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, February 27, 2008

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Boating Safety Education Regulations Available for Public Comment
  • John Pound Recognized as VDGIF Wildlife Manager of the Year
  • Randy Hurst Named Conservation Officer of the Year
  • New Educational Video Features Reptiles and Amphibians
  • General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Rehabbers Group Hosting "Baby Shower" March 1 in Chesterfield
    • Bedford Outdoor Show Geared for Kids March 8
    • Waterfowler's Association Volunteers to Clean-up Waterways
    • Kayak Fishing Symposium in Virginia Beach March 15
    • JAKES Event in Augusta Provides Firearms Training for Young Hunters
    • 32nd Annual Youth Conservation Camp Sponsored by Soil and Water Districts
    • Beartree Lake to be Lowered for Maintenance
    • Wildlife Center Announces Spring Open-House Schedule
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Heed the 4 PM Burn Law to Prevent Wildfires
    • Boaters Should Plan Hurricane Strategy This Winter
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conservation Meetings for Landowners March 18 and 19
    • Your State Tax Refund Can Make a Difference
    • Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings
  • Hunters - Did You Remember To...
    • Rabbit Hunting Workshop Big Success for Young Hunters
    • Start Planning Now for Special Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt
  • Fishin' Report
    • March Madness is Trout Madness
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to Recent Articles of Ongoing Interest

Boating Safety Education Regulations Available for Public Comment

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries has proposed amendments to the Commonwealth's boating regulations, with a public comment period open through March 16, 2008. The proposal is to add a new Chapter 410 to the boating regulations to address the boating safety education compliance requirement established by § 29.1-735.2 of the Code of Virginia, as set forth in House Bill 1627/Senate Bill 1241 from the 2007 Session of the Virginia General Assembly.

According to the legislation, the Board will establish regulations by July 1, 2008 to implement a boating safety education program for all motorboat (with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater) and personal watercraft operators. It is important to note the proposed regulation for an optional Virginia boater education card is not a boat operator's license. This optional card offers boaters, having met the boating safety education compliance requirement, a plastic card that should be more durable and longer-lasting than the typical course completion certificate or wallet card.

In developing these regulations, the VDGIF has worked with the Virginia Safe Boating Alliance which includes many of the fishing and boating conservation and education organizations, private course providers, and the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety. VDGIF strongly encourages the public's participation in the regulation review process. Comments can be submitted online through the agency Web site or by email sent to RegComments@dgif.virginia.gov or by mail to Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn: Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230. The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries will take final action on the proposed amendments at its meeting on April 1, 2008 (9:00 a.m. at 4000 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA.). Public comment will also be heard at this time.

John Pound Recognized as VDGIF Wildlife Manager of the Year

John Pound received the Virginia Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (VANWTF) Wildlife Manager of the Year Award in recognition for more than 36 years of service in habitat management in the western Virginia highlands.

John's work as a biologist assistant with VDGIF involved creating and maintaining turkey habitat sites primarily in the Warm Springs District of the George Washington National Forest and the Gathright WMA. He has been active in the NWTF in Bath County having been a co-founder of the Bath/Highland County Chapter of NWTF - the "Mountain Strutters".

He is active in numerous Chapter activities and has been the top ticket salesman for many years in the NWTF gun raffles to raise funds for Superfund Projects for habitat improvement, research and JAKES events which get youth involved in hunting. John was involved in the VDGIF "Turkey Hen Survival Study" recognized nationally for its positive impact on setting manageable season limits. He trapped turkeys, did telemetry locations, mortality checks and brood locations.

Congratulations to John on recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the sportsmen and wildlife resources in the mountain regions.

Randy Hurst Named Conservation Officer of the Year

Senior Officer Randy Hurst was honored as the Conservation Officer of the Year by the Virginia Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (VANWTF) for his outstanding efforts in conserving America's wildlife. Randy was also recognized as the NWTF's Virginia Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year during the 32nd Annual NWTF Convention in Atlanta, Georgia February 23.

Col. Dabney Watts, Jr., Law Enforcement Division Director for VDGIF, noted that Hurst has been a wildlife officer for over 25 years. Watts also praised Hurst for his dedication to introducing Virginia's youth to wildlife including teaching hunter safety classes, making presentations to area schools using turkey calls in his presentations to all grade levels and helping organize NWTF JAKES events.

