VDGIF Task Force Dispatched to Gulf for Hurricane Assistance
On August 31, Governor Timothy M. Kaine dispatched a Task Force team of 30 VDGIF law enforcement officers and two wildlife workers to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to the threat of Hurricane Gustav, a major storm aiming for the Gulf Coast. The Task Force staged at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries taking 27 boats, generators and fuel to provide support for search and rescue efforts. The team took enough of their own provisions so they would be entirely self-sufficient the first four days after the hurricane hit. All members of the team are trained to work in law enforcement as well as search, rescue and evacuation operations in high water areas. The team is equipped with chainsaws, axes, extra fuel, parts and equipment designed for self-sufficiency in the bayou areas of south Louisiana.
It was expected that the team would work for about a week before returning to Virginia. The officers were staged to assist with search and rescue and evacuation of New Orleans. The storm made landfall west of New Orleans with much less power than had been anticipated. After evaluating the damage, Louisiana released all the officers. Governor Kaine had activated the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, August 29, to help states on the Gulf Coast prepare for and respond to the potential impacts of Hurricane Gustav. EMAC is a national interstate mutual aid agreement that enables states to share resources during times of disaster. It is comforting to know that Virginia has an outstanding team of highly trained and dedicated emergency responders should the need arise for their services here in the Commonwealth.
To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
Access Temporarily Closed to Fluvanna Ruritan Lake September 10-12
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) plans to have a contractor completing a culvert repair project at Fluvanna Ruritan Lake, in Fluvanna County, during September 10 through 12, 2008, and this repair work will require that the access road be closed to public traffic. The access road drainage and culvert system at Fluvanna Ruritan Lake has been inadequate for many years and VDGIF hopes this upcoming project will solve many of the chronic road maintenance problems. The three-day work project has been scheduled Wednesday through Friday to minimize inconvenience with the lake expected to be open to fishing for the weekend. Questions concerning this work should be directed to Johnathan Harris, VDGIF District Fisheries Biologist, in Richmond at 804-367-6764.
Hunters and Anglers To Celebrate National Hunting & Fishing Day September 27
Virginia's 857,000 hunters and anglers have good reason to celebrate National Hunting & Fishing Day September 27. Sportsmen pay for conservation and support wildlife and natural resource management through license fees and self imposed excise taxes on outdoor gear. Sportsmen are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $1.3 billion a year on hunting and fishing in Virginia, according to a new report produced by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. The new report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.
Join in the celebration... Numerous sportsman's groups are hosting family oriented events to provide training and skill development for youth and novice hunters and anglers throughout September and October. Find one near you and participate and celebrate our rich hunting and fishing heritage.
Quail Unlimited Hosts Youth Appreciation Day September 27 in Bumpass
The Central Virginia Chapter of Quail Unlimited and the Dove Sportsman's Society are hosting the 2nd Annual Youth Appreciation Day at "Breezewood" near Bumpass in celebration of National Hunting & Fishing Day. From 9:00 a.m.
- 6:00 p.m. guided activities will be available including: fishing, sporting clays, archery, tree climbing, ATV safety and pointer dog demos. Live quail and dove hunting are available on a first come/first served basis with pre-registration required. For information contact Lanny Woolfolk by email: email@example.com.
Family Outdoor Festival in Farmville September 27
VDGIF in partnership with the Riverside Community Church and area Hunter Education Instructors is sponsoring a Family Outdoor Festival at the Five County Fairgrounds in Farmville September 27 from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Come participate in lots of outdoor skill activities including sporting clays, 3-D archery, VDGIF Hunting simulator and fishing pond. For more information call (434) 547-6770 or visit www.riversidec2.org.
JAKES Event at Page Valley Sportsmen's Club September 13
The NWTF Skyline Strutters Chapter and the Page Valley Sportsmen's Club are hosting a JAKES event September 13 in Luray. Sessions will be offered in shotgun, air rifle, small bore rifle, archery and muzzleloading. Non-shooting sessions will also be offered. There is no charge and lunch will be provided. The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required, contact Art Kasson
at (540) 622-6103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JAKES Outdoor Day at Centreville September 20
The National Capital Area Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation in partnership with the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) is hosting a JAKES Youth Outdoor Day October 4 at the IWLA park in Centreville starting at 8:00 a.m. Learn .22 rifle and shotgun from qualified instructors, as well as archery, fishing, turkey biology and turkey hunting tactics. Admission is free and lunch is provided. Registration is limited. For information contact Kevin Walter (484) 951-1275, or email: email@example.com.
