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
Rabbit Season Extended Two Weeks Through
Rabbit hunters are reminded that there is more
opportunity to hunt cottontails this year. We are
hearing from a lot of rabbit hunters who are unaware
that the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries extended
the rabbit season an additional two weeks to the
last day of February 2008. This change was made at
the October 2007 Board meeting after the 2007-08
Hunting Regulation booklets had already been
printed, so we are putting out these reminders. This
is a great opportunity to take a young hunter out to
enjoy a day afield with a good dog and fellow
sportsmen. Note the details below on two youth
rabbit hunting workshops on February 2 in Culpeper
and February 16 in Albemarle.
Clean Your Muzzleloader - Now!
With the growing popularity of hunting with a
muzzleloader and the advances with the new in-line
models, there are a lot of you out there new to
shooting black powder. I am one of them. Fortunately
with the mentoring of a good hunting buddy, who has
been shooting black powder for many years, I had a
great "first season" shooting my new smokepole.
Norman McLaughlin from Augusta County, has been a
volunteer with VDGIF and active in several
sportsmen's organizations. I have learned a lot from
Norman's experience while turkey hunting, target
shooting and from his companionship during our
hunting trips. To get me started right with my new
gun, first we spent several sessions shooting the
gun to "season" it, orient me to the differences
from the more familiar rim-fire rifle shooting and
sighting it in. Also practice, practice, and more
practice target shooting in field conditions and
learning the re-loading sequence all paid off when
the early November opening came. I harvested three
nice deer this season with the reliable new
muzzleloader, proud and appreciative that my
preparation and guidance by an experienced friend
made the numerous hunting trips most enjoyable. Once
a shooting session or the hunting season was over,
Norman was most insistent about one thing - clean
your muzzleloader thoroughly!
Regardless of what type of propellant you use,
without proper cleaning, corrosion and rust will
quickly pit the barrel, jam the firing mechanism, or
foul the nipple shut. Even black powder substitutes
like Pyrodex and Triple 7 can foul up your gun.
After cleaning thoroughly following the owner's
manual directions, and tips from an experienced
shooter like Norman, store your gun muzzle-down,
particularly if you've used petroleum-based gun oil.
This prevents the lubricant from gravitating down to
those parts that could jam up. Clean and store your
muzzleloader properly and it will remain reliable
for you next season and for many seasons to come.
Put off cleaning or cut corners and you may end up
with a firearm that doesn't fire at all.
OK, full confession, I didn't completely listen
to Norman's advice. After our last sighting-in
session a week before the Muzzleloading Opening Day,
I thoroughly cleaned and oiled my muzzleloader and
set it in the gun case stock down… opening day, 7:00
a.m., a 4-pointer stepped out in the open field 70 yards from
my tree stand - a classic shot. As I squeezed the
trigger in eager anticipation of my first deer with
my muzzleloader, the next sound was the ‘pop' of the
cap going off - no fire! The cleaning oil had settled
during storage and blocked the firing port. Also I
had not shot off a "cleaning cap" before loading and
heading out for the tree stand as Norman had
advised. Learned my lesson! Beginners luck was with
me though. Being early in the season, the curious buck
wasn't spooked by the cap "pop." Norman had also
advised to keep an extra cap handy in case of a
misfire- this tip I had heeded and quickly put in
another cap and fired... thanks Norman for all the
good advice! I got to "notch my tag" for my first
buck with my new muzzleloader. This was the
beginning of a great hunting season with many good
days afield with family and friends. After all
that's what it's all about!
- David Coffman, Editor
Hunting License Sales Increase Nationally in
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has noted
in the latest National Hunting License Report
released from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
that there was a slight increase in the number of
paid hunting license holders, from 14.57 million in
2005 to 14.62 million in 2006. Encouragingly, seven
states that passed youth and apprentice friendly
hunting laws between 2004 and 2006 saw increases -
Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan,
Tennessee and Utah. The report also shows a 4.1
percent increase in gross dollars reported for the
purchase of hunting licenses, tags, permits and
stamps, from $723.71 million in 2005 to $753.57
million in 2006.
The VDGIF has implemented several youth friendly
changes in hunting regulations the past several
years including: special youth early opening for
spring gobbler season, youth may harvest doe as
first deer any time during season, non-resident
youth license only $12-$15, increased doe tags,
Saturday openings for most hunting seasons and more
managed hunts and skill workshops, many done in
cooperation with other sportsmen's conservation
organization partners at the local level. VDGIF is
exploring mentoring and apprentice programs for
possible implementation based on the success
experienced in other states.
