In this edition:

Spring Fever is in the Air!

This April 14th edition has Spring in full bloom and with warm sunny days the turkeys are gobblin' and the fish are biten'! As you head to the steams, fields, and forests for a variety of opportunities for wild adventure, in your excitement, don't forget to take a few precautions for a safe and fun outing. Remember those simple rules of gun safety, use insect repellent, be careful with fire as the woods dry quickly after April showers. The 4 pm burning law is in effect through April 30th which prohibits any outdoor fires before 4 pm. There were numerous wildfires last week and the forecast calls for little rain for awhile. Remember Smokey's message: "Only you can prevent wildfires!" The shad are runnin' and this is the traditional season when freshwater fishing action really heats up in lakes and rivers across the state. We've posted the Kids Fishing Day calendar, so look for an event near you and plan for some family fun. Be safe and have fun enjoying the blossoming of Spring.

David Coffman, Editor

Youth Spring Gobbler Hunters Post Success

From all the emails and phone calls that have been coming in from around the state it looks like the April 3rd Special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt day was a real success. There were 402 turkeys telechecked for the special day for young hunters age 15 and under. There were 386 turkeys harvested in 2009. For seven year old Jacob Tomlin from Amherst, it was certainly a memorable day as he bagged his first wild turkey and an opportunity to fulfill a family tradition with his dad.

Read about Jakes hunting adventure and stories of other successful young turkey hunters in Hunting News You Can Use Section.

Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Regulation Amendment Process

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries review and amend all of the Virginia regulations governing wildlife and boating biennially, in two separate processes, with different regulations being under review in alternating years.

In 2009-2010 the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries is conducting its Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Periodic Regulation Review and Amendment Process, in which it addresses and considers possible amendments to all Virginia state regulations governing inland sportfish and fishing, wildlife species other than those hunted, fished, or trapped, and boating.

Spring Time Is "Shad Time"

Spring is upon us and the annual run of shad has begun as they make their way into our freshwater rivers to spawn. In recent years, many anglers have been rediscovering these fine silvery jewels from the sea, as increasing numbers of hickory and American shad are providing exciting, spring angling opportunities. American shad and hickory shad have already arrived at Richmond in the James River and should arrive at Fredericksburg in the Rappahannock River by late-March. Fishing for hickories usually winds down in late-April in the James and early-May in the Rappahannock. Americans may be caught through the end of May, but most are gone by the middle of the month. Remember, it is catch and release only for American shad (check VDGIF and VMRC regulations).

Shadcam will be back up soon when the river settles after recent flooding. Once again enthusiasts will be able to enjoy capturing images of American shad and 20+ other species of riverine fishes as they pass through the Boshers Dam fishway on the James River. The American Shad Restoration Project is also underway to collect American shad eggs and stock fry as part of a cooperative effort to replenish shad stocks in the James and Rappahannock rivers. Fish passage progress continues throughout Virginia. American shad and blueback herring have been found 28 miles upstream of the former Embrey Dam by our biologists. Hickory shad and striped bass have also been found in the upper Rappahannock. The Boshers Dam fishway on the James is once again operating for the 2010 spawning run. VDGIF is also continuing the Shad Tagging Study in 2010, tagging American shad and hickory shad to learn more about shad populations and their spawning migration patterns in the fall zones of the James and Rappahannock rivers. Tagging is planned for March through May of 2010.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 35 Kids Fishing Days are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend state wide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'.

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

Fly Fishing Festival in Waynesboro April 17-18

The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is held outside each spring on the banks of the South River in Waynesboro, Virginia. On April 17-18 2010, the 10th annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival will draw anglers from across the Mid-Atlantic with nonstop free lectures and tips on where, when, and how to fly fish in the Old Dominion and across the globe as well as wine-tasting and live music.

Want to get started in fly fishing but don't know where to begin? The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is the ideal place to get your feet wet in the sport. Are you an avid fly angler looking to take your skills to the next level? The festival is your one-stop shop for gear, expert advice, and even instruction. Be a part of the largest fly angling event in the Old Dominion!

Get more information here »

Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeepers Host River Clean-up April 24

The Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeepers (BNRP) will hold its annual "Clean Rivers Day" April 24. The clean-up encompasses the Blackwater/Nottoway watershed. Teams or individuals wanting to help can pick a spot they would like to clean or have one designated. The event is staged from the city of Franklin, but you do not have to travel to Franklin to participate. Jeff Turner, BNRP Riverkeeper, notes that this will be the Riverkeepers ninth clean-up, which to date has removed 53,000 pounds of trash from the watershed. BNRP is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers. For more information call: (757) 562-5173.

Quail Group To Host Sporting Clays Shoot in NOVA April 24

The Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) Northern Virginia Chapter 16 will host its first youth shooting and adult Sporting Clays Tournament April 24, 2010 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Shady Grove Sporting Clays, 11986 Lucky Hill Road, Remington, VA 22734, 540-439-2683. The event will be a combined family event for youth with 5 - Stand TOP GUN shooting and an adult Sporting Clays Tournament. For youth 5 and below games and shooting will be available. Jerry Saggers, QUWF Regional Director notes the primary purpose of this event is to get youth and adults together to interact and have fun. The secondary purpose is to raise funds for our on-going quail habitat restoration project with the Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Land Management at Meadowood Farm in Lorton, and for other youth and wildlife projects planned for this year. Registration available at shady-grove.com or call (703) 232-3572. For more information on local QUWF wildlife projects visit www.quwf.net

River Fest in Waynesboro April 24

This FREE annual event takes place river-side at Constitution Park in Waynesboro, on Saturday, April 24th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include wildlife programs from the Wildlife Center of VA, stream safari, fish and fun rodeo, canoe rides, kids arts & crafts, stream electro-fishing and is capped off by the Great South River Duck Race. For more information, visit www.riverfestwaynesboro.org

Disabled Sportsmen and Wounded Warriors Participate in Numerous Spring Hunts

The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Wheelin' Sportsmen program will sponsor spring turkey hunts for disabled sportsmen, veterans and wounded warriors throughout April and May. 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. Please note the deadline for applications for Trout Fishing Events is April 15th.

View the Spring 2010 Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Newsletter for further information on programs, events and opportunities or visit the website.

Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Hunter Skills Weekend May 14-16

Advanced Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Living Skills Weekend April 16-18

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in partnership with VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is offering a Hunter Skills Weekend May 14-16, 2010. Designed to bridge the gap between the basic Hunter Education course and actual hunting experiences, the event will offer specialized training in the use of hunting firearms and archery equipment, hunting techniques for deer, turkey, waterfowl, and small game, and other useful woodsmanship skills. All instruction is provided free; participants pay only for meals and lodging. To find out more, or to register, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or call (434) 248-5444.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop in Madison May 14-16

The VDGIF Outdoor Education Program will host a Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop at Graves Mountain Lodge in Madison County, May 14 -16. This program is designed primarily for women whose outdoor exposure has been limited. The three-day event (Friday through Sunday) offer a variety of four-hour classes geared towards beginners. Participants can choose from shooting sports, angling, boating and a host of other educational courses. The courses offered may include, but are not limited to, introduction to shotgun, rifle, archery, hunting techniques for game species, fly-fishing, bass fishing techniques, boating, camping, hiking, wilderness survival, and outdoor cooking. Graves Mountain Lodge offers rustic yet comfortable settings in the Blue Ridge Mountains adjacent to Shenandoah National Park. Participants in the Becoming an Outdoors Woman programs must be at least 18 years of age. Registration is required through the VDGIF website. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at 804-367-0656 or jimmy.mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.

