In this edition:
- Get Youngsters Outdoors for Fun
- Next Generation Weekend Celebrated at Bass Pro in Hampton August 22-23
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Kayak Instruction at Holliday Lake August 22
- Ladies' Day Handgun and Shotgun Clinic in Hanover August 29
- Page Valley Sportsman's Club Hosts Youth Hunter Training
- Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival September 17-20
- Fly Fishing Workshop On Shenandoah at Elkton September 19
- Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center Offers Variety of Fall Workshops
- Birding Trail Celebrates 5th Anniversary at Devil's Backbone September 25
- Women Exploring Loudoun Outdoors Event September 26
- Quail Unlimited to Host Covey Call Event September 26 in Culpeper
- September Sportsman's Shows Promote New Hunting Opportunities
- People and Partners in the News
- Complementary Work Force Volunteers Recognized for Service
- Wildlife Center Announces Autumn Open-House Schedule
- 26th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen Show Big Success
- Hunting News You Can Use
- "What's New" for 2009-2010 Posted on Website
- "Top Ten" New Hunting Opportunities for 2009-10
- Apprentice Hunting License: A New Way To Get Involved in Hunting
- Dove Season Opens September 5 - Labor Day Holiday Weekend
- Floating Blind Licenses Now Available from License Agents and Online
- 2009 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1
- Remember to get your HIP Number
- New Video Available: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Boater Fatigue
- New Virginia Lifetime Boater's Card
- Life Jackets Required
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
- "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Save Time, Money and Gas - Plan Your Summer Vacation for Virginia
- Notes for Young Nature Explorers
- Outdoor Blogs Provide Nature Adventure Info for Kids
- Nature Observations from The Byrd Nest - Red-wing Blackbird
- Habitat Improvement Tips
- Effective September 1, Feeding Deer Is Prohibited in Virginia
- New Habitat DVD Available
- Quail Habitat Improvement Events
- Fishin' Report
- You Never Know What Lurks in Those Waters
- Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!
- Tips for Taking Kids Fishing
- New Video Available: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting
- Effective July 1 Boating Education Required for PWC Operators Age 14-20
- Anglers Be on the Lookout for Fish Kills
- 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
- "Attack of the Does" by Micheala Bryant
Get Youngsters Outdoors for Fun
Next Generation Weekend Celebrated at Bass Pro in Hampton August 22-23
Let's have some fun this coming hunting season!! With all the various school and sports activities competing for our kid's time; hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor adventures need to be fun and exciting to compete! In partnership with the VDGIF, Virginia Outdoor Writers Association and other youth oriented sportsmen organizations, the Bass Pro Shop in Hampton is hosting a "Next Generation" Weekend August 22-23 to provide a fun-filled youth oriented event with activities and seminars throughout the day from 11 a.m. till 6 p.m.
There will be seminars by accomplished young hunters and experienced pros on hunting tips, planning family outings, mentoring and how to get the most out of your outdoor adventures. Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest Winners will present their winning stories of their "most memorable outdoor experiences," and share how they improved their hunting skills. As Editor of the Outdoor Report, I will be on hand to sign your friends up for a free subscription to the bi-monthly newsletter and show you how to post your favorite photo of your hunting and fishing trophies on the VDGIF Flickr page. Information on the new Youth Deer Hunting Day September 26 will be featured. There will be storewide activities in outdoor crafts, interactive seminars, and choosing the right gear for your age and experience level. Visit the event website for scheduled times and details.
Information on the new Youth Deer Hunting Day September 26 will be featured at all upcoming events. This is also a great opportunity to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport. View the video message from Lee & Tiffany Lakosky, stars of the Outdoor Channel program, "The Crush with Lee & Tiffany," encouraging you to take the time to introduce a friend or youngster to the great outdoors with an Apprentice Hunting License!
There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, rewarding and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends. Hope to meet you in Hampton! Or Harrisonburg, or Franklin, or hunting camp this season...
David Coffman, Editor
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
Kayak Instruction at Holliday Lake August 22
Discover the joys of recreational kayaking by taking a course at the Holliday Lake State Park near Appomattox! The course will be offered Saturday, August 22. This course covers kayak safety and launching techniques, followed by on the water instruction. You will learn how to maneuver kayaks forward, backwards, sideways, and practice these skills through an obstacle course! The course fee is $16 and includes all necessary course equipment. Advanced registration is required. This educational experience is in partnership with VDGIF and Holliday Lake State Park. To register for this course or for more information, contact Robert Chapman at the State Park office at (434) 248-6308, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies' Day Handgun and Shotgun Clinic in Hanover August 29
The Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club will host a Ladies' Day Shooting Clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, at their range in Hanover. Choose from a handgun or shotgun clinic. Certified instructors will present safety instruction, base marksmanship, comfort, familiarity with firearms, handguns, shotguns, ear and eye protection, and targets. Clinic size is limited to eight shooters per clinic and reservations are required. For more information, contact Henry Baskerville at (804) 370-7565 or H.Baskerville@comcast.net.
Page Valley Sportsman's Club Hosts Youth Hunter Training
The Page Valley Sportsman's Club is hosting a JAKES hunter training event designed for youth to participate in a variety of outdoor skills classes. Shooting classes will include air gun, archery, shotgun, and rifle. Muzzleloading may be offered if participants are interested in attending. Participants are allowed to bring their personal shotguns. Ammunition for the 20 gauge is available. All other ammunition must be provided by participant. All ranges will have firearms and ammunition provided for students. Parents are welcome to attend with their children. Registration is limited to 30 youth and pre-registration is required. Lunch will be provided. The event is free and is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, contact Art Kasson at (540) 622-6103 or email@example.com.
Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival September 17-20
During the fall migration, millions of neotropical songbirds, along with eagles, hawks, and falcons, converge on the Eastern Shore peninsula. The wilds of Virginia's Eastern Shore will wow birders and nature lovers alike. Whether it's a hike on an untamed barrier island, or boat tour to the Shore's secret places, this festival celebrates one of nature's most amazing spectacles. This four-day festival begins Thursday, September 17 through Sunday, September 20, 2009. Visitors can participate in a variety of fascinating guided boat and land tours suitable for adventurers of all ages. For more information, contact The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce at (757) 787-2460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fly Fishing Workshop On Shenandoah at Elkton September 19
Come out and learn fly fishing skills from expert instructors followed by wading/fly fishing on the Shenandoah River in Stonewall Riverside Park in Elkton, September 19. This workshop is designed for beginners and anglers new to fly fishing age 12 and older. Register online today! Workshop fee $20/per person.
Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center Offers Variety of Fall Workshops
The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox is again offering a variety of popular fall workshops for unique outdoor related skills for building your own powder horn or carving a duck decoy. For more information, contact Nate Mahanes, Program Director at (434) 248-5444 or email@example.com.
September 20-23: Build your own powder horn! The powder horn that participants will be making is a common horn from the late 1700s or early 1800s. Registration is $220 and covers all programming and instruction fees, powder horn kit, meals, and lodging. Register by September 4th.