Rockbridge JAKES Event September 26-28
The Rockbridge Chapter of the National Wild turkey Federation (NWTF) is hosting their annual JAKES event September 26-28 at the Zollman Pavillion near Lexington. This event has been awarded Best JAKES Event in the Nation by the NWTF twice in previous years. For details on activities and registration visit the VA NWTF Web site. Billy Hall, event
organizer and NWTF Regional Director, reminds participants that, "Adults must be accompanied by a child!"
Caledon Site for JAKES Outdoor Day October 4
The Fredericksburg Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is hosting a JAKES Outdoor Day October 4 at Caledon Natural Area in King George County from 9:00 a.m.
- 3:00 p.m. A variety of activities are planned including turkey hunting tactics, calling, archery, air-rifle, photography, GPS and a demonstration by the King George Sheriff's K-9 unit. Admission is free and lunch is provided. Pre-registration is required by calling between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. to Caledon State Park (540) 663-3861 or King George Parks
& Rec (540) 775-4386. For information call Buddy Fines (540) 775-7294.
Turkey Hunting Opportunities Expanded For Youth
New this season is the Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day established for youth 15 years of age and younger on October 18 and the Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Day hunting hours were extended to sunset during the youth spring hunt. Also note starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For further information on harvest data and season changes contact Gary Norman at (540) 248-9389, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
16th Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival September 18-21
Don't miss the 16th annual Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival September 18
- 21. This is one of the premier wildlife viewing events on the East Coast. Virginia's Eastern Shore funnels huge numbers of migrating songbirds, raptors and shorebirds down the Delmarva Peninsula. This spectacular natural event offers a unique opportunity to appreciate Virginia's wild heritage.
The keynote address will be given by world renowned birder and author Pete Dunne. Don't miss the excitement of seeing flying raptors up close with TALONS
- A Bird of Prey Experience. Master Falconer Lorrie Schumacher will thrill and inform with this spectacular show. The Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival offers boat and land based trips to a variety of beautiful spots on the shore - many not generally open to the public. Register and reserve your spot today!
The Wildlife Viewing Platform at Willis Wharf will be dedicated in a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on September 19 in conjunction with the Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival. This platform will support existing ecotourism projects at the site including a floating kayak dock of the Virginia Seaside Heritage Trail. Enhancing ecotourism will allow the community to maintain the traditional lifeways of a working waterfront. DGIF has also designed interpretive signage to help visitors identify wildlife and understand the creek's ecology. For information on the Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail's Eastern Shore Loop,
see the VBWT website.
Tracking Workshop at Holiday Lake October 10-12
A symposium for everyone interested in man or animal tracking is scheduled for October 10-12, at the Holiday Lake 4-H Education Center near Appomattox. This gathering of practicing trackers is an excellent tracking skills development opportunity sponsored by the International Society of Professional Trackers and hosted by The Wilderness Discovery School, directed by Roy Hutchinson. Roy is a VDGIF Hunter Education and Outdoor Education Volunteer Instructor with an extensive background in tracking, training military, police, emergency services personnel and the general public. The three day event has numerous presentations and field exercises for novice and experienced trackers. Registration is required by September 22. For program information visit the Holiday Lake 4-H Center Web site, or contact Roy Hutchinson, email: email@example.com
or call 1-877-614-5289.
Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Events in September
- 19 - Wheelin' 'n the Green Golf Tourney - Buena Vista
- 20 - Goose Hunt with Va Waterfowlers Assoc. - Henrico Co.
- 20 - Outdoor Day V - Shenandoah Stone - Raphine
The schedule for 16 Wheelin' Sportsmen sponsored deer hunts from November 3 through December 29 has been set. Application deadline is October 1st. For details on these and other events and hunt event applications visit: www.vanwtf.com. Interested in volunteering to assist with an event or have a friend that is interested? Visit the Virginia National Wild Turkey Federation Web site to find numerous links to opportunities and information.
Fishing Workshop at Bear Creek Lake State Park October 18th
VDGIF Angler Education Program is hosting a Fishing Workshop October 18 at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland. This is a great workshop for the whole family and a great opportunity to learn the basics of fishing and enjoy the crisp fall air while fishing in Bear Creek Lake, noted Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator. The fishing action will be great for this event. Crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish will be jumping on our lines! Stay the weekend in Bear Creek Lake State Park's brand new cabins - they really are nice - no roughing it here (hardwood floors, stone fireplace). The only disadvantage is that you may never want to leave the cabin! Campsites are also available if you prefer. Click here for park reservations.
Learn more about upcoming workshops and find a registration form at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
People and Partners in the News
Go Wild at the State Fair
The Virginia Natural Resource Agencies will be together this year at the Virginia State Fair in the Antique Village area. VDGIF Wildlife Education Coordinator Suzie Gilley, who has developed the State Fair exhibits for many years, notes that, "Visitors will be able to crawl through a soils tunnel, hold snakes, and learn about forests, historic resources, state parks and more all in the same location." The Antique Village is located on the Laburnum Avenue side of RIR near the main gate. Come see us. For more information about the state fair visit: www.statefairva.org. The fair runs from September 25 to October 5, 2008.