Ladies' Day Rifle - Shotgun Clinics June 5 in Hanover County

The Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club in western Hanover County is hosting a choice of Rifle (22 rimfire) or Shotgun clinics from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Saturday, June 5. Clinics are taught by certified instructors and includes safety instruction, basic marksmanship, comfort, familiarity with firearms, firearms, ear and eye protection, and targets. Reservations are required and clinic size is limited to eight shooters per clinic. For more information, contact Henry Baskerville at (804) 370-7565 or H.Baskerville@comcast.net.

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

Senior Officer Daniel Hall Awarded Conservation Police Officer of the Year 2010

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is proud to announce that Senior Officer Daniel C. Hall has been named Conservation Police Officer of the Year 2010.

Dan Hall began work for VDGIF in January 1988, and was assigned to Dickenson County where he was stationed for nine years. He served an area that included Russell, Tazewell, and Buchanan counties. He transferred to Smyth County in 1997.Officer Hall came to the Department after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Wytheville Community College with an Associates Degree in Protective Services Technology with a major in Police Science. He has continued to build on his education with additional training in Swift Water Rescue; Death Scene Investigations; DUI/OUI Investigation; Evidence Handling and Fingerprinting; Tactical Tracking Operations; and more. In addition, he has earned Field Training Officer Certification.

Senior Officer Hall's working relationships with his coworkers as well as with others in the law enforcement community, local organizations, hunt clubs, and schools is outstanding. He has an excellent reputation for his strong work ethic and sound judgment especially in fast-moving, tense situations. Officer Hall is recognized as well for his exceptional investigative skill, many times utilizing innovative techniques which have led to hundreds of successfully prosecuted cases in Federal and State courts dealing with the illegal baiting , poisoning and taking of game birds and animals, fur bearers and Threatened and Endangered species.

For more than 22 years, Daniel Hall has served the Commonwealth of Virginia as a dedicated law enforcement officer who strives to enforce the laws fairly while promoting the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries mission to protect and to conserve our natural resources for future generations to enjoy. Officer Hall is an excellent representative of the Department and the citizens of the Commonwealth have benefited greatly from his commitment to duty and outstanding efforts. It is an honor to name Senior Officer Daniel Hall as the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police Officer of the Year 2010.

Rose River Trout Heritage Kids Fishing Day in Madison Springtime Favorite

The Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries in conjunction with Rapidan Trout Unlimited and Graves Mountain Lodge sponsored a Kids Fishing Day on the Rose River, Saturday April 3, 2010 for kids 12 and under. More than 1000 young anglers and parents attended the sunny action filled event. This is the longest running Kids' Fishing event in the state.

View the Kids Fishing Day video »

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:

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010, Tonsler Park, Charlottesville

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

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

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.

Apprentice Hunting License is a Great Way to Begin the Spring Gobbler Season

With Spring Gobbler season underway and early Spring Squirrel season June 5 – 19, 2010, it's a great time to introduce a youngster to the sport by getting an Apprentice Hunting License. An Apprentice License can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing the Department's hunter education course. However, apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license. Be sure to check out the Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted to its website. The video is an overview of how the new Apprentice Hunter program works. Watch the video and consider becoming a mentor to a friend or family member who's always wanted to try hunting. It's not just for kids!

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

Check the UPCOMING EVENTS calendar for numerous hunter training workshops around the state sponsored by youth oriented organizations like NWTF JAKES, 4-H Shooting Sports Clubs, VA Waterfowlers Association and others dedicated to continuing our rich hunting heritage to a new generation

Spring Gobbler Hunting Season Dates and Tips

Telecheck Message for Checking Spring Gobblers Inaccurate - Do Not Take to Official Big Game Check Station to Get Weight

The Phone-in-System message for Checking Spring Gobblers contains inaccurate information regarding the big game and trophy contest requirements and what to do if a caller is experiencing difficulty using the phone system, as it mistakenly directs the caller to an official big game check station. Spring Gobblers can only be checked by telephone or internet.

CORRECTED MESSAGE:

"Welcome to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries telephone checking system for spring turkey. You must use a touch-tone telephone to be issued a confirmation number. You will need your big game license, a pen, and a piece of paper to record your confirmation number.

If you plan to enter your spring turkey in any big game or trophy contest that requires a certified weight of the turkey, you MUST have the bird weighed on a certified scale and create a Weight Certification Card, as found in the Department's Hunting and Trapping in Virginia digest [page 21] or on the Department's website at www.HuntFishVA.com

If you experience difficulty in using this system please visit the Department's website at HuntFishVA.com or call the Department's Customer Service at 1-866-721-6911 during business hours. Thank you. Good bye."

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

With the huge success of the first new Youth Deer Hunting Day last September and spring gobbler season on-going, we have encouraged you to send us photos of new young hunters who get their first deer or wild turkey. 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. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction.

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.

David Coffman, Editor

Special Youth Spring Turkey Hunting Day April 3

What better way to get young people excited about spring gobbler hunting than to show some photos of success by young hunters.

Jacob "Jake" Tomlin Harvests his first turkey at age 7!

A proud father, Jeff Tomlin relates this story, "We had been calling since daylight. It was now 8:30 a.m. and Jake was getting impatient and hungry. We would leave at 9 a.m. if we didn't hear a gobbler. We had seen a raccoon, a deer, and several squirrels, but no feathers. As we headed back to the truck, a faint gobble sounded on a far ridge. Then another one. I told Jake, "Well, let's check his temperature." After answering me twice, I told Jake we better go back to the blind and set back down awhile. When I called again, the turkey had cut the distance in half and covered some steep, thick terrain.

After giving some last minute reminders while we still had whispering time left, Jake finally got still. Then he said, "Dad, I see his fan!" From my angle, I couldn't see him, but Jake assured me he was indeed coming. I said, "Where is he Jake?" "Beside the log the fox squirrel was on," he said. Then I saw him coming around the stump side of the fallen tree.

"Don't move your gun until he goes behind another big tree. When you can't see him behind the tree, he can't see you move the gun." I had told Jake to aim at the turkeys wattles. He said, "You mean the red things on his neck?" Yes, the red things on his neck. I kept telling Jake to wait and let him get closer. He said, "I'm following him. Then Jake said, "Dad......Where's the red?" Then it dawned on me, the turkey's head was now white including the wattles as he strutted in front of us! I said, "Forget the red, shoot him boy!!" BOOM! The turkey drops in his tracks! I said, "Go get on him boy.....You got him!!" Jake proudly lugged the big gobbler out of the woods- 20 ½ lbs., 10 inch beard and 1inch spurs.

Another turkey hunting addiction was started today. I'm pretty sure I was the most excited. The smiles say it all.

Hunting Spring Gobblers Produces a Variety of Great Memories...

Thirteen year old Brandon Buttner enjoyed a successful Youth Day Turkey Hunt April 3rd. Hank Tassitano took Brandon out on his parents farm in Montpelier on Saturday morning. They setup on a hardwood ridge that had fresh scratching, behind a green field. It was quiet for the first 20 to 30 minutes after daylight. Hank worked the box call and got a gobbler to respond. The bird didn't sound real hot, so Hank stepped up the calling and got him fired up. Within a couple of minutes the bird was on top of the hunters and Brandon made a very good shot. The gobbler had a 9 ½ inch beard and 1inch spurs. The bird appeared to be almost as big as Brandon as he had is over his shoulder walking out of the woods. Taking a child out hunting is more exciting than shooting game for yourself!!!

Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey Available on Website

It's time to head back to the woods and fields for some spring gobbler hunting. VDGIF Small Game and Furbearer Program Manager Gary Norman, encourages turkey hunters this spring to participate in the 2010 Spring Gobbler Survey (PDF). The survey is a daily log of biological information and hunting success. Additionally we ask participants to complete a survey of their attitudes about a number of questions at the end of the season. The survey form can be downloaded from our web-site or by emailing gary.norman@dgif.virginia.gov or call (540) 248-9360. Encourage your hunting buddies to also take the survey to help gather valuable data to improve turkey hunting opportunities.

Remember, only 52 days until the Spring squirrel season begins,
June 5-19 , 2010! See our website for details.

Tips for Preserving Your Trophy Gobbler

Goooobbbbllleee...Goooobbbllleee... For the lucky hunter who harvests a trophy gobbler this spring see the tips from taxidermist, Todd Rapalee of Rapalee Taxidermy in Goochland, on how to prepare your bird for mounting. The most important step that many hunters overlook is: DO NOT field dress your turkey. Deliver it to the taxidermist within hours after the harvest or place the bird neatly in a large plastic bag and freeze it until it can be delivered to the taxidermist. Review the full article in the March 24, 2010 archived edition.

For information on taxidermists, visit the Virginia Taxidermists Association website.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Make Your Spring Gobbler Hunt a Safe One!

To make your spring gobbler hunt successful and safe, hunters need to take some basic precautions to protect themselves and protect others. Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return. Know where others may be hunting in your vicinity and never assume you are "the only one hunting there." Hunt defensively and make sure of your target and beyond before pulling the trigger. ALWAYS use basic safe firearms handling practices. Safety and courtesy are FREE, use them generously and always. To ensure a safe and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends reviewing basic safety practices with your hunting companions, young and old, novice and experienced alike, each time you go afield. Get more tips on how to stay safe during your Spring Gobbler hunt!

Hunt safely, responsibly and ethically.

View the new Safety PSA »

Don't Forget the Insect Repellant -Ticks and Chiggers Can Spoil Your Hunt

Whether you are hunting spring gobblers, mushrooms, or that special patch of wildflowers, be sure and use a generous application of insect repellent to prevent the irritating bites of chiggers and ticks. "Skeeters" also can be pesky during your spring outings. With the unusually warm early spring weather and lack of "April showers," the insects are out in force this year with numerous reports from the field of multiple bites from these pests already this season.. There are many kinds of insect repellant on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Note the proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings also pose a risk, especially if you are allergic to them. If you are allergic, keep the proper medications with you, and tell your companions in case you need medical assistance. So take the proper precautions to prevent insect bites so you'll be itching to get back to the woods, instead of itching from your last trip!

No Outdoor Burning Before 4 PM Until April 30

All outdoorsmen are reminded that the "4 PM Burn Law" is in effect from February 15 until April 30 to help prevent forest fires. The law bans all open air burning, including campfires, before 4 PM if your fire is within 300 feet of the woods, brush, or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. You are allowed to burn debris or have campfires between 4 PM and midnight, as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times. Read the Virginia Department of Forestry's Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Burn? to learn more.

"This law is one of the most effective tools we have in the prevention of wildfires," advised John Miller, director of resource protection at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). "Each late winter and early spring, downed trees, branches and leaves become 'forest fuels' that increase the danger of a forest fire. By adhering to the law, people are less likely to start a fire that threatens them, their property and the forests of Virginia."

The lack of rain and unusually warm days and windy conditions have rapidly dried the leaves and woody debris on the forest floor and brushy fields. VDGIF reminds spring gobbler hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to use extra caution while afield during these dry weather conditions. Here are some tips for you to be prepared in case a wildfire is spotted:

  1. Carry a canteen or water bottle to douse a small fire.
  2. Make sure any cigarettes are dead out on bare ground-carry an old foil pouch from a seasonings packet as a "field ashtray" or to dispose of butts.
  3. Do not park on dry grass or dead leaves, your vehicles exhaust or catalytic converter can easily start a fire.
  4. Keep spark arresters on chain saws and ATVs.
  5. If you see smoke or wildfire call 911 to report location immediately.

Be extra careful during these high fire danger periods. Be responsible and keep the woods fire safe.

"Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts

This section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoor enthusiasts can join with others to do simple things in your outdoor pursuits that can make a big difference in keeping Virginia "green" and wildlife "wild" to benefit us all.

Virginia Cave Week to be Celebrated April 18-24

Virginia Cave Week will be observed April 18-24 to promote an understanding of Virginia's caves and the surrounding limestone habitats known as karst. Sponsored by the Virginia Cave Board, the week is used to encourage educators of all subjects to actively engage their students from kindergarten through high school using in-class, cave-related activities and by visiting one of the state's numerous commercial caves. To encourage this activity, Grand Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Shenandoah Caverns are offering a discount if you mention "Virginia Cave Week" when buying a ticket. The discount is good for the week of April 18-24.

"Virginia Cave Week is an annual celebration of one of our Commonwealth's valuable natural resources," said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. "I encourage everyone to visit a commercial cave and to visit the Virginia Cave Week Web site to learn more about the state's caves and karst."

This year's Virginia Cave Week theme "What's Killing Our Bats" highlights White-Nose Syndrome, a disease that has killed more than a million bats so far. WNS has been found in several Virginia caves. Education is a key in curtailing WNS in bats. These bats help rid crops, gardens, and forests of harmful insects. Educators and others are encouraged to visit www.vacaveweek.com to access a variety of cave-related education resources. Virginia is rich in cave and karstland resources with over 4,000 known caves. The Virginia Cave Board was established to conserve and protect the state's caves and karstlands and advocate the wise use of these resources.

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.

Virginia Cave Week to be Observed by Educators April 18-24

Virginia Cave Week will be observed April 18-24 to promote an understanding of Virginia's caves and the surrounding limestone habitats known as karst. Sponsored by the Virginia Cave Board, the week is used to encourage educators of all subjects to actively engage their students from kindergarten through high school using in-class, cave-related activities and by visiting one of the state's numerous commercial caves. To encourage this activity, Grand Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Shenandoah Caverns are offering a discount if you mention "Virginia Cave Week" when buying a ticket. The discount is good for the week of April 18-24. Read more on Cave week at visit www.vacaveweek.com.

Summer Adventure Camps

A number of conservation organizations run a variety of summer workshops, camps and adventure programs that teach students life skills, respect for the environment and experience fun, exciting and sometimes life changing adventures. Here are a few programs that our Outdoor Report Team have experienced first hand as either participants or instructors.

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in late April:

Answers to March 24 edition quiz for nature events in early April...

Get your copy of the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Volunteers Plant 1,000 Tree Seedlings on Former Mine Site for Arbor Day

The Appalachian School of Law's Energy & Mineral Law Society (EMLS) organized and hosted an Arbor Day event on land that was once mined for coal, but is now part of Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority's (IDA) Southern Gap project. The idea for this event was spawned by and patterned after a similar event that Virginia's Department of Mines, Minerals & Energy (DMME) hosts annually. DMME was an instrumental sponsor of this event.

"This event would not have been possible without the many organizations and companies that came together to put this plan into action," says Will Estes, the Community Service Chairman for EMLS. There were more than ten groups and businesses that worked together to bring this idea to reality. The event was sponsored in part by one of the area's leading coal producers, Alpha Natural Resources of Abingdon, Virginia. Alpha is the same company that mined this piece of ground just a few years ago in conjunction with Buchanan County IDA's Southern Gap project.

The Appalachian Highlands Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) also sponsored the event. RGS works to restore and promote habitat for the ruffed grouse and American woodcock, and the Appalachian Highlands Chapter of RGS often uses former mine sites for habitat work. The variety of tree species planted was approved as proper ruffed grouse habitat by the Appalachian Highlands Chapter of RGS, and the seedlings were purchased by Alpha.

