Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)
Outdoor Report

Managing and Conserving Our Wildlife and Natural Resources

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Welcome New Subscribers in This New Year
  • General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You
  • Virginia's Sportsmen Have Significant Impact on Economy - $1.3 Billion Spent Annually
  • Hunters - Did You Remember To...
    • Special Extended Deer Season in NOVA Counties
    • What To Do With Your Venison!?
    • Don't "Recycle" the Regulation Booklet Just Yet!
    • Help Feed Hungry Families in this Season of Giving
  • People and Partners in the News
    • New Fishing Expo in Richmond January 25-27
    • Deadline for VOWA Youth Writing Contest January 31
    • Hound Hunting Study Focus Groups Identify Issues and Concerns
    • Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center Featured Volunteers
    • Pheasant Hunting Workshop for Women February 2
    • Woods & Wildlife Conference for Landowners February 16
    • Young Waterfowl Hunters Have Successful Day
    • 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Great Nature Lesson for Kids
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Warm Day and Cold Water Can Be Dangerous Combo
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Make a Special Treat for Birds This Winter
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Field reports from officers protecting natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation
  • Fishin' Report
    • Special Philpott Lake Update
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to recent articles of on-going interest

Welcome New Subscribers In This New Year

This January 2008 edition is really special as it is the first edition of the New Year and completes the first anniversary of the "new, revived, electronic Outdoor Report." Through a new subscription invitation emailed to our customers and constituents in December, we have grown to over 14,000 subscribers and we welcome you who are new readers and appreciate the continued interest of our long time subscribers.

As we head into 2008, encourage your friends and colleagues to sign-up for a free subscription to the Outdoor Report! We hope this newsletter has informed and inspired you to get involved and get outdoors. From all of us that work to bring you the Outdoor Report, we will continue throughout 2008 to provide you the latest factual information on programs, issues and opportunities regarding our precious outdoor resources - truly our common wealth!

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

There is a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner or concerned citizen.

The most appropriate way to express your opinion about these bills, or any other legislation, is through your local delegate and/or senator. For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, please visit the Virginia General Assembly Web site. You may also contact the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 (804-698-1990 in Richmond).

Virginia Sportsmen Have Significant Impact on Economy

$1.3 Billion Spent Annually

Virginia's 857,000 hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $1.3 billion a year on hunting and fishing, according to a new report produced by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. The Report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy - A Force as Big as All Outdoors," spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.

In Virginia, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 24,000 jobs, which puts $683 million into the pockets of working residents around the state. Of course, government coffers also benefit - spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $128 million in state and local taxes.

"Because sportsmen enjoy hunting or fishing alone or in small groups, they are overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force," stated Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "When you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on the state's economy becomes more tangible." From small rural towns scattered across our country's landscape to the bottom line of Fortune 500 companies located in major cities, if you take away hunting and fishing you take away the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.

"It is a fairly simple equation hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing opportunities," said Crane. "The economic impacts that sportsmen have on state economies should be a wake-up call to state governments to welcome and encourage hunting and fishing in their state."

The next time you contact your elected officials, be sure to call their attention to the major economic impact you have through hunting and fishing. Also, remind them that it is the sportsmen through their license fees, boat registrations and self imposed excise taxes on outdoor related products, who pay for wildlife conservation and state wildlife agency management programs.

Hunters - Did You Remember To...

The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked getting ready for hunting season, or reports from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk, or experienced afield.

Special Extended Deer Season in NOVA Counties

Hunters are reminded of the special late "anterless-only" firearms deer season January 7 - February 2, 2008, in the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William. Refer to the Department's Web site or the Regulations Booklet, page 38, for further details.

What To Do With Your Venison!?

Now that you've had a successful hunting season, and you are fortunate to have harvested more deer than what you can use, have your processor set aside several packages for donating to Hunters for the Hungry. Also consider contributing $30 to help offset processing expenses. Every donation to Hunters for the Hungry helps whether it's cash or venison and helps show that sportsmen do positive things in their communities. For great venison cooking recipes, purchase the Hunters for the Hungry Cookbooks containing 224 recipes and over 300 pages. Information can be found on their Web site: Share and enjoy your harvest with those in need!

Don't "Recycle" the Regulation Booklet Just Yet!

