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, April 22, 2009

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Benefits Communities and Families
  • Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
    • Waynesboro Riverfest April 25
    • Wheelin' Sportsmen Hosting Trout Fishing This Spring
    • Mint Springs Kids Fishing Day May 2
    • Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival May 7-9
    • Henrico County's Echo Park Lake Reopened
    • Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Wildlife Center Releases Bald Eagle At Westover Plantation
    • Complementary Work Force Needs Trout Stocking Volunteers
    • Ruffed Grouse Recognize Student Writing Excellence
    • NWTF Youth Writing Contest Features "The Hunt"
    • Fishington Recognized as Webby Award Honoree
    • See Eaglets Progress on Eagle Cam
  • Hunting News You Can Use
    • Disabled Veterans Gobble Up a Chance to Go Hunting...
    • Spring Gobbler Season Highlights
    • Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey Available on Website
    • Tips for Preserving Your Trophy Gobbler
    • Apprentice Hunting License is a Great Way to Begin the New Year!
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Safety First Plan Your Hunt, Hunt Your Plan!
  • "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
    • Virginia Naturally Offers Earth Day Ideas
    • Virginia Confirms Cases of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Farmers Now Can Address Canada Goose Damage Through New Permit
    • Tree Seedlings Still Available
  • Fishin' Report
    • Wanted! - American Eels From the Roanoke River Basin, Upstream of the Roanoke Rapids Dam
    • Picture the Excitement in the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!
    • Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun
    • Life Jackets Required
    • Sarah White's Notebook
      • Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
  • Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
    • Student articles from the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association annual writing contests

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Benefits Communities and Families

In 2004, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) completed the nation's first statewide wildlife viewing trail, the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. The purpose of the trail was to bring tourism dollars, based on wildlife viewing, into local communities. A key conservation goal was that the valuable tax revenue would allow these communities to support and even invest in habitat conservation efforts. Furthermore, by providing access to wildlife, the trail would build Virginians appreciation for wildlife and birds. Five years later, VDGIF and its partner communities are seeing success in a big way.

Recently the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech completed a study on the social and economic impacts of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. Researchers at Virginia Tech found that more than 640,000 visitors travel to Virginia annually to view wildlife on the Birding and Wildlife Trail, infusing more than $8.6 million into the state economy each year. Visitors tended to be well educated, with a median income exceeding $75,000 annually. In addition, over 95% of visitors to the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail plan to visit the Trail again in the future.

VDGIF Watchable Wildlife Program Manager Jeff Trollinger, advises that there are numerous ways people can get involved in habitat conservation in their local communities by visiting a Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail and spend money while wildlife watching. Let the businesses you visit know you are there because of the wildlife in their area. To get a copy of the Trail Guide at a cost of $8.50 call 866-74VABWT (748-2298), or read the information online at the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

In addition, you can celebrate events like International Migratory Bird Day, May 9, 2009. There are birding festivals in many areas on this day, including the Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia. Festival events provide opportunities to view birds during the spring migration and learn more about bird conservation from knowledgeable professionals. To learn more about the impacts of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail you can view the full report here (PDF).

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Waynesboro Riverfest April 25

Waynesboro will host it's annual Riverfest Celebration Saturday April 25 at Constitution Park on the South River beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing throughout the day. There are lots of outdoor activities including canoe rides, a Stream Safari to discover creatures living in the South River, Wildlife Center of Virginia presentations, Native American demonstrations and exhibits, Fish 'n Fun Rodeo for kids to test their casting skills and nature exhibits. Click here for more details.

Wheelin' Sportsmen Hosting Trout Fishing This Spring

The Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen (VAWS) program has five Trout Fishing events scheduled for this spring. VAWS Co-Coordinators Mike Deane and Gene Simmons remind any persons with a disability that they are welcome to participate in events throughout the year. NWTF Chapters throughout Virginia have five trout fishing opportunities for anglers with disabilities beginning April 26 - May 30. Download the 2009 Trout Fishing Application Forms and submit ASAP as registration is required for the events. The application deadline has been extended as there are plenty of openings still available. Visit VANWTF website for details.

Mint Springs Kids Fishing Day May 2

The 15th annual Kid's Fishing Day will be held at Mint Springs Park in Crozet on May 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Chapter of Trout Unlimited, VDGIF, Kingfishers, and the Albemarle County Department of Parks and Recreation. All kids age 12 and under may fish for free, and no license is required. Only one fishing rod per youngster is permitted. Trout Unlimited and Kingfisher volunteers will operate a concession stand and assist the kids. A raffle will be held for a fishing outfit. Some bait and tackle will be offered for sale. The annual event has drawn over 200 youngsters each of the past eight years. The sponsors host the event to promote cold-water fishery conservation and fishing as a wholesome family activity. Additional information is available on this PDF form or by calling (434) 296-5844.

Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival May 7-9

VDGIF Watchable Wildlife staff are preparing for the Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival held at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. VDGIF is a partner in this festival, which will be held on May 7-9. The festival is free and includes family activities and exhibits along with workshops, as well as birding and natural history trips led by expert naturalists. Check out our Events Calendar for more information.

Henrico County's Echo Park Lake Reopened

Echo Lake, a 12-acre lake owned and operated by Henrico County, is now reopened to the general public. In July 2008, Henrico County temporarily drained Echo Lake to complete a habitat improvement project. The project included construction of a small settling basin above the lake and the removal of 14,500 cubic yards of accumulated sediment material from the main lake. The project has greatly improved habitat for various fish species and will help to control the aquatic vegetation problems throughout the lake.

A complete draining of the lake was needed to complete the project, so fish populations in the lake were greatly reduced. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) plans to restock the lake over the next few years. Sunfish will be stocked in the lake in 2009, while bass and catfish will be restocked in 2010 and 2011. To facilitate the recovery of the fish populations, the lake will temporarily be managed under a catch-and-release-only fishing regulation.