This Arbor Day event was unique in that it was selected as a planting site for 50 blight resistant American chestnut seedlings. The American chestnuts were provided through a special partnership between The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI). The planting site was chosen by event sponsor Terra Tech Engineering Services, P.C. of Grundy, Virginia, to ensure a high survival rate.

Nearly 50 volunteers came out to help make sure 1,000 trees made it in the ground for Arbor Day. Volunteers included several Boys Scouts from the Sequoyah Council; nearly 30 students from the Appalachian School of Law; representatives from Alpha, Virginia DMME, Appalachian Highlands Chapter of RGS, and Terra Tech Engineering Services.

For more information on this project contact Will Estes, email: westes11@my.asl.edu, or the Appalachian Highlands Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Tree Seedlings Selling Fast—Order Yours Before They're Gone

Each year, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) grows and sells more than 24 million tree seedlings. And every year, many of the more than 40 species sell out before the harvest season ends in April. If you are looking to plant tree seedlings or reforest your land this year, you still have a few weeks remaining to order your seedlings. But don't wait too much longer as several species, including Black Cherry, Sugar Maple, Persimmon, Canaan Fir, Black Oak, Allegheny Chinkapin and Shortleaf Pine, have already sold out.

This year, VDOF has expanded the quantities of its offerings. Seedlings are now available in bundles of 10 and 25; previously, the smallest quantity of bareroot seedlings available was 50. Landowners may still purchase seed mixes, shrubs and quality bare-root tree seedlings in specialty packets for wildlife habitat enhancement, water shed protection, fall and spring colors and timber management. Order yours today by visiting the VDOF Web store, calling the Augusta Forestry Center at (540) 363-7000, or contacting your local VDOF office.

Forest Landowner Workshops scheduled for May-June

Whether you are interested in converting lawn to forest, creating wildlife habitat, or providing a useful outdoor space for your family, these workshops are for you. The workshops will take participants through the manual, The Woods in Your Backyard, exploring planning and implementation of various land management concepts and tools. A Resource CD will also be available. All workshops are 2 sessions, a week apart for homework completion. For more about manual go to nraes.org.

Woodlots, large or small, are a vital resource for all. Additionally, woods provide a myriad of other benefits such as carbon sequestration, improved air quality, wildlife habitat, biomass opportunities, recreational outlets and more. Owners of even just a few acres can make a positive difference in their environment through planning and implementing simple management practices.

The workshops will use the award winning, The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home, to equip owners of 1-10 acres to be better stewards of their property. The full-color, 139-page manual helps users identify goals for their land, and offers guidance to achieve them.

Workshop locations & times
Each workshop is 2 sessions

Rappahannock workshop:
May 12 & 19, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: Rappahannock County Library
4 Library Rd., Washington, VA
Kenner Love, Extension Agent
(540) 675-3619 klove@vt.edu

Warrenton workshop:
May 20 & 27, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Location: Fauquier County Extension Office
24 Pelham Street; Warrenton, VA
Fauquier: Tim Ohlwiler, Extension Agent
(540) 341-7950 tohlwile@vt.edu

Culpeper workshop:
June 1 & 8, 6:30-9:00
Location: Culpeper County Library
271 Southgate Shopping Center,
Culpeper, VA
Carl Stafford, Extension Agent
(540) 727-3435 ccstafford@vt.edu

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. Mandatory Saltwater Angler Registry: Effective January 1, 2010, there is a new requirement that saltwater anglers obtain a federal registry number by calling 1-888-674-7411, or online at www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov.

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.

New State Record Yellow Perch Certified

The State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries has certified a new state record yellow perch caught by George L. Mullins of Haysi, Virginia. The 3-pound monster was caught on March 8, 2010 from Flannagan Reservoir, an unexpected location for this species. Yellow perch have never officially been stocked in Flannagan, and in fact, Mr. Mullins, who regularly fishes the lake, wasn't sure what he had at first for that very reason. He was fishing with a live minnow in hopes of catching a crappie, bass, or walleye. This was a large female that was full off eggs, and it measured 16.5 inches in length and had a huge girth of more than 13 inches. This breaks the previous record of 2 pounds, 7 ounces that was caught from Lake Moomaw and had stood since 1999. For a complete list of the current State Record Freshwater Fish, visit the Department's website.

Leave Fish Stocking to the Professionals

The most recent edition of the Outdoor Report (March 24, 2010) provided some details on a monster yellow perch caught at Flannagan Reservoir that soon may be the next state record in Virginia. It was suggested that this fish was introduced by anglers from another water body. It should be noted that VDGIF biologists strongly discourage anyone from moving fish from one body of water to another. There can be significant negative biological consequences to the resident fish population when fish are introduced into waters where they do not currently exist. As a matter of fact, VDGIF Board regulation (4VAC 15-320-60) requires a fish stocking authorization from VDGIF before anyone can stock fish into a public water (applications are available at www.huntfishva.com). This law does not prevent someone from stocking a private pond with native fish.

The purpose of this requirement is to protect native populations, to control the spread of fish diseases and to avoid establishment of exotic fish populations in waters where such species would be undesirable. Even species which are very common in one part of the state (e.g. blue catfish, white perch, etc.) can have negative impacts when introduced elsewhere in Virginia. Another danger is that these introduced fish may be moved from the new site to yet another nearby water. Thus, the problem continues to get worse. Unfortunately, there is little that fisheries biologists can do to reverse the negative impacts. Anglers are strongly encouraged to either carefully release their catch, or to take it home and enjoy a great meal, but not to move the fish to another water body. Likewise, dispose of any unused live or dead bait in a proper receptacle. More information on impacts of introduced fishes is available in a Virginia Wildlife magazine article authored by VDGIF fisheries biologist John Copeland (copies available by e-mail request from john.copeland@dgif.virginia.gov).

Spring Time Is "Shad Time"

Spring is upon us and the annual run of shad has begun as they make their way into our freshwater rivers to spawn. Early sampling has detected the beginning of the run and when the rivers return to normal after recent high flow the run will get into full swing. In recent years, many anglers have been rediscovering these fine silvery jewels from the sea, as increasing numbers of hickory and American shad are providing exciting, spring angling opportunities. American shad and hickory shad have already arrived at Richmond in the James River and should arrive at Fredericksburg in the Rappahannock River by late-March. Fishing for hickories usually winds down in late-April in the James and early-May in the Rappahannock. Americans may be caught through the end of May, but most are gone by the middle of the month. Remember, it is catch and release only for American shad (check VDGIF and VMRC regulations).

Shadcam will be back up soon when the river settles after recent flooding. Once again enthusiasts will be able to enjoy capturing images of American shad and 20+ other species of riverine fishes as they pass through the Boshers Dam fishway on the James River.

The American Shad Restoration Project is also underway to collect American shad eggs and stock fry as part of a cooperative effort to replenish shad stocks in the James and Rappahannock rivers. The Pamunkey River supplies the broodstock for the James stockings and the Potomac provides the broodstock for the Rappahannock stockings. Since 1992 over 108 million shad fry have been stocked in the upper James and since 2003 over 25 million have been stocked in the upper Rappahannock.

Fish passage progress continues throughout Virginia. American shad and blueback herring have been found 28 miles upstream of the former Embrey Dam by our biologists. Hickory shad and striped bass have also been found in the upper Rappahannock. The Boshers Dam fishway on the James is once again operating for the 2010 spawning run.

