In this edition:

Lots of "Wild Events" Scheduled for Outdoor Enthusiasts

This January 27 edition has a long list of "wild events" coming in February and March that offer a variety of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. There are both outdoor events and indoor sportsman's shows that feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Having spent the past two weekends at the Richmond Fishing Expo and the Nation's Outdoor Sportsman's Show in Chantilly, I am humbled by the great responses from our subscribers on your high overall satisfaction with the Outdoor Report. We got some great ideas for improvements too. We welcome the 400 plus new subscribers that signed up at the shows. VDGIF will have exhibits at the upcoming February – March shows and hope you will stop by and say hello. More importantly bring a youngster or a friend that you can introduce to the great outdoors. Join with your fellow sportsmen and support one of the many conservation organizations that support these events. Each edition of the Outdoor Report contains examples of organizations that partner with VDGIF staff to provide opportunities to get folks involved in outdoor activities, supporting conservation programs and making our wild Virginia a great place to live and seek outdoor adventure.

David Coffman, Editor

New Readers Guide to Your Outdoor Report...

Welcome... We appreciate your accepting our email invitation, or stopping at out exhibits at the sportsman's shows, to subscribe to our electronic newsletter. The Outdoor Report is formatted in standard sections as outlined in the "In This Edition" contents listing at the beginning. There is also an events calendar, hunting season dates, and other program features in the sidebar. Our purpose is to provide you with timely, up-to-date, factual, short articles with links to more details on featured stories. This format allows you to quickly scan through the newsletter and read those articles of interest to you. If you prefer not to scroll through the entire newsletter, simply click on the Section in the "In This Edition:" list you want to view and the section will appear on your screen. The newsletter is emailed directly to you the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. We are especially proud that after three years we have grown this newsletter to routinely include news items from more than 35 partner organizations and agencies. At VDGIF we realize that the conservation, management, and stewardship of Virginia's bountiful wildlife and natural resources is best accomplished with all of us working together. The Outdoor Report is your newsletter, and we welcome your comments, news items, and suggestions for improvement. Read about what's happening, then get out there and participate, enjoy and respect the great outdoors! You can contact us directly at: dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov.

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

There is a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner, or concerned citizen.

The most appropriate way to express your opinion about these bills, or any other legislation, is through your local delegate and/or senator. For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, please visit the Virginia General Assembly website. You may also contact the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 (804-698-1990 in Richmond.

Proposed Regulation Amendment for Virginia Participation in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries has proposed a regulation amendment to provide for Virginia's participation with 31 other states (with 4 more states in the process of joining) in the interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, under which convictions for violations in one state would be treated as convictions in other participating states as well. Comments are solicited »

Walleye Fishing Forecast and Tagging Study, 2010 Updates

We know it's cold and windy, but you walleye anglers know that this is your time of year! Walleye action is on the increase!

And to get you started in 2010, the Walleye Fishing Forecast and the Walleye Tagging Study update are both available. The fishing forecast is a must for any angler thinking about accepting the challenge of walleye fishing in 2010. VDGIF has come a long way in developing very good walleye populations in a number of lakes through a stocking program; has learned a lot about walleye habitat, life history, and angling techniques in Virginia; and has lead the way in discovering and enhancing a unique strain of walleye found only in the New River. The forecast is the biologist's best predictions about where, when, and how. VDGIF is also continuing a walleye reward tag study in 2010 and the update will give you details about how you can participate. Good luck and enjoy!

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!

The new 2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published, and a copy can be obtained at the upcoming fishing and hunting shows, all license agents and Department offices. VDGIF Fisheries Division Director, Gary Martel, notes, "This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive 'Let's Go Fishing' section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section, including the complete Trout Fishing Guide, on our website have also been updated for 2010.

Attention Saltwater Anglers

The new National Saltwater Angler Registry was launched by the federal government on Jan. 1, 2010, and will require virtually all saltwater recreational anglers in the United States (including Virginia) to call each year and register. The program is an effort to build a complete and accurate "phonebook" to better contact anglers to obtain catch information directly from them. Registration can be done through a toll-free number, 1-888-674-7411, or online at CountMyFish.noaa.gov. Anglers will be required to provide their name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish, although they will not be restricted to fishing only in those regions and will not be required to register separately for each region in which they fish. There will be no charge to register until 2011, at which point an annual registration fee of about $25 a year will apply. All fees collected through this federal program will go to the U.S. Treasury.

Those exempted from Registry requirements are: anglers under the age of 16; those who only fish on licensed charter, party or guide boats; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling permit; or hold and are fishing under a valid commercial or subsistence fishing license or permit. The National Saltwater Angler Registry is a federal, not state, requirement. State fishing license fees will continue to be required. For more information on the Registry, please go to CountMyFish.noaa.gov. A Virginia Marine Resources Commission report to the General Assembly on the subject can be found in the following document: SJR Report (PDF)

Richmond-Area Boat Shows to Combine February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway

In an article in the January 12 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch, Peter Bacqué reports that the Virginia Boat Show's producer has canceled the event, originally scheduled for January 22-24 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Affinity Events, the show's owner, will instead combine the downtown show with its Richmond Boat Show on February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. The combined show at the raceway complex will showcase about 125 exhibitors, including about 25 boat dealers and attract over 8,000 boating enthusiasts. Read the entire Richmond Times Dispatch article at this link, or contact Peter Bacqué at (804) 649-6813 or pbacque@timesdispatch.com.

February—March Sportsmen's Shows Offer Something for Everyone

The four regional outdoor sportsmen's shows scheduled for February - March 2010 feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests, promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. All the shows feature activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen's organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Each show offers something different, so check each show's website for all the details.

Virginia Beach Hosts Winter Wildlife Festival January 30

NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO THE FORECASTED WINTER WEATHER.

The wind may blow a bit colder and the leaves are off the trees, but there is still a wealth of wildlife throughout the Commonwealth. Get outside in Virginia Beach and attend the Winter Wildlife Festival on January 30, 2010, at the Kempsville Recreation Center in Virginia Beach.