In addition, Hurst has been a member of the Highlands Chapter since 1989 serving on the banquet committee. He was instrumental in establishing a turkey hunting exposition and turkey calling contest. Hurst is also active in habitat management activities including controlled burning and establishing food plots on the WMAs in Carroll County area.

Congratulations to Officer Hurst for his dedication to wildlife conservation far beyond his sworn duties as a law enforcement officer.

New Video: "Reptiles and Amphibians"

Do you know the difference between a reptile and an amphibian? A new streaming video on the VDGIF Web site follows a group of Cub Scouts as they learn all about Virginia's reptiles and amphibians. The video, titled A Look Outside: Reptiles and Amphibians is one of a series of educational videos that encourage children to learn about Virginia's wildlife. The videos are used in schools to help teach science SOLs. Reptiles and amphibians such as wood turtles, canebrake rattlesnakes and spotted salamanders are profiled in the video.

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).

People and Partners in the News

Rehabbers Group Hosting "Baby Shower" in Chesterfield March 1

The ARK (Area Rehabbers Klub) of Chesterfield is holding their 5th annual Wild Baby Shower Saturday, March 1, 2008, at Rockwood Nature Center in Rockwood Park, noon to 4:00 p.m. The event is free and offers educational programs with live animals and fun activities to raise funds for the group's efforts to take in the orphaned and injured native Virginia wildlife for rehabilitation and release back into their natural habitat. ARK is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization consisting of an all-volunteer network of state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators. For more information visit their Web site at www.ARKofVa.org.

Bedford Outdoor Sportsman's Show Geared for Kids March 8

Got the winter blues? Get a jump on spring at the Bedford Outdoor Sportsman's Show on March 2, 2008 at the Bedford Armory. This annual event is organized by the Bedford Outdoor Sportsman's Association, a non-profit organization that promotes activities geared towards getting today's youth active in outdoor sports activities. This event will feature the Laser Shot hunting simulator for kids, drawings for guided hunts for youth for deer, bear and turkey, retriever demonstrations, a predator-prey display, and a live auction. The event is sponsored by VDGIF, the Bedford Outdoor Sportsman Association, Army National Guard Co. A 116th Infantry and area businesses supporting young hunters. For more information contact VDGIF Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522 or tony.fisher@dgif.virginia.gov.

Waterfowler's Association Volunteers To Clean-up Waterways March 8

The Virginia Waterfowler's Association (VAWFA) is promoting their 2nd Annual Waterways Cleanup on March 8, 2008. Volunteers will meet at the Hopewell Marina beneath the Haradaway-Marks Bridge and disperse from there to pull trash from area waterways. The VAWFA uses this event to show sportsmen working to provide a cleaner, safer environment for wildlife as well as for the people who use these waters for enjoyment and employment. Cleaner waters lessen the chance of accidents for both wildlife and people. Groups in other areas that participate in river cleanup projects are asked to send a brief report and photos of their efforts to Brad Puryear at mallardman68@yahoo.com so a record of statewide efforts for cleaner waterways by sportsmen can be made. For more information on VAWFA programs visit their Web site at www.vawfa.org.

Kayak Fishing Symposium in Virginia Beach March 1

The 2nd Mid-Atlantic Kayak Fishing Symposium is being held in Virginia Beach, Saturday, March 15, 2008, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Great Neck Community Recreation Center at 2521 Shorehaven Drive. This event features seminars and in-the-water demonstrations by nationally recognized and local kayak anglers. Pool sessions will be presented by manufacturers' representatives who will be on site with the latest fishing kayak models and gear. Wild River Outfitters and the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation are sponsoring the event with all of the profits from this symposium going to the VBP&R Foundation. Register for this event online or call (757) 431-8566 for details.

JAKES Event in Augusta Provides Firearms Training for Young Hunters

The Augusta County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is hosting a JAKES event
in cooperation with VDGIF at the Shenandale Gun Club, near Buffalo Gap. The event is Saturday March 22, 2008, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is open to any youth 16 years old or younger. Activities include: introduction to shotgun, archery, air rifle, skeet shooting and hands on demonstration of turkey calls, target shooting and hunter safety. There is limited space available, so registration is required by March 10, 2008. Contact: Lennie and Bonita Tolley (540) 248-4564, or Jan and Eddy Pitsenbarger (540) 337-6902. This is a great opportunity to train a young hunter for participation in the special youth spring gobbler hunt Saturday April 5, 2008.