Hunters for the Hungry Fundraising Event in
Salem September 27
One of the most beneficial programs that hunters
and non-hunters alike can support is Hunters for the
Hungry (H4H). This is a win-win program where an
abundant, nutritional natural resource - venison, is
harvested by community caring sportsmen and donated
to local food banks to help neighbors who need
assistance with feeding their families. The benefits
to wildlife management are also well noted. The one
area that limits the full potential benefit of the
program is the funding to pay the $30 processing for
each donated harvested deer. The program remains
cost-effective, averaging a cost of 80 cents per
pound for processing. Thus, they are able to package
5 servings of venison for every dollar donated. In
2007 the program set a record by processing and
distributing 363,484 pounds of venison.
If you want a great way to celebrate National
Hunting & Fishing Day and the bountiful blessings
you have, join fellow sportsmen on September 27,
when WSLS-TV 10, Dave Sarmadi Mitsubishi and the
Sportsman's Warehouse host and sponsor a fundraising
event for H4H. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at
the Dave Sarmadi Mitsubishi 1830 West Main Street in
Salem Come enjoy an evening of food, fun, and
fellowship while helping to make a difference in the
lives of many less fortunate in our community and
our state. Event includes dinner, dessert, and
beverages, a variety of raffles as well as live and
silent auctions of donated merchandise. The cost is
$20 single; $35.00 per couple. For tickets or
additional information contact: Jeff Fletcher (540)
985-6523, or Fred & Phyllis Wells (540) 992-3874.
Visit the Hunters
for the Hungry Web site for additional
Basic Trapper Training Courses Offered in October
The Virginia Trappers Association is sponsoring two Basic Trapper Training Courses in October. These hands-on classes are free, but pre-registration is required. All youths under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Saturday, October 4 from 7:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at 175 Waldrop Road Gordonsville. Hamburger and hotdog lunch is provided or bring your own. To register contact Charlaine Crebbs at
(540) 832-2708, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Saturday, October 18 from 7:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Good Farm in Monterey. Bring your own lunch or take your chances with whatever the instructors may provide. For information, contact Scott Painter (540) 289-9427, or email: email@example.com.
For information on the many services of the Virginia Trappers Association visit their Web site: www.virginiatrappers.org.
Forest Landowners' Retreat at Holiday Lake October 24-26
Join fellow forest landowners, the Virginia Department of Forestry and Virginia Cooperative Extension for an interactive weekend learning about actively managing your woodlands. The Forest Landowners' Retreat: Discovering Value in Your Forest workshop is scheduled for October 24-26 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. "This first-of-its-kind retreat for forest landowners in Virginia will be an outstanding opportunity for people to learn the real value of their woodlands," said Neil Clark of the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE). "With the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest as our 'classroom,' participants will be fully engaged in this interactive learning experience that will help them deal with the many issues they confront on a daily basis." Topics for the retreat include: pine and hardwood management; timber appraisals and sales; wildlife habitat improvement; soil and water resource protection; land conservation strategies; alternative forestry crops, and more. Of Virginia's 15.8 million forested acres, more than 12 million acres are the property of nearly 400,000 private landowners. For details and registration, contact Neil Clark at (757) 657-6450 x 406 during business hours of 8:00 a.m.
- 4:30p.m. Registration is due by September 22. Cost is $35/person; $50/couple for lodgers, $25/person; $35/couple for commuters.
32nd Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours Scheduled for October
Join fellow forest landowners and a host of natural resource professionals for a fun and exciting day in the woods learning about forest and wildlife management! On-site check-in for all tours begins at 8 a.m.; tours begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. All tours will finish no later than 5:00 p.m. Registration fee of $45 includes a tasty lunch, refreshments, materials and transportation. Please register at least one week prior to the tour date.
- October 2 - Fort Pickett/Nottoway County - for more information contact Jason Fisher - firstname.lastname@example.org (434) 476-2147
- October 10 - Montgomery/Giles Counties - for more information contact Jennifer Gagnon
- email@example.com (540) 231-6391
- October 15 - Rockbridge County- for more information contact Matt Yancey
- firstname.lastname@example.org (540) 564-3080
- October 16 - Essex County - for more information contact Helen Heck
- email@example.com (804) 443-1118
Tours will take place rain or shine. MeadWestvaco is providing a limited number of scholarships for K-12 teachers to cover registration. First come, first served. Contact Jennifer Gagnon firstname.lastname@example.org
at (540) 231-6391, or visit their Web site.