Questions regarding fisheries management at Echo Lake can be directed to Johnathan Harris, District Fisheries Biologist with VDGIF, at (804) 367-6764. More information about all Henrico County lakes and parks can be found at the following sites:

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 30 Kids Fishing Days are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend state wide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'.

For details, check the Kids Fishing Days calendar on our website.

People and Partners in the News

Wildlife Center Releases Bald Eagle At Westover Plantation

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, released a Bald Eagle on Monday, April 13 at Westover Plantation, on the James River in Charles City County. Participating in the release was Ed Clark, President and Co-Founder of the Wildlife Center. Also participating was VDGIF Conservation Police Officer Mitch Booden, who initially rescued the eagle.

This adult Bald Eagle was first spotted on the ground in a backyard by Georgia Wells in Prince George County, near Petersburg, on March 23. She contacted VDGIF; Officer Booden responded and found that the bird was only able to fly about 10 feet and did not seem to be able to get any "lift" in flight. On March 26 Booden captured the eagle and took it to Crater Road Veterinary Hospital in Petersburg, where the bird was stabilized. The eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro and given a complete diagnostic examination. Results from a blood test, and a test for lead exposure, were all within normal ranges; radiographs disclosed no broken bones or other issues The bird underwent treatment and rehabilitation until it demonstrated that it was ready for return to the wild.

The eagle was released at Westover, across the James River from a National Wildlife Refuge. The 4,200-acre refuge was created in 1991 and hosts one of the largest eagle roosts on the East Coast. Today, the Bald Eagle population in Virginia is on the rebound. There are now more than 500 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.

For more information contact Randy Huwa, Wildlife Center of Virginia at (540) 942-9453 or rhuwa@wildlifecenter.org.

Complementary Work Force Needs Trout Stocking Volunteers

Volunteers are needed in Bath County to join the VDGIF Complementary Work Force to assist with trout stocking by loading fish early in the mornings at a private hatchery, while Coursey Springs is under construction. To join CWF go to the DGIF website to sign up or contact Jason Hallacher at jason.hallacher@dgif.virginia.gov

Check out the latest CWF newsletter - Volume 9, March 2009

Ruffed Grouse Society Sponsors Youth Poster and Essay Contests

The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is sponsoring its Second Annual Youth Poster and Essay Contests open to youngster's ages 6-11. The theme of this year's Poster Contest is: "Show some of your favorite outdoor activities.". First place winner will receive a pair of Steiner 8x22 Safari Series binoculars and a one-year RGS Junior membership.

The Essay Contest is open to children ages 12-18. This year's theme: "What person in your life has taught you the most about the outdoors," should be described in 350 words or more. First place winner of the essay contest will receive a Tri-Star 20-gauge Youth Model Semi-Automatic shotgun. Owen Morgan, 12, of Wytheville, Virginia, was the 2008 winner. His winning composition "To kill a grouse" also appeared in the 2008 fall issue. Read his winning essay.

To qualify, all entries must be submitted by May 31, 2009, and include a return address. Send to: Editor, Ruffed Grouse Society, 451 McCormick Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108. Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage. Information on the RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on their website.

NWTF Youth Writing Contest Features "The Hunt"

The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is sponsoring a writing contest for JAKES (youth) members entitled "The Hunt". Here's your chance to put your writing and story telling skills to work. Simply write an essay up to 500 words describing a hunting or outdoor experience you've had and how it has affected your life. Entry deadline is May 31, 2009. Prizes will be awarded in two categories, 12 and under and 13 to 17 years old. Prizes in each category are: First $250, Second $150 and Third $50. Contest entry information is found on the VANWTF website.

Fishington Recognized as Webby Award Honoree

Social Network on TakeMeFishing.org in Top 15% of Nearly 10,000 Entries

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) announced that Fishington - The Fishing & Boating Capital of the Internet has been selected as an Official Honoree for the Social Networking category in The 13th Annual Webby Awards. The social networking site for boaters and anglers, which was launched in October 2008 and now boasts more than 6,200 members, was among the top 15 percent of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement. The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, Fishington is an innovative site that connects boaters and anglers across the country.

"We are thrilled to receive this recognition," said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson. "So far, Fishington members have created more than 100 discussion groups and added more than 340 'Hotspots' to the TakeMeFishing.org database of places to boat and fish. In the year ahead, we hope to grow these numbers substantially, inspiring more people to take action and get out on the water."

RBFF is a nonprofit organization established in 1998 to increase participation in recreational angling and boating. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers' Legacy

See Eaglets Progress on Eagle Cam

The public can follow these young eaglets as they grow by watching the Eagle Cam, a joint project of VDGIF, the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC.com. This high quality web cam provides 24-hour coverage of the nest with a blog posted by VDGIF wildlife biologists explaining what's happening. The eagles can be visited in person (from a distance of course) by visiting the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

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.

Thanks for Sharing...

We received a great response from our readers with inspiring stories of new hunters both young and old, that we want to share with you. Congratulations to the dads and moms and sons and daughters for discovering the passion for the outdoors and mentoring novice hunters resulting in wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime. David Coffman, Editor

Disabled Veterans Gobble Up a Chance to Go Hunting...

Volunteers from the Hunter Education Instructors Association, along with numerous organizations sponsored the second annual Wounded Warriors Spring Gobble Hunt in Sussex County on April 11. Hunter Education Instructor Rob Zepp and his wife, Cindy, worked for months to organize the event, which they hosted at their family farm. Read the full story by Tracy Agnew with The Suffolk News-Herald.

Spring Gobbler Hunting Season Dates and Tips

Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey Available on Website

It's time to head back to the woods and fields for some spring gobbler hunting. VDGIF Small Game and Furbearer Program Manager Gary Norman, encourages turkey hunters this spring to participate in the 2009 Spring Gobbler Survey. Be sure to view the results of the 2008 Spring Gobbler Survey. Encourage your hunting buddies to also take the survey to help gather valuable data to improve turkey hunting opportunities.