Although the statewide deer season is over, there are still numerous opportunities to hunt small game and it's only 14 weeks till Spring Gobbler Season! Check the QUICK GLANCE AT HUNTING SEASONS listing in the sidebar for seasons still open. Now that things have calmed down a little and your buck fever has subsided, it's a great time to go back and read through the Hunting Regulations booklet to see what opportunities may be ahead. There's a lot to learn from this comprehensive booklet. Many hunters skip over the back section called "The Hunting & Trapping Annual." This 40-page section contains detailed information on the major game species, harvest statistics, new hunting lands, skill building events, and information for landowners and hunters on leasing tips, liability laws, and habitat improvement programs.

Don't forget the special Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt on Saturday April 5, 2008. This one day opportunity is open to any young hunter age 15 or younger, and they must be accompanied by a licensed adult. See the Department's Web site or the Regulations Booklet for details. This date is a week prior to the statewide opening April 12. Encourage a youngster to go hunting and mentor them to participate in this great opportunity to discover our rich hunting heritage.

People and Partners in the News

New Fishing Expo in Richmond January 25-27

The Richmond Fishing Expo is coming to the Richmond Raceway Complex January 25-27, 2008. The family oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, saltwater, lake or river angler, this show has something for everyone in the family. There will be more than 20 conservation organizations represented and an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers and seminar presenters. Numerous nationally known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF will be on hand with exhibits and staff to answer questions on agency programs, special training events and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. For information visit the Show Web site:

Deadline for VOWA Youth Writing Contest January 31

The deadline for submissions to the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) 15th Annual Youth Writing Competition is January 31, 2008. The goal of the contest is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.

The theme of this year's contest is based on "My Most Memorable Outdoor Experience." An experience by the writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be published on the VOWA Web site, and may be in other publications or on Web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged - write the document and then attach it to an e-mail. There is also a separate contest for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.

Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in Charlottesville, on March 19, 2008, with the time and place to be announced. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event.

For Contest guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for both the Youth and Undergraduate contests, visit the VOWA Web site:

Hound Hunting Study Focus Groups Identify Issues and Concerns

The six planned focus group meetings for the Hound Hunting Study have been completed and reports posted on the VDGIF Web site. VDGIF Wildlife Division Assistant Director and Chair of the Technical Committee, Rick Busch, reports that the focus group meetings were designed to identify the issues and concerns related to hunting with hounds in Virginia. Eight of the focus groups have been made up of deer, bear, fox and coon hound hunters, and the remaining eight represent landowners, still hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and others with an interest in this project. VDGIF staff will now work closely with Virginia Tech scientists to identify appropriate members of the Hound Study Advisory committee. Visit the Department's Web site to view a video featuring VDGIF Board member Ward Burton on the importance of the hound hunting study. For background and detailed information on the study, or to receive email updates, click on the link below.

Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center Featured Volunteers

The Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show returned to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly January 4-6, 2008. The family oriented show featured something new this year, lots of volunteers and sportsmen's organizations promoting conservation programs. More than 20 conservation and sportsmen's organizations provided the participants with great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, teach youth appreciation for our hunting and fishing traditions and ways sportsmen can give back to their fellow outdoorsmen and communities. The VDGIF exhibit was staffed mostly with volunteers from the Complementary Work Force Program and Hunter Education Instructors who answered questions on agency programs, special training events and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Check the Department's Web site for information on joining this volunteer program.

In the January 23 edition we will feature information on four outdoor sports shows scheduled across the state in February. Check this edition's Upcoming Events Calendar for dates, locations and web links to preview these shows.

Welcome To New Subscribers who signed up at the Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show in Chantilly and received a red numbered ticket to enter our Subscription Appreciation Sweepstakes. Also, for those current subscribers that filled out comment cards and received a ticket, thank you for your input to help us improve the newsletter. The ten winning ticket numbers are listed below. Winners can claim their prize of a 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar by one of two ways:

  1. Bring in the winning ticket to the VDGIF Headquarters office at 4010 West Broad Street in Richmond for verification and to claim your prize.
  2. Mail your winning ticket to: David Coffman, Outdoor Report Editor, VDGIF, PO Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230. Include your return address and your prize will be mailed to you.