VDGIF is also continuing the Shad Tagging Study in 2010, tagging American shad and hickory shad to learn more about shad populations and their spawning migration patterns in the fall zones of the James and Rappahannock rivers. Tagging is planned for March through May of 2010. The tag is an external "spaghetti tag" inserted in the fish near the dorsal fin (top/back) on the right side of the fish. Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to call the toll free 866 number on the tag to report the catch to the fisheries biologists conducting the study. We ask that you report the fish tag number, date, time and location of the catch, and whether or not the fish was harvested (would apply to hickory shad only below the fall line) or released.

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 35 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

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 35 Kids Fishing Days are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend state wide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'.

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Robert "Doc" Eveland. (757) 566-1702. The lake continues to be at full pool with fish moving up into the shallows. There are reports of yellow perch, bass and crappie being caught in numbers. Notable catches this week:
Manassie Vaughn, Hampton - Bass, 22 inches.
Fletcher Whitley, Hampton - 3 yellow perch up to 13 inches.
Pete Nicholson, Chester - Bass, 22 inches.

Results of Little Creek Anglers tournament held on 4/10/10:
1st Place - Bubba West Jr. & Jeffrey Fowlkes, Glouchester - 19.66 lbs.
2nd Place - Robert Jensen & Freddie Randall, Richmond - 16.57 lbs.
3rd Place - Chuck Conger & Clarence Jenkins, Williamsburg - 14.42 lbs.
4th Place - Ricky West & Jerry Jenkins, Glouchester - 13.12 lbs.
Big Fish - Jason Drewry, Williamsburg - 5.78 lbs.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim reports that the tautogs are to be had at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, to get some try fiddler crabs or clams. Anglers are getting croakers at the mouths of both the York and James Rivers. Fishbite and squid strips are your best bet. Flounder are being landed at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel along the Small Boat Channel, try Fishbite and cut bait. Speckled trout are at Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets and are going for Mirrolures and Fishbite. The water is fairly clear and 54 degrees.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown says that some good spring fishing is there to be had, but warns that, as is typical in Spring, some days are better than others. Herring are being caught near the dam. Some big blue cats have been landed on eels and herring. Some bass are being fooled, but not too many. Crappie are going for jigs and minnows. Some fine stripers have been brought to boat, but must be released. The water is slightly stained and 68 degrees.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that the bass are not on their beds yet and are hitting well. They are going for topwater spinners and cranks, also soft plastics. They will be on their beds soon. Local crappie are biting minnows, jigs and small spinners. Lots of "eating sized" cats are around, try small minnows and cut bait. White perch are plentiful and attacking small spinners, cranks and night crawlers. The water is in the mid to high 50s and clear.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that bass are doing fine. They are about to get on their beds and once they are there, it is much harder to get them to go for a lure. Indeed, some anglers don't like to disturb them when they are on their beds. For now, however, they are hitting "everything" you throw at them; especially soft plastics, spinners and rattletraps. Lots of crappie are showing up, with 3 citation sized being brought in one day. Minnows and jigs are your best bet. Many cats are going for cut bait and commercial cat bait. White perch are in the Nottoway and attacking red wigglers. The water is high, muddy and in the mid 60s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com The Rivers are getting back close to fishable after another long bout of high water. Shad fishing has been really good. There are still some being caught in the Blackwater but they are getting thin. Stripers are getting ready to hit good, as they will be following the herring in. White perch should also be good soon, so get ready. Catfishing is really good this time of year too.

Remember that if you are fishing catlines or juglines you must remove those devices if you are not going to fish them in a 24 hour period. In other words, if you are not coming back to them the next day, pull them up. If you do not they are considered abandoned you could be ticketed for littering. These abandoned devices will catch fish, birds, turtles and I have even seen a dead beaver on one. Pull them up.

Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeepers Host River Clean-up April 24 – Volunteers Needed!

The Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeepers (BNRP) will hold its annual "Clean Rivers Day" April 24. The clean-up encompasses the Blackwater/Nottoway watershed. Teams or individuals wanting to help can pick a spot they would like to clean or have one designated. The event is staged from the city of Franklin, but you do not have to travel to Franklin to participate. Jeff Turner, BNRP Riverkeeper, notes that this will be the Riverkeepers ninth clean-up, which to date has removed 53,000 pounds of trash from the watershed. Jeff notes, "He will have litter getters and bags for those who need them. Teams or individuals can pick their own locations or I can find you one. My advice is to look around at bridge crossings etc in your area and be scoping out a place for you or your team to go after. That way we are more spread out and you will be making a difference close to home. Teams can pick what time of day they want to work and how long. Teams must keep count of bag and participant totals and totals of tires etc. Make note of your "most unusual item found". More details will follow when you sign up." Email Jeff at blknotkpr@earthlink.net or call (757) 562-5173 to get signed up. This is a community event, get your group involved this year, it is a big event with big rewards and recognition for all that participate. BNRP is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike reports that bass are spawning and biting in the Barge Pits. The cats are in their pre-spawning rituals and are really attacking herring and shad. Mike's clients have been landing some good ones. Fishing for American shad is also good, with the fish going for gold and silver spoons. Mike reports some good fights with them. Crappie are on their beds and not biting much. Flatheads are going for live herring. The striper bite is going well, with lots of 20 to 30 lb. ones being brought to boat. Your best bet for them is cut bait and live herring. Mike also reports that white perch are "a blast to catch" and fight like "white bass". A good lure for them is an 8 oz. white Mr. Twister. The water is clearing and fluctuates between 64 to 70 degrees.

Oregonian catches big cat...

Jeff Weinz, captain of the boat and James Gay , both from Prince George, and Bill Grassl  from Portland, Oregon were fishing out on the James on May 9, 2009. It was a damp cool spring day. Bill Grassl had never caught a catfish before. They were fishing between Hopewell and Chester hitting several spots along the river getting some nice bites. Bill was fishing with a Penn reel and a Berkley rod on 20 pound test line and caught this nice catfish down river from the I-295 bridge. His eyes were filled with excitement as the cat rolled up on top of the water.  James netted the fish we took some nice pictures of it and released the cat so some other lucky person will be able to catch it again.   This was a payback trip for Bill due that he took Jeff Weinz fishing in Oregon earlier on a trip  and caught a nice 31 pound Chinook salmon [Inset picture]. Bill enjoyed sporting his picture around home and still talks about coming back East and trying to catch a bigger cat this year. They're waitin' for ya' Bill!!

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. No report this edition.

Region 2 - Southside

Fort Pickett Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat, Willard A. Mayes. 4/6/10 I pulled the boat out of the shed around 10 a.m. this morning and headed to Ft. Pickett reservoir and had the boat in the water before 11 a.m. and started fishing as I pulled away from the ramp. I caught a couple of 6 in. bass and 2 hand size blue gill before I was 50 ft. from the ramp. Things were looking as if it was going to be a good day. I trolled up one of the aeration lines until it played out and only caught a 9 in. crappie. I knew right then that the fish had moved to the shore line, so that is where I headed. I started out with the fly rod and was getting a strike one out of three cast, but I was only catching a fish 1 out of 6 or so. Either they were missing the popping bug because of the ripples from the wind or they were slapping it with their tails. The wind got so bad that I had to put the fly rod up and change over to the spinning rod. The only color they were hitting was the chartreuse 2 in. twister tail on the 1/32 oz. lead head. That was for the blue gill and the crappie. Picking up 40 blue gill and 18 crappie from 8 to around 12 in. and 7 bass, 4 of which were around 6 in., 2 at 10 in. and 1 of 13 in. that was full of roe and a 2 finger size fish. Almost all of the fish were caught from shore line out to about 8 feet. The water has a brownish stain to it but you can see about 2 ft. down. I thought the water was still on the cool side until I was loading the boat in 40 mph wind and walked out on the trailer, like I was still young and took a splash in knee deep water. It made the boat much easier to load after that because I just stood in the water and finished loading the boat. The water did not feel that cold then.