32nd Annual Youth Conservation Camp Sponsored by Soil and Water Districts

The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) has sponsored a week long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students (grades 9-12) on the campus of Virginia Tech for 31 years,. The program brings together about 90 interested students for a week of learning about Virginia's natural resources by conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors. The 2008 Camp is July 13-19, 2008. Applications must be submitted to your local soil and water conservation office by May 7, 2008. To determine local office (based on your locality), visit VASWCD's Web site.

Beartree Lake to be Lowered for Maintenance

The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area has announced that they will be lowering the lake level in Beartree Lake in order to do some maintenance at the beach and swimming area. The lake will not be completely drained and will remain open to fishermen, but trout stocking may be affected until the lake level is restored. The project will start in February and could take several weeks depending on the weather according to Area Ranger, Beth Merz. Trails and other recreation activities are not affected by the drawdown. Reservations for the campsites and picnic shelter can be made at recreation.gov or 1-877-444-6777. For more information on the lake project, call the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at (276) 783-5196 or 1-800-628-7202. Beartree Lake is also part of the statewide Virginia Wildlife and Birding Trail system. Visit the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Web site for more information or to order the VBWT Guidebook.

Wildlife Center Announces Spring Open-House Schedule

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has scheduled five open houses for spring 2008. These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the nation's premier wildlife hospital, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center's education ambassadors.

The open houses will be held on the following Sundays: March 2, 16, 30 and April 13 and 27, 2008.

The Center will have three separate hour-long sessions each day - at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public. The seasonal open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Waynesboro facility. A limited number of spaces are available for each session. There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required by calling (540) 942-9453 or email wildlife@wildlifecenter.org. For additional information about the Wildlife Center visit wildlifecenter.org.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

4 PM Burn Law Takes Effect February 15

The "4 PM Burn Law" is in effect each year from February 15 until April 30. No outdoor burning is allowed before 4 PM to help prevent wildfires. Read the Virginia Department of Forestry's Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Burn? to learn more.

Currently, Virginia is experiencing conditions that can create the "perfect firestorm"... "drought-dry" woodland fuels, low humidity and strong, gusting winds. Add a careless act like tossing a cigarette, or burning trash and a hot ember can quickly become a raging inferno destroying property and putting lives at risk. Many people don't realize that they face serious wildfire danger. If you live in or near forests or other wildland fuels you are at risk. Visit the Virginia Department of Forestry Web site for 25 Firewise Tips and actions you need to take to create a Wildfire-Defensible Space to protect your home and property from wildfires

Remember Smokey Bear's message... Only YOU can prevent wildfires!

Boaters Should Plan Hurricane Strategy This Winter

The hurricane season may seem a long way off, but spending a little time now planning how you will protect your boat from the next storm could mean the difference between minor scratches and the total loss of your boat. To help boaters plan their hurricane strategy, the experts at the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Damage Avoidance Program have an information packed Web site that can help boaters customize their own hurricane plan now.

The information comes from the experiences of the BoatU.S. Insurance Program's "Catastrophe Team" of claims adjusters, salvage specialists and transportation staff that are on the front lines of recreational boat storm recovery and damage assessment. Director of the BoatU.S. Damage Avoidance Program, Bob Adriance notes, "With every storm, we learn more about which preparations work and which ones don't. Sharing this information allows boaters to make smarter decisions in hurricane planning." The Web site features a variety of topics including:

  • A free, downloadable Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes and a Hurricane Preparation Worksheet
  • Hurricane Preparation: Location, Location, Location
  • Strap Down Boats Stored Ashore, Hurricanes and Ropes
  • Sample Marina and Boat Club Facility Hurricane Plans from Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida

The Web site is a good way to stay informed whenever a storm threatens to come ashore, with extensive storm tracking features available including "spaghetti" landfall strike probability models. Also included are live satellite images, wind band information, NOAA advisories, and a hurricane message board to share experiences.

We thank the Fishing Wire and BoatUS for this information. For further details contact Scott Croft, (703) 461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conservation Meetings for Landowners March 18 and 19

Each year Virginia loses more than 100,000 acres of open space - including 3,000 acres of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Still, there are many opportunities to conserve quality habitat on private lands for waterfowl and other wildlife and to improve water quality throughout the watersheds that drain into the Bay. In an effort to accelerate wetland restoration and conservation programs within the Chesapeake and coastal watersheds in Virginia, VDGIF in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District, and other conservation agencies and organizations are sponsoring local meetings for landowners to provide information on conservation practices applicable to private property.