September 20-24: Learn to carve your own decoy or sharpen your carving skills! Beginners Welcome! Carving experience not needed. First time carvers will carve and paint a Canvasback, one of the most popular of all decoys. Returning students will carve and paint a decoy of their choice. Decoys will be carved from Tupelo, a favored decoy wood. Workshop price is $275 and includes meals, lodging, materials, and instructor fees. Register by September 4th.
October 23-25: Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Living Skills Weekend includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Each participant will receive a "bow drill" and will build their own survival kit with special items included with workshop. Learn knowledge and skills to last a lifetime! Cost of workshop is $175 and covers all programming and instructor fees, primitive bow kit, meals, and lodging. Register by October 9th.
Birding Trail Celebrates 5th Anniversary at Devil's Backbone in Nelson County September 25
Join the VDGIF and local partners to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, the nation's first statewide viewing trail on Friday, September 25, 2009. There will be bird walks on local trail sites, light hors d'oeuvres, and birthday cake! Local bird clubs and other conservation organizations will have exhibits. Come discover a little more of our Wild Side! For more information, contact Jeff Trollinger at (804) 367-8747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quail Unlimited to Host Covey Call Event September 26 in Culpeper
The Northern Virginia Chapter of Quail Unlimited will hold their annual fund raising event "COVEY CALL," on Saturday, September 26, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Crowell Farm in Culpeper. This event is held on this day in recognition and celebration of the National Hunting and Fishing Day. Our youth focused event is centered on getting young people actively involved in the outdoors and for them to learn the importance of wildlife habitat restoration. The event also raises funds for our on-going quail habitat restoration project with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management at Meadowood Farm, near Lorton. Bring your children, grandchildren, 4-H youth, Boy and Girl Scouts, and experience an unforgettable time. Activities include: flushing and bird dog demonstrations; Wildlife Management and Quail Raising Displays; cow cutting and trick shooter demonstrations. Other events include: raffle, silent auction; bird calling contest; rubber duck drawing; corn bag toss; and, Moon Bounce for the very young. Each paid ticket holder will receive a year's membership including subscription to Quail Unlimited magazine; 25 rounds of shotgun shooting, 25 rounds of .22 rifle and BB gun shooting. Prizes will be awarded for the TOP GUN shooter in the adult and youth classes. Lunch is included. We are also offering Boy Scout Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge. Entrance fee is $45 adult, $55 couple and $20 for each youth ages 6-17. All costs for food, shooting, and events are included in price. For information call (703) 232-3572 or email email@example.com.
September Sportsman's Shows Promote New Hunting Opportunities
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 who 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 12-13: 70th Western Regional Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and 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. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org.
September 12: WSLS TV 10 Sportsmen's Banquet to Benefit Hunters for the Hungry. 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. WSLS TV 10 in Roanoke is again sponsoring a Sportsmen's Banquet to Benefit Hunters for the Hungry September 12 at the Moose Lodge in Salem beginning at 5:30 p.m. A $20 single or $35 couple event ticket includes dinner. There will be a variety of raffles, as well as live and silent auctions of donated merchandise. For tickets or additional information contact: Jeff Fletcher (540) 985-6523, or Fred & Phyllis Wells (540) 992-3874. Visit the Hunters for the Hungry website for program information.
September 19-20: SVHEC Hunting/Fishing Expo, Abingdon Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is hosting a Hunting/Fishing Expo 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 Hunting and Fishing Expo.
September 26-27: Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. This year the Eastern Regional is also the State Championship. 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 regions 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 26: Annual Fall Outdoor Festival will be held in Farmville at the Five County Fairgrounds from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. This family oriented event is sponsored by Riverside Community Church Outdoor Ministries in partnership with area sportsmen's organizations including Hunter Education Instructors Association, the Hunt-N-Shack and NWTF High Bridge Strutters Chapter. Admission to the event is free and there is a free lunch and dinner. Quaker Boy Calls is sponsoring a Turkey Calling Contest with Youth and Adult Divisions. There is a Big Buck Contest, Turkey Shoot, Five Stand Sporting Clays, Kid's Fishing Pond, 3-D Archery Contest, Retriever Dog Demo, and VDGIF Hunting Simulator. For more information call (434) 547-6770 or (434) 607-6770.
People and Partners in the News
Complementary Work Force Volunteers Recognized for Service
Volunteers are critical to the VDGIF ability to fulfill its mission to manage wildlife populations, promote safety, and provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating, and related outdoor recreation. Through VDGIF's Complementary Work Force, a volunteer program that was launched two years ago, private citizens help the agency's biologists, conservation police officers, and other professional staff by performing a wide array of tasks ranging from stocking trout to staffing exhibits.
The value of the program to the Department has been tremendous. Since being launched, volunteers have logged in more than 7,600 service hours with an estimated value of more than $155,000. To express appreciation for the contributions of these valuable volunteers, VDGIF recognized the top volunteers of the year by region and selected from those individuals a single Volunteer of the Year. All the volunteers bring impressive experience, skills and dedication to the program.
The 2009 Volunteer of the Year for Northern Piedmont Region 5 is Patricia Wood of Fairfax Station. Patricia volunteered at the first available opportunity in Fairfax County in January 2008, at the Sportsmen's Show, and has been going strong ever since. Patricia excels at the educational side of volunteering, often taking on the role of "lead volunteer" for agency exhibits and events. She not only helps set up and organize an exhibit, she also helps with orientation of new volunteers. Patricia has staffed boat shows and outdoor shows in Richmond, Fredericksburg and Chantilly, has helped with the VDGIF sponsored National Archery in the Schools tournament; the State Fair; the Prince William County Fair, the Herndon Nature Fest and more. Patricia Wood demonstrates this commitment to the Department all the while keeping up with her course load as she works towards a Bachelor's of Science degree in Parks and Outdoor Recreation. She also works part-time for the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and still performs her fulltime job as executive assistant to the Chairman and CEO of Long and Foster Real Estate. Patricia is currently scheduled to teach a Habitat Facilitator Training course and a Project Wild Facilitator Training session for this fall. Patricia travels to Alaska each year as a volunteer with the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. For her extraordinary contributions to the Department, Patricia Wood has also been named the Complementary Work Force 2009 Volunteer of the Year.
"I like everything about working in wildlife and conservation as a volunteer," said Patricia Wood. "Volunteering is a way that I can express my love of nature to others. My volunteer reward is what I feel inside my heart when I can help someone learn about nature and want to protect it for the future."
The 2009 Volunteer of Year for the Tidewater Region 1 is Hugh Jones of Aylett. Hugh became a volunteer in April 2008, and received training in crop damage inspections and the damage permit program. Hugh lives not far from VDGIF's King and Queen Fish Hatchery where he works weekly assisting with general maintenance, grass cutting, fish stocking, and whatever else needs to be done. Hugh is a retired electrical engineer. His talents include carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work, all useful at a fish hatchery.
The 2009 Volunteer of the Year for the Shenandoah Valley Region 4 is Frank Showalter of Timberville. Frank is one of a group of original Complementary Work Force volunteers, initially dubbed "The Bucket Brigade" for their trout stocking work in the Valley. Frank, a farmer and owner of Showalter Slaughter House and Meat Processing and Franko's BBQ catering company, brings a lot of character to the program as well as a reputation as a hard worker. Frank also received training on issuance of damage permits and due to his years of experience as a farmer gave him such insight in conducting damage inspections and issuing permits that he now provides on-the-job training to other volunteers in that work.
