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, March 26, 2008

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Virginia Reports Good News: No Chronic Wasting Disease Found
  • Undercover Poaching Investigation Nets Multiple Charges in Page, Rockingham
  • Opportunities for Conservation Police Officer Recruits Now Available
  • The Shad Are Back
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Volunteers to Clean Up "Bluff" on Appomattox River March 29
    • Sportsmen's Groups Provide Youth Training Events for Spring Gobbler Hunting
    • New VDGIF Director Addresses Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting
    • Youth Writing Contest Winners Recognized
    • Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun
    • Kids Heritage Trout Day Moved to Rose River in Madison April 5
    • Jack Randolph River Fest April 5 in Hopewell
    • Fly Fishing Festival April 21-22 in Waynesboro
    • Western Virginia Land Trust Schedules Landowner Meeting in April-May
    • WANTED - American Eels From The Roanoke River Basin
    • Hooks & Horns - The Ultimate Hunting Video Game
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Make Your Spring Gobbler Hunt a Safe One!
  • Hunters - Did You Remember To...
    • Start Planning Now for Special Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt Virginia Reports
    • Is It a Gobbler or a Hen? The Beard Is Not the Best Clue
    • Trappers - Reminder, April 1st Fur Tagging Requirements
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings
  • Fishin' Report
    • New Regulations for Anadromous Fish in Southern Tidewater
    • Shad Update
    • Link to Trout Stocking Schedule
    • Sarah White's Notebook
      • New Lake and River Reports Added
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
    • Trapping Regulations Violated - Get a Trained Professional
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to Recent Articles of Ongoing Interest

Virginia Reports Good News: No Chronic Wasting Disease Found

Results of statewide surveillance during 2007-2008 Season

After extensive testing of deer from every county in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) reports that there is no evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Virginia's white-tailed deer population. During the 2007-2008 hunting season, 1,140 samples were collected from free-ranging white-tailed deer throughout the Commonwealth. In addition to the samples collected from every county in Virginia, 106 samples were collected from an active surveillance focus area, which included the portion of Frederick County closest to the current cases of CWD in West Virginia.

VDGIF Director Bob Duncan said of the test results, "This is clearly good news, and we could not have achieved this without the hard work of our staff wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Jonathan Sleeman, field biologists and Conservation Police Officers, and the cooperation and support of our partners. In particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the staff of the Virginia Department of Transportation for their assistance with collecting road-killed deer, and to local meat processors, and above all, to the hunters who allowed us to test their deer."

The Department will continue its CWD surveillance during the spring of 2008, due to the detection of a CWD positive deer near Yellow Spring, West Virginia, which is approximately 2.5 miles from the Virginia state line. There will be additional surveillance efforts in the portion of Frederick County that borders this area.

Anyone who sees a CWD suspect deer should not attempt to contact, disturb or kill the animal. Instead, accurately document the location and immediately contact VDGIF by calling 1-804-367-1258. Arrangements will be made to investigate the report. More information about CWD and the Department's management actions can be found on the VDGIF's CWD Web site.

Undercover Poaching Investigation Nets Multiple Charges in Page, Rockingham

Conservation police officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) are making arrests after concluding a six-month undercover investigation into spotlighting deer and other wildlife crime violations in Page and Rockingham counties. The investigation stemmed from numerous calls from the public reporting poaching activities on both private lands and National forest lands in the Runkles Gap/Cub Run area along the Page and Rockingham county line and in the Pitt Springs/Newport area of Page County. These areas have experienced significant illegal activity frustrating local residents and hunters. VDGIF Director Bob Duncan commented, "We appreciate the reports we received from the public that lead to this investigation, and appreciate their patience while our law enforcement officers worked this case."

VDGIF conservation police officers using special operations techniques made numerous arrests in that area in the past year and the determination was made to have a VDGIF undercover officer infiltrate an illegal deer killing ring identified through those efforts. As the undercover investigation progressed, many drug violations were also discovered.

According to Colonel Dabney W. Watts, Jr., chief of VDGIF's Law Enforcement Division, "When enforcing hunting, fishing and boating laws and regulations, our conservation police officers at times encounter drug and alcohol violations and they have the full police authority to bring charges." The evidence was presented to the Grand Jury on Monday, March 17, 2008, and on Tuesday the Grand Jury returned true bills on all charges.

For a list of individuals charged with felonies and more details, view the news release on the Department's Web site.

Opportunities for Conservation Police Officer Recruits Now Available

Individuals who are interested in a law enforcement career could easily find themselves migrating into the field of natural resources where exciting opportunities await them as conservation police officers. Once known as Game Wardens, these public safety professionals dedicate their lives to the protection of our natural resources by enforcing laws and regulations that regulate the activities of sportsmen and women who participate in outdoor recreation.

Conservation police officers, originally called game wardens, have been serving in law enforcement in Virginia since 1903, when the Virginia General Assembly established a statewide system of game wardens to enforce wildlife laws. The title "game warden" was officially changed to "conservation police officer" by the Virginia General Assembly in 2007.