Presentations will be given by conservation professionals on wetland restoration, riparian buffers, land protection and management practices beneficial to wildlife and water quality. Cost sharing/funding opportunities for restoration and management practices on private property will be discussed. These meetings are open to the public. Two meetings are scheduled for March:

  • Tuesday, March 18, 2008 Rappahannock Community College, Warsaw Campus, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Michelle's at Hanover Tavern 13181 Hanover Courthouse Road, Hanover, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

For additional information contact: Mike Budd, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist at mbudd@ducks.org or telephone (804) 557-3513.

Your State Tax Refund Can Make a Difference

You can make a difference by helping to support the management of Virginia's wildlife. When you complete your Virginia state income tax form, you can be a sweetheart to wildlife by simply marking the Nongame Wildlife Program checkoff box and filling in the amount of your donation. Your contribution will help support essential research and management of native birds, fish, and other nongame wildlife.

Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has been in the seedling business for 90 years assisting landowners in reforestation projects on cutover and idle land. Landowners may now purchase seed mixes, shrubs and quality bare root tree seedlings in specialty packets for wildlife habitat enhancement, water shed protection, fall and spring colors, and timber management. For product information, pricing and ordering go to VDOF's Web site.

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. This inspirational story describes one of the many youth training partnership events organized by volunteer Hunter Education Instructors and the VDGIF Outdoor Education Program.

Rabbit Hunting Workshop Big Success For Young Hunters

Master Hunter Education Instructors John Dodson of Madison and Jim Verrocchio of Culpeper held a Rabbit Hunting Workshop on February 2, 2008, at the Cedar Mountain Range in Culpeper County. The eager students learned about rabbit biology, hunting techniques, and preparation for the table. One week later, the students had an opportunity to participate in a hunt with beagles provided by Joe Patrick of Fredericksburg and Senior Conservation Police Officer Joe Dedrick of Caroline. Cottontails are fast, and live in a challenging tangle of briars and brush, but each student was able to harvest at least one rabbit. Congratulations to those involved for providing Virginia's youth with a safe introduction to a wonderful sport.

The success of this workshop and mentored hunt opportunity is best expressed by the following letter sent to the VDGIF office from one of the participant's parents...

Dear Game & Fish Department Friends,

I would like to personally thank Mr. Joe Dedrick. I have never met Joe before, but on Saturday February 11, 2008, he and his friend John Dodson (Master Hunter Education Instructor) took my son on his first rabbit hunt, to say it was exciting is an understatement. Both Joe and John worked all day long providing my 10 year old son with an experience he will never forget. They provided a youth with their wealth of knowledge and experience. Thank you Virginia, for employing people of Joe Dedrick's caliber. P.S. - enclosed are photos I had taken - they are priceless! Please forward this thank you to all involved in this wonderful program.

Don and Fran Keating, Winchester, VA.

Visit our Web site if you would like to learn more about skill building workshops for novice outdoorsmen, or hunter education instructor opportunities.

Planning to Take a Youngster on a Spring Gobbler Hunt? Schedule a Hunter Education Class Now!

Now is the time to enroll in a Hunter Education Class for spring gobbler season. Class schedules are available on the VDGIF Web site. Hunter Education is mandatory for all hunters age 12 and older.
Don't forget about the special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt that will take place on April 5, 2008 for youth age 15 and under. Youth hunters between the ages of 12-15 must have appropriate valid hunting licenses. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult.

See the Department's Web site or Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations and Information digest for more information on Hunter Education requirements. The youth turkey hunt is a great way for an experienced hunter to introduce a youngster to the great outdoors.

Check the UPCOMING EVENTS calendar for numerous hunter training workshops around the state sponsored by youth oriented organizations like NWTF JAKES, 4-H Shooting Sports Clubs and others dedicated to continuing our rich hunting heritage to a new generation.

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.

Want more information on the lakes and rivers listed below? Visit the Lakes and Rivers pages on the Department's Web site!

For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web site.

March Madness is Trout Madness

Last summer and fall brought some of the worst drought the Commonwealth has ever experienced. Virginia's trout hatcheries were challenged by lower spring flows and warmer water than they typically experience…to the point where fish could not be fed on a regular basis, resulting in slower growth and some trout mortality. Anglers did experience smaller fish and fewer numbers than they were used to last fall, and some waters were too dry to stock as scheduled.