Nottoway Falls: Contributed by our man in the boat, Willard A. Mayes. 4/8/10 The TV pointed out that today would be the last hot day for a spell so 'Cricket Man' and I thought it was time to wet a hook again. TV also promised winds of 25 mph so we thought we better head to Nottoway Falls which is not that big and is surrounded by trees. The trees did not help as the wind was coming right down the lake. The water is warming up a lot but it is on the dark side with all the pollen and other stains in it. The visibility was only a foot or so. I started out with the fly rod since the wind was not that bad and picked up several hand size blue gill along the shore line until the wind hit the 25+ speeds. 'Cricket Man' stayed with his worms but was having little problem finding hungry fish. He ended the day with 4 crappie and 8 bluegill. After I switched over to the spinning rod using the 2 in. twister tail I managed to pick up 11 crappie between 8 and 10 in. and I had 19 hand size bluegill. We never caught fish that I will say were on beds, just picked one or two up in places all over the lake.

Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. No report this edition.

Sandy River Reservoir is a 740-acre water supply impoundment located slightly east of the town of Farmville in Prince Edward County. This is one of the newest impoundments opened in 1994, but has rapidly become a popular and productive fishery managed by VDGIF.

Ben Jacobi, from Chesterfield, landed these nice bass on Sandy River Reservoir in late March during the late afternoon period. The 6 ¼ pounder was caught with a Texas rigged beaver bait, 3/8 ounce tungsten bullet weight, 3/0 hook. The bass was tight to structure. The 9 ½ lb. monster bass was taken in the afternoon before sunset working a fluke on top water. They were both caught on spinning outfits on 10lb suffix. Ben notes he and his buddies would like to start fishing tournaments, but don't know where to start. We recommend contacting the guides and bait shops that contribute to the Fishin' Report for information on tournaments in their areas. Regional Bass clubs and other community groups also sponsor tournaments to raise funds for area charities.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James is still a little off color. It will improve as we get into next week. Fishing has been good for both flatheads and smallmouth. Hunter Bolen caught flatheads up to 25 lbs. last week. Baits of choice have been gizzard shad and frozen shrimp. Smallmouths are being caught on crank baits-spinner baits-jigs-tubes and grubs on a jig head. Fly anglers have success with bait fish and crayfish patterns. Fly fishermen should also try some size 4 Kreelex in Silver/Gold. Fish these with a slightly faster strip than the baitfish. Reports on the county lakes have the crappie and largemouth fishing to have been the best so far this year. Crappies are taking small jigs or live minnows. Largemouths have liked spinner baits retrieved with a slow to medium retrieve. Great weather is forecast this week, so get out and enjoy!

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Taken from the store's website.

Striper: Striper fishing seems to be better in major creeks like Rudds/Butchers, Panhandle and Grassy Creek due to the main channel being muddy. There are reports of lots of fish being caught and some fish measuring around 30 inches. Fishermen are using swimbaits like Creme Little Fishie, Storm, Lake Fork magic minnow and Mister Twister shads. The fish seem to be holding on the main lake points. The fish should be making a major move to the rivers for their spawn in the next few days.

Bass: Heavy rains have brought the lake levels up to 306 making for some fun fishing. There are reports of lots of fish being caught with an occasional 4 pounder mixed in. Most fishermen are using spinnerbaits, plastic worms, lizards, brushhogs, Senkos, trickworms and horny toads. Water temperatures have reached the 60s so a few fish should be spawning now. The fishing is good in most of the major creeks.

Crappie: Fishing still remains good. Things have changed a little with all the water we have in the bushes now. More than likely we have had a major spawn on the northern arm of the lake like Buffalo, Bluestone and river arms. Mid lake creeks remain the same with spider rigging remaining good and some fishermen using the one pole method, pitching to the bushes with a cork and minnow. We still have a major wave of fish to move into the shallows and lots of fish to be caught. Good colors now are Cajun cricket, chart/white, blue/chart, John Deere green and pink/white.

Catfish: River areas are clearing up nicely and the fish are moving in. Fishermen can find fish in heavy log jams and current breaks using bream, crappie, goldfish, menhaddin and shad as bait. Fishermen are reporting catching nice size blues in the 10 to 20 lb. range in the mid to back of major creeks.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf says that things are "good". Some "decent sized" smallmouths have been landed with crayfish imitations. The trout angling is great, due to the hatching of local insects. Local brookies are going for mayfly and caddis imitations. The water is clear and in the low 50s.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that bass fishing is excellent. The bass are going for spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Carolina rigged plastics are also a good bet, as are suspended jerk and crankbaits. The crappie are on their beds and biting minnows. Cat fishing is okay, with some big ones landed at night on chicken livers and clam snouts. Yellow perch like small spinners. The water is clearing up with temperatures in the 60s on the lake and 70s in the creeks and coves.

Lake Gaston Health Advisory: 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.

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com. Overall, the fishing continues to improve as the water warms and most species move from winter to spring patterns.

Crappie: Schools of baitfish and crappie can be found in most major creeks where they will move closer to the banks as the water continues to warm. Crappie are being caught from 2 to 5 feet below the surface on small "crappie" minnows. For more info, check out Mike's website

Stripers: Stripers are being found in major creeks, near points, humps, drop-offs and near the bank using live bait presented on freelines and shotlines behind floats (Redi-Rigs) and planer boards (Water-Bugz, Off-Shore, Outcast). Stripers are also being caught on downlines, particularly when it is sunny and calm, but the better live bait fishing appears to be early and late in the day in or near creeks and humps. For more details check Mike's website.

Bass: Bass fishing continues to be mixed according to most anglers. Bass are moving up onto the shoreline as the spawn has started. While bass continue to be caught on spinner baits, flukes and swim jigs, most anglers are concentrating on bedding fish. Mike has specific information on his website.

The recent Fishers of Men Western Division tournament was won by the team of Matt Kluender and Nathan Reeves with a five fish bag weighing 14.81 lbs. For a list of other winners visit the website.

The water is 63 degrees and fair to clear. Enjoy the Bassmaster Elite Tournament and be safe while on the water or in the woods.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Mike Burchett told me that bass angling on the lake is "phenomenal." Mike's brother, Wayne and Wayne's partner Raymond Secrist won the local Federation Tournament with a 6 fish (3 smallmouths and 3 largemouths) total at 18.4 lbs. Mike says that bass will go for practically anything you care to throw at them. A Smallie Beaver on a shaky head drenched in Smelly Jelly is a particularly devastating lure. Crappie angling is slowing down, but a minnow may still work for you. No word on cats. Bluegill are plentiful and you can "go out with a bucket of nightcrawlers and have a ball." Some stripers have been landed at night on Redfins and Broken Back Thundersticks. Mike reminds us that the Rock House Marina Tuesday Night Tournaments will start on May 4th. For more info call Mike. The water is slightly stained and in the mid 60s.

Use Common Courtesy and Commonsense at Busy Boat Ramps...