In today's more urban Virginia, conservation police officer's work often intersects with mainstream law enforcement. In the course of performing duties related to the agency mission -- enforcing wildlife, fisheries and boating laws - conservation police are now dealing with situations requiring immediate police intervention, such as drivers under the influence, reckless drivers, drug and gang activities, homeland security issues and frequent assistance to other law enforcement agencies.

For more information on VDGIF and conservation police officers, visit the Department's Law Enforcement Recruiting Web site.

The Shad Are Back

Spring is upon us and the annual run of shad will soon be in full swing, as they make their way into our freshwater rivers to spawn. In recent years, many anglers have been rediscovering these fine silvery jewels from the sea, as increasing numbers of hickory and American shad are providing exciting, spring angling opportunities. American shad and hickory shad usually arrive in mid-March in the Rappahannock and James and the Americans usually hang around through May. Remember, it is catch and release only for American shad (check VDGIF and VMRC regulations).

Shad Cam is back up for the season and enthusiasts can once again enjoy capturing images of American shad and 20+ other species of riverine fishes as they pass through the Boshers Dam fishway on the James River.

The American Shad Restoration Project is also underway, to collect American shad eggs and stock fry, as part of a cooperative effort to replenish shad stocks in the James and Rappahannock rivers. The Pamunkey River supplies the broodstock for the James stockings and the Potomac provides the broodstock for the Rappahannock stockings. Since 1992 over 98 million shad fry have been stocked in the upper James and since 2003 over 18 million have been stocked in the upper Rappahannock.

Fish passage progress continues throughout Virginia. Embrey Dam is now completely gone from the river, and American shad, hickory shad, blueback herring, and striped bass have been found above the dam by our biologists. The Boshers Dam fishway is once again operating for the 2008 spawning run.

People and Partners in the News

Volunteers to Clean Up "Bluff" on Appomattox River March 29

Every year billions of tons of trash find its way to our rivers, streams and waterways. The accumulated litter is harmful to all living organisms, including humans, and lowers property values. On Saturday, March 29, 2008, you can join citizens and students to volunteer a few hours of your time to pick up litter along the Appomattox River. This Spring Appomattox River Cleanup is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR), the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg, the county of Prince George, and Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary. Because of large quantities of litter found at the bluff, next to the Weston Manor near Hopewell, the group will focus all of their resources on cleaning this area from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration will be held at Hopewell Marina, Riverside Avenue, Hopewell starting at 8:30 a.m. For information, contact Victor at (804) 861-1666 or email:

Sportsmen's Groups Provide Youth Training Events for Spring Gobbler Hunting

If you are planning to take a youngster spring gobbler hunting, there are several events scheduled to provide a day of training, safety and fun for new and novice youth hunters. Events are open to any youth age 16 or younger and adults are encouraged to attend with their children. Each event includes activities on safety, logistics, calling and tactics training. Hands-on demonstrations of turkey calls and target shooting to pattern shotguns are available. Lunch is provided, so registration is requested by calling the listed event coordinator. This is a great opportunity to train a young hunter for participation in the special youth spring gobbler hunt Saturday, April 5, 2008. The training event sponsors will provide limited opportunities for guided hunts on April 5. Click here for more details on the special youth spring gobbler hunt date.

  • March 29 - Torsten-Peterson Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is hosting a JAKES event at the Tarbay Gun Club, near Parkers Grocery in Prince George County from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Contact Roy Cox at (804) 768-0441.
  • March 29 - The Page Valley Sportsmen's Club, Inc. and The Skyline Strutters Chapter of NWTF are sponsoring turkey hunting training from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Luray. This event is limited to 35 registered participants. Contact Art Kasson at (540)-622-6103 or email:
  • March 29 - The Virginia Wildlife Foundation and the Central Virginia Chapter of NWTF are sponsoring a Turkey Hunting/Ecology Workshop from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle County near Scottsville. Contact Jenny West at (757)-566-4000 or email:

New VDGIF Director Addresses Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting

The new Executive Director of VDGIF, Bob Duncan, met with the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) at their annual meeting, March 19, 2008, in Charlottesville. Mr. Duncan reviewed his plans with the group to provide additional outreach and communications on agency programs and issues of interest to a broader constituency. He introduced members of the communications staff who described enhancements in both news media and educational communications including streaming video, added website links, expansion of feature sections in the Outdoor Report, and expanded news release distribution to a variety of media contacts. VDGIF Board Member Sherry Crumley described the importance of recent legislation affecting sportsmen, including the new Apprentice Hunting License.