Reports and Photos from Young Hunters

How did you do? Send stories and photos to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov. If we use your story that includes a youth or first time hunter, you'll receive a complementary Virginia Wildlife hat!

Tips for Preserving Your Trophy Gobbler

For the lucky hunter who harvests a trophy gobbler this spring, the following tips from taxidermist, Todd Rapalee in Goochland, may be helpful in preparing your bird for mounting.

Take care in handling the bird to minimize feather damage. Do not carry the turkey by the neck. This will damage the fine neck feathers sometimes beyond repair. Place a paper towel in the bird's mouth and a plastic bag with a rubber band seal over its head. This will keep the feathers clean, not to mention the back of your jacket and pant legs. Remember, the extra care that you take in minimizing feather damage, the finer the outcome of the finished mount.

DO NOT field dress your turkey. Deliver it to the taxidermist within hours after the harvest or place the bird neatly in a large plastic bag and freeze it until it can be delivered to the taxidermist.

As with any trophy you wish to have mounted, find a professional taxidermist that will produce a quality mount for you to enjoy for years to come. Don't go by price alone. Go and visit their studio and showroom to see first hand the quality that you will be receiving. It is not too early to start visiting taxidermy studios to find a taxidermist to handle your trophies from upcoming fall hunts. Fall hunting, like turkey season, will be here before you know it!

This information was provided by Todd Rapalee of Rapalee Taxidermy.

Apprentice Hunting License is a Great Way to Share the Experience of Spring Gobbler Season

With three weeks left in the Spring Gobbler season, it's a great time to introduce a youngster or new adult hunter to the sport by getting an Apprentice Hunting License. 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. Be sure to check out the Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted to its website. The video is an overview of how the new Apprentice Hunter program works. Watch the video and consider becoming a mentor to a friend or family member who's always wanted to try hunting.

What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Safety First Plan Your Hunt, Hunt Your Plan!

To make your spring gobbler hunt successful and safe, hunters need to take some basic precautions to protect themselves and protect others. Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return. Know where others may be hunting in your vicinity and never assume you are "the only one hunting there." Hunt "defensively" and make sure of your target and beyond before pulling the trigger. ALWAYS use basic safe firearms handling practices. Safety and courtesy are FREE, use them generously and always.

For your safety and that of your hunting companions, be sure and share the new Firearms Safety PSA. Remember safe hunting is no accident!

Bring home that gobbler safely.

"Green Tips" For Outdoor Enthusiasts

This 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.

Virginia Naturally Offers Earth Day Ideas

The Special Edition of the April Virginia Naturally Newsletter features Earth Day resources, grant information and upcoming events.

Virginia Confirms Cases of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats
Asking Cavers, Owners of Caves to Help by Reducing Cave Traffic

VDGIF has confirmed the presence of the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats from two caves in Virginia. While conducting winter surveys of caves where bats hibernate, known as hibernacula, biologists and volunteers from VDGIF, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Speleological Survey discovered bats that showed signs of WNS in Breathing Cave in Bath County. Soon after, similar clinical signs were found in bats in Clover Hollow Cave in Giles County.

The impact of white-nose syndrome on bat populations could be highly significant if the condition cannot be controlled and continues to spread. Significant losses in bat populations could cause a substantial ripple effect due to the important role that bats play as insect feeders, as a food source for other animals (hawks, owls, raccoons, skunks, and other animals that prey on bats), and with their contributions to cave ecosystems.

Given these recent findings, VDGIF is emphasizing the request it made last month for recreational cavers to refrain from entering caves. The Department has closed the caves on its wildlife management areas. Because of the potential impact of WNS, the VDGIF urges cavers and cave owners to help Virginia's bat populations by reducing cave traffic until more is learned about this syndrome.

Asking Cavers, Owners of Caves to Help by Reducing Cave Traffic

Due to concerns about spread of WNS, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has closed the caves on its wildlife management areas until more is known about the transport of the syndrome. The Department will be asking private landowners with caves on their properties to consider closing their caves temporarily. Caving groups and individuals who enjoy caving are being asked to respect this temporary closure of Virginia caves and to suspend recreational and research caving activities until more information about the cause and spread of WNS can be determined.


Habitat Improvement Tips

Farmers Now Can Address Canada Goose Damage Through New Permit

New Agricultural Depredation Order for Resident Canada Geese being offered in Virginia for 2009

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the Wildlife Services Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working together to offer Virginia farmers an additional tool to manage problems caused by resident Canada geese. The tool is the new Agricultural Depredation Order, which is being offered for the first time in Virginia in 2009. This Order authorizes landowners, operators, and tenants actively engaged in commercial agriculture to use certain lethal methods to control Resident Canada geese on lands that they personally control where geese are damaging agricultural crops.

VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan noted, "We have been working to address damage by resident Canada geese for years and feel this new program will speed up the process in order to be more responsive to farmers."

Todd Haymore, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says that resident Canada geese, i.e. those that don't migrate but stay in Virginia year-round, are a big problem for farmers. "During the winter Canada geese can cause a lot of damage for winter wheat and cover crops. In early spring when crops are beginning to appear in the field, the geese can strip a field bare by plucking the young plants out of the ground. They eat crops and grain, and where they occur in large enough numbers, they can raise the fecal bacterial levels in water supplies. We get calls all the time about resident geese from desperate farmers, and are glad to see some relief for them through this new Agricultural Depredation Order."

Past efforts have shown that Canada goose depredation control is most effective when a combination of management techniques is used in an integrated approach. These techniques include hunting seasons (special early and regular Resident Canada goose seasons with liberal bag limits), nest and egg destruction, non-lethal treatment methods like hazing and harassment, habitat management and lethal alternatives when needed.