This a very busy time of the year on our waterways. Ramps are crowded and tempers can flare. Do your part to keep things safe and calm and here are a few tips that can help with that. Don't wait till you back down the ramp to get your boat ready to launch, do that in the parking lot. Likewise when you pull your boat out of the water until you get off the ramp go secure your rig for travel, don't do it on the ramp.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says that bass are really hitting on cranks and spinners. Muskies may respond to shallow running cranks. The water is slightly stained and 54 degrees.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius reports that bass angling is very good as the fish are in their pre spawn feed. Pig & Jigs are effective as are crawfish colored crankbaits. No word on crappie or cats. Muskies are spawning and not very responsive, but the fishing should pick up in a week or so. The water is stained but clearing and 58 degrees.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Master of all things fly, Harry Murray told me that smallmouth fishing in the North and South forks of the Shenandoah River is good. In the North fork it's so good that you might get your biggest fish now. In order to get your lunker, call Harry or stop by the fly shop, which is on Main St. in Edinburg. Best flies to use are: Murray's Magnum Chub, size 4; Murray's Marauder in pearl color, size 6 and Shenk's White Streamer, size 4. The water is clear and 61 degrees. The fishing in the South is also good. The water is too high to wade, so floating is your best bet. The water is clear and 61 degrees. The stocked streams in the Valley are at a good level, and many rainbows are being landed. The angling is especially good in Big Stony Creek West of Edinburg, and Passage Creek East of Edinburg. Best flies are: Mr. Rapidan Streamer, size 10; and the Betsy Streamer, size 10. The water is clear and 58 degrees. The mountain streams are also giving good fishing. Your best bet is to park someplace on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive or the National Forest roads; hike beside the stream about 1 mile and fish your way back. Good flies are: Spirit of Pittsford Mills, sizes 14 and 16; Mr. Rapidan Parachute, sizes 14 and 16. The water is very clear and 54 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff says with the warm spell the last few weeks that fishing at the Lake is wide open! Bass prefer shallows or flats where the water tends to warm-up from the afternoon sun. Smallmouth are found on rocky points. Trout are fairly easy to catch in the spots where water is 15-20 ft. deep. Best bait is alewives or variety of small spoons. The yellow perch are still in tight schools. Come on up to the mountains for Spring and enjoy the redbuds and dogwoods, the thrill of turkeys gobbling in the mornings, then casting for some whoppers in the warm afternoons.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / New Book Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River) reports that the SHAD are back! Hordes of these hard fighting fish are charging up the Rappahannock to the delight of crowds of fishermen who cautiously wade into the fast-moving water or fish from the shore in the vicinity of the Route 1 bridge in Fredericksburg. In addition to the bridge, anglers find good spots along the shoreline of Mill Island and at the edge of the City park that parallels Riverside Drive up to the rapids at the lower end of Laucks Island. More aggressive Shad fishermen were seen on the rocks under the I-95 bridge. The hot colors for shad darts are lime and orange. If you wade, you should wear a PFD and exercise caution since the water levels are high. The Potomac remains too high to wade, but is perfect for those who can get out in a boat since the water levels have stabilized (for now). On April 4, the water temperature spiked above the magic number of 60° that marks the start of "summer" for bass and we can expect to see activity increase if the temperature stays above that level. Expect to find fish in the calmer eddies along the shore or around the islands. Pay special attention to the confluence of creeks with the main stem of the river or at the bottom of the larger islands. For trout anglers, there is nothing but good news. The combination of the recent rains and the rapidly rising temperature produced conditions that are better than they have been in years. All major trout streams in the Piedmont were stocked within the last two weeks. You should be able to find fish from the Moormans up through the Hughes and Rose / Robinson Rivers as well as Passage Creek in the north. For those who welcome a walk with their fishing, this is the best time to hit the mountain streams that cascade down the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge. The streams are running full, but not overly fast, with many different bugs hatching. You can catch the mountain brookies on nymphs (Hares Ear or Copper John) and dry flies (Adams, March Brown, Mister Rapidan and attractor patterns). As you walk into the backcountry, be sure you make enough noise to warn bears of your approach.

Lake Orange: Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures in the 60s. Fishing can be summed up in one word "spawn". Largemouth bass and crappie are on the banks in shallow water, readily taking live bait and soft plastics. Walleye are on the move feeding on small minnows and night crawlers. Catfishing is strong throughout the lake on live bait and chicken liver. The Weather's good and the fishing is great!

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. Chuck Perry reports that the largemouths are going for just about everything. No word on crappie. Cats up that way like minnows. Yellow perch are scattered, but may bite a rattletrap. The water is stained and in the 60s.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, Local guide and Editor-In Chief, Woods & Waters Magazine, (540) 894-5960. What a difference a week of warm weather makes here on Lake Anna. The bass, striper and crappie began to spawn in large numbers last week and will continue to do so through the beginning of May. With a full moon coming April 28, the water temperatures in the low 70s, it's time to fish shallow.

Bass: Strong spawning activity in the down lake, mid lake and lower up lake region is going on currently. Due to high water many of the fish are spawning shallower than in years past. Look for beds on dock pilings, rocks, in willow grass and on stumps in 1 to 6 ft. of water. Fish wacky worms and stick baits between beds. When you find a bed, consider sight fishing tactics like small tubes, jigs and lizards and immediate release after the catch. Once fish begin guarding fry, you can try floating minnows, wacky worms and drop shoting around docks.

Striper: Excellent fishing in the upper regions of the North Anna, Pamunkey Branch and Terry's Run. The striper are schooled at the mouths of tributaries and biting well first thing in the morning and late in the evening. Sometimes they will bite outside this hot zone. Live herring on freelines and sideplaners are the most effective tactic right now. Casting lures is not as effective, but some fish will take a soft plastic jerkbait or swimbait at peak periods. Fish above the bridges in 2 to 12 ft. of water.

Crappie: The week of April 5th through the 11th was the top week so far for freckles here on Lake Anna. While citation fish over two pounds have been scant, the numbers per day are amazing. Grass lines in the North Anna, docks in the Pamunkey and beaver huts mid lake are the top three patterns. Jigs have been out-producing minnows. Good luck and see you on the water.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.

Stripers: Stripers are feeding all over the lake now on 5 to 15 foot flats, humps and points. Just about every shallow flat and primary point on the lake and near the mouths of creeks are producing nice catches. When the fish are feeding in the upper water column we are running herring and gizzard shad on planner boards, bobbers and freelines. Live bait consistently catches stripers, whatever the weather conditions offer. To find out some good artificials, check out Jim's website.

Bass: Bass are roaming the shallows looking to fatten up prior to the spawn. Work faster moving baits with warming trends such as swim baits, spinner baits and crank baits and slow down and down size in cold front conditions using Carolina rigged lizards, crawfish imitators, twitch baits like Senko's, Slugo's and Bass Assassins. For a more in depth analysis of bass angling see Jim's site.

Crappie: Fishing just doesn't get any better for crappie than in April. Everyone can catch crappie this month and remember to take a kid along with you. Locating the fish is very simple. Most shallow docks where baitfish are present will hold crappie especially where there is some cover present. Minnows and live herring work well. Check Jim's site for more detail.

Catfish: The big ones are biting. I have heard of 3 big blue cats being caught in the Dike 3 region of the lake, the largest being caught by Jimmie Richards, a 34 pounder on March 27th. Jimmie caught his on a live herring and live bait usually produces the better catfish in any season.

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor C. Blair Evans, (804) 693-2107. This report can be summed up by stating that the crappie bite is now on. The warmer weather and warming water temps have greatly improved the fishing. Numerous anglers fishing from the banks are reporting catching good sized crappies while fishing with minnows. Brad Smith of Gloucester weighed-in a citation crappie that weighed 1 pound 12 ounces and was 15 ¼ inches long. Along with the crappie fishing, the bass fishing has greatly improved. We are thinking that the bass will begin their spawning any time now. Along with bass and crappie, many anglers have reported catching good sized perch and catfish. The water temperature is 68 degrees with the water being at full pool and slightly stained.

Beaverdam's next Big Bash Tournament will be held this Saturday April the 17th. April Park Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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!