This festival is sponsored by Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation with the support of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. There are outings to observe seals at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, see whales in the Atlantic, discover owls at First Landing State Park, and view other winter wildlife like shorebirds and waterfowl at beautiful locations throughout Virginia Beach. Learn how to identify a variety of animal species, while getting energized to go green! Get more information and festival registration here.

The festival will focus on environmental education and wildlife and will feature local excursions, educational sessions, and outdoor vendors. Stop by the exhibit hall at Kempsville Recreation Center and speak with our Winter Wildlife Festival partners, including the Virginia Aquarium, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, First Landing State Park, Lynnhaven River NOW, and the Virginia Audubon Society. You'll also learn ways to get involved with local efforts and see what conservation groups and businesses are doing.

The exhibit hall will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the educational sessions and excursions running at various times during the day. In order to participate in the educational sessions and excursions, you must first register for the festival's main registration. There is no cost to attend the festival, but some sessions and excursions do have a fee. Once registered, you can choose which sessions to attend.

Roanoke Valley Master Naturalists Holding Its First Class February 9

If you have ever wanted to know more about animals, plants, or geology of the Roanoke Valley, the newly formed Roanoke Valley Master Naturalists will hold their first training program February 9, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council on Peters Creek Road. The cost is $100 per person. The course includes 12 classroom sessions and four Saturday field trips. Topics in the curriculum include ecological concepts, biogeography, geology, soil science, wild flowers, trees and shrubs, birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles, fish and stream biology. Following completion of the class, students complete a take-home written exam and a practical exam. After accumulating 8 additional hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer work, students are certified as Virginia Master Naturalists. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the wonders of nature that surround us here in the Roanoke Valley! For more information and to download an application for the class, please go to our website.

For more information, please contact: Denny McCarthy, (540) 387-5461, Dennis.McCarthy@dof.virginia.gov or Lynda Calkins, (540) 777-5108, lcalkins@gsvsc.org.

Alleghany Highlands Master Naturalists to Hold Class February 18

The Alleghany Highlands Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists will hold its fourth annual Master Naturalist Training Class at Douthat State Park starting February 18, 2010. The class will be held on Thursday evenings from 5-8:30 p.m. at the historic Douthat Lake View Restaurant. The cost is $125 per person and includes dinner before each class. In addition to the 10 evening classes, there will be three Saturday field trips. Topics in the curriculum include ecological concepts, biogeography, geology, soil science, wild flowers, trees and shrubs, birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles, fish and stream biology. Following completion of the class, students complete a take-home written exam and a practical exam. After accumulating 8 additional hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer work, students are certified as Virginia Master Naturalists. The Alleghany Highlands chapter members participate in volunteer activities including environmental education in local schools as well as citizen science projects such as monitoring blue bird nesting and hawk watching. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the wonders of nature that surround us here in the Highlands and to help protect them. For more information and to download an application for the class, go to our website. Applications are also available from the Douthat State Park office. Application deadline has been extended until February 12, 2010. For more information contact Keith Carson at 474-2858.

Holston River Master Naturalist Start Class February 18

The Holston Rivers Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists is offering a Basic Training Class starting on February 18, 2010 - May 15 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Ed Center in Abingdon. Classroom instruction is 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays with seven Saturday field trips. In May, students can choose to participate in the Mt. Rogers Naturalist Rally for advanced training.

Visit their website for more information or contact nhagen@embarqmail.com (276) 475-3599.

Greater Virginia Sports and Big Game Show at Rockingham Fairgrounds February 19-21

In its fourth year, The Greater Virginia Sports and Big Game show will once again take place at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg on February 19-21. Show Manager, Stacey Rowe, has a great line-up of experts in various activities including America's whitetail deer hunter expert, Rodger Raglin, who will be on hand to meet with folks and share some of the best information ever on hunting whitetail deer. Archery crack shot Randy Oitker will demonstrate his unique talent with bow and arrow. The Greater Virginia Sports and Big Game Show proudly works closely with local conservation groups each year to share the heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation. There are numerous contests including the NWTF Sanctioned Hunters for the Hungry Turkey Calling Contest and the newest contest to be introduced - the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Trail Camera Photo Contest. This contest is the first of its kind to be held in the State of Virginia at a sports show.

Visit their website for more information or call (540) 294-1492.

23rd Western Virginia Sports Show at Augusta Expoland Feb 26-28

Have you ever seen a big bear up close? Welde's Big Bear Show will be making their first appearance featuring huge brown bears at Augusta Expoland for the 23rd Western Virginia Sports Show February 26-28. The show will feature other hunting and fishing celebrities including Terry Drury of "Drury Outdoors" and National Champion Turkey Caller and home town favorite, Lance Hanger, will be on hand to demonstrate his winning techniques and give tips on hunting a big gobbler this Spring. Howard and Jason Caldwell will demonstrate Falconry featuring their "Raptors Up Close" program for conservation education of these fascinating birds of prey.

There will be seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The show features activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen's organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Visit the show's website for all the details.

Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Decoy Carving and Wilderness Survival Workshops

Are you interested in learning the art of traditional duck decoy carving? Nate Mahanes, Program Director for the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, advises that a gift of a registration for this hands-on workshop March 7-11, 2010, is perfect for that special person who enjoys the outdoors. Registration deadline is February 19. Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. Participation is limited to 15 students for a better instructor participant ratio!

An Advanced Wilderness Survival Course will be offered April 16-18, 2010, with a registration deadline of April 2. Ever wondered what you'd do if you were lost in the wilderness or stranded after an accident? Would you know how to survive? Join us for a fun weekend and learn how to SURVIVE and THRIVE in the wilderness! Come spend a weekend learning Wilderness Survival Skills from experts in the fields of wilderness survival, search/rescue, primitive skills, and tracking! Registration fee of $165 covers programming, survival kit components, meals, and lodging.