New Subscribers Contest
Winning Red Ticket Numbers


Pheasant Hunting Workshop for Women February 2

The VDGIF Outdoor Education Program is hosting an excellent educational opportunity for women who are interested in learning how to hunt upland birds. The workshop includes educational sessions on firearm safety, live fire range opportunity with shooting coaches, upland bird biology and habitat, and an opportunity to participate in a professionally guided hunt. This educational workshop is great for new, novice or inexperienced hunters. A catered lunch is included. Participants must have completed the Basic Hunter Education Course and have a current Virginia hunting license or Preserve license. Workshop fee is $115. The workshop fills quickly, so register early. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz or Todd McCullough at (804) 367-0656.

Woods & Wildlife Conference for Landowners February 16

If you are a landowner who wants to learn how to effectively manage your forest and wildlife resources, the 6th Annual Woods & Wildlife Conference for Landowners is for you. The day-long workshop is February 16, 2008 at the Virginia Department of Forestry training center in Charlottesville. Adam Downing, Virginia Cooperative Extension Northern District Forestry & Natural Resources Agent, notes that this conference is a great place to meet various natural resource professionals, learn something about taking good care of your woodland and meet other like-minded landowners.

This year's conference features VDGIF wildlife biologists and other natural resource management professionals presenting programs on basic, emerging, and traditional resource management sessions including Human Wildlife Conflict, Working with Loggers, Land Conservation Tools, Shortleaf Pine Restoration, Timber Harvesting Effects on Wildlife, and Birds of the Piedmont, to mention a few. The day will appeal to large and small acreage landowners alike. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Registration deadline is February 6. To learn more about conference content or registration information, download a brochure (PDF).

Young Waterfowl Hunters Have Successful Day

On Saturday, December 29, 2008, the VDGIF Outdoor Education Program conducted an Educational Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop in partnership with Waterfowl USA's L.O.C.S. (Louisa, Orange, Culpeper, Spotsylvania) Chapter at Terrell's Field in Essex County. Twelve young hunters attended the workshop designed for novice hunters under the age of 18. The young hunters and their guides took to the field at 6:00 a.m. and began setting out decoys. By 7:30 a.m. the rains came and with that came the early flights of mallards, teal and the coveted Canada goose. By days end, 14 geese were harvested, and many youngsters made the transition from being interested in hunting, to becoming dedicated to the sport. VDGIF Outreach Education Coordinator, Jimmy Mootz noted that this workshop was a great example of many cooperative efforts between non-profit conservation organizations like Waterfowl USA and the VDGIF to provide quality family oriented hunting opportunities. Together, all parties worked to provide a lifelong memory for 12 young hunters and their parents.

2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Great Nature Lesson for Kids

The new 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar is full of nature notes and events to teach youngsters (of all ages) greater awareness of our wild places and the fascinating creatures living there. Each week features interesting notes to observe nature and tips on activities to improve habitat or plan an outdoor adventure for the entire family. This special edition of the Virginia Wildlife Calendar highlights 12 of the 925 species of greatest conservation need identified in the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan. This comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy unites natural resource agencies and citizens through a common vision and concept for the conservation of the Commonwealth's wildlife and habitats in which they live.

An important component of the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan is participation of citizens from around the state to get involved with wildlife conservation efforts. By purchasing the new 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar you not only get 12 months of incredible wildlife viewing, hunting and fishing information, and outdoor events, but you also take that first step in helping to bring awareness to important wildlife issues facing our state and providing a conservation ethic for future generations.

Virginia Wildlife Calendars are only $10 each. Quantities are limited, so order now: online, by telephone at (804) 367-1164, or by mail (send a check made payable to "Treasurer of Virginia" to: Virginia Wildlife Calendar, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230)! Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Warm Days and Cold Water Can Be Dangerous Combo

Whether you're on the water this winter hunting waterfowl or striper fishing, or just taking advantage of a warm winter day, it just makes sense to take some precautions to ensure a safe boating experience. A sudden tumble into cold water can dangerously lower your body temperature leading to hypothermia. Here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • Let someone know your destination and expected return time
  • Check water and weather conditions and heed them
  • Take more clothing that you think you'll need to add layers or change if you get wet
  • Make sure your boat's motor is in good running condition and you have the proper safety equipment and it's in good working order
  • Regardless of weather conditions, always wear your life jacket

To see the latest developments in affordable, lightweight inflatable PFDs, click on the Be Safe... Have Fun article in the December 12, 2007 edition of the Outdoor Report.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Make a Special Bird Treat

The following recipe is a great food mixture for birds that can be smeared on tree bark, fence posts, the wood in a wood pile, or pine cones hung in the yard where they can be seen from your windows. This mix provides a supplemental source of fat energy and nutrients to the birds. Making the mixture is fun, inexpensive and something the whole family can join in.

First, in large bowl, stir together:

  • 1 part flour,
  • 3 parts yellow corn meal,
  • 1 part bird seed,
  • a handful of raisins and
  • a handful of shelled peanuts.

Then add 1 part of lard or peanut butter and stir until the mixture holds together in one big ball. (Or, you can substitute bacon grease that's been rendered and chilled, but do not use shortening.)

This mixture will attract nuthatches, chickadees, tufted titmice, brown creepers, woodpeckers, mockingbirds and even bluebirds. Keep a record of the different species of birds you observe, it's fun and educational for "children" of all ages. The birds will appreciate it too!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

The "Virginia 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 - Tidewater

Stakeout of Bait Site Catches Greedy Poachers. On December 15 Officer B.I. Bell concluded a multi-year investigation of illegal waterfowl hunting in the Charles City County. A small private hunt club had for a number of years baited several sites on a large farm near the James River in an effort to attract thousands of waterfowl to their hunting sites. For the last few years Officers have staked out the baited sites in an attempt to apprehend the suspects hunting directly over the bait. In past years suspects hunted close to the baited areas, but never hunted in direct proximity to the bait. Finally, Officer Bell along with members of the Overt Special Operations team apprehended four suspects hunting directly over baited areas. The suspects were hunting over corn and harvested over double the legal limit of ducks. Due to the extensive surveillance work by all Officers involved, the suspects fully cooperated with confessions about their illegal activities. Charges are pending in federal court. For more information contact Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6580.

Region 2 - Southside

Tracking Skills Lead To Repeat Trespasser's Arrest. While on hunting patrol in Bedford County on January 5, Officer Dwayne Sprinkle observed an individual in full camouflage standing on the side of a ridge on posted property. He was standing on property that Officer Sprinkle had been working for the past two years after obtaining tips about trespassing. The subject fled the area in an attempt to elude the officer. After being unable to locate the subject, Officer Sprinkle found and staked out the suspect's vehicle. After approximately 20 minutes, the same man approached the vehicle, breathing heavily. The suspect stated he was not hunting and was just checking the fences for his uncle. Officer Sprinkle identified the individual as the same person he had received information on a couple years ago. Using his tracking skills taught to VDGIF Conservation Officers, Sprinkle back-tracked the individual approximately 1/4 mile to a small clearing where he located a small camo utility pouch and a .50 caliber muzzleloader hidden in a pine tree six feet off the ground. A search of the backpack revealed the suspect's licenses and identification. A subsequent interview determined the suspect was hunting and had been trespassing. It was also learned that several years prior, this same suspect had attempted to elude Captain Ron Henry and Major Steve Pike during an attempted fishing arrest in Bedford County. During a violent altercation, the suspect had resisted arrest and wound up in the middle of the James River still struggling to escape Captain Henry. The suspect made reference to his past encounter with Pike and Henry and offered no physical resistance this time. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Alert Officer Helps Sheriff Nab Motorcycle Speeder. On the afternoon of December 11, Senior Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings assisted the Wythe County Sheriff's Office in apprehending a subject that had attempted to elude patrol units on a motorcycle. The suspect had led patrol units on a 10 mile chase from I-77 to the Max Meadows section of Wythe County. The suspect and his female passenger had abandoned their motorcycle at the end of Mabetown Road and were attempting to flee the area on foot. Sheriff's Deputies located the suspects at a nearby house and a foot pursuit ensued. The female passenger was apprehended and the male escaped into a heavily wooded area. Senior Conservation Police Officer Billings and several state and local police agencies surrounded the wooded area where the suspect was last observed and started a search. Senior Conservation Police Officer Billings was searching when he observed what appeared to be blue jean material inside a thick conglomeration of briars and brush. Officer Billings ordered the suspect out of the briars and took him into custody without any further incident.

The suspect was charged by Wythe County Deputies for attempting to elude police, fail to stop at a stop sign, reckless driving by speed, improper registration, no motorcycle license, expired state inspection, and defective equipment. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain and Valley

Hunter Arrested For No License And No Blaze Orange. Recently, while on an uneventful mid-morning patrol in Frederick County, Officer Carl Martin happened upon a recently killed deer lying in the middle of the road. Officer Martin immediately observed two hunters in the process of tracking the deer. Upon exiting his vehicle, a third person was observed running towards a vehicle that was parked in the woods. This individual was not wearing blaze orange and did not possess a firearm at the time. Upon interviewing this subject, Officer Martin discovered this was the individual that had killed the deer. This subject was also found to be hunting without the appropriate licenses. Further questioning revealed the deer had been killed around 7:00 a.m., and the hunter had decided to continue deer hunting that morning. Appropriate charges were placed. For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Officers and High Tech Equipment Aid in Search for Plane Crash. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) notified the VA Emergency Operations Center at approximately 9:00 p.m. December 9, that a small aircraft was overdue at Warrenton Airport in Fauquier County. The Civil Air Patrol, VA State Police and Fauquier County Sheriff's Office and VA Conservation Police Offices assisted in search operations. At the request of the incident commander; 10 officers, 14 GPS units, 4 ATVs, and one 4 wheel drive FLIRS (Forward-Looking Infrared System) equipped vehicle were provided by VDGIF. Captain Joe Pajic; Master Officer Randy Grauer; Senior Officers Joe Dedrick, Lenny Anderson, Steve Ferguson; Conservation Police Officers Rich Landers, Isaac Boulanger, Ryan Shuler, Beth Garrett and Matt Miller responded to the incident. When the aircraft was located by the Civil Air Patrol at approximately 5:00 a.m. the following morning, the pilot was deceased. For more information contact Lt. John J. Cobb at (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 Virginia's sportsmen!

Fishin' Report

Anglers throughout 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 Report.

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 Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web site.

Reporter's Notes...

To some people, anglers seem to hurt the environment. It's easy to see why - an angler comes to a lake or river, takes out some fish, leaves some cans and plastic and the place is poorer than when he found it.

It's unfortunate that these folks only see the bad angler. They don't see the anglers who practice catch and release. They don't see a local angling group voluntarily clearing up around a local pond. They don't see anglers pushing for new laws that would protect the environment. They don't see the state chapters of national organizations like Trout Unlimited and BASS Federation clubs who sponsor fishing workshops for kids and families.

You can change that! Look into local angling clubs that help the environment and join. Let the folks at work know if there is any pro-environment legislation going on. Practice catch and release. There is much a good angler can do. And, remember, that for many, you are the first sportsman they have really known. That makes you an ambassador for angling. Be a good steward of our natural resources.

- Sarah White

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp Reservoir: Tom Runnel reports that things are slow at Beaverdam, as the cold is keeping angers away. However one angler landed a fine citation yellow perch at 1 lb, 2 oz and 13 inches long. The water is getting cold and is very clear.

Chickahominy Lake: Kerry Vallerd of Ed Allen's Boats and Bait tells us that there have been more duck hunters than anglers in the area. The crappie fishing has been "so-so." Guide Art Conway says "that's why the sport is called fishing not catching."

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown of River's Rest motel and marina says that fishing is very, very slow with only a few fish coming in. The water is below 50 degrees and clear.

Little Creek Reservoir: Due to low water the second peninsula and ramp have been closed. The first peninsula, playground and trail are open.

West Neck Marina: Dewy Mullins says things are mostly frozen in, but this should not last more than a day or so. Lately some good stripers as large as 30 inches have been brought in. The crappie are looking good too. For stripers Dewy recommends his own homemade bait, or minnows. For crappie, nightcrawlers and spoons have worked well. The water is clear and 46 degrees.

Region 2 - Southside

James River at Lynchburg: Doug Lane of Anglers Lane tells us that things are very slow. There are some smallmouth bass in the mountains for those with patience. Some muskies are showing up above Lynchburg and are responding to long streamers. Mountain trout are hitting nymph trout and Olive Hare's Ear. Water is clearing and cold.

Kerr Reservoir: Karen at Bob Cat's Lake Country Store says that while some are going for stripers the water is just too cold for fishing to be productive. The water is very cloudy and cold.

Leesville Reservoir: Tri County Marina is closed for the winter and will open on April 15, 2008.

Philpott Lake: Sean Purdue of Franklin Outdoors reports that things are going rather well. Crappie are hitting minnows. Jigging for bass in deep water may prove successful. Walleye will probably pick up next month. The water is clear and cold.

Philpott Annual 2007 Fishing Report by Bill Coe

2007 turned out to be an outstanding year for fishing at Philpott Lake. Spring fishing was exceptional with tournament fisherman catching double the normal weights and weekend fisherman doing the same. During the spawn nature seemed to step in and insure a better than normal spawn. During April and May the fish were on their spawning beds. The temperatures during the weekend tournaments turned unusually cold which caused the fish to back off and therefore, they were not being caught and released at the dock. After the weekends the weather would turn warm again and the fish would go back on the bed. Needless to say we had an exceptional spawn. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter were all trophy months at Philpott and fishing was excellent. Overall in 2007, Philpott Lake again proved itself as an excellent fishery with plenty of bait fish and great game fishing.

January 2008: We are now in the middle of winter and excellent catches are being made by those who brave the elements or take advantage of the warm days we've had. Water temperature is in the upper 40s.

Largemouth Bass: Can be found all around main lake areas suspended in 20-25 feet of water. Best baits this time of year are silver spoons, jigs and slow rolling spinner baits.

Smallmouth Bass: The smallmouth are suspended a little deeper than largemouth and can be found in about 30 feet of water adjacent to rocky banks. Best baits are the same as for largemouth - silver spoons, slow rolling spinner baits, jigs, etc. Philpott smallmouth also seems to bite somewhat better with a 10 MPH wind or so on the surface.

Bream (small species of the Sunfish family): Almost impossible to catch during this time of the year because they are so deep and seldom feed in the colder water.

Crappie: Catches of crappie are being made and the best baits are small minnows, small jigs and small spinner baits. One does need to know the location of underwater structure or have electronics on board to find such. Once you find 'em have a blast.

Carp: I have an underwater camera and do often see carp swimming at about 30 feet, but very seldom see them feeding in water temperatures below 55 degrees which we now are encountering.

Walleye: Some excellent catches are being made by slow trolling with bottom bouncers, live nightcrawlers, jigs and crankbaits designed for walleye. Main lake area coves seem to be the best location and at a depth of around 30-40 feet.

Philpott is a wonderful lake to fish and the winter beauty is as scenic as the summer since one can see numerous wildlife and be one on one with nature. To make your trip even more fun take a kid with you and allow them to enjoy that wonderful journey and the fun associated with fishing at Philpott. My Grandson and I were out on Philpott on New Year's Eve and the picture reflects his catch and what you too can catch at Philpott. You owe it to yourself and the kids to fish this super lake.

Thanks to Bill Coe, a life-long, well respected, knowledgeable fisherman on Philpott Lake for this report and photo.

Smith Mountain Lake: Fishing continues to be very good for most species even though the water temperature has dropped below the 50 degree mark and the fish are a little less aggressive. Striper fishing continues to be mixed but several anglers report catching nice fish almost every time they go out. Crappie fishing continues to be very good. Numerous anglers reported catching huge numbers of fish weighing from to 1 lb. Minnows continue to be the bait of choice. Fishermen are also finding that yellow perch are biting well. These wonderful little fish have very firm flesh and offer a great tasting addition to anyone's winter table. Bass continue to be good for anglers that find fish suspended where they can use jigging spoons like the Hopkins, crippled herring and the kastmaster. Water is cold and clear.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Waytt Blevins at Rock House Marina tells us that local anglers have been unlucky. The fish are going deeper due to the cold weather. The water is stained and very cold.

Flannagan Marina: The marina is closed for the season and will open again on April first.

Flannigan Reservoir: The folks at Prime Time Sports report that smallmouth bass are responding to jigs and spoons. The very clear water is in the upper 40s.

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's told me that stripers are responding well on both cut and live bait. The river, in general, is "more fishable." The water is cold and clear.

North Fork Holston: Jamie Lamie of the Sportsman's Den says smallmouth bass are responding to jigs and tubes that are mostly colored and trolled on the bottom. The tinted water is very cold.

Region 4 - Mountain & Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews at the Bait Place reports that bass fishing is doing fairly well using live bait. Yellow perch are responding for anglers braving the weather. The lake is up 10 feet, but still down 13 feet from its ideal level. Water is clear and cold.

North Fork Shenandoah: Harry Murray of Murray's Fly Shop lets us know that the smallmouth bass rivers are too cold for good fishing. Trout in delayed harvest streams in the Shenandoah Valley is good with little olive mayflies and dry midges. Larger stocked streams in the valley are good with nymphs and streamers for rainbows. The water is very cold and very clear.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

James River: Mike Ostrander says that blue cats are hitting very well. George Atkinson got five blues on one trip and his friend, Fred Cousins, landed what may be a IGFA record at 64 lbs on a 4 lb test line.

Winter is upon us with mostly cold nights and pretty chilly days and many of our favorite fish are just not cooperating. But the yellow perch has only headed for deeper more open water and is a good bet for the hardy angler that doesn't mind the weather. Here's what noted biologist and author Robert E. Jenkins had to say about this little fish.

"Fun and easy to catch and a joy to eat, the yellow perch is a basic panfish. It is many a youngster's "first fish". Locations of good populations of large fish often are guarded secrets for the fillet is as valued as that of its walleye kin".

Got Tips?
Got Tricks?
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The one that got away?
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In Case You Missed It...

Editor's note: 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..."

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 link to subscribe. New editions are sent directly to your email address the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Stay informed on issues and opportunities about Virginia's outdoors!

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:

  • Striper Record Shattered!
  • General Assembly Updates
  • Hunting with Hounds Study Update
Horned Grebe. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

Horned Grebe
(Colymbus auritus)
by Spike Knuth

The horned grebe is a water bird that winters in Virginia and are seen from October to April on lakes, ponds, and tidal rivers. It is a duck-like bird that holds its head high and is always on the alert. Grebes can dive quickly and swim underwater, surfacing many yards away. They are also capable of sinking out of sight by taking in or expelling air, swelling or shrinking their size, to alter their displacement.

Horned grebes change their looks in fall and winter, to basically grayish-black above, white below with the blackish crown, sometimes with a crested look, and white cheeks and neck, and white spots in front of the eyes. Only if you happen to see a very late spring migrant do you even see a hint of its breeding plumage. It then sports blackish-olive ruffs or cheeks with horn-like crests of yellow ochre on either side of the top of its head, from which it gets its name.

The straight, slender bill quickly distinguishes it from its more common cousin the pied-billed grebe. The feet of grebes are set far back on their body which gives them great diving and swimming abilities, but makes walking or taking off from land difficult for them. Their toes have scalloped or lobed flaps that fold back on a forward swimming stroke, but become rigid on a power stroke.

Grebes favor small fish, but feed on all types of aquatic animals - tadpoles, shrimp, leeches, insects, etc. - as well as some aquatic vegetation. Grebes must run over the water to become airborne. In flight, horned grebes fly with quick wing beats, showing white wing speculums. Their flight is straight and direct with head held below body level and feet hanging out behind.

The horned grebes nest in the prairie marshes of the North America, often in small colonies on larger bodies of water, building a floating nest constructed of a muddy mass of vegetation anchored to emergent vegetation. Horned grebes migrate south beginning in September, moving along inland freshwater rivers and lakes. Staying there until the freeze comes, they then move toward the coast by November and December. Here they spend a great deal of time on saltwater, seeking out sheltered bays, flats at high tide, sounds and large tidal rivers, brackish ponds adjacent to saltwater and offshore beyond the heavy surf.


This section of each issue of the Outdoor Report features one of the 925 animals that have been identified in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan whose existence is at risk.

Think you can't make a difference? You can! Be wild and work with your local officials and in your local communities to conserve Virginia's wildlife resources. Find out how you can help and join our team!