Hunting News You Can Use!
The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in getting ready for hunting season, or reports of interest compiled from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk.
Wildlife Regulatory Issue Meetings Scheduled Through September in 12 Locations
There are 12 of the 20 VDGIF Wildlife Regulatory Issue Meetings remaining, scheduled around the state to receive public comment and opportunities for interested sportsmen and citizens to meet with Wildlife Division staff to review proposals for changes in hunting regulations for the 2009-2010 hunting season. All meetings will be from 6:00 p.m.
- 9:00 p.m. at the locations scheduled. For site location schedule and directions click here.
"What's New" for 2008-09
Get your free copy of the new 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest an see what's new this season. The booklet has a new look this year with color-coded page tabs for the different sections including: What's New, Licenses, Regulations, Hunting Lands, Bear, Deer Turkey, Small Game, Trapping and an Index. There is an entire page listing new regulations, expanded seasons and other hunter friendly changes this year entitled "What's New". We will be featuring details of these new opportunities in each of the next editions of the Outdoor Report through September. A PDF format is available on the VDGIF Web site along with feature articles on the topics listed in the digest.
For Season Updates and New Regulations For Hunting Migratory Birds Click On:
Apprentice Hunting License: A New Way To Get Involved In Hunting
Virginians interested in learning how to hunt and Virginia hunters eager to share their sport with friends and family now have a way to make it easier to pair up! An apprentice license can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing the Department's hunter education course. However, apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license.
Completion of the hunter education course can take place at any point during the two-year period. Doing so will provide the apprentice with necessary proof of course passage to purchase the basic hunting license and continue hunting once the "test drive" period is over.
What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.
Upcoming Sportsman's Shows
Take a Friend, Make a Hunter…Be sure and visit the VDGIF exhibits at upcoming sportsmen's shows this fall. These are excellent opportunities to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience. The trophy bucks on display can provide some inspiration too!
September 13-14: Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, Southampton Co. Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the hound hunting issue and new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern region of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. For Contest rules and information: www.vpsa.org
September 20-21: SVHEC Hunting/Fishing Expo, Abingdon Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is hosting a Hunting/Fishing Expo on September 20-21, 2008 in Abingdon. VDGIF is participating by offering the Hunter Education Course, providing additional educational programs, demonstrating the fishing/hunting simulator, and SVHEC will provide computers for guests to obtain their license online during the event. Kim Stewart, Director for the event, noted that exhibitor spaces are still available for vendors, seminar presenters and all organizations/associations affiliated with hunting and fishing to participate. For information visit: www.swcenter.edu
September 27-28: 69th Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest. More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg , sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy and more. This year the Western Regional is also the State Championship. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org.
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Tree Stand Safety Tips for Both the Beginner and Experienced Hunter
Among the hundreds of volunteer Hunter Education Instructors, Dick Holdcraft stands out as the "tree stand expert," based on over 40 years as a career safety manager and instructor. Dick has taught for VDGIF as a Master Instructor since 1993, and has taught the tree stand safety course 40 times to over 600 Hunter Education Instructors. We appreciate Dick's dedication and service to his fellow sportsmen and thank him for providing this sage advice to our readers...
Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time in the field, now is the time to prepare if you are going to use a tree stand. Here are some tips to help you prepare and stay safe.
Go For Quality Design
Use a well designed and built, sturdy tree stand. Tree stands manufactured by the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association (TMA) that have been built since 2006, are commercially designed and tested to meet recognized industry standards.
Heed Instructions - Practice Use
Read and understand the manufacturer's instructions on the use of your tree stand before using it. You should practice using the tree stand in the morning and evening hours. As the saying goes; "Perfect practice makes perfect."
Inspect for Dangerous Wear
Carefully inspect your tree stand for wear, rust, metal fatigue and cracks, loose, or missing nuts or bolts, rot and deterioration before and after each use. Tighten loose nuts and bolts and replace rusty or worn hardware. Check straps or chains or other attachment devices for wear and replace if they are unsafe.
Check for Defect Recall
You should also check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if your stand has been recalled due to safety defects. In the search field type in the words tree stand, then click on the link for your stand. Contact the manufacturer if it has been recalled.
Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors from
across the state will attend advanced training
classes at Holiday Lake 4-H Education Center during
the weekend of September 20 and 21, 2008. They will
receive instruction in firearms skills, wildlife
management, and hunting ethics. Information gained
during the instruction will be used to enhance their
teaching of the 300 basic Hunter Education courses
held each year statewide. About 14,000 students
attend the Hunter Education course annually, and
VDGIF's cadre of 800 volunteer instructors are
critical for meeting the need for these classes.
If you would like to learn more about opportunities on how to become a Hunter Education Instructor, or sponsoring a Hunter Education Course for novice outdoorsmen, visit our Web site. There are numerous Hunter Education Classes scheduled for this fall. The mandatory 10 hour course is offered free of charge in a variety of formats to accommodate student schedules. The classes are taught by trained volunteer instructors. To find one near you visit the VDGIF web site or call 1-866-604-1122.
Remember: Always Harness Up - Before You Climb Up!
Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
VDGIF reminds all boaters to
boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe
while out on our waterways. All boaters should:
Remember safety and courtesy are free, share
"Green Tips" For Outdoor Enthusiasts
This new section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoor enthusiasts can join with others to do simple things in your outdoor pursuits that can make a big difference in keeping Virginia "green" and wildlife "wild" to benefit us all.
Gas Prices Have Hunters Exploring Local Opportunities
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently reported that according to research conducted by Southwick Associates' HunterSurvey.com, "40 percent of hunters indicated that rising gas prices will cause them to reduce their outdoor activities or reduce their travel distance." For many hunters, that 300-mile drive to deer camp may be put on hold this year. Unwilling -- or unable -- to spend more on gasoline than licenses and lodging, many hunters are checking out their options closer to home. Realizing that gaining access to both public and private land can be one of a hunter's most daunting challenges, the VDGIF developed the
Find Game program two years ago.
Find Game is an interactive Web-based map viewer designed by VDGIF to provide information about hunting quality, land location, and access. Find Game allows you to map hunting areas by location and/or by game species on public hunting lands including: VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas, State Parks, State and National Forests, Military Installations, National Wildlife Refuges and other special hunting opportunities. Find Game features 3.5 million acres of public hunting land with land manager contact information, site description, facilities available, access information, and associated Web links for each of the 120 properties. While Find Game provides a wealth of information, VDGIF strongly recommends that hunters contact local land managers before traveling to a hunting destination. Hunting access and regulations change over time, so check Find Game often!
The Find Game program was made possible with significant grant funding from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Hunting Heritage Partnership Program. The NSSF helps sportsmen locate places to hunt at www.huntandshoot.org.
Point. Click. Map. Find Virginia's public hunting lands!
Habitat Improvement Tips
Effective September 1, Feeding Deer Is Prohibited in Virginia
Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. The regulation designating the prohibition went into effect in 2006. This regulation does NOT restrict the planting of crops such as corn and soybeans, wildlife food plots, and backyard or schoolyard habitats. It is intended to curb the artificial feeding of deer that leads to negative consequences. Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; disease transmission, including tuberculosis as well as many deer diseases; and human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions and inappropriate semi-taming of wildlife. In addition, feeding deer has many law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused problems for law enforcement.
The negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. If you are not feeding deer, you should not start. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. Feeding deer is against the law between September 1 and the first Saturday in January, January 3, 2009. If anyone sees or suspects someone of illegally feeding deer during this time period, or observes any wildlife violations, please report it to the Department's Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712. To learn more about Virginia wildlife regulations visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
New Web Page Offers Help for Private Pond Owners
"How do I get rid of the weeds in my pond?" This is by far the most common question asked by pond owners when they call DGIF for help managing their private fishing ponds and lakes. If you are one of those pond owners, you have to check this out: VDGIF Aquatic Plant Identification and Treatment.
VDGIF is proud to announce that there is a now a brand new page on our Web site that was specifically developed to help individuals identify aquatic plants, look at various options for treating problem aquatic plants (weeds), and decide on a treatment approach. This new page should save private pond owners a lot of time trying to decide where to begin and what to do, and make it much easier to make decisions on their own, without having to track down outside advice.
VDGIF hopes this is another positive example of the Agency's continuing efforts to reach out to our constituents.
Anglers throughout Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more than 25 license agents, marinas, fishing guides and bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares this Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report.
The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.
The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested. Consult the regional location map to find the major river or lake you want to know about.
For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web
Lake Thompson is Drained and Closed
Lake Thompson, a 10-acre lake on the VDGIF's G.
Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in
Fauquier County, has recently drained and is now
closed to fishing. The drain near the lake bottom,
failed somewhere along its course upstream of the
outlet pipe and, unfortunately, the lake drained.
VDGIF's Fisheries Facilities Engineer, in
consultation with contract dam safety engineers,
will now evaluate potential repairs to the drain
system and conduct additional assessments of the
entire outlet structure and emergency spillway that
need extensive renovations to meet current
Department of Conservation and Recreation Dam Safety
Sara White's Notebook
We've all had big ol' fish we thought might be a record, but then turned out to be just a big ol' fish. Alert reader Diane Ditzler sends us this funny fish story from her home in Pennsylvania:
A few weeks ago my husband Gary was fishing
above Kerr Dam and caught a gar and a few good fish!