Water flows have recovered somewhat (although they are still below normal), and with cooler water temperatures, fish are feeding more aggressively and growing in the hatcheries. While total trout numbers are slightly lower than in past years, anglers should experience good sized, healthy, vigorous trout this spring. Streams that were too dry to stock last fall now have adequate flow to support stocked trout.

In addition to the regular stocking sized trout, hatcheries will include several broodfish, which include two to three and four pound brook trout, and two to six, and seven pound brown trout in many of the waters.

For the current trout stocking schedule (updated daily), see the Department's Web site.

Reporter's NotesSarah White

A Fishing Story From My Mom, Novelist Kay White

Every fishing family has one. You know the story that gets retold and retold. Usually these kinds of stories are embellished with each telling, but my story is so good that I always stick to the original. There are a few details regarding the cast of characters that needs to be explained. The primary of which is that I was the son my Dad never had. I was the middle child, not just the middle child, but the middle daughter of three daughters. My father was a football coach; and had only one sibling, my Uncle Paul. He was a noted outdoor writer, adventurer and country singer at the time. Dad always referred to his girls; and although he never ever complained; it was obvious at one time or another that living with all females was a learning experience.

So I went hunting with my Dad, I went to football games, to baseball games, on hunting trips but mostly conned my way on almost every fishing trip. I usually carried the cameras, lugged extra rods and lures, and got to fish too. Now we lived in Southern California so most fishing was in local lakes, and in California rivers, and sometimes the great Pacific ocean for things like albacore.

But my favorite trip was the time that I was allowed to accompany my Dad, his best friend and fellow coach Al, and Al's two sons. Every year this group, minus me, took advantage of a three day weekend, and starting right after school on Friday drove to Yellowstone Park to fish in the Yellowstone River for trout.

This time I was along, this time I sat squashed into the back seat with the 'other' boys. This time I went into the coffee shops and drank thick black coffee in thick cream colored coffee shop mugs. My ears were buzzing with caffeine and my heart was beating fast with joy.

We got out and literally jumped into the ice cold water fed directly from snow fields in Montana. Within five minutes my lips were blue, but the boys weren't complaining so neither was I. The problem was that the guys were all catching fish. Not just fish, but beautiful silver fish, striped with rainbows. I was getting hits, but somehow wasn't maybe setting the hook. It really didn't matter. I will never forget the morning in the river, the sound of the river going over the rocks, and eventually the jokes about my fishing ability.

Finally my Dad wandered back to the riffle that I was working. He watched me for a few minutes and then reached for my rod and reeled it all the way in. He took one good look at my fly and started to laugh. "OK," I said, determined not to burst into tears. He hugged me and showed me the hook, all straightened as flat as the proverbial pancake. "Made during the war," he said, "Weak steel."

We had about twenty minutes left. I caught two trout with my tough steel hooks. But best of all, I was one of the boys all the way back.

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp: Chuck Hyde told me the crappie are going like hotcakes, especially on minnows and tube baits. They are easy to find as they are congregated in coves. A few bass are hitting crankbaits, but no biggies. Oddly enough, according to Chuck, the warm days are making for poorer fishing than the cold and drizzly ones. The water temperature is 45 degrees and the water is clear.

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown (who is a good man) at River's Rest, says that the cats are doing well, usually being fooled by cut bait. The crappie are there, but not responding in great numbers. Charlie says that the fish are there, but the cold weather is keeping anglers away. The water is 46 degrees and slightly stained to clear.

Norfolk Lakes: Drew Dixon at Dashell's Show Room reports slim pickings, A few crappie are being caught on minnows, but not many. It is almost time for the rockfish to spawn. When they do we will forget all about crappie and go for some big bruisers who aren't afraid of a fight.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins of West Neck Marina tells us that "a little bit of all" of the fish there are cooperating. The yellow perch are going for live bait, especially shiners. Crappie are attacking small jigs and shiners. Cats are finding large shiners strangely alluring. The yellow perch will spawn soon, and they will chase your bait! The water is in the low 50's and murky.

Kerr Reservoir: Bobby Whitlow of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store says things are hittin'. Just recently a blue cat weighing in the 50's was brought in. This lunker was done in by cut bait. The crappie are also being lively. At a tournament on the 23rd of February, several came in over two and a half pounds, these babies are going for crappie jigs with minnows. In a few weeks the striper should be hot. The water is 46-50 degrees and stained.