For additional information about Resident Canada geese and other waterfowl populations in Virginia, visit the waterfowl section on the VDGIF website.

Tree Seedlings Still Available

The nation's economic slowdown has reached the forests of Virginia. Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry report that sales of tree seedlings are down about 30% from the previous year. Of the 32 million seedlings planted, 22.6 million have already sold. Of the 9.5 million still available, the bulk of them, about 8.5 million, are pines. The VDOF grows 45 species of pine and hardwood tree seedlings each year. If you are looking to plant tree seedlings or reforest your land this year, you still have a few weeks remaining to order your seedlings. But don't wait too much longer as several species, including Black Cherry, Red Maple, Sycamore, Crab Apple, and Yellow Poplar, have already sold out. Landowners may still 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 the Virginia Department of Forestry's website.

Fishin' Report

Anglers throughout Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more than 25 license agents, marinas, fishing guides and bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares this Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report.

The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.

The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested. Consult the regional location map to find the major river or lake you want to know about.

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

Wanted! American Eels From the Roanoke River Basin, Upstream of the Roanoke Rapids Dam

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. 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.graham@dom.com. 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 historic range. Thank you!

Picture the Excitement in the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!

It certainly isn't hard to "picture it," kids 'n fishing that is smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement. So, join in on the fun, catch the excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods and Shakespeare Tackle Company... celebrate National Fishing Week!

The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. Winning pictures will also be posted on the VDGIF website, the Outdoor Report and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications. There is no need to be a professional photographer. Any snapshot will do. For rules and entry information visit our website.

Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 30 Kids Fishing Days are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend state wide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'.

For details, check the Kids Fishing Days calendar on our website.

Life Jackets Required

Virginia's life jacket laws require that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) USCG approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. All boats, except for personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks, and inflatable rafts, must carry one USCG approved Type IV throwable ring or seat cushion. In addition, if you are boating on federal waters where the USCG has jurisdiction, children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket unless below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

Sara White's Notebook

Region 1 - Tidewater

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors (804) 878-3111. Terry Olinger says bass are "running real well" try Rattletraps, crankbaits and chatter baits. Crappie are hitting on minnow and jigs. Some cats are at the dock and going for cut bait. Stripers are running and also going for rattletraps and cut bait. Bluegill are becoming more active and hitting night crawlers and yellow perch being fooled by minnows. Back on the grass beds the river is clear, being stained in other places and warming.

Lower Potomac: J.G. Sports (571) 436-7521. Our source for this part of the Potomac has been out of town this week and cannot provide a report.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefiled (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim reports that croakers are hitting great on squid. Flounder are at the bend of the bridge tunnel and the Baltimore channel; top baits are gudgeons and blue fish belles. Tautogs are at the bridge tunnel pilings, rock pilings and wrecks and responding well to fiddler crabs. Sea trout are in the bay going for cut bait and gigs.

Beaverdam Swamp Reservoir: Park ranger Eddie Hester says that Crappie fishing has become much better, fisherman are reporting good days of crappie fishing during breaks in the rains of April. Bruce Lenz, of Newport News, hooked into a 14 ¾ inch crappie weighing in at 1 ¾ pounds at the fishing pier. Although most anglers are currently targeting crappie, bass are being caught as well. Duane Murvine of Gloucester caught a 5 pound 10 ounce bass at the fishing pier. Water temperature is 57 degrees at the fishing pier, Water is slightly stained and at full pool.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown notes that catfish have been plentiful, seeming to take delight in fresh herring. Bass have also been hitting well. Shad and herring have arrived and are attacking shad darts. Crappie are hitting on minnows. The water is slightly stained and around 60 degrees and warming.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports the water has been low but returning to a good level, when that happens the fishing should really pick up. As it is a few large crappie have been brought in, caught on minnows and jigs. No work on other types of fish but Dewey expects that a local bass tournament happening soon should bring in some lunkers. Water is clear and in the 60s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dashiell's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that the bass are really hitting well on cranks and spinners. Crappie are going for minnow and jigs. Cut bait has fooled lots of cats in the Nansemond River. Bluegill should be coming up soon. White perch are hitting in the Nottoway River on minnows and red wigglers. The water is clear at 60 degrees and warming.

Blackwater/Nottoway Rivers: Riverkeeper Jeff Turner blknotkpr@earthlink.net. Well it just looks like the striper fishing is not going to materialize this year. Stripers just do not seem to be in the rivers this year quite as good as last though I know one fellow who mopped up on them one day in the Blackwater using a large shad spoon of all things. The shad are thin this year also, though some modest success has been reported on both rivers. Right now the Blackwater seems to be best. Bass fishing has really picked up and the fish are getting ready to get on the bed soon. White perch fishing in the Nottoway & Blackwater has been outstanding this past week. A lot of fish are being caught on the bottom with worms, but the fish have also been hitting small spinners like beetle spins on shore. I talked to some people this week that said they had several days in a row of catching and releasing over 300 fish.

Willard Mayes, our man in the boat, writes, "Made the drive to Briery Creek today and it turned out to be the worst fishing day of my life. My intention was to fly fish for blue gill. The person with me had worms and crickets and he was hoping to catch some of the monster Briery Creek bluegill. We got there at 10 am and left at 5 pm and did not put the first fish in the boat. I caught two on the fly rod but lost both of them and he only had one bite on worms and he lost that too. Talking with several others on the lake and no one was catching any fish; the best I heard was two pike and one small bass. The water is clear and cold." The good news warmer weather should turn things around shortly.

Region 2 - Southside

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane (434) 385-0200. The word is active and happy brookies in the mountain streams and they are hungry. Smallmouth bass in the James is pretty good as are the stripers in the Staunton River. Very good shad fishing in the Rappahannock and for a lazy days fishing go for bluegill in the local ponds, they would love to see your bait.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store.