Anyway, the reason he brought this thing home is
because of the way it looked and because it was
really big. We live in Pennsylvania, but have a
home in Red Oak, so we are not
"up" on gar! Gary was quite excited about this fish; it
was so ugly and had dangerous-looking teeth.
I went online to see if this
gar was big. I looked up the Virginia state record.
I could only find something from 1987 — that fish had
been certified by weight only and not by length. Now, I only looked this up after Gary kept telling me how darn big that
My husband quickly measured and cleaned the
gar. It measured 48", but he never got around to
weighing it, which is required for certification
for a state record. When I told him what the
state record was he really wished he had weighed
it before cleaning it. We had a very interesting day with the
gar and Gary had fun catching him and bringing him home for us to see.
To find out if you have landed a whopper that
might make the record books you will want to look at
the official Virginia State Record Fish List and
read the rules for Certifying a State Record Fish.
Region 1 - Tidewater
Chickahominy River: Alton Williams from River's Rest reports that things have been "dead" due to the recent heavy rains. Before the rains however, a local angler, fishing for cats, landed a few rockfish! Cats have been looking good lately, going for cut bait and eel. No word on crappie or bluegill. The water is cooling and dingy.
North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins of West Neck Marina tells us that the recent storms have made things slow. Before the rain, however, lots of bass were being landed on topwater lures early and late and crankbaits and spinners during the day. Lots of white perch are coming in on night crawlers and small jigs. Not much word on crappie, as the water has been too warm. The recent rains should cool things down and bring the crappie back. A few cats have been landed on cut bait and night crawlers. The water is cooling down.
Norfolk Lakes River: Drew Dixion of Dasheel's Show Room says that a 12 to 13 pound citation channel cat was brought in recently. Bass are going after top water lures early and late. Some crappie have been landed on minnows. Bream are going for crickets and red wigglers. Local spot are being fooled by blood worms and artificial blood worms. Croakers like squid. The water is cooling and dingy.
Region 2 - Southside
Fishing the "Calm after the Storm" at Briery
By Danny Freeman, Maryland
I was determined not to let the forecast of
Hurricane Hannah threaten our plans for a much
anticipated return to Briery Creek Lake near
Farmville - one of my favorite places to fish.
Watching the storms rapid run up the East coast, we
got there early Friday morning and got settled and
hit the water. Friday was a great day, the fish were
feeling the change in barometric pressure with the
front coming and they were feeding. We caught 20-25
fish on Friday. No big ones just a bunch of one to
three pounders. We released all the catches. Of
course the weather came in on Friday night and
Saturday morning but by noon on Saturday the
conditions had subsided enough to hit the lake
again. We had a blast with all the rain the water
was now about three to four inches over the lily
pads. We used Mann's one minus crank baits which run
about 1-2 inches under the surface. There is nothing
like a top water hit and we had a lot of them we
would slowly crank the baits over the pads and Wham!
Again nothing big but I don't know how many 1-3
pounders we caught before that bite started to die
down. We then moved to a little deeper water and
used some deeper crank baits but it wasn't working
to well so we slowed things down and started
throwing Berkley bungee and power worms and caught
several more and this time there was a couple of 3
1/2 pounders and I caught one 5 lbs 2 oz. He hit a
dark blue with red flecks bungee worm in about 8
feet of water right up against a tree trunk (there's
plenty of those in Briery).
Sunday morning we were on the water at the crack
of dawn and it was a completely different day. For
the first three hours we couldn't buy a bite on
anything except we did have something that I have
never seen before. We caught a big bluegill on of
all things a buzz bait. Finally after several hours
of trying about everything from top water buzz baits
to DT16 crank baits and getting down 12 to 16 feet
in the standing timber we tried some more Berkley
worms on the sharp steep banks that dropped off
almost immediately to around 20-25 feet and we were
casting right against the bank and then just
crawling the worms down the steep drop offs and
managed to catch about 6 to 8 more 1 to 3 pounders
before we had to start home around 2pm. Attached is
a picture of the five pounder and the lake like a
mirror after the storm. We will be going back soon!
Kerr Reservoir: Brandon Gray of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store reports that a few bass have been brought in on crankbaits. The fishing in general should improve after the lake has had time to settle after the recent rains. Crappie fishing is picking up on deep brush piles during the day; minnows and jigs are your best bet. The cats are still in their summer pattern, but can be fooled by shad, bream and large shiners. The water is cooling and cloudy.
James at Lynchburg: Unfortunately local expert Tom Reisdorf has been on vacation all week; and no one else knows what's hitting in that region. Next report should be better.