For details on these courses and other adult programs visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website, or contact by email: nmahanes@vt.edu, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749

Sportsmen and Conservation Organizations Hosting Annual Award and Fund Raising Events

A number of sportsmen and conservation organizations that partner with VDGIF throughout the year are hosting annual award and fund raising events during the winter months. If you are a member of one of these groups we appreciate your support of our aligned missions and volunteer efforts to improve opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts and conservation of our wildlife and their habitats. If you are not a member of one of these organizations, we encourage you to find an organization that shares your views and join and support them. It is the strength in numbers that will allow us to preserve and continue our treasured outdoor traditions, be it hunting, fishing, boating, or viewing wildlife. The following is a listing of events that our partners have asked us to post:

People and Partners in the News

VDGIF To Host Archery in the Schools Program State Tournament February 27

VDGIF is conducting the second Annual National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament on February 27, 2010, at the Augusta Expoland in Fishersville. The tournament is being held in cooperation with the Western Virginia Sport Show which will be held at the same location from February 26-28. This tournament is the "culminating event" for Virginia schools participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Last year, more than 90,000 Virginia students at more than 160 schools participated in archery instruction during their PE classes throughout the school year. The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes student education and participation in archery. The program's focus is designed to teach International target archery in 4th through 12th grades as part of the in-school curriculum. Before presenting archery instruction to their students at school, teachers must undergo an 8-hour instructor certification training program referred to as BAI, Basic Archery Instructor. Certification is conducted by VDGIF Outdoor Education staff and VDGIF-certified volunteers.

VDGIF recently received two NASP awards in recognition of the exceptional level of participation reached since the program began in Virginia in 2006. Currently over 297 schools, and 760 teachers have been trained. For more information and to get your school and teachers involved in NASP, contact VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia State NASP Coordinator Karen Holson at (804) 367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov. For more information about NASP visit the Department's website. Also, be sure to check out the NASP video and Virginia Wildlife feature article!

Complementary Work Force Releases Latest Newsletter

The Complementary Work Force is an initiative to use trained volunteer, and intern manpower to help fulfill the mission of VDGIF in an efficient and economical manner. It is composed mainly of citizen volunteers willing to devote their time and talents to enhance the efforts of our professional, technical, and administrative staff. Currently the program is operational in Regions 1, 4, and 5. To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, visit the DGIF website.

Wildlife Center of Virginia to Offer Rehabilitation Classes

Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center of Virginia located in Waynesboro announces the upcoming "On the Road" classes:

Sunday, February 28th, 2010 Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington

Saturday, March 20th, 2010 Bridgewater College, Bridgewater

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 Tonsler Park, Charlottesville

Saturday, July 17, 2010 Lynchburg Parks and Recreation, Lynchburg

For more information, including class descriptions and costs, visit the Wildlife Center of Virginia's website.

Hunter Education Instructors Volunteer Outside the Classroom

Teaching Hunter Education is not the only thing volunteer Hunter Education Instructors do! Instructors have skill sets beyond the classroom and we are fortunate to be able to call upon their expertise to help in many ways. Here, some Region 1 volunteers are shown after a hard days work in repainting and re-roofing a shed containing hunter education materials and equipment. Just another example of how we couldn't do what we do without them!

Hunter Safety Message Featured at Wild Game Supper in Chesterfield

A Wild Game Supper was held at Clover Hill Assembly of God in Chesterfield County on January 23. There was a tremendous response to this event with 750 in attendance. A VDGIF information booth was set up prior to the Wild Game Supper for attendees to make educational and information material available. Outdoor Education staff presented a brief overview of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) in Virginia, and noting participation and achievements in NASP for Chesterfield County. The new video on the 2009 NASP State Tournament was shown to the attendees. A Hunter Safety presentation was conducted by Michael Holson, a VDGIF volunteer Master Hunter Education Instructor and Morgan Award recipient. A brief powerpoint presentation featured three main safety rules to remind hunters that Safe Hunting is NO ACCIDENT! The supper served pork BBQ, with wild game available for sampling, such as rabbit, goose, squirrel gravy, venison stew, fried venison, spiced rockfish and several other game dishes to choose from. The event had sponsors that provided gift cards and prizes to local sporting goods shops and restaurants. Their goal was to reach 300 and it is evident that they exceeded their goal! This was their first event like this, and it was a huge success with their emphasis on fellowship, hunting and outdoor safety.

Disabled Sportsmen and Wounded Warriors Participate in Numerous Deer Hunts

The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Wheelin' Sportsmen program, The Virginia Deer Hunters Association, Sunrise Hunt Club in Sussex, and Fort A.P. Hill sponsored deer hunts for disabled sportsmen, veterans and wounded warriors throughout December. For details on these and other events and hunt event applications for future programs, visit the VANWTF website. Are you interested in volunteering to assist with an event or have a friend that is interested? Visit the Virginia National Wild Turkey Federation Web site to find numerous links to opportunities and information. The Virginia Deer Hunters Association also hosts hunts for Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans. Steven Sears with Sunrise Hunt Club in Sussex County reported their fifth annual wounded warrior and veterans hunt was very successful utilizing the VDGIF wheelchair accessible hydraulic lift stands for hunting week. All 8 hunters arrived and 7 deer and two turkeys were taken Visit the organizations web sites for photos and inspiring stories of sportsmen volunteering to give back and express appreciation in a special way to servicemen who have sacrificed for us

Deadline January 31 for Outdoor Writers Association Annual Youth Writing Competitions

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) reminds students and teachers that the deadline for entries in the 17th Annual High School (grades 9-12) Writing Competition for 2009-10 is January 31, 2010. The goal of the competition is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.

The theme of this year's contest is based on "A Memorable Outdoor Experience." An experience by the student writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding, or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be posted on the VOWA Web site, and may be in other publications or on web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged—write the document and then attach it to an e-mail. The submissions can be made between now and the January 31, 2010, deadline.

Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in Charlottesville, on March 17, 2010, at the Doubletree Hotel. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event. There is also a separate competition for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.

For competition guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for both the high school and collegiate undergraduate contests, visit the VOWA website or contact VOWA High School Competition Chairman, David Coffman at david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov. For the Collegiate Competition, contact Marie Majarov at marie.milan@majarov.com.

Winning entries are featured in each edition of the Outdoor Report in the Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers section. After reading these stories from exceptional young writers, we hope you will be inspired to write about one of your memorable outdoor experiences and submit it to the competition.

2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Gives All Year Long

It's past time to purchase the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar! For more than 20 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been publishing one of the most visually stunning and informative wildlife calendars in the country.

