop Makes a Great Holiday
Looking for a unique gift for a special sportsman
or sportswoman? Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center
Director, Brian Branch, suggests making a
reservation in the decoy carving class March 9-13,
2008 open to novices and advanced carvers alike!
First time carvers will carve and paint a working
Canvasback, one of the most popular of all decoys.
Returning or experienced students will carve and
paint a decoy of their choice. Decoys will be carved
from Tupelo, a favored decoy wood. Decoys will be
carved the traditional way using knives and rasps.
For hunters wishing to carve their own decoys or
outdoor enthusiasts who want a decoy to show, this
class is a great deal. Meals, lodging, instruction,
and all materials are all included in this
exceptionally priced class. Participation is limited
to 15 people.
Video Available to Help Virginians Live with
This past year, wildlife biologists and
Conservation Police Officers with the VDGIF
responded to a tremendous number of calls about
property and agricultural damage caused by black
bears. The upswing in bear sightings and reports of
bear damage has lead VDGIF to produce a new video
called Living with Black Bears in Virginia. The
agency has completed production and is rolling the
video out now to schools, localities, libraries,
parks, and public television stations. The general
watch the video on the Department's Web site.
Wildlife Center Receives 2007 National
Conservation Achievement Award
The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's
leading teaching and research hospital for native
wildlife, received the National Wildlife
Federation's 2007 National Conservation Achievement
Award for exemplary leadership in conserving
wildlife and connecting people with nature. The
award was accepted on November 1, 2007, by Ed Clark,
President and Co-Founder of the Wildlife Center.
"This is the equivalent of the Academy Award in the
field of conservation. Clark said. " This
recognition is the result of the contributions of
literally thousands of individuals, including those
who have generously shared their time, resources,
and talents with the Wildlife Center over the
years." The NWF award comes as the Wildlife Center
marks its 25th anniversary. Founded in a horse
stable in Waynesboro in 1982, the Wildlife Center
has treated almost 50, 000 wild animals;, presented
compelling, life-changing programs to more than 1.4
million children and adults and introduced these
audiences to feathered, furred, and scaled
representatives of Virginia's wildlife. The Center
has trained a generation of wildlife health-care
professionals across the United States and around
the world. Additional information on the Wildlife
Center of Virginia and its veterinary and
educational work is available online at
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer
With shorter days,
many motorists will be commuting in the dark,
increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding
with a deer. The VDGIF is encouraging Virginia's
drivers to be more cautious as they travel the
Commonwealth's highways this season.
Fall is the
breeding season for deer, and consequently, deer are
more active now than any other time of the year.
One-half to two-thirds of all deer/vehicle
collisions occur in the months of October, November
and December. While less than 1 percent of vehicle
fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in
Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable
damage to both people and property.
VDGIF estimates the
population of white-tailed deer in the Commonwealth
at this time of year to be approximately one million
animals. Each year, hunters in Virginia harvest over
210,000 deer. The population has been stabilized at
between 800,000 and one million animals for almost
10 years. Without hunting, white-tailed deer, due to
their reproduction rate, could double their
population within five years.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends
the following tips to drivers to avoid hitting a
- When driving,
particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be
attentive. If you see one deer, likely there
will be others. If one deer crosses the road as
you approach, others may follow.
habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer
crossing signs have been installed by the
Virginia Department of Transportation. Use
caution when you see these signs.
- Drivers should
apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid
hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of
the lane to miss a deer. A collision with
another vehicle, tree or other object is likely
to be more serious than hitting a deer.
- Rely on your
caution and your own senses, not deer whistles
you can buy for your car. These devices have not
been shown to be effective.
- Any person who
is involved in a collision with a deer or bear
while driving a motor vehicle, thereby killing
the animal, should immediately report the
accident to the Conservation Police Officer or
other law enforcement officer in the county or
city where the accident occurred.
- Drivers who
collide with a deer or bear, thereby killing the
animal, may keep it for their own use provided
that they report the accident to a law
enforcement officer where the accident occurred
and the officer views the animal and gives the
person a possession certificate.