Youth and Undergraduate Writing Contest Winners Recognized

The top three winners of the 14th Annual Youth Writing Contest were recognized and presented with awards of outdoor gear totaling over $800 during the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) Annual Meeting March 19, 2008 in Charlottesville. VOWA Youth Writing Contest judge Frank Mundy, a Conservation Police Officer and author of two books, commented, "This year's entries were some of the best we have had in several years. The cooperation of the Virginia Department of Education and local high school teachers in promoting students to write articles on "my most memorable outdoor experience," provided a great learning opportunity for the students and a chance for these future writers to get recognition and mentoring." VOWA is launching a new program to publish the Top 30 winning articles during the next year in magazines, newspapers and numerous outdoor-related publications. The top three youth winners were all high school students from the Virginia Beach area. First place went to Micheala Bryant from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, with her article entitled "Attack of the Does." Second-place winner was Maya Nedeljkovich, writing on the "Majesty of Nature," and third place went to Madison Shaw, for her entry titled "Nature Shock." Both students are from Ocean Lakes High School.

In the Third Annual Undergraduate Writing Competition, which awarded monetary prizes, two Virginia Tech students were winners. Beth Mutchler received first place for her story, "Keeping It Wild." Beth is an Outdoor Recreation Major in the College of Natural Resources. Sarah Keithley, a graduating senior in the Hotel and Tourism Management in the Pamplin College of Business, won second with "For the Love of Running."

Information about these top winning articles and a list of the Top 30 Winners can be found on the VOWA Web site after March 30. VOWA represents professional writers, editors, photographers, videographers, agency and conservation organization communicators and outdoor-related businesses. Information on membership qualifications can be found on the VOWA Web site at or by contacting president David Coffman at (804) 367-0720, or email:

Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

Each spring, numerous local angling groups partner with VDGIF to host KID'S FISHING DAY events. For details visit our Web site (PDF).

Kids Heritage Trout Day Moved to Rose River in Madison, April 5

The Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Graves Mountain Lodge and VDGIF will sponsor a Kids Fishing Day on the Rose River on April 5, 2008 for kids 12 and under, starting at 9:00 a.m. This popular annual event has been changed this year from the third Saturday in March to the first Saturday in April to have a chance at warmer weather, and the location has been changed from the Robinson River to the Rose River. For map directions and a complete schedule of activities, visit Additional information is available from Graves Mountain lodge at (540) 923-4231 or Trout Unlimited, Marcia Woolman at (540) 253-5545, Email:

Jack Randolph River Fest April 5 in Hopewell

The Jack Randolph River Fest and Big Cat Quest will be held in Hopewell on Saturday, April 5, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the City Marina. There will be fishing and boating-related displays by numerous vendors and organizations till 4:00 p.m. The displays then come down at 4:00 p.m. so that the Cat Quest weigh-in and the band music and fish fry (pay event) can be started. This event is named for Jack Randolph, who was a previous Director of VDGIF and had encouraged Hopewell to host this event to promote fishing potential in the state. Jack was also well known for his articles on fishing and the outdoors and weekly fishing reports in regional publications. For more information, contact Serita Jennings at Hopewell Parks and Recreation at

Western Virginia Land Trust Schedules Landowner Meetings in April-May

The project manager for the Western Virginia Land Trust, David Perry, has scheduled a series of workshops in April and May in the western part of the state to help educate landowners on the benefits of conservation easements. VDGIF stream restoration biologist Bill Bennett notes that conservation easements are an excellent way for landowners to permanently preserve and protect fish and wildlife habitat. This project received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's Section 319 Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant Program at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Numerous partner organizations are supporting this effort that is part of Governor Kaine's commitment to preserve an additional 400,000 acres of land in Virginia with conservation easements during his term as governor. The events start Tuesday, April 1, 2008, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Patrick County Library in Stuart. For the dates and locations of the upcoming 13 meetings and locations in April and May, visit For additional information, contact David Perry at (540) 985-0000.

WANTED - American Eels from the Roanoke River Basin

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is cooperating with Dominion (Virginia/North Carolina Power), the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and federal resource agencies in a study investigating the presence of American eels in the Roanoke River basin upstream of Roanoke Rapids Lake, North Carolina. The study is being conducted as part of a program to restore American eels to the Roanoke River basin by providing passage upstream of dams owned and operated by Dominion. Any eels caught by anglers from the Roanoke (Staunton) River or its tributary streams (including the Hyco, Pigg and Dan Rivers), or from Lake Gaston, Kerr Reservoir, Leesville Reservoir, Smith Mountain Lake or Philpott Lake are of interest.

If you catch an American eel from the Roanoke River basin, it would benefit the study if anglers kept the eel and contacted Bob Graham of Dominion at (804) 271-5377, or Bob will make arrangements with you to collect the eel for scientific study. As soon as possible after catching the eel it should be bagged and frozen. If facilities are not available to freeze the eel, it should be kept on ice. Cooperation in the study will be greatly appreciated and will benefit efforts to restore American eels to their historical range.

Hooks & Horns - The Ultimate Hunting Video Game

Match wits against the king of upland game birds, the spring gobbler, and test your hunting skills with the magnificent white-tailed deer. Hooks & Horns has it all: Stunning graphics, beautiful scenery, and the realistic depiction of animals. And for the first time in any hunting video game, sound recognition technology. That's right, connect a microphone to your computer and grab your favorite game calls. Yelp in that old tom or grunt in that elusive trophy white-tailed deer. Hooks & Horns creates an exhilarating experience that you will never forget. The Department encourages everyone who experiences the fun and excitement of Hooks & Horns to then move up to the next level. Take a Hunter Education Course, purchase a hunting license, and face the ultimate challenge - a hunting adventure in Virginia's great outdoors.