The 2010 edition highlights many of the most sought after game and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich colors and composition of the 12 monthly photo spreads. Each page is full of useful tidbits for the outdoors lover—including wildlife behavior, preferred fishing and hunting times, hunting seasons, state fish records, and much more! Life history information is provided for each species featured

Virginia Wildlife Calendars are still being offered at the bargain price of only $10 each. Quantities are limited, so order yours now! Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.

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.

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

With the huge success of the first new Youth Deer Hunting Day, we have encourage you to send us photos of new young hunters who get their first deer, wild turkey, or maybe the buck of a lifetime. Even though the season has ended, keep sending in great photos of smiling young hunters. Also, any unusual pictures or stories from any hunters are considered for posting.

The pictures need to be in good taste for publication—minimal blood, classic pose, etc. Our award winning professional photographers offer a few tips on composition of your photos so as to capture the moment with a good photo—consider background, good light, contrast, and have both young hunter and mentor in the photo, especially father-daughter, or mother-son, etc.

Send us the basic information to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov for a caption including: names, age, hometown, location of harvest, county, private, or public land, first deer, doe or # antlers, turkey, coyote, bow or gun specifics, comment from the young hunter or mentor.

We will send a Virginia Wildlife Calendar to the successful hunters whose photos we post. Good Luck, and smile for the camera!

David Coffman, Editor

Austin Winslow age 12 of Chesapeake took his first deer a button buck, On November 26, 2009 with a 410 bolt action shotgun using a slug at about 30 yards in Bland county.

First shot, first deer ,first time hunting with his grand dad on private land. His grand dad got him a "Resident Apprentice Hunting License " on November 8, 2009. For Christmas his mother, Becky, gave him a Buck 110 knife. He is an honor roll student at Greenbrier Middle School. Grand dad was a happy guide that day.

James Lam, a Complementary Work Force volunteer from VDGIF Region 1 – Tidewater, sent in this photo of his 18 year old daughter, Ashley, on her first hunting trip with an Apprentice Hunting License. She had a shot at a doe but missed it. Ashley notes she had a great time and will target practice to get ready for next season!

James sent us this reminder for the 5th Annual Wild Game Dinner at Spotswood Baptist Church this Saturday, January 30, at the Fredericksburg Christian High School. The event features an archery contest, buck scoring contest, kid's activities and turkey calling contest. The buffet of various wild game dishes is provided by the attendees which in years past included 'road kill' stew and bear ribs. If you are planning to come go to this link to register.

Bill Megginson sent us these photos of his two nephew's first deer...

Dale Pegelow sent in this story of his son's first deer...

While doing drives with the Westmoreland Bowhunters in Westmoreland County on the last day of the season, my son Matt killed two bucks on the same drive. I was quite proud of how he stayed with it all day, despite the brutal cold and howling winds that accompanied us throughout the day. It was a time that I will always remember and I think my son will too. Matt is 12 years old and new to hunting this year. What a fitting way to start a hunting career and end the season.

Remember, only 65 days until the Youth Spring Gobbler Turkey Hunt Day,
April 3, 2010! See our website for details.

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in White-tailed Deer in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) received laboratory confirmation on January 19, 2010, that a white-tailed deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is the first confirmed case of CWD in Virginia. The deer was killed by a hunter in Frederick County less than one mile from the West Virginia line. With this case, Virginia now joins 17 other states and Canadian provinces with CWD, five of which are east of the Mississippi River.

"This was not unexpected," stated VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan. "Our wildlife professionals have been preparing for this for some time. The surveillance efforts have been critical and we appreciate the hunters, check station operators, and other cooperators who have supported our efforts."

CWD is a disease of deer and has not been found to be transmitted to humans or other animals. Learn more about CWD in Virginia and about the agency’s CWD Response Plan.

Deer Hunting Opportunities Still Available

Late Antlerless-Only Firearms Deer Season January 4-March 27, 2010

Hunters are reminded of the special late antlerless-only firearms deer season January 4–March 27, 2010, in the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William, except on Department-owned lands.

Urban Archery Season Runs Through March 27, 2010

Don't hang up your bow just yet—opportunities still exist for archery deer hunting across Virginia. To assist towns and cities with urban deer management issues, the Department established an urban archery season in 2002. This year, the season extends until March 27, 2010, in 21 localities. Due to these areas being more developed, there may be additional restrictions for safety measures that hunters must follow.

According to Deer Project Coordinator Nelson Lafon, "The Urban Archery season plays an important role in managing human-deer conflicts. It allows participating towns, cities, and counties to address the problems of too many deer while offering sportsmen a chance to hunt in these areas."

To find which of the 21 participating localities is near you, visit the Department's website.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

New Seasons Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds

  • New season dates for waterfowl were 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.
  • 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...
  • VA Stamp
  • Federal Stamp

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Warm Days and Cold Water Can Be Dangerous Combo

Whether you're on the water this winter hunting waterfowl or striper fishing, or just taking advantage of a warm winter day, it just makes sense to take some precautions to ensure a safe boating, fishing, hunting, or hiking experience. A sudden tumble into cold water, be it a lake, river, or small stream; can dangerously lower your body temperature leading to hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of this condition include change in mental status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a low core body temperature. Severe hypothermia may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and unconsciousness.

Treat hypothermia by protecting the victim from further heat loss and calling for immediate medical attention. Get the victim out of the cold. Add insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim. Be sure to cover the victim's head. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Handle the victim gently because rough handling can cause cardiac arrest. Keep the victim in a horizontal (flat) position. Give artificial respiration or CPR (if you are trained) as necessary.

Dress for comfort and safety and always be prepared for problems which may arise out on the cold water. Here are some tips to keep you safe and comfortable:

To see the latest developments in affordable, lightweight inflatable PFDs, click on the Be Safe... Have Fun article in the December 9, 2009 edition of the Outdoor Report.

"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.

Record Number of Animals Admitted To Wildlife Center of Virginia For Medical Care During 2009

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine located in Waynesboro, admitted a total of 2,534 animals for treatment during 2009 – injured, ailing, and orphaned wildlife from all across Virginia. The 2009 caseload was the highest number of patients treated at the Center since 2004.