If you have
questions about white-tailed deer or deer behavior,
please visit the Department's Web site:
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 -
and bait - bad combo... Early into the 2007
archery season, Conservation Police Officer Frank
Spuchesi received information from the King George
County Sheriff's Office about a baited ground blind
behind a residence. The Sheriff's Office had
recently served a search warrant at the residence
for cultivating marijuana in the basement of the
home. The Sheriff's Office also advised Officer
Spuchesi that they found many trophy class deer
antlers during the search. Officer Spuchesi was
familiar with the owner of the property. He was
arrested by Officer Spuchesi several years earlier
for spotlighting and shooting a decoy deer with a
.22 cal rifle. The suspect's hunting privileges were
revoked by the court from this arrest until February
of 2008. Officer Spuchesi located a ground blind and
found the immediate area to be baited with a feeder
filled with corn, apples and a mineral block. On the
evening of October 27, 2007, Officer Spuchesi
entered the property, found the owner inside the
baited blind and in possession of a loaded .22 cal
rifle. The suspect had recently consumed a beer and
smoked marijuana. Found in the blind were a bottle
of doe in heat scent lure, an empty beer can, a
plastic baggie containing marijuana with a lighter
and smoking device. The suspect was charged with
hunting deer during the closed season, hunting deer
with a rifle less than .23 cal., hunting in a baited
area, hunting while revoked, hunting under the
influence and possession of marijuana. It was also
determined that the suspect had purchased hunting
licenses during the past two hunting seasons. For
more information contact Lt. Ken Conger (804)
Region 2 -
get you in trouble... Conservation Police
Officer Gavin Fariss received word of a black bear
being harvested on opening morning of the archery
bear season in Prince Edward County. After checking
the bear, the "lucky" hunter had decided to show it
off at a local fire department near the property he
hunted. On October 18, Officer Fariss thoroughly
patrolled this property and located a climbing
treestand and two piles of "bait" located within 25
yards of the stand. The bait consisted of "Buckola"
deer food and corn. Beside one of the bait piles was
blood consistent with an archery wound. Officer
Fariss followed the trail for approximately 50 yards
and found where the bear had expired. After finding
this evidence, Officer Fariss interviewed the
suspect that evening and obtained a full confession
to killing the bear over bait and killing the bear
on October 12, the day before the season officially
opened. Further information revealed that the hunter
was generously assisted by the landowner in loading,
transporting, and concealing the bear in his shop
until opening morning. Charges are pending on both
men: Kill Bear over Bait, Kill Bear during Closed
Season, Conspiracy, and possession of illegally
taken game. For more information contact Lt. Tony
Fisher (434) 525-7522.
Region 3 -
two at one time... Sergeant Naff and
Senior Conservation Police Officers Pease and
Billings conducted a special decoy deer operation in
a remote section of National Forest in Wythe County.
At about 7:30 pm an older model Chevy pickup stopped
in the roadway and fired a 12 gauge shotgun from the
driver's side window at the decoy deer. Senior
Officer Billings was the ground observer at the
scene and radioed to Senior Officer Pease that the
suspect vehicle had left the scene and was traveling
in his direction. Just seconds after radioing the
vehicle information to Senior Officer Pease, another
vehicle approached the decoy deer from the opposite
direction. Senior Officer Billings observed the
passenger attempting to exit the Dodge pickup before
the vehicle came to a stop. The vehicle finally
slowed enough so the passenger could clear the
doorpost with his compound bow in hand and quickly
fire a shot at the decoy deer. Both vehicles and
occupants were successfully apprehended after the
violations. Charges were placed for attempting to
take deer after legal hours, shooting from the
roadway, and attempting to take deer during the
closed season (gun during bow season). Two firearms
and a bow were seized as evidence. For more
information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Region 4 -
Mountain & Valley
costly to vineyard... Conservation Police
Officer F. G. Mundy received information that the
owner of a vineyard in Rockingham County had been
killing deer during the closed deer hunting season
on his property without a kill permit. Officer Mundy
found as the investigation unfolded that a number of
dead deer had been found by landowners surrounding
the vineyard. In the course of the investigation,
Mundy discovered that a total of nine deer had been
killed in September of 2007. The landowner had
requested and received a kill permit allowing him to
harvest deer damaging the vineyard during the
previous year of 2006, but had not requested a crop
damage inspection by a conservation police officer
in 2007. When interviewed, the landowner was candid
and honest about his actions, yet could not give a
valid reason for not getting a kill permit from the
VDGIF in 2007. So instead, he just killed the deer
that he saw in his vineyard without a kill permit.
As a result, he faces charges of killing nine deer
during the closed season for hunting deer and for
wanton waste of the deer carcasses that he killed.
Damage/kill permits are a valuable wildlife
management tool that allows a landowner or his
designees to waive certain wildlife laws as set by
the conditions on the permit such as seasons, hours
and bag limits without any penalties. For more
information Contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.
Region 5 -
catch bear poacher... Conservation Police
Officer Jon Simmons, acting on a tip of an illegal
bait site, coordinated with Sgt. Kenny Dove and
teamed up with Conservation Police Officer and
Hunter Education Specialist Phil Townley for a
closer look. The tip was related to an active
baiting site in the Rixeyville area of Culpeper
County as the location where a suspect had shot a
bear with a bow. On October 27, officers carefully
checked the area on foot patrol. Officer Simmons
located a suspect occupying a tree stand with a
nocked arrow in his bow. The suspect was overlooking
a fifty-five gallon electric drum feeder which had
been hosted up by chain, cable and pulleys between
two trees. The area beneath the feeder was covered
in yellow corn, salt and "Buck Rub." The area was
also under surveillance by an active digital game
trail camera which could capture any activity. The
suspect first denied ever seeing a bear in the area
but was soon to change his story. Officer Simmons'
interview of the suspect uncovered the suspect
admitting he had recently shot a bear from one of
his other bait sites with a bow and arrow. The
second bait site also had a similar set-up like the
first. Several salt rocks and salt blocks were
distributed in the area along with an active digital
game trail camera. The suspect was released on a
summons for hunting a baited area. The bow, arrows,
cameras, electric drum feeders, salt, and a sample
of the "bait" were collected as evidence. Officer
Simmons' investigation is continuing and it is
believed additional charges will be placed against
the suspect for unlawfully killing or attempting to
kill bear, as well as unlawfully killing or
attempting to kill deer. For more information
contact Lt. John Cobb (540) 899-4169.
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
The VDGIF 2007
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.
Region 1 - Tidewater
Lake: Tina Vallard at Eagle's Landing reports
that the rain has helped improve the fishing
conditions. The crappie are hitting well. The lake
is cooling and clear.
River: Charlie Brown tells us that the bass are
being cooperative, as are the cats. A recent catch
and release tournament netted a 58 lb. blue cats.
The crappie are also biting, but not as well. The
river is cooling and clear.
Reservoir: Due to low water the boat ramp and
pier are closed. The first peninsula is still open.
Drew Dixon of Dashiels' Show Room says that although
there are not a lot of anglers working the lakes,
the fishing is good. The crappie are hitting, so are
the bass and cats. Drew credits the recent rain for
improving the fishing. The lakes are cooling
somewhat and clear.
River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins told me that
there is plenty of good striper fishing in the area.
The bass are also being brought in, with Ken
Testroff landing a 5 ½ lb. lunker. The crappie are
starting to come in and rise to the bait. The
bluegills are active. Cat fishing has been good,
with a customer bringing in a 12 lb. and 14 lb.
channel cat. The water is in the high 60's and
Region 2 - Southside
Tri County Marina is closed for the winter. They
will reopen on April, 15, 2008. The ramp, however,
is still open, although the store is closed. You can
still get gas, but you must call ahead first. The
number is (434) 369-5126.
Region 3 - Southwest
Andrew Bentley of Rock House Mariana let me know
that the fishing is good for cats, stripers and
hybrids. An angler recently brought in a 31 ½ lb.
flathead cat. The crappie are not responding well.
The lake is cooling and clear.
Flanagan Marina is closed for the season and will
reopen on April 1, 2008.
Lower New River:
John Zienius of Big Z's says that there is now more
water in the river, due to the recent rain. This has
improved the angling a lot. Smallmouth bass are
being especially cooperative, going for Pig & Jigs.
Some stripers are biting. All in all, the rain has
proved to be "a real blessing" for the river's
anglers. The river is cooling and clear.
North Fork of
the Holston River: Jamie Lamie of the Sportsman's Den
reports that the water is low and the fishing has
slowed down accordingly. The smallmouths and other
fish are heading for the bottom. The best tactic is
to fish deep with a slower retrieval. The water is
cooling and clear.
New River and Claytor Lake: Sportsman's Supply's Victor
Billings told me that the smallmouths and stripers
are really hitting in the lake, especially above the
bridge and in Dublin Hollow. It is best to fish the
bass deep, on plastics. The stripers are going for
live gizzard shad and bucktail lures. The walleye
are biting in Austenville. The cat fishing has
slowed. The waters are clear and cooling.
Region 4 - Mountain &
Wayne Nicely reports that although the recent rains
have helped, there is not much fishing to be had at
the lake. Some anglers are having fair luck with
largemouth bass. Cats, walleyes and bluegills are
playing hard to get. Wayne expects the fishing to be
slow until spring. The water is 69 degrees and
Larry Andrews of The Bait Place says that the recent
rains didn't do much good for the lake, which is 22
½ feet down, an increase since the last report. The
bass fishing is still good, but that is about all
anglers are landing. The fishing should pick up soon
with winter feeding. The water is 58 degrees and
North Fork of
the Shenandoah River: Harry Murray reports that the
smallmouth fishing in both the North and South forks
of the river is still good. It is best to use deep
running flies, such as Murray's Mad Tom and Murray's
Heavy Hellgrammite. The best areas are near Edinburg
in the North fork and Luray in the South fork. The
waters there are 50 degrees
and clear. The trout
streams in the valley are still good, as many
streams have been stocked. The best areas are Big
Stony Creek and Passage Creek. Good flys for these
areas are the Betsy Streamer and Pearl Marauder at
10 and 12. The waters in this area are 46 degrees
and clear. The mountain streams should not be fished
now, as the brookies are spawning.
Region 5 - Northern
Mike Ostrander told me that the blue cats are really
hitting well. Three youngsters, Andrew Venzke, Rollo
Samuel and Jimmy Venskus, all from Northern Virginia
went out and landed 15 blue cats, a few flathead
cats and one striped bass. Rollo caught the biggest
fish - a 53 lb. blue cat. So the big ones are out
there, and fishing in general has improved. The
water is cooling and clear.
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!
In Case You Missed It...
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