Striper: Fish are making their run toward the rivers and some are already in the rivers. Most of the fishermen are using jumbo minnows, shad and blueback herring. They also cast for them in the river with bucktails and Cotton Cordell red fins.

Catfish: Blues are at Clarksville and above with reports of them being caught in both the Dan & Staunton Rivers. They can be caught using chicken livers, cut shad, perch, jumbo minnows, crappie, finger mullet and menhaden.

Crappie: Fish can be caught in several different patterns. Some can still be caught trolling in shallow flats. There are also fish showing up around boat docks. It looks like there is another wave of fish moving in to spawn with the water temperatures moving to the upper 50s to lower 60s Reports of good bass fishing up in the bushes as fish have started making a major move and a few fish are going on the bed. Yamamoto creature baits fished Texas rigged is a good bait of choice.

Kerr Reservoir: Local Guide Tim Wilson (434) 374-0674. Tim says it's a "big love fest" in the waters around the island. Bass are spawning in backs of pockets in shallower water near bushes. Throwing spinners or soft plastics is a good idea. Crappie are also spawning, try minnows and jigs. Cats are hitting near Clarksville in the mouths of the rivers and are responding to live shad and cut bait. The water is in the high 50s and low 60s, stained except for the Nutbush Creek area which is clear.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. According to Ron Seward, crappie are hitting well, with five citation sized lunkers being brought in. The favorite lures are minnows and crappie jigs. Bass are slow to bite. No word on cats. Bluegill are doing well on night crawlers. No word on stripers, perch or walleye. The water is stained, in the low 60s and warming.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes (434) 286-3366. The past couple weeks saw the James high and stained which kept most anglers home. The river turned out in super shape last week. Nice flow and beautiful color. The fishing is starting to turn on with Smallmouth up to 5 lbs. being landed. Slow rolled spinnerbaits-crank baits and jigs have all been producing fish. Fly Anglers have had success using crayfish patterns in Black-Brown-and Black/Blue. Crawdads and Near Nuff Crayfish have been the hot pattern. Grub patterns also in Black or Olive have boated smallmouth.

Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead (540) 721-4867. The shad are moving up into more shallow water and the recent warm weather has the alewives coming to my dock light even before it gets dark in the evening. Carp and bass can be found close to the shoreline and it won't be long before the alewives head to the banks for hours each night to spawn. This is the best time of the year to catch large stripers as they gorge on shad and add weight in preparation for their upcoming spawning cycle. Big fish are being caught right now, both during the day and at night.

The unmistakable sound of the alewives spawning along the shoreline at night signals the start of one of the prime patterns for bass and stripers in the spring. The alewives will move right up next to the shoreline at night to spawn and groups of 8 to 12 fish will swim in tight little circles, moving faster and faster until they break through the surface with a distinctive splashing sound. Their movement to the bank may occur at different times in the evening, with different levels of intensity and in different places, but it will occur. If you make the commitment to spend time on the water "plugging the bank" at night, you will catch stripers, bass and an occasional catfish. You may catch a large striper and move up on the fish ladder as well. Look on Mike's website for all the details on how to take advantage of this angling bonanza.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina (540) 980-1488. Mike Burchett tells me that "bass are real good and are heading to the beds". Crappie action is phenomenal using minnows and jigs. Not much is happening with cats. Water is 60 degrees and very clear.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. Big John says bass are biting; two largemouth bass in the 5 to 6 pound range have been landed in the river. No word on crappie. Stripers are few and far between. The river has had lots of clear water at 52 to 53 degrees.

Flannigan Reservoir: Freddie Surratt (276) 926 4403. Freddie says the bass fishing is excellent, especially for anglers using topwater lures like the Rapala size 8 in shad color. Walleye are very good in the backwaters and the dam area. Days are fine but nights can be better for these delicious fish. Crappie fishing is fair with minnows and jigs. The bluegill bite is picking up with live bait, minnows and crickets.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North Fork of the Shenandoah: Murray's Fly Shop (540) 984-4212. Harry reports that the smallmouth streams on the North and South forks are still clear and fishable. Good flies are: Murray's Mad Tom sizes 4 and 6, Murray's Hellgrammite also 4 and 6 and Murray's Chub Streamer size 6. The water is 54 degrees and clear. The mountain streams are fishable but full. Your best action is from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Good flies are Spirit of Pittsford Mills sizes 14 and 16 and the H and L variant sizes 14 and 16. Waters are clear at 46 degrees. Large stocked streams are good for rainbows. Good flies are Betsy Streamer sizes 10 and 12, Casual Dress also 10 and 12 and Murray's Cranefly Larva sizes 12 & 14.

Lake Moomaw: Maple Tree Outdoors (540) 468-2682. Mike says trout are biting on alewives. Bass are doing well on live minnows, alewives and jigs. Crappie are not yet hitting well. Cats are also slow but should pick up in June and July. Water is clear and 48 degrees.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Lake Brittle Angler Service Center to reopen under new management

Michael Day was recently awarded the contract to operate Lake Brittle's Angler Service Center. He will be open daily from sunrise to sunset except Thursday. Mike will begin operation with 10 new 14-foot jon boats, trolling motors and other angling needs for rent. He will also have bait and snacks for purchase and will begin stocking rudimentary terminal tackle. Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department had run the Center for years but had to cease operations due to budget constraints. Mike brings past experience, as he helped run the Center for several years under county management. Anglers are reminded that they can fish or launch boats at Lake Brittle 24 hours per day (even when the Center is closed). For more information, contact VDGIF Fisheries Division at the Fredericksburg Regional Office, (540) 899-4169.

Lake Anna: C.C McCotter. Despite the nearly continuous passage of cold fronts that bring high winds and rain, Lake Anna anglers are finding things progressing almost along normal lines. It does appear the lake is about two weeks behind schedule, though. Largemouth bass are spawning, stripers have dropped back to predictable feeding areas and crappie are spawning. Here's what you can expect for your next visit.

Bass: A fine spawn began around the April 8 full moon and continues in the down and mid lake regions.

Striper: Fish are coming and going from the extreme headwaters to spawn. Many are on 4-15' flats and shallow points in the up lake region and are feeding on shad. Try hard and soft plastic jerkbaits if you like casting. Live herring and shad on free lines, corks and side planers are good if you prefer to drag live bait.

Crappie: The guide service has produced an amazing four citation crappie this spring including a 16-1/4", 2-6 specimens on April 3. The best fish are on grass lines in the upper end of the lake. Males are in the grass and female just off of it. Try 1" red and white tube jigs where you find calm, slick water with grass.

Lake Anna: Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. Cold weather and rain have slowed bass fishing although some nice fish were being caught out of the willow grass up-lake and by sight fishing down-lake in the clearer water. Crappie fishing has been great and continues to be, primarily up-lake above Hunters Landing on docks and rock piles. Striper fishing was excellent last week, one day my client caught 10 over 10 pounds, largest over 15 on live bait. With the warming trend this weekend all fish will go shallow to feed, fishing anywhere on the lake less than 15 feet deep should be excellent.

Lake Anna: Mike "Pappy" Jones of Can Am Guide Service/Pappy's Baits (301-898-3836 or email) reports that "Anna is gettin' hot! The bucks are on the beds on a lot of the lake and trying to call up the Sals." Look for shell beds around docks, anchors, stumps and downed wood. Also see www.sturgeoncreekmarina.com go to fishing reports then recent catches. Pappy leaves soon to summer in Canada we hope to hear how the fishing's going in the Great White North!

Tidal James: Local Guide Mike Ostrander (804) 938-2350. Mike has been landing lots of shad around the I-95 Bridge on shad darts and spoons. White perch and herring are falling for Sabiki Rigs. Mike has also landed some big blue cats on cut bait. The same method has also been getting stripers. The water is clearing and warming.

Tidal James: Local Guide Captain Joe Hecht Fat Cat Guide Service (804) 221-1951. Joe says fishing has been "crazy good", with the herring going for Sabiki Rigs. American and hickory shad are attacking spoons, with the best colors being chartreuse and white; or orange and yellow. Bass have not been over eager. Some nice stripers have come in on bucktails and live herring. Big cats are still falling for herring or cut shad. The water is clearing and 63 degrees.

Lake Orange: Darrell Kennedy, Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Water temperatures remain in the mid 50s. Both largemouth bass and crappie are staging, waiting for a few warm days to hit the shallows and spawn. Currently, they are staging off spawning flats in 8-10 ft. of water. Your best bet is live bait for the bass and crappie bite. Noteworthy, an 8 pound catfish was caught over the weekend on live bait.

NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. 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

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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

email your material to
dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Region 2 - Southside

Trespassing fisherman gets "bucket full" of offences... On April 11, Officer John Koloda was checking a private pond in the city of Roanoke when he encountered an adult male fishing there. Officer Koloda spoke with the fisherman and obtained a fishing license from him. The fisherman did not have permission to be on the posted property and made mention that his girlfriend had dropped him off at the location. While trying to determine the validity of the fisherman's story, Officer Koloda obtained consent to search a nearby bucket. While searching the bucket, Officer Koloda found a loaded 38-caliber handgun that the fisherman claimed to be his brother's. After running a check of the fisherman's identification, it was determined he was suspended and a convicted felon. A subsequent interview of the suspect determined the suspect had driven his car to a location near the pond and walked to the pond. The fisherman was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possessing a Concealed Handgun, Driving Suspended, and Trespassing to Fish. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Do you know who's going through your trash? On April 15, Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips worked a trout fishing patrol on Peak Creek below the Gatewood Dam in Pulaski County. While at the stream, Officer Phillips noticed several bags of trash that had been dumped near the train bridge. Officer Phillips sifted through some of the trash and found sensitive personal information including a social security number, date of birth, two addresses, multiple account numbers from creditors, and a list of phone numbers from a place of employment of a woman who lived in Montgomery County. Officer Phillips was able to find and contact the individual without any problem due to the abundance of information found in the trash. The female subject was interviewed and she explained that she had never been to the location where the trash pile was found. The woman went on to tell Officer Phillips about a male subject who used his pickup to take all the household trash to the dump. Officer Phillips obtained the man's name, phone number, and the address of the residence where he was currently living. The next morning, on April 16, 2009, Senior Conservation Police Officer Gene Wirt and Officer Phillips interviewed the suspect and obtained a full written statement admitting to the dumping of trash on the October 18. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley

Cold, rainy weather does not dampen spirits of young trout anglers... On Saturday, April 11, Virginia Conservation Police Officer K.G. Bilwin assisted at a Kid's Fishing Day at the Hawksbill Creek in Page County. The event was conducted by the Luray Parks and Recreation Department and was open to kids 3 to 15 years old. On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon, 143 kids registered and competed to win various prizes that included bicycles, fishing poles and various gift certificates. Prizes were given to different age groups for the following categories: Biggest fish, heaviest total creel and longest fish. The largest fish of the afternoon was caught by an 11 year old local boy and weighed in at 2lbs. 6 oz. and measured 18 ¼ inches long and not far behind was a 7 year old local girl that caught a 2 lb. 1 oz. rainbow trout that measured 17 ¾ inches long. Overall the event, which is in its sixth year, was a success despite the poor weather conditions. Also, the 12th Annual Kids Fishing Day on Happy Creek in Warren County, which is sponsored by Trout Unlimited, was conducted with weather conditions also affecting the turn out. The kids attending had a great time with stringers full of nice fish. For more information contact Captain Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

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!

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As we celebrate Arbor Day April 24 and encourage the planting of trees, the following story by Kyrstin Myerly from James River High School shares how planting trees with her family provided benefits she never imagined. We hope her story will inspire you to go plant some trees for you for your children and theirs. This story is one of the Top 30 Entries in 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest.