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
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
staff will be on hand in the Commonwealth Building
to answer questions on agency programs, special
training events and opportunities to enjoy
Virginia's great outdoors. You can purchase your
2008 Fishing License at the show as well as the new
2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, loaded with fishing
related information. The Outdoor Report will also
have an exhibit in the Exhibition Hall featuring Fishin' Report Contributing Editor, Sarah White
answering your questions on where to get the latest
"how are they bitin'" info on more that 25 primary
lakes and rivers statewide. Volunteers from the new
VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be on hand
describing opportunities for volunteers to assist in
carrying out a variety of agency programs. For
information visit the Show Web site:
Four February Sportsmen's Shows Offer
Something for Everyone
The four regional outdoor sportsman's shows
scheduled for February feature seminars, exhibits,
demonstrations and contests promising fun and
exciting new activities for everyone in the family.
Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest
in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy
Virginia's great outdoors. All the shows feature
activities for kids to spark their interest in
outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized
equipment and partnership programs offered by
sportsmen's organizations. VDGIF staff will be on
hand to provide information on hunting and fishing
opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and
wildlife resources. Each show offers something
different, so check each show's Web site for all the
Hound Hunting Study Focus Groups Identify
Issues and Concerns
Editors note: In the January 9, 2008
edition of the Outdoor Report, we inaccurately
reported that the December Focus Group Meeting
Summary Reports were posted on the VDGIF Web site.
The reports were still being drafted and were not
ready by posting time and we apologize for this
error. The reports from the Focus Groups are being
prepared by scientists at Virginia Tech and are
scheduled to be posted on the VDGIF Web site when
completed. Also there were 16, not six, focus
The sixteen planned focus group meetings for the
Hound Hunting Study were completed as scheduled.
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
For background and detailed information, or to
receive email updates on the study,
visit the Department's Web site.
Walleye and Tidal River Bass Fishing Forecasts
"Great in 2008"
Getting anxious to go fishing? Ready to try out
that new fishing gear? Well, fishing for a number of
freshwater species will be picking up soon and we
can all look forward to fishing being "Great in
2008." To help you get started, VDGIF fisheries
biologists have just completed two major forecast
reports. The 2008 Walleye Fishing Forecast, prepared
by VDGIF regional fisheries biologist for Southwest
Virginia, Tom Hampton and the 2008 Tidal River
Largemouth Bass Outlook, completed by VDGIF regional
fisheries biologist for Tidewater, Bob Greenlee are
available on the VDGIF Web site. These forecasts are
a "must see" for anyone in pursuit of walleye or
tidal river largemouth bass. These comprehensive
reports will help you decide where, when, and how to
pursue these popular fish species. Look for the
smallmouth bass river forecast in the next edition.
Walleye Forecast or
Bass Outlook (PDF).
Walleye Tagging Study Slated for 2008
The VDGIF will be tagging walleyes at several
locations across the Commonwealth this spring to
learn more about angler catch rates and harvest.
Tagging is planned for Lake Whitehurst, Leesville
Lake, Hungry Mother Lake, South Holston Reservoir,
Lake Brittle and the New River.
Anglers who catch a tagged fish and return the
tag will receive a cash reward. The tag will be
located near the fish's dorsal fin. Anglers can
remove the tag by cutting through the plastic
attachment with scissors or a knife. The fish can
then be released or harvested (minimum length limits
apply at South Holston Reservoir and the New River).
Successful anglers can return the tag and catch
information to the address printed on the tag.
Important catch data include the contact information
of the angler and the answers to a few simple
questions. What were the date, time and general
location of the catch? Was the fish harvested or
released? Were you fishing for walleyes? Finally,
did you catch other walleyes? VDGIF regional
fisheries biologist for Southwest Virginia, Tom
Hampton, noted, "The information gathered from
successful anglers will help VDGIF biologists make
important decisions about managing walleye
fisheries. This tagging study is part of the ongoing
efforts to improve walleye fishing opportunities in
Educational Rabbit Hunting Workshops for Youth
February 2 & 16
Are you interested in learning how to rabbit
hunt? VDGIF is conducting two Rabbit Hunting
Workshops for youth on February 2 and 16, 2008. The
first event is scheduled for Saturday, February 2,
2008, in Culpeper and is open to youth 10-16 years
of age. VDGIF and Cedar Mountain Youth, Inc. are
sponsoring this educational workshop which features
information on rabbit hunting techniques, habitat,
and rabbit biology. Participants will have the
opportunity to participate in a rabbit hunt on
February 9, 2008. Youths 10-16 will need to be
accompanied by a responsible adult and have
successfully completed a Basic Hunter Education
Course. Participants 12 and above will need to have
a current Virginia hunting license. For more
information and registration contact John W. Dodson
at (540) 543-2070.
A second workshop is scheduled on Saturday,
February 16, 2008 at Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle
County. The workshop program includes educational
sessions on firearm safety, biology, habitat, and an
opportunity to hunt rabbits. This educational
workshop is great for new, novice or inexperienced
hunters who are under 18 years of age. Participants
must have completed the Basic Hunter Education
Course and meet licensing requirements. This
workshop is hosted by the Wildlife Foundation of
Virginia. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz
at (804) 367-0656 or
Annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest
Open to Virginia Students
Students across the United States have the
opportunity to win recognition and prizes while
learning about state-fish species, aquatic habitats,
and conservation. The State-Fish Art Contest uses
art to catch the imagination of youth while teaching
fisheries conservation. Entries must be postmarked
by March 31, 2008. Winners will be announced May 1,
2008. The 10th Annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish
Art Contest is open to all students in grades 4
through 12. To enter, young artists nationwide must
create an illustration of their chosen state-fish. A
written composition on its behavior, habitat, and
conservation is also required.
Winning contestants from each state are honored
in three grade categories, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. All
contest winners will receive a gift certificate for
art supplies, fishing tackle and many other great
prizes. Two talented artists in grades 10-12 will be
selected as the national "Best of Show" winner and
runner-up and will receive a portion of tuition
scholarships totaling $3,500 to attend The Art
Institutes International Minnesota. Winning designs
will also be featured on the official State-Fish Art
Educators and Parents:
State-Fish Art Web site for complete details and
to download the free lesson plan.
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia
Prolonged exposure to low temperatures, wind or
moisture - whether it be on a ski slope or in a
stranded car - can result in cold-related illnesses
such as frostbite and hypothermia. The National
Safety Council offers this information to help you
spot and put a halt to these winter hazards.
Frostbite is the most common injury
resulting from exposure to severe cold. Superficial
frostbite is characterized by white, waxy or
grayish-yellow patches on the affected areas. The
skin feels cold and numb. The skin surface feels
stiff but underlying tissue feels soft and pliable
when depressed. Treat superficial frostbite by
taking the victim inside immediately. Remove any
constrictive clothing items that could impair
circulation. If you notice signs of frostbite,
immediately seek medical attention. Re-warming
usually takes 20 to 40 minutes or until tissues
Hypothermia occurs when the body's
temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Symptoms of this condition include change in mental
status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a
low core body temperature. Severe hypothermia may
produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin,
irregular heart and respiratory rates, and
Treat hypothermia by protecting the victim from
further heat loss and calling for immediate medical
attention. Get the victim out of the cold. Add
insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or
newspapers beneath and around the victim. Be sure to
cover the victim's head. Replace wet clothing with
dry clothing. Handle the victim gently because rough
handling can cause cardiac arrest. Keep the victim
in a horizontal (flat) position. Give artificial
respiration or CPR (if you are trained) as
How to prevent cold-related illnesses
Avoid frostbite and hypothermia when you are
exposed to cold temperatures by wearing layered
clothing, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking
warm, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free liquids to
maintain fluid levels. Avoid becoming wet, as wet
clothing loses 90 percent of its insulating value.
Permission to reprint granted by the National
Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated
to protecting life and promoting health. Learn more
National Safety Council.
Habitat Improvement Tips
Web Sites Provide Winter Bird Feeding Tips
VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator, Carol
Heiser, reminds us that brisk temperatures and heavy
snow can pose challenges to local birds that winter
in your area. She notes that information is
available from the National Environmental Education
Foundation (NEEF) with tips on helping local birds
survive the cold. Teachers are encouraged to have
their students hang bird feeders outside their
classroom windows and monitor the number and species
of birds that visit.
Bird Watchers' Digest has a great Web resource
for the types of feed to use. This is valuable
information for your home or office location. In
addition, NEEF has added a new section on birds to
Curricula Library that teachers can use to
supplement their classroom activities. The VDGIF Web
site also has
information on feeding birds
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 - Tidewater
Lawful Hunters Harassed by Anti-Hunter's
Unlawful Antics... On October 6, 2007 while
hunting, two waterfowl hunters were confronted by an
irate adjacent landowner in James City County.
Whenever ducks flew over the hunting location, the
landowner would make noise and wave a kayak paddle
in the air or slap it on the water. As a result of a
complaint from the hunters, Officer Krista Myers got
the details of the incident and obtained a warrant
for the charge of "impeding a lawful hunt." A
combination of case preparation by Officer Myers,
rational testimony by the hunters and supportive
prosecution by the Commonwealth Attorney lead to the
conviction of the landowner on January 8, 2008, in
General District Court. For more information contact
Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6580.
Region 2 - Southside
Bear Poacher Caught in Deception...
Conservation Police Officer Richard Howald received
information that a hunter had illegally taken a
black bear on January 5, 2008, the last day of the
firearms deer season in Appomattox County. Since the
bear season was closed in Appomattox County at the
time of the harvest, the offending hunter took the
bear to Amherst County and unlawfully checked it in
there since the bear season was open in Amherst
County on January 5. After traveling to the
Appomattox farm where the bear was killed and
developing a suspect, Officer Howald met and
interviewed a Campbell County resident about the
illegal kill. Officer Howald obtained a confession
and subsequently seized the bear hide from the
suspect's brother. Multiple charges are pending in
Appomattox County. For more information contact Lt.
Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.
Region 3 - Southwest
Tip Leads to Multiple Convictions of
"Repeat-Offender" Felon... Senior
Conservation Officer Jeff Pease recently concluded a
case that began in December of 2006 with a citizen
complaint of numerous shots being fired on the last
day of hunting season. The caller also found several
fresh deer carcasses on his posted property in Wythe
County. Officer Pease spent several weeks
investigating the complaint and ultimately
developing a suspect. The suspect, a Wythe County
man was also a convicted felon. Further
investigation revealed that the man had checked in
two deer at a local check station on the day of the
initial complaint. The check cards indicated that
the deer had been killed with a shotgun. A search
warrant was executed and a large quantity of
marijuana was located in the residence, along with a
handgun and ammunition. The suspect was recently
convicted in Wythe County Circuit Court of Wanton
Waste, Exceeding the Bag Limit of Deer, Littering,
Trespassing on Posted Property and Attempting to
Possess a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. He received
a suspended 5 year prison sentence and over $3,400
in fines and costs. For more information contact Lt.
Rex Hill (276) 783-4860.
Region 4 - Mountain & Valley
Officer "First Responder" for Heart Attack
Victim... On January 3, 2008, Officer Billy
Angle was ready to end his shift when he heard an
EMS call on his Alleghany County radio involving a
male subject unresponsive on the floor of a local
residence. This residence was not far from Officer
Angle's home, so he responded to assist. Officer
Angle was the first responder on the scene. He took
his Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and first aid kit from his vehicle and
entered the victim's house. He immediately realized
that the patient was in cardiac arrest. Officer
Angle began to treat the victim and initiated CPR.
He then connected the subject to the AED and
delivered a total of three shocks to the victim in a
matter of a few minutes. A heartbeat was detected
after the third shock. Local rescue members arrived
and Officer Angle assisted in treatment on the
scene. Angle is a certified Emergency Medical
Technician (EMT) and assisted the
local rescue squad in transporting the victim to the
hospital as well. Unfortunately the subject lost all
signs of life again during transport to the hospital
and was unable to be revived and was pronounced deceased
by an emergency room physician.
VDGIF Conservation Police Officers carry
Automated External Defibrillator (AED) units in
their patrol vehicles. VDGIF purchased 103 of these
life saving units through a $133,000 grant in 2003
from the Office of Emergency Medical Services. The
grant dollars originated from the Health Resources
and Services Administration's Rural Access to
Emergency Devices Grant Program. The AEDs were
allocated to rural counties to enhance emergency
response efforts. VDGIF was a great fit for this
effort because of their statewide law enforcement
coverage, the ability to operate in remote areas,
and enhanced mobility. Conservation Police Officers
can go anywhere at anytime to assist with any
situation requiring AED usage in rural Virginia. For
more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540)
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Investigation of Shooting Into Dwelling
Leads to Convicted Felon... Officer Wayne
Weller and Sgt. Jim Croft were contacted by the
complainant to follow up in an investigation
involving a shooting into a dwelling in Henrico
County that had originally been investigated by the
county police. It was felt that the bullet may have
come from a hunter shooting in the area. The
complainant's house had a single .50 caliber round
enter the rear wall of the house where it passed
over a child's highchair and crossed the room and
struck the refrigerator. Both Officers canvassed the
area checking hunters who provided information as to
the area and possible locations that are hunted and
locations where shots had been heard. During a
lengthy investigation by Officer's Weller, Thomas
Mecadon and Sgt. Croft, a suspect was developed who
had reportedly been hunting illegally on property
near the residence. The investigation yielded that
one party was a convicted felon/sex offender who
hunted the area to the rear of the house on several
occasions. In addition, the subject had taken two
deer in different counties during muzzleloader
season and did not check in any of the game. Sgt.
Croft obtained a search warrant for the felon's
residence and located the muzzleloader and venison
and obtained a written confession regarding the
purchase, possession and hunting with the firearm.
Officer Weller obtained warrants for two counts of
Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon and
Summonses for failing to check game in both Hanover
and Henrico Counties. Additional charges may be
forthcoming. The suspect's muzzle loader and bullet
recovered from the complainant's house were
submitted to the crime lab for analysis. 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
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.
information on the lakes and rivers listed below?
Rivers pages on the Department's Web site!
For regulations and
conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the
Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web site.
Come see me and other VDGIF fishing experts at
the Richmond Fishing Expo this weekend January
25-27... yes, three days and three buildings at the
Raceway Complex full of fishing fun! I will be there
all three days in the Outdoor Report booth #58 in
the main Exhibition Hall and look forward to talking
to all of you. Can't wait to see you and hear your
fishing tales and get "tips" from you on how to
improve the Fishin' Report! If you have any fishing
buddies that don't subscribe to this Report, they
can sign-up right there at the show!
Cold weather fishing has its positive and
negative sides. For example; no pleasure boaters rip
roaring around distracting fish and getting on your
nerves. On the other hand, there are no pleasure
boaters to help pull you out should you fall in.
The best way to enjoy winter fishing is to plan
thoroughly. Leave a return time with a spouse or
friend- if you have not contacted them by the time,
they should call the local authorities. Check your
boat and make sure there is nothing that would
prevent it from performing well in cold water. Dress
in warm clothing, and remember that wool or
synthetics are much better insulators when wet than
cotton. Also remember that clothes insulate best in
layers. Most important is to always wear a Coast
Guard approved life jacket (PFD). Finally, bring a
hot beverage and high calorie food.
As for the fish themselves, a good attractant can
help sluggish fish get excited about your lure. Line
conditioners such as Reel Magic, will de-ice lines.
When you are done fishing, carefully care for your
boat, making sure it is clean and dry.
If you keep all these things in mind, you should
have a fine winter angling season. For more winter
fishing and safe boating tips,
Boat US Web site.
- Sarah White
Region 1 - Tidewater
Beaverdam Swamp Reservoir: Chuck Hyde reports
that anglers have been few on the lake due to the
weather. However, if you have experience on the
lake, you can do very well. For example, Dennis
Murray from Gloucester landed 10 bass on one trip.
To go for bass it is best to stay 10 – 15 feet down
jigging. Crankbaits are also good. The lake is near
full pool, clear and 43 degrees.
Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown of River's Rest
tells us that things have been very slow. Cats have
been cooperating, but the rest of their watery
brethren have not. The water is clear and 38
Little Creek Reservoir: The second peninsula and
boat ramp are closed for the winter, but the first
peninsula and trail are open from sunrise to sunset.
North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins
says that while things have been slow, if you will
come to West Neck Marina for one of their homemade
lures, you will stand a better chance. One angler
brought in 5 largemouth bass caught on suspended
jerk bait. The stripers are also starting to rise to
the bait, preferably shaky and spinner baits. The
crappie are not doing well. The water is clear and
Region 2 - Southside
James at Lynchburg: Tom Reisdorf of Angler's Lane
reports that the river is at a good level due to the
recent rain. This results in better trout fishing,
preferably sub surface fishing with nymphs. Not a
lot of bass are being landed, but those that are,
are big. The crappie are hitting near Buggs Island.
The water is clear and cold.
Kerr Reservoir: Bobby Whitlow of Bob Cat's Lake
Country Store told me that things are pretty good.
The stripers and largemouth bass are doing well.
Crappie are really hitting minnows used in trolling
and jigging. A customer brought in a 3.13 lb and a
2.87 lb crappie just this week. Barry Roher, another
customer, landed a 46 lb blue cat with cut bait. The
water is clear and 47 degrees.
Philpott Lake: Shawn Perdue of Franklin Outdoors
says that the cold weather has been keeping all but
die-hards away. Minnows, used deep, are bringing in
crappie. Walleye are playing hard to get. Lots of
large and smallmouth bass are going for jigs. The
water is cold and clear.
Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead of the Virginia
Outdoorsman tells us that crappie have been
cooperating, especially on small minnows. Cranks,
flukes and jigging spoons continue to attract good
bass, but cold weather should slow bass fishing.
Striper fishing is touch and go, with the fish
responding to belly-weighted hooks and jigheads. For
schooled stripers, use a jigging spoon. Cats are
going for cut bait. The water is clear and 46
degrrees. For more details try
Region 3 - Southwest
Claytor Lake: Mike Buchett of Rock House Marina
reports that things are very slow. Some stripers are
going for umbrella rigs trolled around 30 feet. The
water is clear and very cold, frozen in some shallow
Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's told me
that the river is cold but fishable. Stripers are
going for umbrella rigs and slowly trolled cut bait.
Muskie are attacking live bait. Spooning for cats
has met with some success. The water is clear and
around 43 degrees.
North Fork of the Holston: Jamie Lamie of the
Sportsman's Den says that smallmouth fishing is down
due to cold water, but some are still catchable,
especially on black and black & watermelon tubes,
and on black jigs. The key is fishing slowly on the
bottom. The stocked trout streams are still lucky
sites. The water is cold with a greenish tint.
New River, Claytor Lake and nearby waters: Victor
Billings of Sportsman's Supply tells us that the
local trout streams are good. The walleyes are
hitting green and white Mr. Twisters and live bait
on a slow troll. The stripers in Claytor are going
for crankbaits. The bass are very slow. The water is
clear and 46 degrees.
Region 4 - Mountain & Valley
Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews of the Bait Place
reports that the lake has not seen much action
lately. This being said, a lucky angler brought in a
24- inch trout. The lake should be at full pool
soon, and this is sure to improve fishing. Bass are
responding well to silver buddies. The water is 38
degrees and clear.
Shenandoah North Fork: Harry Murray let me know
that most of the small streams are too cold to fish.
The large streams in the Shenandoah are still good,
especially with nymphs and small streamers. The best
action is in deep pools and below springs entering
rivers. The delayed harvest trout streams are good
with midges and olive mayflies, when there are
patches of these insects above the water, if not, it
is better to use small nymphs and streamers. The
mountain streams are too cold to fish. The waters
are clear with the mountain streams at 35 degrees,
the delayed harvest streams at 38 – 40 degrees and
the larger streams at 38 – 40 degrees.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
James: Guide Mike Ostrander says that the cats
are doing well on cut shad. A recent client landed a
40 lb flathead. Mike told me they are coming in up
to 60lbs. The water is cold and stained.
Striper Record Shattered
Winter fishing is indeed slow, so here is an
While most of us were overdoing it at the holiday
feasts, others were out on the water, catching what
seems to most of us, to be catches that are
somewhere beyond fantasy and science fiction.
In Virginia, Jim Sheffield of Richmond pulled off
a feat that is not only noteworthy, it may be a
world record. Sheffield was fishing alone out of
Kiptopeke on the southern end of the Eastern Shore
in hopes of landing a striped bass in the 22 pound
range before the season closed on December 31.
So why that weight?
He was fishing with two-pound line, trying to set
a world record for a stripe taken on the ultra light
Sometimes, as they say, a plan comes together.
This time, Sheffield's plan came together in a
way he admits he never expected.
Sheffield didn't land a 22 pound striped bass, he
landed a monster that International Game Fish
Association officials say won't just break the
record, it will completely obliterate it.
After an hour long battle, the Virginia Angler's
Club member landed a striped bass that weighed 50
pounds, 9 ounces, more than double the current two
pound test world record.
Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA representative for the
Virginia Beach area, says Sheffield's catch wasn't
without its moments of doubt. In addition to being
down to nearly no line remaining on his reel,
Sheffield also wrapped the line around the trim tabs
and lower unit of his engine and had a drifting
Wal-Mart bag snarl up his drifting two-pound line.
Dr. Ball has begun the process of certification of
Sheffield's catch with the IGFA.
Courtesy of The Fishing Wire, January 4, 2008,
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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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..."
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