The artwork used to enhance this publication is produced by award-winning Virginia artist Carl "Spike" Knuth. He is currently retired from VDGIF and continues to be active in numerous activities contributing to wildlife conservation, information and education through his artwork and writing. We appreciate his continued service and support through his exceptional talent for both illustrations and writing. Spike's artwork can be seen at the Jager Gallery, 6939 Lakeside Avenue, in Richmond.

January 2008
9 Virginia General Assembly convenes for 60 day session, Richmond
20-21 Women's Waterfowl Hunting Workshop, Fredericksburg. Contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or by e-mail.
25-26 Fishing Expo, Richmond Raceway Complex
February 2008
2 Educational Pheasant Hunting Workshop for Women, Remington. Contact Jimmy Mootz or Todd McCullough at (804) 367-0656.
8-10 Third Annual Fredericksburg Outdoor Show. Sponsored by Woods & Waters Magazine.
15-April 30 Virginia 4:00 PM Burning Law in effect, burning outdoor burning before 4 PM
15-17 21st Annual Western Virginia Sports Show, Waynesboro.
16 6th Annual Woods & Wildlife Conference, Charlottesville
22-25 National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sports Show, Atlanta, GA (visit the many Virginia-based vendors)
22-24 VA Outdoor Sportsmen's Classic, Roanoke Civic Center
March 2008
1 Basic Fly Fishing Workshop, Chesapeake. Contact Bill Campbell at (757) 635-6522 or
19 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting, Charlottesville. Contact David Coffman.
We have opportunities for the public to join us as volunteers in our Complementary Work Force Program. If you are interested in devoting your time and talents, apply here.

Opportunities will be posted regularly providing descriptions of available volunteer positions.

The Department offers numerous hunting, fishing, and outdoor education programs designed for families, women, beginners and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Visit Find Game, the Department's award-winning online public hunting lands locator!

For persons with disabilities: a calendar of hunting, fishing, and skill-building events, as well as areas designed for access to persons with disabilities can be found on the Department's online events calendar, accessible fishing areas page, as well as the VANWTF site.

Find out where to fish, fishing access, and much more at the Department's Web site.


The following is a partial list of upcoming seasons starting in September and October for the more popular species. For a complete list and regulations consult the 2007-08 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information.

Beginning in September 2007
Crow: through March 15 Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday only.
Coyote, groundhog, and skunk: Sept. 1 to Mar. 10 on public land, continuous open season on private land.
Squirrel: Sept. 1 - Jan. 31
Beginning in October 2007
Snipe: Oct. 22 - Jan. 31
Opossum: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Raccoon: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Grouse: Oct. 27 - Feb. 9 West of Interstate 95 only.
Beginning in November 2007
Bobcat: Nov. 1 - Feb. 29
Fox: Nov. 1 - Feb. 29 certain counties, see regulations
Rabbit: Nov. 3 - Feb. 29 (new regulation enacted by Board of Game & Inland Fisheries)
Quail & Pheasant: Nov. 10 - Jan. 31
Deer: Jan. 7 - Feb. 2, 2008 in the (counties including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William.
Please contribute to Hunters for the Hungry through the $2 check-off when purchasing a license, or at any time through our online Outdoor Catalog.
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email

FOR AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, contact the local conservation police officer immediately through the local sheriff's office or police department.

Don't allow the actions of a few to tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen and sportswomen!

  • If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, visit the Department's Web site, call 1-800-710-9369, or mail a check payable to "Treasurer of Virginia" and send it to Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230-1104. A one-year subscription or 12 issues is only $12.95. Let Virginia Wildlife magazine be your guide to the best in hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife information.

Editor: David Coffman

Web Production: David Murr

Contributing Editors:
Julia Dixon, Carol Kushlak, Ron Messina, Lee Walker

Special Feature Contributors:
Rick Busch, Carol Heiser, Fred Leckie, Spike Knuth, Steve Pike, Vance Shearin, Jeff Trollinger, Sarah White

Wildlife Diversity and Information & Education Division Director: David Whitehurst

The electronic Outdoor Report is sent free via e-mail to more than 14,000 subscribers the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.


The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall afford to all persons an equal access to Department Programs and facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex or age. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility, please write to: The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 West Broad Street, P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230-1104.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230
(804) 367-1000 -