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Be Safe... Have Fun!

Make Your Spring Gobbler Hunt a Safe One!

This edition features numerous workshop opportunities sponsored by sportsmen's groups in partnership with VDGIF, encouraging special training for youth and novice hunters to participate in the upcoming Spring Gobbler season. To ensure a safe and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends reviewing the following guidelines for a safe Spring Gobbler hunting experience for young and old, novice and experienced alike:

To ensure a safe and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends the following guidelines for Spring Gobbler hunting:

  • Tie a strip of blaze orange to a nearby tree to alert others of your presence.
  • When choosing a calling position, don't hide so well that you cannot see what is going on around you. Select a calling position with a good view of your surroundings and where the sun does not distort what you are seeing.
  • Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence. Instead, call out in a loud voice and remain hidden, until the other hunter acknowledges your presence.
  • When you harvest a gobbler, carry it out of the woods draped in blaze orange. Otherwise, another hunter might just see the bird and not you.

Get more tips on how to stay safe during your Spring Gobbler hunt!

Hunters - Did You Remember To...

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

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

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.

Is it a Gobbler or a Hen? The Beard is Not the Best Clue!

Although commonly called Spring "Gobbler" Season, the legal description allows that "bearded turkeys only" may be harvested. This is because 10-20 percent of hens may grow beards and could be mistaken for a bearded gobbler. Even though it is legal to harvest a bearded hen, take a good look and determine if your quarry is truly a gobbler. Hens have a fuzzy, blue-gray head - a gobbler's head is red and white. Gobblers will appear black in color while hens will be more brownish due to the buff color tips on the breast feathers. Although harder to see at a distance, only gobblers have leg spurs. Many sportsmen will pass up the hen with a beard to help the population grow a little. Remember as you take youngsters afield with you, always set a good example for safety and ethics. Teaching these hunting heritage traditions to the next generation are the most important lessons we as sportsmen and sportswomen can make.

Trappers - Reminder April 1st Fur Tagging Requirements


No bobcat pelts may be tanned, mounted, sold, traded or shipped out of state until sealed by an agent of the VDGIF. All bobcat pelts must be sealed by April 1, 2008. Please contact your nearest VDGIF regional office to arrange sealing.


The entire skinned carcass of all otters trapped in counties west of the Blue Ridge where trapping is permitted must be presented to an agent of the VDGIF within 3 days of capture. For more information on submitting otter carcasses contact your nearest VDGIF regional office. No otter pelts may be sold, traded or shipped out of state until sealed by an agent of the VDGIF. All otter pelts must be sealed by April 1, 2008. Please contact your nearest VDGIF regional office to arrange sealing.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings

It's tree planting time! If you want to improve habitat on your property, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has a variety of native trees and shrubs for 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.

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.

New Regulations for Anadromous Fish in Southern Tidewater

New regulations went into effect January 1, 2008 for blueback herring and alewives on the North Carolina drainages in Virginia according to VDGIF Tidewater Region Fisheries Biologist, Eric Brittle. The new regulations are in effect on the North Landing, Northwest, Nottoway, Blackwater (Chowan Drainage), and Meherrin Rivers and Back and their tributaries. For more information call (757) 465-6829, or email

Species Creel Limit Minimum Length Limit
Striped bass 2 fish per day 18 inches
American shad & Hickory shad 10 fish in aggregate None
Alewife & Blueback herring No Possession --

Shad Update

See "The Shad Are Back!" in the Feature section in the beginning of this edition of the Outdoor Report for links to Shad Cam, the American Shad Restoration Project and Fish passage, and Boshers Dam fishway.

Trout Stocking Schedule

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

Reporter's Notes... Sarah White

The Richmond Fishing Expo in January turned out to be a great opportunity to meet guides, fishing shop owners and marina operators who signed up to send me these additional river and lake reports. We welcome eight new reporters this spring for Nottoway/Blackwater Rivers Chickahominy Lake, Briery Creek Lake, Potomac River, Occoquan River, Occoquan Reservoir, Burke Lake and Lake Anna. They are a great addition to the Fishin' Report and we appreciate all our reporter's up-to-date information. There are now over 25 river sections and lakes featured for your convenience each edition. Over the next two months we will add some feature information on each of these reporters and the services they provide area anglers.

Now go take a kid fishing and catch some whoppers and even greater memories!

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp: Chuck Hyde says that the recent Big Bash Tournament was a huge success, with Fred Seminario and Mike Samuels of Hampton taking first place with 14.45 lbs of bass. Second place went to Jason Carlton and Dennis Mitchell of Gloucester landing 13.70 lbs worth. Wes Zabdyr of Williamsburg won third place by landing 13.45 lbs.