The Crayon Box

By Kyrstin Myerly

James River High School

My most memorable moment could not be described on any one occasion. It turned out to be a collection of days over a period of time. It all started with the purchase of 20 acres in the mountains of southwestern Virginia in an area near Smith Mountain Lake.

My family decided to build a second home for weekends and vacations. We bought 20 acres on the side of a mountain facing Leesville Lake and mountains such as the Peaks of Otter. Beautiful sunsets would set over the mountains.

In purchasing the land, we had to clear space for our new home. Just about 4 acres were cleared and this is where my memorable experiences begin.

We would make special trips to Lynchburg, VA, the closest town to our "new" home, to pick out, what we called, "designer trees". What we meant by "designer trees" were trees that provided colors and something else that made them special. We would bring back as many as 20 or more trees from various stores. I knew picking out the trees was the easy part. The next day we would wake up early and begin our day by walking the yard and deciding where to plant our new purchases. This also, was the easy part.

My father and I would plant the trees through the hot day up and down the cleared land on the mountain. The sun baked the side of the mountain, with us on it. The first few days I thought it was miserable. I had to pull a wheelbarrow up and down the mountain, filled with the trees and water for the newly planted trees. I also carried water for my father and I as we planted the trees.

As time went on, so did more planting. I began to notice, however, something else happened. You could start to see the progress we were making. I began to enjoy the time with my father as we created our colorful "masterpiece". As the trees grew, it began to look like a crayon box with many colors of flowers, fruit and leaves spread throughout. You could see the life we were giving back to the land we had ripped apart for our new home.

During late fall, spring and summer, different things were blooming at different times. Sitting on our front porch, from season to season, let alone year to year, was different. You could see a different display of colors thrilling our eyes as we rocked our chairs. I would rock the chair thinking about the all of the time and effort I had put into the yard. I would think about the work and sweat that was spent in the yard. Everything was coming together. Right before my eyes, it was coming together. The best part is, I was able to help create it.

Top 30 Entry 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest by, Kyrstin Myerly, James River High School, Virginia.

For information on the VOWA High School Youth Writing Contest or the Collegiate Undergraduate Contest visit the VOWA website: www.vowa.org, or contact VOWA Writing Contest Chairman:

David Coffman, Editor, Outdoor Report
VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
POB 11104 Richmond,  VA 23230
Telephone (434) 589-9535, Email: david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov


In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:

  • New Look for the Outdoor Report Coming in May!
  • Free Fishing Days
  • Summer Squirrel Season
  • Nature Camps for Summer Learning
Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
 
BE WILD! LIVE WILD!
GROW WILD!

Eastern Big-eared Bat
(Plecotus rafinesquii)

By Spike Knuth with introduction by David Coffman

Virginia is rich in caves resources with over 4,000 known caves. In the "Green Tips for Outdoor Enthusiasts" section of this Outdoor Report, there is an update on White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that has been found recently in several Virginia caves that has the potential to impact bat populations. Significant losses in bat populations could cause a substantial ripple effect due to the important role that bats play as insect feeders and their contributions to cave ecosystems. The potential damage to cave resources and the wildlife that inhabit caves through the spread of WNS demonstrates the importance of the continuing need for coordination and cooperation to manage and protect these resources among state and federal agencies and constituency groups like the Speleological Society.

When you think about caves - you also think bats. One of the more fascinating species of bats that does not usually inhabit caves is the Eastern Big-eared Bat (Plecotus rafinesquii). This species resides year round in southern forest regions, roosting in hollow trees, mines, caves, attics and old buildings. They gather in colonies of up to 100 individuals, and will hibernate during cold months. The eastern big-eared bat, classified as endangered, is found only in a small area of Southeastern Virginia in the Sussex, Suffolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach area.

These long-haired bats average about 3.5 to 4 inches in length and have large ears that are more than twice the length of its head and are connected by a band across the forehead and mitten-shaped mass on either side of its muzzle between nostril and eye, giving rise to the nickname lump-nosed bat. Its fur is long and shaggy with basically yellowish- or reddish- brown color along its back, with whitish under parts. The flight of the big-eared bat is slow and they are capable of hovering. It is thought that moths are their main food source. They leave their roosts to go feed after dark and return before first light.

Big-eared bats mate in fall and winter and females will isolate themselves from males in groups before giving birth to a single young. Until weaned, the young bats stay close to the female except when she goes out to feed. They are capable of flight at about three weeks of age.

Look for updates on the impact of WNS on bats and Virginia's cave resources in future editions of the Outdoor Report.

The "Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild!" section in the upcoming May 2009 edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine features the "Miracles in a Spring Pool" studying the fascinating life cycles in the world of amphibians.

For more information on endangered or species of special concern in Virginia, refer to the book, Virginia's Endangered Species by Karen Terwilliger, sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and published by McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, VA 24062.

       

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 "Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild!" section of each issue of Virginia Wildlife magazine highlighted here in the Outdoor Report each edition, features one of the 925 animals that have been identified in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan whose existence is at risk.

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.

       

The April 2009 edition of Virginia Wildlife Magazine features turkey hunting and backyard habitat tips.

If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, visit the Department's website, 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.

  • UPCOMING EVENTS
    April 2009

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

    22 Earth Day
    24 Arbor Day
    24-26 Virginia Search and Rescue Council State Conference, Holiday Lake 4-H Center, Appomattox. For information/registration contact Nathan Brown vasar2009@yahoo.com
    25 Waynesboro Riverfest
    May 2009

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

    7-9 Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival 2009, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
    10 Mother's Day
    15-17 Become an Outdoors-Woman, Appomattox, Holiday Lake 4H Center. Check DGIF website for details
    25 Memorial Day
    June 2009

    Check the Kids Fishing Days Calendar for Events Scheduled in June!