Smith Mountain Lake: By Mike Snead, edited by Sarah W. Overall, the fishing has been very challenging. While there are stripers from 18 to 24 inches being caught, the better quality fish have proven difficult to find and catch over the past two weeks. Stripers continue to be caught by anglers trolling the popular three way rigs with Sutton spoons, swimbaits (sassy shad) and bucktails. Most anglers continue to use lead core line outfits to troll these rigs although downriggers and weighted lines will certainly work as well. Stripers are also hitting Umbrella rigs trolled with leadcore, braid and monofilament line. Good areas for striped bass include the deep water inside and near the mouths of the major creeks, especially the sections close to a creek entry into the main lake. Stripers continue to move in large schools in the middle and lower sections of the lake. Generally smaller fish are being caught in the lower lake closer to the dam and larger stripers are being found schooled up in the mid lake sections above the intersection of the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers. Stripers are being located using fish finders from 25 feet to 65 feet below the surface. Once schools are located stripers can be caught using live bait on downlines, flukes on jigheads, bucktails, lipless crankbaits and spoons. Casting, counting down and retrieving bucktails and flukes on jigheads is another popular technique for deep-water striped bass.
There were several reports of stripers breaking on the surface last week. The breaks came in a number of different locations around the lake, usually early and late in the day. Good topwater lures include the large Pop'R, Gunfish, Sammy, Spook, Striper Strike or Pencil Popper. Flukes on belly weighted Falcon hooks, spoons and lightweight bucktails will also work on breaking stripers.
The bass fishing this past week continued to be difficult too. The number of quality bass being caught is down from several weeks ago and the overall tournament weights reflect the challenging fishing conditions. Some suggest the lower water levels and water temperature are in part responsible for the more difficult fishing conditions. Bass are still being caught both shallow and deep. A number of smaller fish are being found under deep water docks where they are being caught on Gary Yamamoto Yamasenko (Senko) worms and pig and jigs. Bass are also being found suspended off the bottom in deep water. These fish are being caught using deep diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms on Texas and Carolina rigs. Fish that are holding near the bottom off dock pilings and the bottom in deep water can be caught using drop shot rigs with light finesse worms like those by Roboworm, ZOOM and Deep Creek. If you are new to fishing deep with Carolina rigs, you can either build your own rig or you can purchase one of the pre-assembled rigs available in the shop.
Last week's Tuesday Night Tournament was won by the team of Maurice and Richard Oakes with a total weight of 10.35 pounds. Al Galliher and Dante Villa brought the big fish weighing 4.70 pounds to the scales Tuesday. The weekly Friday Night State Park Tournament was not held this past week, but will resume this coming weekend when the first of the final two events will be held. The last Saturday Night Foxport Marina Tournament of the year was held this past weekend. The team of Ben and Michelle McCall won the event with a total weight of 8.10 pounds. The team of Dennis "Chicken" Holland and Paul Perrault caught the big fish weighing 3.75 pounds Saturday. The SMLBass Tournament this past Sunday was won by the team of Greg Peters and David Martin with a total weight of 16 pounds 5 ounces. Randy and Austin Hicks brought in a weight of 10 pounds 3 ounces to claim second place. Jason Worley and Kevin Gabbert had the big fish at the SMLBass event. For information about local open tournaments or to arrange to have the results of your tournament included in this report, just call the Virginia Outdoorsman on (540) 721-4867. Panfish continue to be caught using "red wiggler" worms on small hooks and hair jigs tipped with small minnows. Channel catfish continue to hit prepared baits, like those by Magic Bait, fished with a spring hook on a bottom rig. Flathead catfish are still hitting nightcrawlers as well as live shiners, panfish and shad.
Last week's rain was certainly welcome and although many areas received rainfall exceeding 3 inches, it did not bring the lake water level up as much as many hoped. The Smith Mountain Lake water level is currently 791.5 feet, which is still 3.5 feet below full pond. The forecast is for warm weather the first half of the week with high temperatures reaching 90 degrees and low temperatures around 60 degrees. The high temperature will drop starting on Friday and extend into next week. There is only a slight chance of rain during the week, but we could see showers or an isolated thunderstorm over the weekend and early part of next week. There will be limited moonlight at night as we approach the next first quarter moon this coming Sunday, September 7th. Tight lines and be safe on the water.
Region 3 - Southwest
Claytor Lake: Mike Burchett says that the cats are biting on Catawba bean tree worms and live shad. The bass have been slow, but can be had over grass with 4 ½ inch Robo Worms rigged drop shot. No word on crappie. Stripers are active in the early morning around Dublin and Roseberry Hollows. The water is stained and cooling.