Region 2 - Southside

Philpott Lake: Shawn Perdue reports that the bass are biting if you go deep- around 25 feet. The best enticements are heavy spoons used with vertical jigging, and Silver Buddies. The crappie are deep, but will respond to small minnows. The water is cold and clear.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Wyatt Blevins reports that things are slow on the lake. A few largemouths and stripers are going for shad, but in no great numbers. Those that do hit do so on jigging spoons and road runners. The water is in the lower 40's and clear.

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's told me that things have picked up. The smallmouths are attacking deep running crankbaits. Stripers and hybrids are going for Stump Jumpers and bucktails. Local, muskies find jerk baits appealing. The water temperature is around 43 and the water is clear.

Region 4 - Mountain and Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews at the Bait Place says that things are very slow. The lake is at full pond, but anglers haven't shown up. He hopes that things will pick up when the weather warms up. The water is 37 degrees and clear.

Lake Robertson: The Lake is still drawn down, and is not ready for fishing yet.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

James at Richmond: Mike Ostrader reports that the blue cats are responding well to cut bait. On one trip he landed seven in 4 hours. The water is 42 and clear to stained.

Got Tips?
Got Tricks?
Adventure Stories?
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?

email your material to
fishing_report@hotmail.com
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Out of state felon caught with resident license. On Friday, February 8, Sgt. Robbie Everidge and Captain Mike Minarik were outside the Region One office in Charles City County when both heard a gunshot off in the distance. The officers immediately drove to the area where they thought the shot originated. Seeing no signs of hunting activity, Captain Minarik walked into a wooded area, while Sgt. Everidge searched the adjacent area. Captain Minarik heard a beagle running a short distance away and directed Sgt. Everidge to the area. When Sgt. Everidge arrived, he encountered two hunters with shotguns. Upon conducting a compliance inspection, one of the hunters that provided a Virginia Resident Hunting License also had a Maryland Operator's License. After questioning, it was determined that the hunter was indeed a Maryland resident. With the aid of dispatch Sgt. Everidge also established that the hunter was a convicted felon. Charges were placed for hunting with an improper license and felony possession of a firearm. For more information contact Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6580.

Region 2 - Southside

Investigation leads to violent felon hiding at relative's house. On February 14, District 22 Officers obtained information on a wanted suspect after they had been looking for several weeks. Warrants had been obtained for the man by Conservation Police Officers for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Although the suspect was from Bedford County, investigatory information revealed that he had been hiding in a relative's house in Roanoke trying to avoid arrest by CPOs. The suspect had several prior assault convictions and a violent felonious past. Since the suspect had a reputation of fighting with officers, a plan was devised for a large scale assault on the residence in which the suspect was believed to be hiding. Five CPOs and a Roanoke Police Officer made a plan, surrounded the house, and knocked on the door. The owner of the house opened it and came out on the porch. CPO Frank Neighbors spoke to the owner of the residence and obtained full and complete permission to search the residence. After a search of the residence by CPOs, the 6' 10" felon was located hiding beside a bed and was arrested without incident. The suspect was transported to the Roanoke City Jail where he gave two Officers a written statement about unlawfully possessing a firearm and told officers where the gun was hidden. During the search for the original suspect, drugs were also found in the home. Another occupant of the house drove up during the search but quickly drove away to a local bar. CPO Dallas Neel followed the man and subsequently obtained a confession for possession of the drugs found in the home, as well as arresting the man for driving on a revoked license. The firearm from the first suspect was located at yet another relative's home and was seized without incident. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Illegal out of state tire dumpers caught by citizens tip. For the last 2 years Conservation Police Officer Frank Gough has been conducting an investigation on illegal tire dumping in the Shumate area of the New River in Giles County. During the summer of 2007, Gough received additional information from a resident who had observed vehicles transport tires into the same area. In January, Gough received a call reference to a vehicle entering the Shumate area with a load of tires in the truck bed. Gough responded and located fresh vehicle tracks leaving the main road headed toward the river where Gough had located a tire dump site before. Gough blocked the exit road from the river and conducted a foot patrol where he located the vehicle loaded with tires parked by the existing dump site along the river. Gough conducted surveillance on the vehicle for approximately 2 hours until the subjects returned to the vehicle. The subjects appeared to be leaving without dumping the tires. Gough stopped the vehicle and interviewed the subjects. Both individuals resided in Princeton, West Virginia and have been unemployed for a lengthy period. Both admitted that they came there to dump the load of 22 tires but observed Gough when he first drove into the area. They admitted dumping tires in the Shumate area at least once a month for the last two years. They said that they had dumped a total of approximately 450 tires during that time span. The subjects would pick up a load of tires from truck stops and gas stations in West Virginia where they were paid two dollars to four dollars per tire. One of the subjects stated that he learned how to do this from his father who had been doing it for years. A marijuana pipe was also seized from one of the subjects. The investigation will be ongoing for additional violations by local tire businesses in West Virginia. Charges are pending. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain and Valley