    2 VDGIF Public Board Meeting
    6 Race for Open Space 3K Run/Walk for Western Virginia Land Trust, Green Hill Park, Salem, Western Virginia Land Trust
    12-14 Yuchi Tribal homecoming, Museum of the Middle Appalachians, Saltville
    13 Two Ladies' Day Clinics, Cavalier Rifle & Pistol Club
    21 Father's Day
    NATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BYRD NEST

    by Marika Byrd

    Arbor Day in Virginia, April 24th

    "Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good." ~ Sara Ebenreck, American Forests. Help Virginia celebrate Arbor Day, April 24 this year.

    The treeless plains of Nebraska led the late J. Sterling Morton, tree planter, journalist, and U. S. Secretary of Agriculture from Nebraska City, NE, to co-found Arbor Day. Today he is known as the father of the first Arbor Day held April 10, 1872. Morton promoted not only that citizens plant trees but urged civic organizations and groups to join the effort. The Frady Park, City of Falls Church, was the site for the First Arbor Day in Virginia in 1892; today commemorations continue with a re-enacted live performance. The State Arboretum of Virginia, officially transferred to the state in l986, is located east of Winchester, Virginia. An Arboretum is a place where an extensive variety of woody plants are raised for scientific, educational and ornamental purposes.

    Internationally, nationally and locally citizens come together to help renew Mother Earth with trees. "Urban residents benefit from trees [through] cleaner water and air and environments...[that] enhance the learning capabilities of children. Business thrives in tree-lined districts, ...and [it] adds to the economic vitality of the region. It's your urban forest, learn it, grow it, maintain it, enjoy it" (VDOF - Arbor Day). Plant trees in areas where the earth has burned or been scorched by fires as a way of renewing that land for posterity. In many communities, Arbor Day is celebrated in conjunction with Earth Day to promote the planting of trees or shrubs and greening of our world.

    Check the internet, local radio and television, newspapers or magazines for planned events in your community the weekend of April 2426 this year. This is the time to participate in some activity which will benefit our good earth.

    "If I thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should nevertheless plant a tree today." ~ Stephan Girard

    BOATERS ARE YOU ON BOARD WITH COMPLIANCE?
    • Virginia Boating Safety Education Requirement
    • In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law establishing requirements for boating safety education. This requirement will be phased in over several years.
    • Virginia Boating Safety Education Compliance Requirement
      Phase-in Schedule
      Operators must meet the requirements as follows:
    • Personal Watercraft (PWC) "Jet-Ski"
      PWC, age 20 or younger, July 1, 2009
      PWC, age 35 or younger, July 1, 2010
      PWC, age 50 or younger, July 1, 2011
      PWC, ALL ages by July 1, 2012
    • Motorboat (MB) 10hp and greater
      MB, age 20 or younger, July 1, 2011
      MB, age 30 or younger, July 1, 2012
      MB, age 40 or younger, July 1, 2013
      MB, age 45 or younger, July 1, 2014
      MB, age 50 or younger, July 1, 2015
      MB, ALL ages, July 1, 2016
    • For more information visit:
      Boating Education classes
    VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
    We have opportunities for the public to join us as volunteers in our Complementary Work Force Program. If you are interested in devoting your time and talents, apply here.

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

    MAKE IT A FAMILY ADVENTURE!
    The Department offers numerous hunting, fishing, and outdoor education programs designed for families, women, beginners and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
    LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HUNT OR FISH?
    Visit Find Game, the Department's award-winning online public hunting lands locator!

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

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

    MOON PHASES
    April 2009
    2 First Quarter
    9 Full Moon
    17 Last Quarter
    24 New Moon
    May 2009
    1 First Quarter
    9 Full Moon
    17 Last Quarter
    24 New Moon
    30 First Quarter
    June 2009
    7 Full Moon
    15 Last Quarter
    22 New Moon
    29 First Quarter
    QUICK GLANCE
    AT HUNTING SEASONS

    The following is a partial list of upcoming seasons starting in October for the more popular species. For a complete list and regulations consult the 2008-09 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information.

    Coyote, groundhog, & skunk: Continuous open season on private land only.
    Firearms
    • Turkey: Spring Gobbler, Apr. 11-May 2, ½ hr before sunrise until noon; May 4-May 16, ½ hr before sunrise until sunset
    • Squirrel: Spring Season, June 6-20, some Wildlife Management Area only, See regulations.

    All hunters (whether licensed or exempt from being licensed) who plan to hunt doves, waterfowl, rails, woodcock, snipe, coots, gallinules or moorhens in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP is required each year and a new registration number is needed for the 2008-2009 hunting season. To register for HIP, visit VAHIP.com or call 1-888-788-9772.

    Please contribute to Hunters for the Hungry through the $2 check-off when purchasing a license, or at any time through our online Outdoor Catalog.
    REPORT
    WILDLIFE VIOLATIONS
    To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email WildCrime@dgif.virginia.gov.

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

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

    VIRGINIA WILDLIFE CATALOG

    Security Reminder: VDGIF will never ask for personal information through unsolicited email.

    OUTDOOR REPORT ARCHIVE
    Missed an edition of the Outdoor Report? Want to reread an article you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our complete archive of past editions!
    OUTDOOR REPORT
    EDITORIAL TEAM

    Editor: David Coffman

    Contributing Editors: Marika Byrd, Julia Dixon, Ron Messina, Lee Walker

    Staff Photographers: David Coffman, Ron Messina, Tim Tassitano, Lee Walker

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

    Executive Director: Bob Duncan

    The electronic Outdoor Report is sent free via email to more than 22,000 subscribers the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.

    ABOUT VDGIF
    The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' mission is:
    • To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth;
    • To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia;
    • To promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing;
    • To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.

    Privacy Policy | {UNSUBSCRIBEHYPERLINK}

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

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