Lower New River: The ever jovial John Zienius of Big Z's reports that the water is "really, really low". Some jet boats can get in, but not many. Your best bet is to wade or raft. The fishing, however, is good
- if you can get to the aqueous creatures. Smallmouths are biting on the Jackson, if you can find them. All in all the fishing on the lake is middling. The stripers and hybrids are active in the lake due to the cooler temperatures. The water in the river is cooling and clear.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews tells us that the rain has kept the anglers away. The lake is down 16 feet below full pool. The bass, however, are responding steadily to worms and jigs. No reports of crappie or yellow perch. Very few cats have been brought to boat. The water is 72 degrees and clear.
North Fork of the Shenandoah: Fly virtuoso Harry Murray told me that the smallmouth streams in the North and South Forks of the river are clear and fishable. There is good fishing to be had along shady banks. Your best bet for flies are the Shenandoah Damsel Popper, size 6; and the Shenandoah Blue Popper, also size 6. Below riffles and deep pools try Shenks White Streamer, sizes 4 and 6; and Murray's Black Hellgrammite, also sizes 4 and 6. The waters there are 70 – 72 degrees and clear.
The mountain streams are very low, but a cautious approach may win you a fish in your creel. Use small flies like the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly, sizes 10 and 18; and Murray's Flying Beetle, also sizes 10 and 18. The water is 60 degrees and clear. The water in the stocked trout streams is too low to fish.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Lake Anna: By C.C. McCotter edited by Sarah W. With the passing of tropical storm Hanna, the Lake Anna area received 3.5" of much-needed rain and the lake is now at full pool with fresh water. The fish have responded with a burst of topwater and shallow water feeding activity. This looks to be one of the best years in many for anglers looking to hone their topwater skills for bass and striper. Crappie activity has begun to pick up and will become "good" by the
end of the month. Here's what you can expect for your next visit. Largemouth bass - Grab the soft plastic jerkbait, a spinning rod with Fireline and hit the water, now! There are amazing schools of largemouth bass throughout the lower portion of the lake breaking on the surface, feeding on small threadfin shad and blueback herring. On some days, this action never stops! Top lures include a Berkley Jerk Shad, the Berkley 3" Realistix Minnow, a small Zara Spook, a shallow diving crankbait and a popper. There are many 12-15" fish with bass up to four pounds lurking underneath. Hotspots include the Dike III region, in front of Dike I near the Spotsylvania side of the lake and around the power plant. These schools roam, so be flexible and be ready to move. Uplake you'll find larger bass willing to take shaky worms casted to submerged rockpiles, docks and brush. There will be some schooling bass in the extreme headwaters of the lake and the backs of creeks willing to take a Lake Anna Special Tiger Shad pinnerbait, buzzbait and the Berkley Hollowbelly Swimbait. A mid-depth running white crankbait can also be productive near the end of the month on main river points in the uplake region. Striper - Along with those schools of largemouths there are five times as many schools of hungry stripers in the downlake region. Most of these stripers are under the 20" minimum size limit, but they are fun to catch on topwaters and soft plastic jerkbaits. You'll find plenty on the flats and points around Dike III, as well as within sight of the power plant. The bigger fish, however are from The Splits on uplake. A Super Spook is a great lure to have on when you spy fish breaking or when you want to produce a strike on a fishy looking point. Good uplake striper areas for September include the mouth of Plentiful Creek and the top of the Pamunkey Branch, as well as at the mouth of Duck In Hole and around Harris Pond in the North Anna. Who needs bait when lure fishing is so much more exciting and productive now? Expect the fish to get bigger as the water cools into October. Vertical jigging with the new Toothache Spoon is also excellent in 18-28' of water in the midlake region.Crappie - Better fishing is on the way. The big fish are still suspended over deep brush in the lower, uplake region around the two bridges, however, you will find 12-13" at times on uplake structure like rocks, brush and bridge pilings. A small, white crankbait like a Bandit 200 or Norman's Deep Baby N is a good choice for fast crappie fishing. Catch just one and switch over to a 1" tube jig on six-pound test line. McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service.
All anglers are reminded to acquaint
themselves with a good description of the northern
snakehead. If you should manage to catch one of
these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and
report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game And Inland Fisheries or the Maryland
Department Of Natural Resources.
View video about the snakehead »
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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.
With an active hurricane season, the VDGIF
Conservation Police Officers are on constant standby
for disaster assistance. Below are a few photographs
from a recent deployment to Hurricane Gustav in the
Gulf Coast. Notebook reports will resume in the next
edition of the Outdoor Report.
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
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:
- Fall Turkey Forecast
- New Muzzleloader Seasons
- Hunter Education Classes and Hands-on Events