As expected, the 2009 total included many common species – 280 Eastern Cottontail Rabbits; 252 Virginia Opossums; 210 Eastern Gray Squirrels; and 107 American Robins. Also admitted for treatment were a number of threatened species, or species designated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as species of special concern. Leading that list were the 40 Bald Eagles admitted during 2009 – a single-year record during the Center's 27-year history.

During 2009, 324 animals – or one in eight cases – were patients classified as a "kidnap" victim – a young animal brought to the Center in need of no "help" from humans. These are animals still receiving care from their parents, or young animals ready to live on their own. "Despite our natural inclinations, the BEST chance of survival for a young uninjured animal is often to leave it in its parents' care," notes Ed Clark, WCVA Director and founder. Center staff works with citizens who find young animals to assess whether these animals really do need human intervention. The Center's website includes a special "I need rescue advice" section to help citizens assess the health-care needs of animals. "The Center encourages those who care about wildlife to ask questions FIRST about the most appropriate course of action," Clark added. The Center's front desk is staffed seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; one of the Center's veterinarians is on call 24 hours a day. The goal of the Center is to "treat to release" – to restore patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild.

For more information on the most "notable" cases of 2009 and information of successful rehabilitation and release of patients back into the wild, read the full news release on the Wildlife Center's website, or contact Randy Huwa at (540) 942-9453 or rhuwa@wildlifecenter.org.

Be a Sweetheart to Wildlife

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

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

This section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun: plus provide the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. 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 adventure!

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 school year 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.

The Education Outreach Coordinator, Sheila Mary Barnett, with the Virginia Office of Environmental Education in the Department of Environmental Quality offers this gift idea for educators. If you are looking for a great, green gift for an educator and want to support environmental education in Virginia, consider a subscription to Green Teacher magazine.

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in early February:

Answers to January 13 edition quiz...

Get your copy of the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

A Huge Step Forward for Wildlife Conservation in Virginia

Five new pairs of field boots hit the wildlife habitat dirt running in early January. They belong to Virginia's first cooperatively hired Private Lands Wildlife Biologists. Marc Puckett, VDGIF Co-Project Leader reports that this unique program represents a joint hiring effort between the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, they are the first of their kind in Virginia. Similar, highly successful, programs have existed for several years in Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and other states. They represent the closest partnership ever between the cooperating agencies. Jack Bricker, State Conservationist for NRCS and Bob Duncan, Director of the VDGIF, signed an agreement formalizing the partnership on December 22, 2009. The new biologists will be working daily with partners in the agricultural community – one critical to wildlife nationwide. Their primary role will be in helping private landowners develop wildlife habitat through a variety of financial incentives programs.

Virginia's Quail Action Plan was a big impetus for this partnership. In its first year of implementation, the hiring of the 5 new biologists was a major goal of the QAP. They will spend a great deal of their time working on early-successional habitat – a habitat type that benefits not only bobwhite quail but dozens of early-successional species including pollinating insects.

These new wildlife biologists can be contacted for habitat assistance at the following USDA Service Centers:

Prescribed Burning Workshop February 6 in Bedford

Are you interested in learning more about using prescribed fire for wildlife habitat management? If yes, then you are invited to attend an educational workshop on using prescribed fire to enhance wildlife habitat scheduled for Saturday February 6, at the Claytor Nature Study Center, in Bedford County from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hands-on workshop will cover the following topics:

Experts with the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, along with partnering agencies will be on hand to provide information about these topics both in the classroom and afield. The format for the day will be classroom in the morning and a field demonstration in the afternoon, weather permitting. This workshop is free and open to the public and will take place rain or shine – please dress for a short walk outdoors. You must pre-register for this event as space is limited to 40 participants due to program effectiveness and safety. Directions and details will be made available upon registering. To register contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Office in Forest at (434) 525-7522.

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.

2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!

The new 2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published and a copy can be obtained at the upcoming fishing and hunting shows, all license agents and Department offices. VDGIF Fisheries Division Director, Gary Martel, notes, "This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive 'Let's Go Fishing' section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section, including the complete Trout Fishing Guide, on our website have also been updated for 2010.

Attention Saltwater Anglers

The new National Saltwater Angler Registry was launched by the federal government on Jan. 1, 2010, and will require virtually all saltwater recreational anglers in the United States (including Virginia) to call each year and register. The program is an effort to build a complete and accurate "phonebook" to better contact anglers to obtain catch information directly from them. Registration can be done through a toll-free number, 1-888-674-7411, or online at CountMyFish.noaa.gov. Anglers will be required to provide their name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish, although they will not be restricted to fishing only in those regions and will not be required to register separately for each region in which they fish. There will be no charge to register until 2011, at which point an annual registration fee of about $25 a year will apply. All fees collected through this federal program will go to the U.S. Treasury.

Those exempted from Registry requirements are: anglers under the age of 16; those who only fish on licensed charter, party or guide boats; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling permit; or hold and are fishing under a valid commercial or subsistence fishing license or permit. The National Saltwater Angler Registry is a federal, not state, requirement. State fishing license fees will continue to be required. For more information on the Registry, please go to CountMyFish.noaa.gov. A Virginia Marine Resources Commission report to the General Assembly on the subject can be found in the following document: SJR Report (PDF)

Walleye Fishing Forecast and Tagging Study, 2010 Updates

We know it's cold and windy, but you walleye anglers know that this is your time of year! Walleye action is on the increase!

And to get you started in 2010, the Walleye Fishing Forecast and the Walleye Tagging Study update are both available. The fishing forecast is a must for any angler thinking about accepting the challenge of walleye fishing in 2010. DGIF has come a long way in developing very good walleye populations in a number of lakes through a stocking program; has learned a lot about walleye habitat, life history, and angling techniques in Virginia; and has lead the way in discovering and enhancing a unique strain of walleye found only in the New River. The forecast is the biologist's best predictions about where, when, and how. DGIF is also continuing a walleye reward tag study in 2010 and the update will give you details about how you can participate. Good luck and enjoy!

Richmond-Area Boat Shows to Combine February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway

In an article in the January 12 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Peter Bacqué reports that the Virginia Boat Show's producer has canceled the event, originally scheduled for January 22-24 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Affinity Events, the show's owner, will instead combine the downtown show with its Richmond Boat Show on February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. The combined show at the raceway complex will showcase about 125 exhibitors, including about 25 boat dealers, and attract over 8,000 boating enthusiasts. Read the entire Richmond-Times Dispatch article at this link, or contact Peter Bacqué at (804) 649-6813 or pbacque@timesdispatch.com. An update on the combined shows will be posted in the January 27 Outdoor Report.

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:

  1. Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
  2. 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:

  1. Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
  2. Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
  3. Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
  4. Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
  5. 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.

Safe Boating is No Accident—Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class

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. 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

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

Both my father and grandfather had the great good fortune to be close friends with the great outdoorsman and outdoor writer Claude Kreider. Though his books are out of print now, he is still worth reading and listening to. His book Steelhead is about angling for that trout in the Northwest. In this book, which was published in 1948 way before 'catch and release' became so common, he has this to say about conservation and the angler's role: "The individual's behavior and personal ethics play an important part regardless of regulations, for there is no control of the anglers' actions when he is alone... He has only his conscience to guide him. The "meat-getter" will take his daily limit if possible and kill them, perhaps cast the fish up into the brush if they are not needed, for there is no one to see. Again some men, always hoping for a larger fish will hastily tear the hook from the little fellow and throw him back in a hurry to try again for a better one. And they think of themselves as sportsmen." I feel lucky to have "Uncle Claude's" books, and stories about him to guide me in my angling life.

New Fishing Contributors Recruited at Expo

The Richmond Fishing Expo gave us an opportunity to visit with several of our faithful Fishin' Report reporters and to recruit several new reporters for areas where we did not have information. The new reporters are marked with a double **. We welcome their information and tips to enhance your fishing success and enjoyment. Please support all our reporters when you can.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim told me that the Bay is closed to Rockfish anglers, as the season is over. Speckled trout and puppy drum can be had at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets on Mirrolures. Speckled trout can also be found in the Elizabeth River with the same lure. The waters are clear and 44 degrees.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Lots of anglers have shown up Charlie Brown's way. Yellow perch are striking on minnows. Crappie are hitting minnows and jigs. Cats are going for the traditional cut bait. The water is stained and 38 to 39 degrees.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports that while things have thawed, fishing is not good due to dingy water. Once the water clears up, Dewey expects good action from the yellow perch, especially on minnows, small jigs and beetle spins. The water is clearing and in the low 50s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says things have been slow due to rain and wind. Some anglers are getting lucky with yellow perch, using minnows and worms. A few bass have been landed with minnows and jigs. Not much cat action. The water is clear and cooling.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com Last week I got out on the Blackwater river between floods. I caught 9 blackfish, 2 nice largemouth and a catfish.  All were caught on a ½ oz. blade bait jigging off the bottom in water from 14 to 23 ft.  The water had warmed all the way up to 44 degrees but that might have turned the blackfish off.  I did see a couple of fellows catch a mess of speckle using minnows and jigs. However none of this information is going to do any of you any good as by the time this is posted the rivers will be at flood stage again from the rains we had Monday. Soon though, February is coming and the stripers will begin moving into the river on their annual migration with the shad and then herring. And then all will be good in fishing land again.

Region 2 - Southside

Lake Gordon and Nottoway Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. I got the calculator and did all kinds of figuring and decided the most likely place for the ice to have melted was in the Nottoway Reservoir at Ft. Pickett. The temp was 47 degrees and partially cloudy when I pulled the boat out of the shed. I was almost right about the ice being melted, the ramp and most of the lake was free of ice but all the flats were still covered with about an inch of ice. Taking a guess, the water was cold and still had a slight muddy look from all rain we have been having and was about 8 inches above normal.

The 47 degree temperature was the highest of the day, and by the time it started to sprinkle around 3:00PM the temp was down to cold at 41 degrees. I fished the deeper part of the lake using almost every color of twister tail and only caught 2 fish: one 8 in. yellow perch and one 10 in. crappie all on the purple twister tail and 1/32 lead head.

A friend of mine fished Brunswick Lake last week and only caught two pike. The lake still had ice on it also. I was in South Hill on Friday and Gordon is stained too, and little over a foot above normal.

**Briery Creek: Our new reporter Jack Pollio from Longwood College's Fishing Club says that they have not had much luck. A trip to Briery Creek on the 19th resulted in no fish due to somewhat icy conditions. Look for better things from the students next edition.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366, (434) 996-506. The James has been up and stained this past week. The week before it was in good shape. The warm water discharge area at Bremo is your best bet. Water temperature at the pipe is around 68 degrees with temperatures running in the mid to low 50s downstream from there. Tubes, Pig-n-Jigs, along with crankbaits have boated fish in this area. The 2 + inches of rain on Monday has put the James at flood stage, with Scottsville putting up their flood wall. The Scottsville ramp is still mud covered. Work is being done at the Hardware landing, hopefully it will be open by spring.

Kerr Reservoir: Contributed by Bobby Whitlow, Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. According to Brandon Gray, things are slow at the Reservoir. Some anglers have found reasonable success trolling for crappie with jigs and minnows. No word on bass. A 48 lb. blue cat was recently brought to boat. The water is stained at the upper part of the Reservoir and clear at the lower. The temperature is 38 to 41 degrees.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane told me that there has been no action due to flood level waters. He thinks that things should be great in Spring.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that some stripers are attacking spoons and bucktails. Bass action has been slow. No word on cats. Crappie angling should pick up in a couple of weeks, as will bass. The water is clear and cold.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN IMPORTANT WARNING: The Virginia Department of Health has issued an advisory on walleye fish consumption due to mercury contamination in Lake Gaston. Recent fish tissue sample results from the North Carolina Division of Public Health show mercury levels in walleye fish exceed the amount considered safe for long term human consumption. VDH advises the consumption of no more than two meals a month of walleye taken from Lake Gaston. Virginia's advisory stretches from John H. Kerr Dam downstream 18 miles to the Virginia-North Carolina state line. For additional details, visit the VDH fish consumption advisory page.

VDH recommends the following precautions to reduce any potential harmful effects from eating contaminated fish:

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com. Deep winter fishing patterns continue as the heavier cold surface water continues to sink, pushing water temperatures below the surface and the fish in it down deeper in the water column. Currently most stripers are being marked in small pods anywhere from 25 to 65 feet below the surface. Bass, white perch and yellow perch are suspended from 20 to 45 feet deep. Overall, the fishing continues to be slow, in large part because the cold weather has slowed the metabolism of the fish considerably. When this happens they need to eat less often, are less aggressive and they seek prey that is easy to catch and requires less energy to catch than it produces. Some anglers have reported some success using live bait like alewives on downlines and planer boards. Others report locating small pods of stripers with their electronics and discovering they seem to have lock-jaw, refusing to hit the shad.

Many of the stripers caught over the past several weeks were caught on Umbrella rigs, flukes, swimbaits, jerkbaits and jigging spoons. Most of stripers caught on flukes rigged on lead headed jigs, swimbaits and jigging spoons were caught by anglers vertically jigging these lures. Good fluke and swimbait colors include white pearl and white ice. Good jigging spoons include chrome and gold Kastmaster, Hopkins, Luhr Jensen, Cotton Cordell Smashflash and CC spoons.

This past week several anglers fishing Umbrella rigs and swimbaits on jigheads reported success using the "green weenie with metal flake" color sassy shad. I don't know why that particular color would have stood out, but in most instances it was hit while slowly trolled or jigged from 25 to 60 feet below the surface. When fishing Urigs in the winter months I suggest you try trolling very slowly by using your electric trolling motor instead of gasoline motor. The best striper fishing appears to be where the surface water temperature is several degrees warmer than other areas of the lake and that is primarily in the lower sections of the lake. Good areas include down near the dam, Craddock Creek, Bull Run, Gills Creek, the State Park and Walton Creek sections of the lake. Striper fishing in the mid lake area continues to be spotty.

Bass are suspending in deeper water and for the past week or so have been found suspended above the standing timber and along the sides of deep water points, old channel banks and bluffs. Those bass suspending in deep water are being caught on jigging spoons (3/4 ounce Kastmaster, Hopkins, CC) and blade baits like the Silver Buddy. When jigging vertically with either, remember to follow them down slowly with your rod tip on the fall to avoid fouling your line. You want to set the hook at any unusual line movement or the slightest tick. There have also been bass caught off the sides of long deep water points on deep diving, suspending jerkbaits like the Lucky Craft Staysee and deep diving Pointer. Long pauses while retrieving the lures and patience appear to be key to fishing jerkbaits this time of year.

Normally flathead catfish are caught on jigging spoons in the winter, but I haven't had reports of anglers catching many this winter. Crappie fishing has been slow overall, although several fishermen did catch crappies on small minnows deep the last time we had several consecutive days of warm weather. The water is clear to poor and 39 degrees.

For those who might not have already heard, the Bassmaster Elite Tournament Series will return to Smith Mountain Lake this year. The Smith Mountain Lake tournament is called the Blue Ridge Brawl and it was originally scheduled for August 12-15. It has been rescheduled for April 15-18. The Blue Ridge Brawl will be held at Parkway Marina (formerly Saunders Marina) again this year with the professional anglers launching and returning for the weigh-in each day of the event. There will be a number of activities for the entire family at the marina during the days of the tournaments, so reserve the dates and make plans to attend this incredible event.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. According to Jennifer Nester the Lake has been frozen until last week. The water level has been drawn down to the point that it is impossible to get a boat in or fish.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that the river is up and fast. The big thing up his way is "hot" muskie fishing. The monsters are going for big jerkbaits. The water is stained and cold.

**New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 626-4567. New reporter Shawn Hash told me that the river is up and flowing. The Radford Gauge is at 5 ft. and climbing. Things should be low enough to fish by Thursday. The water is stained and cold.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry says that all streams are at flood level and are too high to fish. Harry updates his website every Friday, or sooner if things warrant; so check the site before you head out.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Captain Joe Hecht, Fat Cat Guide Service, (804) 221-1951. Due to excessive rain and flooding at the beginning of the week, no report was submitted- contact the reporter directly or visit their web site for up to date information.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, (804) 938-2350. Lots of migratory eagles from the Northeast and Canada are all around the river and can be seen flying and perched in trees along the riverbanks. January is peak time for the winter migration of bald eagles on the James River. Due to excessive rain and flooding at the beginning of the week, no report was submitted- contact the reporter directly or visit their web site for up to date information.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. Big John says that the cats are "not cooperating". The bite has really slowed down. The water is clear and in the 40s, somewhat warmer in the barge pits. Call Big john for updates on river conditions as the flood waters from the Piedmont move to the lower tidal area below Richmond.

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. Word from the folks at Warbird is that largemouths, crappie and bluegill are all hitting the Silver Buddy in the Occoquan. The water is clear and cool.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. The ice has melted and the lake is open even up lake now. Water temperatures range from 39 to 50 degrees at the dam. Striper fishing has been hot this year; we are catching 30 to 40 fish a morning from the 208 bridge down to the dam. Herring worked on Planner boards over 20 to 30 foot flats are taking plenty of fish and when the gulls advertise the schools of stripers anglers are catching them with sea shads and spoons. Bass are feeding very shallow now, jerkbaits and live bait have been producing nice females in the clearer water down lake. Bass are also mixed in with the stripers on the flats nearby the power plant. Now the lake has thawed up lake anglers are catching nice crappie on small minnows and jigs on the bridge pilings and on rocky drop-offs in the 10 to 25 ft. depth range.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, Local guide and Editor-In Chief, Woods & Waters Magazine, (540) 894-5960. Chris has been very busy the past two weeks doing seminars and exhibits at the Richmond Fishing Expo and the Nations Outdoor Sportsman's Show in Chantilly. I attended several of his seminars and learned a lot about the new lures introduced for 2010. Contact Chris directly or visit their web site for up to date information.

Piedmont Rivers: Local blogger and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac. Steve reports that the recent incessant rain has blown out most of the water in the Piedmont area. The mountain trout streams are running violently full and generally unfishable except at the upper headwaters. The Upper Potomac is equally swollen and murky, running almost 1.5 feet above normal as measured at the Point of Rocks gage. Steve has been very busy the past two weeks assisting with the VDGIF Outdoor Report exhibits and attending seminars at both the Richmond Fishing Expo and the Nation's Outdoor Sportsman's Show in Chantilly. We appreciate Steve's assistance with staffing the exhibits and answering questions for our readers attending these events. Visit his website for up to date information on rivers in the Northern Piedmont, West Virginia and Maryland

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

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Waterfowl hunters run "afoul" of the law rallying ducks... On Saturday, January 23, 2010, District 11 officers and USFWS Refuge Officer Dustin Martin conducted a waterfowl surveillance and saturation patrol in Currioman Bay in Westmoreland County. The officers observed one group of hunters in a water blind rallying / stirring canvasbacks and other diving ducks with a motorboat. The three hunters were contacted and multiple violations were detected in addition to rallying. Charges will be sought in Federal Court. A second group of hunters were contacted and found to be using a floating blind without the proper license and another license violation was detected. Two charges were placed in state court. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.

Region 3 - Southwest

Officer "tracks down" violators after Tip on blocked gate leads to investigation of Unlicensed hunters... On January 2, 2010, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker received a call concerning a gate being blocked by two ATV's in the Fort Blackmore area of Scott County. Officer Honaker arrived in the area of the call and walked a half of a mile to the gate where the ATV's were parked. Officer Honaker utilized his tracking skills to locate two suspects in a portable blind in a nearby field. As he approached the blind, Officer Honaker asked the suspects if they had been having any luck hunting. The suspects replied that they had just shot at a deer but had missed it. Officer Honaker continued to talk to the suspects to gather more information. The suspects told him they had been hunting deer all day and admitted to owning the ATV's that prompted the call. The suspects showed the rifles that they were hunting the deer with, a .243 and a 7mm-08, to Officer Honaker. The officer asked the suspects to display their hunting licenses and was told that another person in the area was holding their licenses for them. Officer Honaker located the third suspect later and found that only one of the three suspects was licensed to hunt. During the course of Officer Honaker's investigation of the call he made the following charges: two counts of hunting without licenses, two counts hunting without big game licenses, and two counts of hunting for deer with a rifle during the closed season. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley

Citizen's complaint and photographic evidence lead to poachers arrest... Officer Chance Dobbs recently concluded an investigation of a citizen's complaint in Shenandoah County. The citizen reported hearing high-powered rifle shots during the late muzzleloader season. Officer Dobbs met with the complainant and checked the area; he determined that two deer had been shot. Officer Dobbs collected evidence and photographed the scene; this evidence was very useful during the interview. Upon interviewing the suspect, a statement was obtained confirming the one individual had killed two deer with a high-powered rifle. The suspect then enlisted the help of a friend to check one of the deer at a local check station. Appropriate charges were placed on both individuals. For more information contact Lt. Ronnie Warren at (540) 248-9360.

These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!

If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.

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

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

At the Richmond Fishing Expo last weekend, you could hear the tales of winter striper fishing that brought hardy anglers out from their cozy winter quarters in search of the "silver backed beast." A winter fishing trip with family and friends became a young anglers most memorable outdoor experience after an exciting encounter with a striper. For 15 year old Alex Pawlowski , a sophomore at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach his most memorable outdoor experience was a successful fishing trip. Adam entered his article in the 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition and his adventure story placed in the Top Twenty. Andrew has captured the excitement and fond memories that come with a fishing adventure with family and friends.

The Search for the Silver, Striped Beast

By Alex Pawlowski

When thinking about my most memorable experience in the great outdoors, I cannot think of any other than the day I caught a thirty-six inch striper. Around three years ago, only two days before Christmas it was when the great day happened. It was rather warm for a late December day; however, it was a not a complete surprise: a high in the lower sixties with mostly sunny skies, a treat on the first day of winter. My dad is no ordinary angler, for he has many years of experience with the Mid-Atlantic waters since his arrival here as a young boy in the early 1960s. He and I set out to visit a friend of his, David, who owns a decent sized boat for mild excursions off the coast. Joining us on the boat, were David's two young children and another friend of my father and his children. We all headed out for a great day on the water in the quest for Junior Angler Awards.

What a great day it was! By the time we had arrived, the fish were on the hooks begging to be today's catch. We started with a couple of small perch, and I believe a small striper; however, the day did improve. Before I knew it, my dad had yelled my name two times to come over to starboard side at the stern. I rushed over with excitement as I could hear the water splash. I could tell that a large one waited at the end of the line, my job was simple: get it into the boat as smoothly as possible. With a little help from my dad, I was able to keep the rod steady and reel it in. What a beauty it was! Thirty-six inches in length, and to my utter pleasure, it was large enough to keep.

On the boat ride back to the dock, I could not help but smile, knowing what I had managed to catch. When we finally reached the dock, I helped to tie the boat and then rushed to excitement to see the beast that I tamed. Once all the fish landed into the sink for cleaning, I staged an impromptu press conference with the beast in my hands. I then raised it up and held it like a trophy, my trophy. Such a wondrous feeling it felt to have such impressive wealth between my arms, a treasure I fought to obtain. That one picture summed up the essence of fishing so eloquently; any words to describe it fall well short. As that old cliché goes, a picture is 1000 words; however, this picture stated 1000 feelings of excitement, 999 more than I thought could have existed.

To this very day, this picture stands in my family's living room, a testament to time and achievement. While, I may not like how I look in this picture, the smile on my face makes up for it. In an effort to not keep any secrets, a couple days later, that beauty had an ever better taste than the usual, amazing taste of fresh Atlantic striper, a taste not quite matched by any other. Nevertheless, I know that one day that taste will face serious competition. Until then, as I wait in anticipation, I know one important aspect: I will encounter another day at sea, another day of calm, blue waves, and another day in search of the next silver, striped beast.

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2007-08 High School Youth Writing Competition by 15 year old Alex Pawlowski , a sophomore at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, placed in the Top Twenty in the Competition. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website: www.vowa.org, or contact VOWA Writing Competition 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

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