VDGIF's Complementary Work Force has had a tremendous impact on the agency's ability to work towards its mission. These fine individuals are examples of the high caliber people participating in the program. Anyone interested in joining this impressive team, can learn more by visiting the agency's website or by calling CWF Coordinator Susan Alger at (703) 481-2102.
Wildlife Center Announces Autumn Open-House Schedule
The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has scheduled five open houses for Autumn 2009. These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the nation's premier wildlife hospital, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center's education ambassadors.
The open houses will be held on:
- Sunday, August 30
- Sunday, September 13
- Sunday, September 27
- Sunday, October 18
- Sunday, October 25
The Center will have three separate sessions each day - at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Each session lasts about an hour. As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public. The seasonal open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Waynesboro facility. There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required by contacting (540) 942-9453 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A limited number of spaces are available for each session.
During the open house, visitors will tour the Center's building, including the medical clinic [examination room, operating room, etc.] In addition, visitors will get to "meet" the Center's education animals some of the 20 non-releasable animals that the Center's education staff uses in school assemblies and classroom presentations. Included in the Center's education "faculty" are a Golden Eagle, owls [Great Horned, Screech, and Barred], Red-Tailed Hawks, several different species of snakes, and Virginia Opossums. As most of these animals live in outdoor homes, these tours are offered weather permitting.
Every year, about 2,500 animals - ranging from bald eagles to opossums to chipmunk - are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. "The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild," Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said. "At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release."
26th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen Show Big Success
The 26th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show attracted more than 20,000 sportsmen families at the Richmond Show Place August 7-9. With over 300 fun and exciting exhibits, demonstrations and seminars, experienced and novice hunters found lots to see and do. Hundreds of new Hunting and Fishing Licenses were sold and over 300 new subscribers signed up for the Outdoor Report. Thank you to the current subscribers for completing the survey on your satisfaction with the content and length of the newsletter. Overall you gave us good comments - we appreciate your confirmation that we are on the right track. Biologists, conservation police officers, Complementary Work Force volunteers and Hunter Education Instructors answered a zillion questions and enjoyed meeting and talking with you. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan commented, "It was great to see so many families and young hunters at the Show. I enjoyed meeting many old friends and making many more new acquaintances. I am overwhelmed by the support expressed to me by our sportsmen and sportswomen for the many positive changes we have made in the regulations and opportunities for better hunting this coming season."
Hugh Crittenden, Show Founder and Manager noted that it was hard to believe that he had sponsored the show for so long. He noted that many of the exhibitors had been with him for those years and greatly appreciated the long standing support of the VDGIF and the Virginia Deer Hunters Association.
In the August 26 edition of the Outdoor Report we will have information on the winners of the Big Bucks Contest and the Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship.
Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website
The winners of the Virginia Deer Classic Contest sponsored by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA) and Swedish Match at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 7-9 at the Showplace in Richmond are posted on the VDHA website (PDF).
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.
"What's New" for 2009-2010 Posted on Website
Your free copy of the new 2009-2010 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest is now available at license sales agents, upcoming sportsman shows and VDGIF Regional offices. This booklet features many new hunter friendly regulations and expanded opportunities this season. The booklet is increasingly user-friendly with color-coded page tabs for the different sections including: What's New, Licenses, Regulations, Hunting Lands, Bear, Deer Turkey, Small Game, Trapping sections and an Index. One date change new this year is the Regulations go into effect on August 1, 2009, rather than the traditional July 1 date of past seasons. This date change was necessary due to the change in the regulatory review and approval schedule now running into June. You can also access the information in the new regulations booklet on the VDGIF website along with feature articles on the topics listed in the digest. 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.
"Top Ten" New Hunting Opportunities for 2009-10
- Youth Deer Hunting Day - September 26, 2009
- Hunters must be age 15 or under
- Must be directly supervised by a licensed adult
- Bucks or does may be taken
- Blaze orange required
- Modern and muzzleloading firearms or archery tackle can be used, subject to local firearms restrictions
Be sure and read the full details of these new
regulations, seasons and requirements in the
2009-10 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations Digest
Apprentice Hunting License: A New Way To Get Involved in Hunting
New regulations recently passed by the Board provide for numerous opportunities this upcoming fall season to take a new or novice hunter in the field to experience the many benefits hunting offers. There are now both a Youth Deer Hunting Day on September 26, 2009, and a Youth Turkey Hunting Day on October 17, 2009. If they do not have their hunter education class completed, an Apprentice License can be purchased by a new hunter. 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 new Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted on YouTube. 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.
Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, stars of the Outdoor Channel program, "The Crush with Lee & Tiffany," have a special video message to take the time to introduce a friend or youngster to the great outdoors with an Apprentice Hunting License!
What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.
Dove Season Opens September 5 - Labor Day Holiday Weekend
- Dove hunters have a unique opportunity again this year with the opening day for Dove Season coinciding with the Monday Labor Day Holiday weekend. This is also a great opportunity to introduce a youngster, or adult friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this new license option in this section. New regulation this year states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons. The first segment of Dove Season runs September 5 - 26, and the second segment starts October 7 through November 7, 2009. So there's no excuse this year not to go afield... Wow, a holiday weekend opening day, good friends and family, ample dove fields and lots of birds. Remember safety first and have fun!
- Floating Blind Licenses Now Available from License Agents and Online
- 2009 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1
- Remember to get a new HIP number.
- Non-Toxic Shot Now Required for Hunting Rail, Snipe, Moorhen and Gallinule
- Shotguns Need to be Plugged for Doves, Ducks, Geese and More...
New Seasons to be Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds
New season dates for waterfowl will be set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their August 18, 2009, meeting in Richmond. The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species are posted in the sidebar of the Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section, or can be found on the Department's website.
Pan Fishing and Squirrel Skinning DVD
New Video Available:
Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting
Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. With squirrel season starting September 5, this video will show you one of the best methods we've seen for skinning squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line for the first time. In the second video, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young and old.
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Every boater has experienced it.
You're on the water all day, enjoying the sun and exploring new coves in your boat. You become more and more relaxed, almost dazed, with the wind in your face and the boat humming along the water. You may not realize it, but you could be experiencing boater's fatigue.
Boater's fatigue is a real, documented phenomenon caused by the combination of sun, wind, noise, vibration and the movement of the boat. It's important for boaters to be aware of it, because it slows reaction time and can make it harder to operate your boat safely.
"What some people may feel as relaxing is this boater's fatigue setting in," said Lt. Mike Fields, boating safety administrator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "It's a phenomenon that actually dulls your senses to the point where you can feel intoxicated."
Like alcohol intoxication, boater's fatigue can cause bloodshot eyes and slurred speech in addition to slower reaction time. It isn't necessarily dangerous, if boaters are aware that they may be experiencing it and take some precautions. "Allow more distance between you and other boats and be extra careful around your turns," Fields said. "Stay on the right side of the lake and leave yourself a cushion; realize you may not have boater's fatigue, but the other guy might."