Deer poacher nabbed on neighbor's tip. On February 5, 2008, Conservation Police Senior Officer Elmo Herndon received a complaint of an illegal deer kill in the Daphna area of Rockingham County. Officer Herndon arrived at the suspect's residence and while walking onto the front porch observed a buck knife with deer hair and blood on it. Officer Herndon spoke with an occupant of the residence and had them call the suspect. When the suspect arrived 30 minutes later, Officer Herndon conducted an interview in reference to the closed season kill. During the interview the suspect confessed to 3 illegal deer kills occurring February 1. The suspect shot all three deer on the adjoining landowner's property. After field dressing the deer, they were hung on three separate fence posts where they stayed for the next 4 days. The suspect took all 3 deer down into the woods and disposed of them prior to Herndon's arrival. The suspect will be charged with numerous wildlife violations. For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Investigation of Stolen Jet Ski leads to arrest of burglary ring. The VDGIF Boating Section contacted CPO Wayne Weller regarding a jet ski titling problem. Officer Weller began an investigation into the jet ski and through the course of the investigation discovered the jet ski was in fact stolen in June 2007 in the City of Richmond, however it was not entered into NCIC. Officer Weller contacted Richmond City PD and took over the investigation of this matter from that agency. The investigation revealed that the jet ski had been in the possession of 3 persons since its theft. In addition, the jet ski had been offered for sale on two occasions via Craig's List on the internet. After tracking the history of the jet ski's possession backwards to the last legitimate purchaser, it was discovered he had made a direct purchase from a suspect in the larceny. CPO Wayne Weller and Sgt. Jim Croft interviewed this suspect and obtained a written confession. The suspect confessed that he was involved in the theft along with two other subjects. One suspect was doing his best to avoid officers and had moved from his residence. During a surveillance, officers followed the suspect to a courthouse where he was being tried on an unrelated charge. With the assistance of an obliging Clerk of the Court, the suspect's case was called early. After paying his fine, he walked out of the Clerk's Office and right into the waiting arms of the officers. He was then interviewed and a written statement and confession were obtained regarding the jet ski larceny. This subject led the officers to the third suspect. During the course of this investigation, lasting over the course of several months, the parties being charged in this theft have been identified in numerous commercial and private dwelling burglaries and thefts in and around Richmond and Henrico County. The crimes committed also included a ring of weapons thefts that have been turned over to the Henrico County Police Department, which to date has already resulted in four additional closed commercial burglary cases. 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's sportsmen!

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:

  • Spring Gobbler Hunting Tips
  • Kids Fishing Days
  • General Assembly Wrap-up
Clinch Sculpin. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
 
BE WILD, VIRGINIA!

Clinch Sculpin
(Cottus sp.)
by Spike Knuth

The Clinch sculpin is one of over 100 species of sculpins in North America. Sculpins are small fish with large heads, elongate tapering bodies with relatively large eyes located high on their heads. Their bodies are covered with scales or prickles, although some species are scaleless. Their pelvic fins have a single spine with two to five soft rays, and most species have separate spiny and soft-rayed dorsal fins. The anal fin is as long as the soft dorsal and they have a rounded caudal fin and a large fan-like pectoral fin.

The basic body color of the Clinch Sculpin is tan-olive to pale olive-gray with bands of dark olive-gray to black. The areas between the bands are spotted or flecked with pale gray, pearly, or blue-green and they have a whitish vent area. Sometimes they will show a pale red upper lip.

Clinch sculpins are 2 to 3 inches long, rarely up to 4 inches, with the males being the larger. Their favored habitat is the runs and riffles of small clean, clear runs with gravel, rubble, and boulders that connect with larger moderate to high gradient streams. They avoid silted areas.

Spawning takes place in February and March with the male fanning out a nest cavity under rocks. He moves small stones with his snout or rolls or carries them in his mouth to enlarge the cavity. The male defends the nest and vicinity aggressively often getting into fights with other males with much shaking and jaw-fighting, where they grab each other's jaws and twist and struggle.