The crappie fishing is good, with minnows as the preferred bait. The water is clear at 55 degrees.

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown of River's Rest reports that the herring are running, but not many shad. A few crappies have come in, but it's not a hot time for them yet. Cats are going for fresh cut herring. Stripers have not been coming in really big numbers, but they are consistent. The water is clear and warming.

Norfolk Lakes: Drew Dixon of Dashell's Show Room tells us that the shad have finally "shown up" and are hitting shad darts. The rockfish are biting hard. Crappie are attacking minnows. Bass are going for both crankbaits and live bait. Check your VDGIF Fishing Regulations at for the regulations in your area. The water is clear and 58 degrees.

Little Creek: Walter Elliot reports that largemouth are attacking jigs and rattle traps in shallow waters. Paul Linton of Lanexa came in with two largemouth at 5.14 lbs and 7.3 lbs on a jig. Ron Jones of Sandston got a 7 pounder on a Rattle Trap. Crappie are responding "decent" to small minnows in 5 to 10 feet of water. Chain pickerel have been giving lucky anglers a good fight when caught on spinnerbaits and large minnows. Hal Hampton of Richmond landed a 14 inch yellow perch on a minnow. The water is stained and in the 50s. The water level is 12 inches below full pool.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins of West Neck Marina reports that several citation-sized white perch had been brought to boat, with some over 16 lbs. Perch seem to like spinner baits and beetle spins. Crappie are doing well when tempted with small minnows. Cat angling is slow, but the fish are there to be had. The water is clear and in the high 50s and low 60s. Note the new regulations for anadromous fish for this river system featured above.

Nottoway River: Jeff Turner tells us that small stripers are to be had in good quantities. They are really going for large stick crankbaits. Shad have also showed up and are biting shad spoons and darts. As the water temperature rises, the shad population should also rise. The water is clear and clear and 54 degrees. The river is flowing fast. Note the new regulations for anadromous fish for this river system featured above.

Region 2 - Southside

Kerr Reservoir: Bobby Witlow of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store reports that local anglers are landing crappie with small minnows and jigs. Bass are going for spinners, crankbaits and jigs. Catfish are doing really well with cut bait and live shad. The water is clear and warming.

Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead reports that stripers are going for jigging spoons and flukes in deep water during daylight hours. Dawn and twilight hours find them in shallower waters. Crappie are responding well to small minnows near deep structures. Bass fishing in the lake is "mixed" - some do very well, some strike out. Pig and jig lures seem to be effective. In deeper water, try football jigs, jigging spoons, swim jigs, and lipless crankbaits. A citation muskie, over 40 inches, was brought in by Jesse Saunders. Macky May landed a 26 lb 9 oz striper. Trout fishing is good in stocked areas, with Popeye hair jigs being very productive. The water is clear and 50 degrees. For a more detailed report, go to

Philpott Lake: Shawn Perdue of Franklin Outdoors says that crappie are hitting small minnows. Walleye are going live baits and crankbaits. Stripers are active in the evenings, when they attack top water lures, especially Redfins, Thundersticks and Giant Jitterbugs in solid black. The water is 54 degrees and clear.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: At Rock House Marina the big story is the stripers. They are weighing in at 19 - 24 lbs. Crappie are also doing well. The water is clear and warming

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's reports that smallmouth bass are going for little crankbaits and jerkbaits: a recent smallmouth tournament in the river recorded good numbers. Crappie action is not "hot" yet, but should be soon. Bass anglers are landing muskies by accident, so if you're going for the big muskie, try some big bass lures. All in all, John says that fishing is "very good." The river is stained and warming.

New River and Claytor Lake: Victor Billings of Sportsman's Supply says that stripers are going for live bait and Cotton Cordell plugs in rainbow and black colors. Bucktails are also attracting stripers. Smallmouth are attacking jigs, minnows and crankbaits. Crappie and walleye fishing is "slow". Largemouth are going wild for ET lures and soft plastics. Muskie are warming up; while the walleyes are slowing down. The water is clear and 42 - 43 degrees.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews of the Bait Place called in that smallmouths are spawning and going for minnows. Crappie fishing is picking up, minnows, silver buddies and crappie jigs are a good bet. Trout fishing is still slow. Yellow perch are picking up as they go for minnows. The water is dark green, 44 degrees and at full pond.

North Fork of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray reports that the smallmouth streams in both the North and South forks of the river are at full level. The best flies to use are Murray's Heavy Hellgrammite sizes 4 and 6, and Murray's Road Kill Nymph size 6, and Chub size 8. The water in these streams is slightly stained and 52 degrees.

The trout streams in the valley are at a good water level and "many nice trout" are there to be had. These fish will go for small streamers and nymphs. The water is stained and 42 degrees.