Boater's fatigue doesn't just affect the boat operator. Everyone on the boat can experience it after a few hours on the water. While boater's fatigue can't really be prevented, taking frequent breaks off of the boat and drinking plenty of water can help minimize the effects. Let someone else operate the boat if you're feeling too fatigued and avoid alcohol.
Boater's fatigue exaggerates the effects of alcohol. For instance, a boater who has consumed one alcoholic beverage may seem as though they've had two or three drinks if they are also experiencing boater's fatigue. "Boater's fatigue doesn't really become dangerous until you add the effects of alcohol," said Fields. "It's another reason not to drink on the water."
As you're enjoying the water this season, be aware of boater's fatigue. Give yourself some extra breaks, stay hydrated and keep an eye out for other boaters.
Published with permission from the Outdoor Wire. Article is by Hayley Lynch, an award-winning writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She is an avid hunter and shotgun shooter.
New Virginia Lifetime Boater's Card
Our new Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card is available to those who meet the boating safety education requirement. This durable, drivers license styled card is available for a fee of $10.00. If you meet any of the below listed requirements - you may apply for this card.
- Completed a NASBLA approved boating safety course (U.S. Power Squadrons, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, other states' boating safety courses, or internet courses)
- Completed a Virginia Challenge Exam
- Have lost your original Boat Virginia card
- Possess a valid license to operate a vessel issued to maritime personnel by the United States Coast Guard or a marine certificate issued by the Canadian government
- Possess a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator's Card
- Possess a commercial fisherman registration
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.
Borrow a kid's life jacket: If you're expecting young guests aboard and have a temporary need for the right-sized lifejacket, the BoatU.S. Foundation has over 500 Kids Life Jacket Loaner Program locations across the country where you can borrow one for free.
For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation services for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com. For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.
Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
With the summer boating season upon us, VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:
- wear your life jacket
- do not mix alcohol and boating
- take a boating safety course
Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!
"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.
Save Time, Money and Gas - Plan Your Summer Vacation for Virginia
With rising gas prices this summer, consider visiting Virginia on your vacation this year. There is a good reason why our Commonwealth is a top tourist destination - there are thousands of attractions, outdoor adventure opportunities, and natural and cultural history opportunities to explore right here at home! Rediscover why Virginia is for Lovers! This year celebrates the 40 anniversary of the popular 'Virginia is for Lovers' slogan.
To help plan your Virginia adventure, visit VirginiaGreenTravel.org, a website dedicated to environmentally friendly travel in Virginia. The new site has convenient links to Virginia state parks, outdoor adventure programs, the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, eco-friendly events, 140 green lodging facilities, restaurants, attractions, and travel tips. "Virginia Green is a new and important focus for our tourism industry, as we work to educate ourselves and improve upon how we treat the natural habitat that helps make Virginia a top travel destination," said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "It's smart business sense for Virginia and will help preserve and protect our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and tourists."
Notes for Young Nature Explorers
This new section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature. With school out for the summer break, learning can continue with the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun. The Virginia Wildlife calendar lists natural events that can serve as a "lesson plan" to get students outdoors exploring, observing, and having fun while learning about the woods, fields, and streams and the fascinating plants and animals that share these habitats with us. Each edition we will bring you ideas on topics, natural occurrences, and events to spark your interests in exploring nature. Make it a family affair!
Outdoor Blogs and Websites Provide Nature Adventure Info For Kids
For excellent information on getting youngsters interested in exploring and learning about nature there are several blogs and websites to review: EE Week and the school year may be behind us, but there are opportunities throughout the summer to engage students in environmental learning as well as take advantage of the time to reflect and deepen our own connection to nature and commitment environmental education. Read below for upcoming programs and opportunities for educators and students.
- National Environmental Education Foundation website provides information and activities to encourage you to experience the outdoors and inspire the young people in your life to do the same. Access Environmental Education Week's online Nature Center Map and Nature Journaling Blog for some ideas to get kids outdoors.
- Kids Discover Nature by Jodi Valenta
- Virginia Naturally newsletter
Nature Observations from The Byrd Nest by Marika Byrd
Red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) are colorful. The males have red and yellow feathers on the black body. The more subdued, streaky brown females have a lighter brown breast, and a white eyebrow is often noticeable. Smaller than a robin, their body length is 9 inches. From high perches, the males sing "conk-la-ree" all day to be noticed, while the females seeks food and weaves their nest.
These broad-shouldered birds like to hang out atop cattails in the marshes, swamps, ponds where they nest from March to mid-July. Blackbirds learn to move from the wetlands to dry land during winters to pick the grain in the fields. From August to September you can see them, with other blackbirds and starlings, gathering nightly in the wetlands or roosting in trees on farmlands. Farmers suffer lots of crop damage to corn, sunflowers, and rice from blackbirds. However, farmers like it when these blackbirds eat millions of unwanted, harmful pests during nesting time. In the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, reportedly, an estimated 15 million birds were in one roost - that is a lot of birds jammed together in one place.
Now that you know more about this pesky blackbird, gather some friends and adults, then go blackbird sighting; they are found throughout the Commonwealth. Winter is a good time to watch your feeders, and then report your findings to Project FeederWatch.
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 Saturday in January 2, 2010. 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.
The negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. 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. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. 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.
Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available
The summer months are a great time to be outside and see wildlife around you. Songbirds are nesting, mammals are on the move, and amphibians keep cool in the shade next to a pond. What's the habitat like around your home? Does your yard have a diversity of native plants, plenty of food and cover, and a variety of water sources? The new Habitat at Home© DVD features the yards of four homeowners in different parts of the state who have removed invasive plants, reduced their amount of lawn, added water features, and planted flowering perennials and shrubs.
VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator Carol Heiser advises, "Native shrubs in particular are an excellent choice for wildlife, because they support native insects that make up a critical part of the food web. Native plants are better adapted to our growing conditions and are much easier to maintain than non-native ones. So many of our neighborhoods lack the kind of native plant diversity that wildlife really needs. You'll be surprised at the number of birds and other wildlife that use native shrubs. Although nurseries tend to sell shrubs in the spring while they're in bloom, autumn is actually the best time to plant shrubs if you want optimal survival. Visit our website to get your own copy of the 40-minute DVD!
Quail Habitat Workshops Scheduled for October
Partner wildlife management and land stewardship organizations that are partners with VDGIF in the implementation of the Quail Management Plan have scheduled two workshops for October. More detailed information will be posted in the September 9 Outdoor Report. Dates and contact information are as follows:
- October 9 - Wildlife Habitat Workshop , Dinwiddie, Contact Mike T. Jones (804) 586-3255; email@example.com
- October 16 - Halifax County Quail Tour, Halifax, Contact Jason Fisher, Extension Agent (434) 476-2147 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
You Never Know What Lurks in Those Waters
By John R. Copeland, VDGIF Fisheries Biologist
For Robert Rakes of Christiansburg, beginner's luck was the ticket to a place in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries state record fish history book. Mr. Rakes, an avid hunter, started fishing only one year ago and had never caught a striped bass or hybrid striped bass. On May 13, 2009, Mr. Rakes got his ticket punched, catching a new state record hybrid striped bass from the New River downstream from Claytor Lake Dam.
Stripers and hybrids have been stocked in Claytor Lake for many years. While anglers regularly catch striped bass up to 20 pounds from the lake, hybrid striped bass over 10 pounds are rare. Stripers and hybrids survive trips through the Claytor Dam hydropower turbines or over the dam's spillways during high water and live the high life in the tailrace area, where minimal effort is required to find food. As a result, some of these fish reach sizes they cannot reach in Claytor Lake due to poor habitat conditions in drought years. The State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries recently certified Mr. Rakes' state record hybrid striped bass weighing 13 pounds. This represents the first-ever entry for this category, which required a minimum weight of ten pounds to qualify.
The hybrid striped bass stocked in Claytor Lake are a cross between a female white bass and a male striped bass. These fish are purchased from a private hatchery and stocked in Claytor Lake as 3-inch fingerlings each August. Hybrids demonstrate what is commonly called "hybrid vigor", which simply means they are lean and mean. They are well-known for their strength, so they are very popular game fish. Hybrids grow more slowly than stripers in Claytor Lake, taking 4 ½ years to reach the legal size of 20 inches. To accurately determine the age of the hybrid Mr. Rakes caught, bones near the brain cavity will be removed by a local taxidermist, then submitted to Department fisheries biologists. It is likely that Mr. Rake's fish may set age records for hybrid striped bass in Virginia too.
Mr. Rakes' hybrid hit a Rapala Super Shad Rap and took him for a wild ride in the swirling waters below the dam. After a 10 minute battle, the fish was brought to the side of the river. Although Mr. Rakes didn't know what species he had at the end of his line until he brought it ashore, he knew it was big, so he kept the drag loose in the hopes that it wouldn't break the line. Although hybrids can easily be confused with striped bass, he and his friends were fairly certain that the fish was a record hybrid. Had it been a striped bass, it would not have been anywhere near the current state record of 53 pounds, 7 ounces, caught in Leesville Reservoir. So, he was relieved when fisheries biologists Bill Kittrell and George Palmer confirmed that his fish was indeed a hybrid and certified scales verified the weight at 13 pounds.
Mr. Rakes' catch shows that you never know what lurks in the waters of the New River. Maybe you will be the next lucky angler to set a state record. All it takes is a fishing pole, lures or bait, and the hardiness to stick it out when others give up. The New River and Claytor Lake are home to many of Virginia's state record fishes, holding records for 5 of the 29 fish species on the state record fish list. View the current list and photos of Virginia's state record freshwater fish and more information about the trophy fish program. Check out the Department's website for more information on New River and Claytor Lake fishing.
Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!
How was your last fishing trip? Did you take pictures of your catch? Send them to us and share it with the world! Here's how:
- Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
- Or, if you already have an account on Flickr, join the group and submit your photos. It's easy!
No matter how you send in your pictures, please remember to include the species, date, and location of your catch. If you know the length and weight, please include it.
Rules for submitting photos to the group:
- Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
- Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
- Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
- Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
- Only submit photos for which you have permission to post online. For example, any minor pictured must have documented permission from his or her parent or guardian in order to appear in the group. By submitting a photograph of your child, you are giving VDGIF permission to post the photo on the Flickr "Virginia Fishing" group.
Tips for Taking Kids Fishing
By Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator
Fishing is a fun family activity and every angler wants to pass along the sport they love to their children. Here are a few tips to help make those first fishing trips great and memorable experiences.
Keep it Simple – This is the time to put away the high-tech gear and get back to the basics. Grab the spincast rod and reel spooled with 6 - 10 lb. line or the cane pole and rig up the basic floater rig (bobber, split shot and hook). Choose a place that has good access (hiking through the briers takes away the fun) and has plenty of Sunfish, such as a local pond, small stream or park lake. Use balanced tackle for small fish: 1" bobber, small split shot (BB or 3/0 size), and a small #6 baitholder or circle hook. For bait, use red wigglers, night crawlers, crickets, bread or biodegradable bait such as Berkley Gulp Maggots.
Keep it Fun – Have the mindset that this time is all about the kids - not about them becoming an expert their first time out. You may want to leave your own rod and reel at home. The goal is to catch a few fish and make this a fun experience. Stay patient and help cast, bait the hook and land the fish. Their skills will improve as they are encouraged and have more fishing experience.
Take Pictures – Snap a picture of those first fish, no matter what the size. Show your enthusiasm for their accomplishment and congratulate them. Post the pictures on the refrigerator and enter a photo into the DGIF Kids ‘n Fishing Photo Contest.
Watch the Time – Gauge the fishing time based on the interest of the child - some never want to leave (that was me!) and others may only be able to fish for an hour or less. You can do other things around the water besides fish: explore and identify aquatic creatures and wildlife, skip rocks or have a picnic. Keep the fun going and stop for a happy meal or an ice cream cone on the way home.
Pan Fishing and Squirrel Skinning DVD
New Video Available:
Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting
Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. If you want to learn one of the best methods we've seen for Skinning Squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line for the first time. In the second video, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young & old.
Effective July 1 Boating Education Required for PWC Operators Age 14-20
Attention boaters, VDGIF has begun to phase in Virginia's boating safety education requirement and wants to remind boaters that as of July 1, all operators of personal watercraft (PWC), including Jet Skis, Sea Doos, and other PWCs, age 14 to 20 will need to have proof of boating safety course completion onboard while operating the vessel. PWC operators must be at least 14 years old. It is unlawful in Virginia for anyone under the age of 14 to operate a personal watercraft. To find out more about the boating safety requirement, the rest of the phase-in for Virginia boaters, or to find a boating safety course, visit the Department's website
Anglers Be on the Lookout for Fish Kills
Anyone with information on dead or dying fish is encouraged to contact the DEQ regional office in Harrisonburg at (540) 574-7800 or toll-free in Virginia at 1-800-592-5482. Information and photos also can be emailed to DEQ at email@example.com. A detailed summary of findings through the 2008 fish kill season is available on the DEQ 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.
For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com. For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.
Sarah White's Notebook - Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
Region 1 - Tidewater
Beaverdam Swamp Reservoir: Contributed by Park Manager, C. Blair Evans. The dog days of summer have arrived. Warmer water temperatures have slowed the fishing action down, but fish are still being caught. Anglers are finding their best results fishing deep with rubber worms. Tom Encrapera of Gloucester had a notable catch landing a 22 in. 5 ½ lb. bass. There have been other reports of catches in the 5 to 6 pound range. The water is 87 degrees, slightly stained and at full pool. Beaverdam's last open Bass Tournament will be held on September 19.
Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefiled (443) 336-8756. Bluefish are showing up around Cape Henry, and the mouths of the York and James. Spanish mackerel are showing up in the bluefish schools. Both fish like large spoons. Spot and croaker are around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and are attacking squid, blood worms and fish bite. Some flounder have been found in the same area, but are mostly too small to keep. The water is 71 degrees and very clear.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports that the heat has slowed angling action down, but bass fishing is fair. Soft plastics, buzzbaits and crankbaits are your best bets. No word on crappie. Some big cats are being landed; an 84 lb. blue was nabbed from a private pier in Diascund. The water is in the 80s and stained.
North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Bass are hitting well early and late, says Dewey Mullins. To land one, try poppers or buzzbaits. Crappie angling has been very slow with the fish going "down deep". Those seeking cats have been successful, but the fish have been small. Bluegill have been plentiful, and those using a fly rod have been especially lucky. The water is clear and 86 to 88 degrees.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that bass are hitting early and late, with poppers and buzzbaits as the preferred lures. Crappie action has been fair on minnows and jigs. Cats are doing well on cut bait. Local bluegill are attacking crickets, beetlespins and red wigglers. Water is fairly clear and in the low to mid 80s.
Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Not much to report this week as far as fishing news goes. Both the Blackwater & Nottoway continue to suffer from low water conditions. However the Nottoway has gotten a little relief from recent heavy rains and is the best choice for fishing right now. In fact it is rising as of the 5th of August. The Blackwater is in terrible shape with the water starting to get a green carpet on it. I'm hoping the rain we get the next couple of days will make it to the river and flush it out. One opportunity to be had with low river conditions on the Blackwater is to go fossil hunting. Upriver & downriver from the Rt. 603 VDGIF landing is great for finding shells and an occasional sharks tooth or even a whale bone. You can tell if it is bone by the metallic ring it will have if you tap it with your fishing pliers. It can be a really fun activity, one the whole family can get into. Just do not dig holes on people's private property. Public land starts where the normal water level is.
Region 2 - Southside
Nottoway Falls: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. My old trusty fly rod talked me into going to Nottoway Falls today. I got to the lake by 9:30 a.m. to find the lake looking like a mirror, dirty mirror that is, no wind at all. Fished along the banks and picked up 28 bluegill up to 7 in. Guess all the adults still on vacation there too; I did catch a 16 in. largemouth bass around one of the stumps in the flats. It hit that #10 popping bug like it was a dragon fly or something bigger. It hit the bug about 4 in. off the water and since I do not like to catch bass, I tried to pull the bug out of the way, but since my reflexes are much slower now, all I ended up doing is setting the hook instead. I just can't do anything right. I caught a total of 8 bass from 5 in. to 16 in. I changed over to the spinning rod and a purple twister tail and picked up 25 crappie across the lake from the ramp around an old beaver lodge. The sun was doing real good job by then so I went up lake where the trees shaded out over the lake. I sat in the shade and fished the sun in about 6 ft. of water and picked up and released 28 more crappie in the 8 to 10 in. range with most in the 8 in. bracket.
Lake Gordon: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. The TV was saying rain in the morning and clearing by afternoon with the temperature in low 80s was all it took for me to head to Lake Gordon to see if the fish could be fooled onto hook. I got to the lake by 10:00 a.m. The wind was very calm so I started out with the fly rod from the ramp along the bank all the way to the first cove and never got a strike. Switched over to the spinning rod and fished the bank and middle all the way to the flats only picking up two 15 in. channel catfish, two bass 10 in. & 12 in., and one 9 in. white perch along with 4 crappie, largest 9 in. I was back to the fly rod and the bank after that and picked up a total of 32 bluegill all hand size. Talked with two other boats and they were not doing anything either, so it was not a great Gordon day.
James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com. Smallmouth angling has been good with topwater action being the best. Poppers and Tiny Torpedoes work well. No word on crappie. Some anglers have reported luck with cats by using goldfish and bream. The river is at a good level, clear and in the low 80s. Be wary of floating grass.
Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow tells us that bass fishing is "decent" on soft plastics and crankbaits. Crappie are down 20 ft. deep but they will take a minnow in the brush. Cats can be had from Clarkesville to Blue Stone Creek. They like cut bait, shad and both live and cut bream. The water is in the low 80s and clear to stained.
James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. According to Jimmy Cheers, local bass are going for popping bugs like the Chartreuse #1, sizes 4 to 6; and the Blue #2, also sizes 4 to 6. Crappie will go for a White Wooly Bugger, sizes 6 to 8. The water is warming and clear.
Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Clint Hampton reports that bass fishing is sketchy, but dark colored soft plastics may do the trick. No word on crappie. Cat fishing has been good, with live and cut bream and good old stinkbaits doing the job. Perch have been going for small minnows and worms. The water is warming and slightly stained.
Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead, Virginia Outdoorsman (540) 721-4867. Visibility in the upper lake is limited, as the arms of both rivers have a moderate amount of color, but visibility remains very good in the lower lake as you head towards the dam. The lake water temperature has risen a couple of degrees over the past week pushing some of the baitfish a little deeper and signaling a shift in summer fishing patterns. Stripers, which up until recently had been scattered in small groups less than 20 ft. below the surface, are now being found in larger schools, in deeper water. Stripers continue to be caught trolling with Sutton spoons, large bucktails, swim shad and umbrella rigs (urigs) like Captain Mack's. While most troll using their gas motor, some report success trolling urigs slowly in deep channels and along the edges of submerged tree lines using their electric motors. No matter how you fish, it is important to place your baits or lures above and within easy sight of stripers this time of the year. While stripers will come up from significant depths to pursue certain baits, "putting your bait on the fish" really increases the likelihood of success.
Bass fishing has been good but mixed. Bass are currently being caught both shallow and deep. There continue to be largemouth bass caught during the day under and around deepwater docks on 4 and 5 inch Wacky Rigged Senko worms as well as on Texas rigs, pig and jigs and shaky head jigs rigged with plastics by Deep Creek, Bass-Trix, Roboworm and ZOOM. Bass are also being caught during the day on points and humps in deep water on crankbaits and Carolina rigs. Carolina rigs use brass and tungsten bullet sinkers, glass beads and brass "clickers" to attract bass. A number of different plastic lures work well on Carolina rigs including plastic worms, lizards and creature baits by companies like Netbait, Deep Creek, V&M, ZOOM and Berkley. Some anglers are catching bass after dark using plastics in dark colors, with large silhouettes and ribbon tails that displace lots of water. Night fishermen continue to catch bass using floating jerkbaits and wakebaits in locations where they are coming up near the shoreline to feed on the still spawning alewives. The water is clear and 83 degrees.
George Scott and Luke Nichols won this weekend's Friday Night Backyard Bassmasters Tournament with a weight of 20.38 lbs. The team of Doug Eubank and Matt Belcher won the Tuesday Night Limit 5 Tournament with a total weight of 16.80 lbs. The husband and wife team of Jim and Rosie Musgrove from Wirtz, VA won the Saturday Night Tournament out of Foxport Marina. They brought a total tournament winning weight of 15.25 lbs. The Federation Nation of Virginia (FNV) B.A.S.S. Youth Junior State Tournament was held on Smith Mountain Lake this past Sunday. The results were not available when this was written, but will be available at www.vafederationnation.com. Tight lines!
Region 3 - Southwest
Southwest Virginia Lakes Provide Access for Handicapped Anglers
James Hale, conservation police officer with VDGIF Southwest Region 3, took the photo of the northern pike caught at Hidden Valley Lake while patrolling in late July. This 61-acre Department-owned impoundment is in the Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Area in Washington County. Hidden Valley Lake is located in the mountains at about 3,500 feet of elevation. The south side of the lake is almost completely forested, and the north side is a mixture of woods and open lands. The northern pike was 32 in. long and weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz.
The smallmouth was caught at Laurel Bed Lake. It was 19 inches long. No weight was taken. Laurel Bed is a Department-owned lake located in Russell County on the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. This 330-acre lake rests on the top of Clinch Mountain at 3600 feet of elevation. It is surrounded by second growth hemlock and mixed hardwoods, and provides a spectacular setting with scenery rivaling that found at an Adirondack or Canadian natural lake. These avid anglers are "regulars" at the two lakes. They noted that these two lakes are some of the few places where they can fish due to their limited mobility. The open lands provide good bank access for disabled anglers and they can drive pretty close to the water near the ramps.
Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina (540) 980-1488. Wyatt Bleavins says that that bass are hard to get during the day, better early and late. Try a slow presentation and retrieval during the day and spinners at night. Crappie angling has been "tough", but try small crappie jigs and cut bait. Cats have been slow too, with some good sized ones being landed on live and cut shad and chicken livers. The water is muddy in the upper lake and clear in the main lake. The temperature is in the 80s.
Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zineius reports that fishing up his way has been "mediocre". Even the night bite has not been very active. For bass, try the emergent grass patches in Claytor Lake. No word on crappie. Cat action has been good with shrimp and chicken livers or an inline spinner with an earthworm. Walleyes have also gone for these lures. Muskie angling is good, with a big inline spinner being preferred. The water is around 75 degrees and slightly stained.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry Murray says that the bass streams in the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah are clear and good to fish in. The best spot in the North Fork is downstream from Edinburg. The whole South Fork is good. The water is clear and 80 degrees. Good flies are Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 6; Shenandoah Damsel Popper, size 6; Murray's Hellgrammite, size 6; and Shenk's White Streamer, size 6. The waters are clear and 80 degrees.
The stocked streams in the Valley are low, but fishable. Your best bets for flies are: Mr. Rapidan Streamer 8 and Murray's Strymph 10. The waters are clear and 74 degrees. The Mountain streams are low and hard to fish. The clarity is good with temperatures at 68 degrees.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Piedmont Rivers: Local blogger and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac. The Piedmont rivers are running clear after the recent rains with the 'smallies', now wary of movement with the increased visibility, huddling in the deeper sections. If you can find a hole that is between 4 and 8 ft. deep near a rock ledge or weed bed, you will be on the "mother load". On the warm days, look in the shade near the banks. That's where the big 16 - 20 in. big-shouldered beasts cool off as they wait to slam any popper (blue or chartreuse) that comes in range. Anglers report seeing plenty of smaller 'smallies' jumping out of the water in pursuit of dragonflies. Fly fishers report that the panfish are active to the point of being obnoxious and upsize their lures to size 4 to discourage interest. The Rapidan and Rappahannock are "good to go" for wading as the levels have dropped to the point of pain for kayakers and canoeists. Anglers fishing the confluence of these rivers report conversations with tired and frustrated canoeists who spend more time dragging their canoes downstream than floating. As a general rule, the Rapidan is good for wading when the river gage is at 1.4 ft. or below; current level is below 1.0; the Rappahannock is okay at 2.4 with the current level just above that as a result of the rain. The vegetation on the bottom of these rivers is in full bloom and you need to use weedless rigs to avoid frustration. The Upper Potomac is running at a level acceptable for both wading and canoeists but fishing is not that great right now unless you are looking for panfish. Avoid the "desert areas" on all these rivers as the 'smallies' will not be found where the bottom is pure sand with no structure. Same general guidance as in the last report - fish are hitting on top water - especially poppers in size 4 and 6 with blue being a critical color. Rapalas, small crankbaits and the normal mix of plastic worms are good choices for spin fishers. "Christmas Lights" color powerbait grubs are hot right now. Spinners (Mepps, Panther Martins, etc.) have not been productive unless you are targeting panfish with the smaller sizes. For fly anglers who prefer an underwater approach, hellgrammites, Murray's Strymp, or anything with a bunch of legs like a Bitch Creek Nymph seems to work. The mountain trout streams are at low levels. Based on that, I recommend you not fish in the Park to avoid stressing the wild trout population. If you need a trout fix, head over to the Jackson, North Branch, Savage or the Youghiogheny where the upstream dams blast out clear, cold water to keep the trout moving. For directions to these and other locations, visit Switchfisher.com.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. According to Mike, bass have been pretty good to the seeking angler, especially one with purple soft plastics. No word on crappie. Mike's charters have been landing some big cats, John Leeper from Ohio brought a 26 lb. flathead to boat. Eels have proved a good cat bait. Some croaker have been landed at West Point on the Pamunkey side, with squid as the bait.
Lake Orange: Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Darrell Kennedy says that largemouth bass are hitting top water in low light conditions. During midday plastics are your best option for the bass bite around brush piles. Bill Deeds, of Gordonsville caught a 6 lb. 8 oz. bass on a plastic worm. Crappie continue to be taken around fish attractors and the fishing pier on small minnows. Catfishing remains strong throughout the lake on live bait and chicken livers. A good number of bream have been caught using night crawlers. The water is clear with temperatures around 80 degrees.
Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors (703) 878-3111. Terry Olinger reports that bass fishing is fair, but slowing down due to the heat. Try topwaters around the edge of grass mats. Crappie are deep under the docks and pilings, but just might go for a minnow or a jig. Cat fishing is "good", with cut bait and night crawlers. No word on stripers. The water is 88 degrees and clear.
Lake Anna: Jim Hemby, (540) 967-3313, www.jimhemby.com. Stripers: This year striper fishing has been the best that I have experienced in the last 20 years on the lake. A few patterns are very reliable this month. There are still many schools of fish breaking on the surface throughout the lake. Most any topwater bait will catch these fish. The deep bite is still on and once you locate the fish on your depthfinder you can troll Deep Diving Redfins, drop rigs or umbrella rigs to catch fish. You may have to use lead core line to get down to the fish, downlake the fish are suspended between 30 to 45 ft. deep. Mid lake the fish are shallower, usually between 15 to 30 ft. deep. The Lake appears to be about a month behind, we are seeing schools in the areas where they should have been in early July. I am locating an average of 5 large schools a morning on my Lowrance and using downlines and freelines to catch the stripers. We are still catching up to 50 a morning before the fish shut down, usually around 9 a.m. The schools are still within 2 miles of the 208 bridge and have not moved downlake like they have in the past years. I am converting from using herring to using larger gizzard shad now and having great success. If the fish are deep I will put my baits in their faces using downlines and if they are in the upper water column (later in the month) I will be running 10 to 12 Water Bugz planner boards to cover as much water as possible.
Bass: The beginning of the month you can find the bass still relating to deeper structures where bait is present. Mainlake points, humps, roadbeds, brush and rock piles along with bridges hold the bass now with numerous techniques catching fish. Deep diving crankbaits are working well now along with a shaky-head worm. We are catching bass on top of roadbeds (old 208, Stubbs, Contrary), on 20' ledges in Rose Valley, on top water in the mouth of Contrary and on the older fish structures.
Crappie: Nice crappie are being caught on deep docks that either have brush under them, a sharp ledge, a light that stays on at night, or the combination of all three. Crappie are also schooling uplake on primary points with rocks or boulders on the breaks in 15 to 20 ft. of water. Later in the month the fish will go shallow and can be caught in 4 to 10 ft. of water. Smaller minnows and jigs are working best for the slabs are feeding on bait fry now.
Catfish: Cats are everywhere and are feeding on everything in sight. Find arches on the bottom on your depthfinder and put live bait on them for plenty of action. They love this water temperature and are probably the easiest fish to catch this month.
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.
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Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
|To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.|
Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley
Lost 6 year old child found safe by Virginia Conservation Police Officer... On July 17th at approximately 8:00 p.m., off-duty Virginia Conservation Senior Police Officer Neil Kester had stopped at a local convenience store west of Staunton on Rt. 250. Kester observed three deputies with emergency equipment activated traveling west on Rt. 250. CPO Kester left the store and was proceeding home when he saw two state troopers going in the same direction as the deputies. Kester, being an experienced police officer, contacted the Augusta EOC to see if a CPO was needed. The dispatcher advised that she had been trying to contact a Conservation Police Officer. She stated that a six year old boy may be missing in the George Washington National Forest behind Braley Pond. While Kester was on the phone with the EOC, an Augusta Co. Deputy marked on the scene and confirmed the incident was legitimate. The Deputy then requested CPO Kester's assistance.
Senior CPO Kester notified DGIF Dispatch of the incident and marked enroute. Utilizing his knowledge of the area, Kester decided to travel a trail/road that ran off of Rt. 250 to the back side of Braley Pond instead of taking the main state roads. Traveling this four mile stretch of road required the unlocking of several U S Forest Service gates.
With emergency lights activated, Kester proceeded along the trail toward the second gate which is about one mile from Braley Pond. Approximately halfway between the two gates, Kester observed somebody wearing orange run from the middle of the trail to the side. He pulled up and found a young boy holding a bouquet of flowers. CPO Kester talked to him and confirmed he was the missing boy. The six year old stated he was picking flowers and looking for his father. Senior Officer Kester checked to make sure that he didn't need any medical assistance. They proceeded by vehicle along the trail in an attempt to locate the father. While driving, Kester engaged the boy in conversation in an attempt to comfort him and alleviate his fears. He told the officer that he had seen a mother bear and cub in one field he had walked past. Kester asked him what he did when he saw them. The young fellow said "I made a lot of noise and they ran away." He said he had also seen some deer, but the coolest thing he had seen while walking was a turtle that "stuck his little head out." Kester asked him who the flowers were for and he said "My Daddy."
When they reached the second gate, Kester told the boy that he was going to turn on the siren to alert his father and that it would be loud. Senior Officer Kester was hoping the father would hear it and come to the sound as they traveled slowly down the trail. Approximately two minutes later, the siren suffered a mechanical malfunction and quit working. Kester then utilized the vehicle's horn to continue with the alert. Roughly a quarter of a mile from the Pond, they met the search party coming in their direction. The party advised that the father was still missing. It was only a few seconds later that the father came running out of the woods and stated that he had heard the siren and knew to come towards it. The father and son were reunited at that time.
Senior Officer Kester was amazed at how calm the boy was during the whole the incident considering his age and the fact that it was dark.
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
For a young teenage girl deer hunter, time spent in the woods with her dad can be very special and full of great memories. When your dad is a Navy Commander deployed for months on an aircraft carrier, those hunting opportunities become even more memorable. For Micheala Bryant, then a sophomore at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach, her deer hunt with her dad in 2006 provided her most memorable hunting experience. Michaela won First Place for her comical and touching story about her encounter with some "gossiping does" and the different accounts of the event between her and her dad. As the First Place winner in the 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest, Michaela was awarded several prizes including outdoor gear and a gift card from Bass Pro. She has decided to use the gift card to purchase a new slug gun from Bass Pro to go hunting with her dad this fall. Michaela will be one of several youth award winning writers presenting seminars at the Bass Pro "Next Generation" youth weekend at the Hampton location August 22-23. She is real excited to be selecting her new slug gun that weekend with the expert advise of the store pros. Come see us to learn the rest of the story about the "attack of the does."
Attack of the Does
By Micheala Bryant
My most memorable outdoor experience happened in the 2006 hunting season. When the does attacked!
After a forty five minute drive to the base, we checked out our tree stands. We got there in time to get my favorite stand; number 17. Stand 17 has always been my favorite because it is the Cadillac of stands. It is big enough for two and has a wooden railing that makes you feel safe. Granted, this stand has its downfalls, one being that there have always been creepy, hairy spiders that randomly pop out of nowhere.
I climbed into my stand with my backpack and my father climbed up and handed me my gun. He stayed for about ten minutes, briefing me on where to shoot. He then left telling me that he would pick me up after dark.
I sat scanning the area while I read a horse magazine. A couple hours later, I was doing my routine scan when I saw them. Two does had popped up about two hundred yards ahead of me. I started to panic because this was the first time I saw two deer at once. I sat there as still as an iceberg for what seemed like an eternity! There were so many thoughts running through my head. I had a third person conversation with myself.
I kept my cool while watching the does. The meanest part was that they were just standing there, whispering into each other's ears as if they were gossiping about the latest hunky buck, and waving their little tails. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I didn't realize that they were slowly coming into range.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better; two other deer pop out of the woods from my left and two from my right. I thought "Oh Great! What am I supposed to do now?"
I was getting confused and pretty angry. I had six deer around my stand. I picked up my gun very slowly and sat pondering. "Now do I go for one of the two gossiping deer in front of me?" "Or do I go for the two on my left or my right?" There were so many thoughts running through my head, and the worst part was that three of the does were in range. It was just plain unfair. They had purposely popped up and were just standing there gossiping.
My father snuck in and was shocked when he discovered my doe dilemma. He laughed with me for about two minutes. He saw a very frustrated hunting buddy (me) being thoroughly mocked by the does, creepy spiders, and whatever else Mother Nature had in store.
I ended up not shooting because it got dark before I could make my decision. I'm kind of glad that I didn't shoot one because it meant that I might have taken a long shot which may have injured, but not killed. We would have then spent the night tracking down that poor doe. I learned one very important lesson: does are crafty.
My father will not let that story die. He came up with a heck of a lot funnier version that goes:
It was day three of no food, and Micheala was sitting in that stand with only a single round. Out of the blue the tree stand started to shake. She turned around only to find a doe climbing up. This doe had a black eye patch, a red bandana around her head, biker clothes, a knife in her teeth, and a tattoo that read "I HATE HUNTERS". She knew it was the doe or die. So she picked up her shotgun and pointed it at the doe. The doe's mission was simple... Micheala knew it was the moment of truth... Would it be the doe? Or would it be her?
He never finished the ending of that story, although I love his version a whole lot better than mine. All my family and friends know it. It doesn't bother me because what happened in that stand stays with the does and me... (Although I can't say that I'm not silently plotting my revenge.) The 2006 hunting season was officially dubbed "Does one, hunter none" for the Bryant household. The does had an unfair advantage over the poor lonely hunter. I will get one of them another season, another day.
This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2007-08 High School Youth Writing Contest by Micheala Bryant won First Place in the 2008 Contest among over 120 other entries. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Contests 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:
- Treestand Safety Tips
- Preparing for the New Youth Deer Hunting Day
- Upcoming Big Game Contest