When a female is ready she will join the male in an inverted position over the nest. The male rubs against the female and she releases anywhere from 70 to 300 eggs. The male then chases the female away, and fertilizes and fans the eggs, and guards them until hatching. The young grow rapidly and are often ready to breed in a year. Sculpins feed mainly on aquatic insect larvae such as mayflies and caddis flies, plus tiny crustaceans, small fishes and some vegetation.

In Virginia, Clinch sculpins inhabit three small parts of the upper Clinch River system; Stony Creek, Little River, and the Clinch River-Indian Creek and the small tributaries of each. Clinch sculpins are very closely related to the Holston sculpin found in the Holston River drainage.

·    ·    ·

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.

UPCOMING EVENTS
March 2008
1 Basic Fly Fishing Workshop, Chesapeake. Contact Bill Campbell at (757) 635-6522 or tu389-bwills@cox.net
1 ARK "Baby Shower," Chesterfield
1-2 4th Annual Orange County Sportsman Expo. Hornets Sports Center, Orange County. Contact Becky Gore (bgore@ocss-va.org) or see Web site.
2 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
8 Bedford Outdoor Show, Bedford Armory, contact Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522 or tony.fisher@dgif.virginia.gov.
8 VAWFA Waterway Cleanup, Hopewell, contact Brad Puryear at mallardman68@yahoo.com.
15 Mid-Atlantic Kayak Fishing Symposium, Virginia Beach
16 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
18 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conservation Meetings for Landowners, Warsaw. Contact Mike Budd, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist at mbudd@ducks.org or telephone (804) 557-3513.
19 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conservation Meetings for Landowners, Hanover. Contact Mike Budd, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist at mbudd@ducks.org or telephone (804) 557-3513.
19 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting, Charlottesville. Contact David Coffman.
22 JAKES Firearms Training, Augusta County. Contact Lenny Tolley at (540) 248-4564.
22 Turkey Hunting Workshop for Youth, Cedar Mountain Youths, Culpeper. Contact John Dodson at (540) 543-2070.
24-30 Crappie Week, Kerr Reservoir.
29 Youth Turkey Hunting Seminar, Luray. Contact Art Kasson at (540) 622-6103 or artkasson@yahoo.com.
29-30 Trout Unlimited National Capital Angling Show, Frederick, MD.
30 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
April 2008
4-6 Becoming an Outdoors Woman, Holiday Lake 4-H Center, Appomattox. Contact  jimmy.mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.
5 Jack Randolph River Fest, Hopewell. Contact drandolph@cffc.com.
5 Heritage Trout Day, Graves Mountain Lodge, Madison County.
5 Special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt
13 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
20 JAKES Event, NWTF Switerland Strutters Chapter, Highland  County. Contact Michael Hillbert at (540) 468-3884.
27 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
May 2008
3 Canoe Fishing Workshop, Gloucester. Contact chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
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.

MAKE IT A FAMILY ADVENTURE!
The Department offers numerous hunting, fishing, and outdoor education programs designed for families, women, beginners and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HUNT OR FISH?
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.

QUICK GLANCE
AT HUNTING SEASONS

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.
Beginning in October 2007
Firearms
Opossum: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Raccoon: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Beginning in November 2007
Firearms
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)
Beginning in January 2008
Archery
Deer: Urban Archery - January 7 to March 29 in certain incorporated cities, towns, and counties. Go to the Department's Web site for local restrictions and other urban archery information.
Beginning in April 2008
Turkey: Spring Gobbler (bearded turkeys only)

April 5: Special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt

April 12 to May 3: 1/2 hour before sunrise until 12 noon each day statewide.

May 5 to May 17: 1/2 hour before sunrise until sunset statewide.

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.
REPORT
WILDLIFE VIOLATIONS
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email WildCrime@dgif.virginia.gov.

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!

SUBSCRIBE TO VIRGINIA WILDLIFE MAGAZINE!
  • 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.
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE CATALOG

Security Reminder: VDGIF will never ask for personal information through unsolicited e-mail.

OUTDOOR REPORT
EDITORIAL TEAM

Editor: David Coffman

Web Production: David Murr, Tim Tassitano

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

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

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

Privacy Policy | {UNSUBSCRIBEHYPERLINK}

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 - www.dgif.virginia.gov