The mountain trout streams are finally fishable again! The water level is fairly high and it is best to approach by coming into the streams from the top of the mountain. Good dry flies to use are Mr. Rapdan sizes 14 - 16, and Royal Wulff size 14. The water is clear and 42 degrees. Harry reminded me that he has a Web site that can be found at that is upgraded every Tuesday and Friday.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

James, Fall Line: Mike Ostrander reports that he has been landing blue cats over 5 lbs on cut shad. Shad fishing is picking up and gold and silver spoons and shad darts are top baits. Fly fishermen are also successful using sinking line and chartruse flies. The water is stained and in the mind 50's.

James, Fall Line: Russ Cress tells me that hickory shad are doing well on chartreuse flies. He also says that the water is still too cold to be really active. The water is stained and 53 degrees.

Lake Anna: C.C. McCotter tells us that largemouth fishing should be picking up. Try fishing shallow with jerkbaits and swimbaits. Small crankbaits should also be effective. Remember, where the herring and shad are, the bass will be too. Stripers are going to be most plentiful at low light hours. At these times, use swimbaits and suspending jerkbaits. Crappie should be spawning and will attack small minnows. The water is clear and warming.

Scott Hammer, also on Lake Anna, reports that bass will be "holding on main and secondary points in the main lake". They will go into shallow areas as the water warms up in search of bait fish. Crappie are hanging out around deep structures like bridge pilings and brush. Small minnows and grubs are effective. Stripers are becoming more active above the dam. Dike 3 is a good place to start, especially when the plant is pumping. In open water, use live bait. In creeks and creek mouths try flukes. In general your best lures on the lake will be suspending jerkbaits in blue/chrome and black/chrome, Carolina rigged plastics (lizards) and jigs. When using plastics, stick with natural colors. The water is somewhat stained and 45 to 50 degrees.

Potomac Area  - Brought to us by Charlie Taylor

D.C. Area: With warm weather comes the spawning of the bass, they aren't spawning just yet, but look out as weather continues to warm up. Bass action is lively, with plastic grubs, silver buddies, jig & pig, and rattling crankbaits. White perch are starting to hit well. Channel cats are hugging the bottom, going for their usual baits. Remember, striper and shad season is closed, so the fish must be released. The water is clear and warming.

Below Woodrow Wilson Bridge: Largemouths are hitting well on a variety of things: live bait, silver buddies, worms and plastic grubs. These should be used during the early and middle parts of the day. When things get warmer small, shallow running crankbaits are a better bet. Most of these fish can be found in the shallows. It's also good to look for vegetation. The local perch are hanging out in lower creeks and are hitting small twister tail grubs and spinners. Some pickerel have been seen in Nanjemoy Creek. Cats are active in creek channels, feasting on herring and white perch. Bear in mind that a 15 inch minimum size limit is in effect in the Potomac and its tributaries until June 15th. The water is clear and warming.

Upper River: A high, muddy river can be hard to fish, but some smallmouth are being landed on tiny crankbaits. Try the vegetation beds along the banks. Cats are cooperating by attacking night crawlers, cut bait, clam snouts (Yum!), and bloodworms. Carp are going crazy, and going for almost anything. A few white suckers have been brought in. The river is muddy and warming.

Occoquan River: The herring have arrived, and more are on their way. Bass have gone to deeper waters, but should be returning to the shallows soon. Crappie can be had on the boat docks, flooded brush, or suspended in deeper water. To go for shad, use tiny shad darts. According to Charlie "don't be surprised at what you catch. Just about any fish in the river will take these lures." White perch can be tempted by bottom rigs with night crawlers, live minnows, tiny Hopkins spoons, or very small grubs. Largemouth are in the shallows, going for slow rolled spinnerbaits, small shad colored crankbaits and small plastics. Channel cats are attacking clams snouts and cut herring. The water is clear and warming.

Occoquan Reservoir: The main lake coves are the best place to go for bass; they seem to like jig & pig, and slow rolled spinnerbaits. The males are in the shallow coves, while the females are in a little deeper water. Crappie are hiding in the brush, going for minnows and tiny jigs. Cats are fair, but will get better as water warms. The water is clear and warming.

Burke Lake: Bass angling is fair in the lake. Some good ones have been landed with crankbaits, plastic lures and buzzbaits, in the Northern side of the lake's shallow coves. Some muskies have been brought to boat on large spinners. A few small crappie have been taken. The water is clear and warming.

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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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 5 - Northern Piedmont

Landowner illegally setting traps causes injury. On December 28, Conservation Police Officer Isaac Boulanger received a call from Richmond Dispatch in reference to an illegally set trap in Caroline County. Officer Boulanger made contact with the complainant, who advised that he had stepped in a trap that did not have any information attached to it. The following day, Officer Boulanger and Sgt. Paul Atkins searched the area where the complainant had stepped in the trap. Officer Boulanger and Sgt. Atkins found the trap that the complainant had stepped in and immediately realized that the trap was actually a 330 body gripping trap that by regulation was required to be completely submerged in water. Several more 330 body gripping traps were located on the property. Two additional 330's were located set on dry land several yards from a small creek and one 330 was set at the edge of a swampy area above water. Officer Boulanger and Sgt. Atkins also found a beaver carcass next to one of the traps as well as a beaver skull at another location. Officer Boulanger and Sgt. Atkins then decided to set up surveillance on one of the trap sites in an attempt to catch the "trapper" if and when he came to check his traps. The surveillance at the trap site continued for more than a month and it quickly became apparent that the suspect was not checking the traps on a daily basis. Officer Boulanger decided to interview the landowner who was the main suspect in the case. Officer Boulanger obtained a confession from the landowner who claimed that he did not know the traps could not be set on land and that he had to remove the animals he caught. Officer Boulanger obtained 8 magistrate summonses for the landowner for failing to check his traps daily (4 traps), and for setting a trap where it would be likely to injure persons, dogs, stock, or fowl (4 traps). For more information contact Lt. John Cobb (540) 899-4169.

VDGIF Furbearer Biologist, Mike Fies, advises "Nuisance wildlife laws and regulations are complex. Most of the complexity is due to the different Code [of Virginia] Sections that pertain to various wildlife situations. Landowners are permitted to trap and shoot some species of nuisance wildlife at any time. However, you should check with the VDGIF to make sure you are complying with all laws and regulations before taking action".

Master Hunter Education Instructor and Certified Trapping Instructor, Ed Crebbs notes that, "Trapping should only be done by properly trained, experienced and licensed trappers. The landowner in this case violated numerous safety regulations by setting traps improperly and causing injury. The landowner also breached ethical standards by using a water drowning trap on dry land and most notably did not check traps daily. Trappers provide a valuable service by removing nuisance animals and helping manage populations of certain wildlife species."

Landowners experiencing nuisance wildlife problems should be aware that it is illegal to capture and relocate most nuisance animals. There are some exceptions, but usually you are simply moving your problem to someone else. A list of professional trappers who handle nuisance animals is available on the VDGIF Web site. For more information on proper trapping techniques and training opportunities visit the Virginia Trappers Association Web site

Region 1 - Tidewater

Drugs, alcohol and revoked license add up to jail and fines... During the 2007 archery season, CPO Frank Spuchesi received information from the King George County Sheriff's Department about a baited ground blind behind a residence. The Sheriff's Department had recently served a search warrant at the residence for cultivating marijuana in the home. Trophy class deer antlers were also found during the search. CPO Spuchesi had arrested the home owner several years earlier for spotlighting and shooting a decoy deer with a .22 cal. rifle. The suspect's hunting privileges were revoked by the court from that arrest until February of 2008. CPO Spuchesi located a ground blind and found the immediate area to be baited with a feeder filled with corn, apples and a mineral block. On the evening of October 27, 2007, Spuchesi entered the property, found the owner inside the baited blind and in possession of a loaded .22 cal rifle. The suspect had recently consumed a beer and smoked marijuana. Found in the blind were a bottle of doe in heat scent lure, an empty beer can, a plastic baggie containing marijuana with a lighter and smoking device. The suspect was charged with hunting deer during the closed season, hunting deer with a rifle less than .23 cal., hunting in a baited area, hunting while revoked, hunting under the influence and possession of marijuana. It was also determined that the suspect had purchased hunting licenses during the past two hunting seasons. This past week the defendant plead no contest to all his game violation charges and the possession of marijuana. He received $6,000 in fines ($1,000 suspended), one year in jail (all but ten days suspended), 25 years revocation of hunting privileges and had to forfeit the .22 rifle. For more information contact Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6580.

Region 2 - Southside

Determined investigation and interstate cooperation lead to arrest in PWC accident. Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke recently completed a six month long investigation that resulted in charges brought against two suspects involved in a boating accident that occurred on Lake Gaston back on September 3, 2007. The case involved two individuals who were illegally operating a personal watercraft (PWC) that was rented out of North Carolina (NC). The two men allegedly struck another PWC from behind, knocking the victim into the water and causing damage to the victim's PWC. The victim, who amazingly did not suffer major injury, attempted to get the two men's information and called authorities. The two suspects then became confrontational with the victim and made obscene gestures before driving from the scene. Officer VanDyke began his investigation with only a NC boat number that came back to a NC rental business. Once Officer VanDyke found out that the suspects who operating the PWC turned out not to be the individuals who actually rented the PWC, this created a considerable investigatory challenge. However, through hard work, determination, and good investigative skills, Officer VanDyke was able to track down the suspects, both of whom have extensive criminal histories and live in the Washington DC area. Warrants have been obtained for the suspect operator for "Reckless Operation" and "failing to stop and render assistance" at the scene of a motorboat crash. Warrants for failing to stop and render assistance have also been obtained for the suspected passenger. Captain Ron Henry acknowledged the valuable assistance provided to VDGIF by the North Carolina Fish and Wildlife Law Division and the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. Solving this tough case is a great example of intra-state and inter-state cooperation. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

While conducting a foot patrol on the last day of the 2006-07 deer season, Master Conservation Police Officer Carl Martin found 35 deer heads and other parts dumped in a wooded area in Frederick County. He decided to work the area the following hunting season. On November 27, 2007, Officer Martin began surveillance of the area where the deer parts were being dumped. After three hours, Officer Martin saw a subject driving a garden tractor into the wooded area; a cart behind the tractor contained two large containers of deer parts. After the individual dumped the first container, Martin exited his area of concealment and approached the suspect. This individual had been processing deer for friends. Martin counted 14 deer heads in the area, and he began to gather information. Through the course of the investigation, 17 people were interviewed. With the assistance of Matt Knox, Deer Project Leader for the Wildlife Division, telephone confirmation numbers were verified and hunting license numbers were checked against the telephone checking system. The investigation concluded with six people being charged with twelve violations including hunting without a license, hunting without a deer, bear, turkey license, failure to notch license, failure to check deer, and illegal possession. For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

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 Forecast
  • Getting Your Boat Water-Ready
  • Creating a Butterfly Garden
Whip-poor-will. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

(Caprimulgus vociferous)
by Spike Knuth

The whip-poor-will is a bird that many people can identify by its call, but have probably never seen. One reason is that it is active only at night. Once in awhile, late at night, or early in the morning before sunrise, you might flush one from some small side road through woodlands, seeing its eyes glowing red in your headlights. If you've spent a night in a cabin in the woods, or live near undisturbed woodlands, you've heard them call. A pleasant-sounding call at first, but its incessant calling can become annoying! Tape recordings have revealed that they may repeat their calls consistently more than 1,000 times

The whip-poor-will's scientific name is "cave mouth with a strong voice," a reference to its large mouth and loud calling. It is a member of the goatsucker family, which includes the Chuck-wills-widow, the call of which starts with a "chuck," and the nighthawk, a more pointed wing cousin of the cities. Nightjar is another of its family names.

Whip-poor-wills are 9-1/2 to 10-1/2 inches long. They are dressed in variegated browns, buffs and blacks, providing them with natural camouflage, making them almost invisible. Their wings are large and rounded, they have a rounded tail, and a large mouth surrounded by stiff bristles which helps them catch and hold winged insects. Moths, beetles, and mosquitoes are their main foods. They prefer undisturbed woods and will come to clearings in the woods, or adjacent fields to call. This is where it nests, usually under dense vegetative cover. Two eggs are laid in the leaves. If an intruder happens upon the nest, the female will feign an injured wing and try to lure the interloper away.

Their numbers have diminished as our subdivisions have moved outward into wooded areas. Whip-poor-wills usually leave Virginia by early October and winter along the South Atlantic Coast from the Carolinas to Florida and along the Gulf Coast.


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.

March 2008
24-30 Crappie Week, Kerr Reservoir.
29 Torsten-Peterson Chapter NWTF JAKES Hunting Workshop, Tarbay Gun Club, Prince George, contact Roy Cox (804) 768-0441.
29 Page Valley Sportsmen's Club, Inc. and Skyline Strutters Chapter of NWTF youth turkey hunting training. Luray. Contact Art Kasson at (540) 622-6103 or email
29 Virginia Wildlife Foundation and Central Virginia Chapter NWTF, Turkey Hunting/Ecology Workshop, Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle County. Contact Jenny West at (757) 566-4000 or email
29-30 Trout Unlimited National Capital Angling Show, Frederick, MD.
30 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
April 2008

Check the Kids Fishing Days Calendar for Events Scheduled in April! (PDF)

1 Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Meeting, Richmond City.
4-6 Becoming an Outdoors Woman, Holiday Lake 4-H Center, Appomattox. Contact
5 Jack Randolph River Fest, Hopewell. Contact Serita Jennings at Hopewell Parks and Recreation,
5 Heritage Trout Day, Graves Mountain Lodge, Madison County.
5 Special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt
5 Turkey Hunting Workshop for Youth, Cedar Mountain Youths, Culpeper. Contact John Dodson at (540) 543-2070.
5 Turkey Hunt for Youth. Virginia Wildlife Foundation and the Central Virginia Chapter of NWTF at Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle County. Pre-registration required. Contact Jenny West at (757) 566-4000 or email
13 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
19-20 Lake Country Wildlife Art Festival and Decoy Competition, Marine Corps League, South Hill. Contact Ron Seward at (434) 636-3138 or
19-20 8th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, South River, Waynesboro.
20 JAKES Event, NWTF Little Switzerland Strutters Chapter, Highland County. Contact Michael Hillbert at (540) 468-3884.
27 Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro.
May 2008

Check the Kids Fishing Days Calendar for Events Scheduled in May! (PDF)

3 Canoe Fishing Workshop, Gloucester.
10 NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. Women's Turkey Hunt, Charles City Chapter. Bass Pro Hampton. Contact Priscilla Page at (410) 378-2064.

NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. Rockbridge Chapter. Lexington. Contact Priscilla Page at (410) 378-2064.

17 Outdoor Beach Women, Virginia Beach. Contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or
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.

Coyote, groundhog, & skunk: Continuous open season on private land only.
Beginning in January 2008
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.
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.

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


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 15,000 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 -