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email your material to
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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

Officers assist local police to find suicide victim... On March 25, 2010, Conservation Police Officers M. Booden and J. Clark assisted the Emporia Police Department in locating a female that had threatened suicide the previous day and hadn't been seen since. The Emporia Police Department asked that a boat be launched onto the Meherrin River and check the area around the Hicksford Road Bridge to see if a body could be located. Officers Booden and Clark located the body of the victim about 50 yards from the bridge. They recovered the body with the assistance of a Greensville County Volunteer Rescue Squad member and were transported back to the boat ramp.

Officers quick actions help nab shooting suspects... On March 27, 2010, Conservation Police Officer Bratton was investigating information about closed season waterfowl hunting when he heard a call on his radio about a shooting in progress at the Sears parking lot in Onley. Officer Bratton, being less than a mile away, responded and was the first law enforcement officer on the scene. Upon his arrival, Officer Bratton was flagged down by a witness who provided Bratton with the tag number and a direction of travel of one of the suspect vehicles. Officer Bratton relayed the information to the Accomack Sheriff's Office and they broadcasted a BOL and resulted in a VSP unit locating the vehicle within 10 minutes of the incident. Officers for Onley PD, Onancock PD, VSP and ACSO were on scene within 5 minutes. Officer Bratton assisted investigators in locating 8 shell casings and 4 bullets related to this incident. Some of the bullets had passed through or were lodged in the front window of Food Lion. Luckily, no by standers were injured during the shooting. Both shooters are in custody and are currently residing in the Accomack County jail.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are working effectively together to share information, investigation resources and techniques to make solid cases and bring to justice those criminals that violate wildlife laws and threaten public safety. If you know of a law violation, do your part to report it to the local authorities, or use the Wildlife Crimeline 1-800-237-5712.

Region 3 - Southwest

Trout fishermen caught over the limit... On March 25, 2010, Senior Officer Dan Hall, was on trout patrol in the town of Marion on the Middle Fork of the Holston River. Officer Hall observed three individuals (two adults, one juvenile) fishing from an old concrete dam. Officer Hall observed one of the subjects in possession of a limit of trout on the dam, catch a trout and hand it to the other adult that was present. That adult, in turn, placed it on the juvenile's stringer. After observing the same activity repeated again minutes later, Officer Hall made contact with the three subjects as they came out to leave in a vehicle parked nearby. Officer Hall asked the individual who caught the trout and placed them on the juvenile stringer how all three individuals caught "their limits", when eye witness accounts indicated otherwise. One summons was issued to the subject for Exceeding the Daily Creel Limit for Trout.

Motorcycle rider caught behind closed gate... On March 27, 2010, Officer Larry Walls received a call from Richmond Dispatch that a subject riding a motorcycle drove around the main entrance gate at Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The entrance gate has been closed for several days due to snow and road maintenance. Officer Walls responded to Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area and located the subject approximately five miles from where he drove behind the locked gate. The subject was issued summonses for operating a motorcycle without required licenses and operating a motor vehicle in a closed area.

Officer's search locates violent felon's illegal firearms... On Thursday March 25, 2010 Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker was requested by the Scott County Sheriffs Department to assist with service of a search warrant of a felon who was suspected of having firearms in his residence. Officer Honaker was requested to assist because of the suspect's history of having a violent nature when confronted. When the officers from the Scott County Sheriff's Department and Officer Honaker arrived to serve the search warrant, the suspect was outside of his residence. The suspect was intoxicated and began making threats to the officers, who arrested him on grounds of public intoxication. The suspect assaulted two of the deputies before he was subdued and taken to the magistrate's office. Upon arrival at the magistrate's office, the suspect proceeded to assault two other officers. The officers who remained at the suspect's residence continued to search for the illegal firearms named in the warrant. After approximately thirty minutes of searching, Officer Honaker was requested to come inside and assist in the attempt to find the firearms. After another five minutes of searching, Officer Honaker located a nine millimeter handgun that was hidden. By the time the search was completed, two firearms and about five hundred rounds of ammunition had been located and seized. The suspect was charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, possession of firearms by a violent convicted felon, and numerous assaults on law enforcement officers.

Bicycle used by plain clothes officer to check fishermen... Officer On Saturday, March 20, 2010, with the assistance of Sergeant Charlie Mullins, CPO Mark Brewer conducted a plainclothes bicycle patrol along the designated stocked trout waters of Stony Creek in Giles County. The 6-mile covert patrol heightened enforcement awareness among the fishing public and resulted in 13 fishermen being observed and checked for compliance. A total of 4 summonses were issued: fish without license, fish without trout license, and two charges for drinking alcohol in public.

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

As the warming temperatures, blossoming wildflowers and Spring "green-up" beckon us to the woods and streams, the opportunity to share this glorious time with friends and family can create lasting memories. For 15 year old Angela Williams, a Sophomore at Tunstall High School in Dry Fork, her most memorable outdoor experience was an atv ride and fishing trip to a secluded pond in the woods spending time with her Dad. As the fishing action slowed, Angela found adventure and peaceful solitude exploring the stream and woods with her Dad and pet lab, observing and discovering the wonders of nature, learning new outdoor skills and sharing time afield. Angela entered her article in the 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition and placed in the Top 25. Angela has captured the excitement, serenity, and fond memories that come with a simple fishing trip, trekking through the woods with her Dad and faithful dog.

Personal Paradise

By Angela Williams

My most memorable outdoor experience was spending a day with my dad exploring the deep woods of his land in Callands, Virginia. One morning a few years ago, I woke up completely clueless of the adventure soon to follow. That day I found a new personal paradise.

About thee years ago, on a perfect day between summer and fall, my dad and I set out on our four wheelers to go fishing at a small pond in the heart of his property. Although the weather was perfect, not to hot and not to cold, the fish didn't want to come out and play. My father and I, along with our black lab Cole, quickly decided to drop the fishing bait off at my uncle's house and go exploring in the woods.

My dad led the way of a newly formed trail. After enjoying the rush of riding down steep hills and wide turns, we decided to take a break. We stopped at a clear and slow-flowing creek. Cole was the first to run through the creek and I was soon to follow. As Cole stopped for a drink, I carefully examined the area looking for the safest flat rocks to walk on. We could hear the beautiful sound of faster water nearby. Excited to see a waterfall, I asked my dad to use his knowledge of the land to again lead the way.

When we came upon a series of small waterfalls I knew right a way I had found my new gorgeous getaway. Luckily there was a perfect sized tree that had fallen to connect the sides of the creek. I balanced myself on the tree placing one foot in front of the other with great caution. When I made my way to the center of the tree I took a seat to take in the calming sights of my surroundings. When I took my seat it became even more obvious that this was my place to come clear my head and escape my troubles.

However, like any twelve year old girl, I was in need of something more to keep my attention. So of course, not long after having taken my seat, I was on my way to find more exciting play. I walked up and down the creek admiring everything in my path. The leaves were beginning to change colors from green to lovely shades of a rustic red. The water was flowing to a perfect song in harmony with the wind. The sky peeked through the tree tops to say hello to my perfect day.

That day I went home with wet shoes, a ruined pair of muddy jeans, and a sore butt. But to me none of that mattered. The only thoughts that filled my head was how lucky I was to find my own personal oasis so close to my home. The peacefulness of the creek even kept me and my dad from engaging in our typical quarrels. I never knew a nature walk could provoke so many emotions, but I am glad it did. Since that day three years ago, I have been on several more hikes and walks outdoors with my youth group, my friends, and my family. Of all the places I have explored, none top the woods I explored with my dad on that perfect day.

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2007-08 High School Youth Writing Competition by 15 year old Angela Williams, a Sophomore at Tunstall High School in Dry For, placed in the Top 25. 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

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: