In this edition:
- Father's Day Ideas for the Outdoor Dad
- Operation Dry Water
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Detailed Descriptions of Outdoor Events Across Virginia
- People and Partners in the News
- First Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake Big Success
- Virginia School Teams Compete in NASP National Tournament
- CPOs Promote Outdoor Safety for Middle School Conservation Field Day in Frederick County
- Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Class July 17 in Lynchburg
- Disabled Sportsmen and Wounded Warriors Participate in Numerous Spring Hunts
- Hunting News You Can Use
- June Squirrel Season Opens on Private Lands and Selected WMAs June 5-19
- Spring Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips
- Squirrel Skinning Video Available
- Apprentice Hunting License: A Great Way To Get Youth Involved in Hunting
- Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Planning and Preparation Needed for Safe Summer Adventures
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
- "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Outdoor Recreation Focus of New Website
- Grab Your Hammer - Help Build Wood Duck Nest Boxes in New Kent
- Notes for Young Nature Explorers
- School's Out!! Now what do you do?!?
- Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
- Habitat Improvement Tips
- Catawba Landscape Workshops June 12
- "Tree Cookies Etc." Landowner Newsletter Available On-line
- Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available
- Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
- Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
- Fishin' Report
- Millions of American Shad Stocked in Virginia Rivers
- Shenandoah and James Rivers - Fish Health Update
- Safe Boating is No Accident—Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class
- Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!
- Sarah White's Notebook
- Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun
- Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
- Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
- "Never Anger the Bees" by Terri Corbett
Father's Day Ideas for the Outdoor Dad
This June 9th edition of the Outdoor Report is full of ideas for gifts for that special "outdoors Dad." But you won't see ads for new fangled gear and gadgets to wrap up as a gift. I learned from my Dad that the best gift for Fathers Day was sharing time and making great memories. Besides he already had two of everything, or so it seemed. A new fishing pole, camo truck mats, or rifle scope are nice, but include the gift of time to share in using these material things. With our busy lives these days, taking the time for an outdoor adventure, or making plans for a special trip this fall will create family bonds and memories that will last long after the other stuff. We hope the many stories and opportunities for outdoor related events in this edition will give you a great idea to honor your Dad or someone in your life that introduced you to the outdoors. If your kids aren't sure what to get you, go ahead and hint for the new shotgun, but note you would also prefer some time together to "unwrap" a very special gift.
David Coffman, Editor
Operation Dry Water
Increased BUI Enforcement
June 25-27, 2010
Never Boat Under the Influence!
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is dangerous. Nationwide, over 17% of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications. They can slow reaction times, impair vision and lead to boating accidents. Also, operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher is illegal. Penalties may include fines, jail, impoundment of boats, and loss of boating privileges. Curbing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities is key to achieving a safer and more enjoyable environment for recreational boating.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit http://operationdrywater.org.
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.
Friends of the Chickahominy WMA Host Kick-Off Workday June 12
The newly formed Friends of the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area is hosting a "Chickahominy Kick-Off" event in Charles City County on Saturday, June 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. If you enjoy spending time outdoors and meeting great people, come by and help out with three new projects that will improve wildlife habitat and increase everyone's enjoyment of the Management Area. Volunteers are needed to install wood duck boxes, mark access trails, and create a new planting around the main entrance. (Children under 18 must be supervised by a parent at all times.) A grilled lunch will be part of the schedule. Don't miss this chance to learn more about the Friends group! Advance registration is preferred; please call Darlene Lyons at (804) 829-6580 by June 4 to register. If you miss registration and come on June 12, you'll be assigned to a project with the most need. For info on the Chickahominy WMA visit the website.
Friends of C. F. Phelps WMA are holding a Formational Meeting on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Phelps Work Center. The purpose of the meeting is to gain community support to begin and sustain a "Friends Group" that will help implement hands-on projects and assist with the WMA activities. Most of the management area's 4,539 acres are in southern Fauquier County with the balance being in Culpeper County. There is no charge to attend and light refreshments will be available. For information on joining this effort, contact Patricia Wood at (703) 282-9035 by June 4. For information on the Phelps WMA visit the website.
Wood Duck Box Workshop at New Kent Forestry Center June 12
The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association have partnered to host a Wood Duck Nesting Box Workshop Saturday, June 12, 9 a.m. - noon at the New Kent Forestry Center near Providence Forge. This hands-on workshop has space for 30 participants, including children and adults, with lunch included.
The Virginia Waterfowlers Association will provide an educational presentation, instructors, wood duck box kits, and nails for participants. Participants will be required to bring hammers. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. To register, or for more information, contact Todd Cocker by email: email@example.com, or call (804) 317-8058.
Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Celebration at Skylark Farm June 13
Celebration for the Blue Ridge Parkway has never been more exciting at the "Round Top" at Skylark Farm! On Sunday June 13th from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., you can experience panoramic viewing of the Blue Ridge where you can see all the way to West Virginia (telescope provided by Charlottesville Astronomical Society members)! Bring your kites or simply enjoy kite flying with members of the American Kite Flyers Association and the Richmond Air Force.
Skylark Farms has wonderful places to enjoy a family picnic, or simply take a stroll throughout Skylark Farm. At the "Round Top" enjoy mountain music by Jimbo Cary, Benny Dodd or Curtis Matthews and their musician friends. Listen to stories of mountain life and Skylark with Lowell Humphries, Scott Beebe and meet local authors of books featuring rural living and traditions.
Do you know how the Blue Ridge Parkway was conceived? Come talk to the experts and visit their display of art works by Carlton Abbott, artist, architect and landscape designer of many Parkway projects including historical design documents. Jeff Trollinger, VDGIF Watchable Wildlife Program Manager, and Board Member for the 75th Blue Ridge Parkway Anniversary, will provide a Power Point presentation of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sponsors of this Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Celebration are Washington and Lee University, owner of Skylark Farm; FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway; Oakland: Nelson County's Museum of Rural History; and the Rockfish Valley Foundation.
Although this event is free to the public, a $5 donation is recommended to provide support. for sponsors. For more information contact FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Roanoke, (540) 772-2992 or 800.228.PARK(7275), email: Staff@FriendsBRP.org, or website: www.BlueRidgeFriends.org
HerpBlitz at Kiptopeke State Park June 12-13
The VA Herpetological Society (VHS) will host their 5th Annual 'HerpBlitz' at Kiptopeke State Park on the Eastern Shore, on June 12 & 13, 2010. For details visit the VHS website under "2010 Calendar of Events". All the surveys that VHS hosts are open to the public, as well as members, to participate. Please pre-register with Jason Gibson, VHS HerpBlitz Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend. This will allow for better coordination and communication if there are any updates or changes.
Waterfowl Predator Control Workshops Scheduled Statewide This Summer
The Virginia Trapper's Association, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association and VDGIF have developed a unique partnership to hold three Waterfowl Predator Control Workshops throughout the state this summer. These educational component workshops are developed for the general public and will be conducted free at both Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain stores. These workshops will benefit sportsmen and landowners who want to know more about managing wildlife and controlling predators. Personal hands-on tutoring workshops will also be available upon request by contacting email@example.com. Workshops are scheduled as follows:
- Sunday, June 27, 2010 - Gander Mountain - Roanoke
- Saturday, July 17, 2010 - Bass Pro Shops - Hampton
- Saturday, July 24, 2010 - Bass Pro Shops - Ashland
Primitive Bow Making Workshop Aug 29-Sep 1 at Holiday Lake
Are you interested in making your own primitive bow? Nate Mahanes, Program Director for the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox advises that this Primitive Bow Making Workshop may make the perfect Father's Day gift for a special archery enthusiast. This workshop, last held in March 2009, was a huge success with several participants reporting they had successful deer harvests with the bows they had made. Meals and lodging on site are included in the fee for this four day workshop beginning Sunday, August 29 – Wednesday, September 1. Participation is limited to 10 students for a better instructor participant ratio. You may choose the wood composition, style of bow and receive an additional bow stave to complete at home. Workshop includes arrow making, shafting, and string making. Registration deadline is August 6. Early registration is encouraged as course fills quickly. For details visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website, or contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749.
People and Partners in the News
First Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake Big Success
The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in conjunction with the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center and the VDGIF Hunter Education Program, conducted a Hunter Skills Weekend for youth and adults on May 14-16, 2010. The event was filled to capacity with 96 participants, who learned techniques needed to be safe and proficient while hunting. The weekend was designed to help "bridge the gap" between the basic Hunter Education Course and actually getting out into the field to hunt. As one participant in the Treestand class stated, "I thought I was safe and doing things correctly, but I was not and learned so many new proper ways to be safe in the stand." A parent said of the Rifle class, "I liked the way the instructors taught safety. Hope my son remembers everything. They were great." One young participant in the Turkey Hunting class summed up the weekend, "It was AWESOME!"
The second Hunter Skills Weekend will be held at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center on October 1-3, 2010. Anyone interested in participating should contact the 4-H Center by phone at (434) 248-5444 or visit their website.
Virginia School Teams Compete in NASP National Tournament
The 2010 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) National Tournament was held on May 7-8, 2010 in Louisville, KY. Thirty three states were represented at the tournament. The event was the "largest archery tournament in the world." 7,125 student archers registered to compete in the international style target event. Students from elementary, middle, and high school teams competed for team and individual awards. At the tournament's conclusion, the top four boys and four girls competed for $14,000 in college tuition as 5,000 archers, coaches, parents, and fans cheered them on.
Virginia was represented by student archers from 7 schools across the Commonwealth. Competing in the Elementary Division was Saltville Elementary from Smyth County and the 6th graders from Northside Middle School in Roanoke. Competing in the Middle School Division was a team from Chickahominy Middle from Hanover County, and a team from Northside Middle from Roanoke. High School teams were from Northside High and Hidden Valley High, both from Roanoke and our 2010 Virginia State NASP Champions; Warwick High from Newport News. The top archers from Virginia were Cecily Brady and Dani Foster, from Warwick High, scoring 275 with 13 tens.
To view all the final results from the National Tournament, please click here. The Virginia schools held several fund raisers and the cash prizes received from Virginia sponsors at the State NASP Tournament helped fund their trip to Kentucky. Student archers, parents and coaches from the schools came with team shirts, and Warwick High school's motto was "Nothing But YELLOW!" as they aimed for the bull's eye! There was a recorded "Robin Hood" at the Tournament, by Virginia's archer Camden Philpy from Chickahominy Middle School. It was truly amazing to see 285 targets in a row, with 570 student archers shooting safely at the same time! Virginia was proudly represented by our student archers who gave it their "best shot"! Many new friendships were made, along with lasting memories by participating in the world's largest archery tournament to date!
Virginia has over 344 schools participating in NASP with a reported 135,000 students receiving archery instruction. If your school is interested in providing archery as part of the in school curriculum, contact Karen Holson, DGIF Virginia NASP State Coordinator at 804-367-6355 or email Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov.
CPOs Promote Outdoor Safety for Middle School Conservation Field Day in Frederick County
On May 11 – 12, VDGIF Conservation Police Officers (CPOs) participated in Conservation Field Day at the four Frederick County Middle Schools. Conservation Field Day is an annual event organized by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. The program is intended to make students aware of the need for conservation of our natural resources, as well as providing students with an idea of professions available in the natural resources field. District 41 CPO's conducted nine, 15-minute programs per school on topics such as conservation, fishing laws and regulations, effects of littering, boating safety, and ATV safety. The programs reached 933 students at Admiral Byrd Middle School, James Wood Middle School, Frederick County Middle School, and Robert E. Aylor Middle School. The teachers and students commented that they learned a lot about what the officers did in their jobs protecting both wildlife and people and the high level of skills and training needed to become a CPO. The students also liked the hands-on learning about boating and ATV safety – timely for outdoor adventures during the summer vacation.
Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Class July 17 in Lynchburg
Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center, announces that an "On the Road" Rehabilitation class is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, 2010, at Lynchburg Parks and Recreation, in Lynchburg. The classes will cover:
- Wildlife Capture Restraint, Handling, and Transportation
- Introduction to Rehabilitating Reptiles
For more information, including class descriptions and costs, visit the Wildlife Center of Virginia's website.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Disabled Sportsmen and Wounded Warriors Participate in Numerous Spring Hunts
The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Wheelin' Sportsmen program has sponsored 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. View the Spring 2010 Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Newsletter for further information on programs, events and opportunities or visit the website.
The Wheelin' Sportsmen VA Chapter will hold their annual fund raising and volunteer recognition event at Augusta Expoland in Fishersville June 19. For information on supporting this event visit their website, or contact Rick Layser 540-886-1761 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mike Deane 434-996-8508 Wheelin4u@yahoo.com.
Also visit other websites of sportsmen's organizations that also provide outdoor activities for disabled persons and veterans and victims of severe illness including: VA Waterfowlers Assoc., VA Hunters Education Assoc., VA Deer Hunters Assoc., Hunters Helping Kids, and Trout Unlimited VA Chapter with Project Healing Waters and Casting for a Cure.
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.
June Squirrel Season Opens on Private Lands and Selected WMAs June 5-19
For the fourth year a statewide squirrel season will be available for sportsmen June 5-19, 2010, on specific VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as listed on the VDGIF website and new this year, on all private lands. Fox squirrels may only be harvested on all private lands in counties with an open fox squirrel season and on the following WMAs: Big Survey, Goshen, Havens, Little North Mountain, Merrimac Farm, Phelps, Rapidan, and Thompson WMAs. Hunting squirrels with dogs is now allowed during the June season.
Although it may be a foreign idea to many sportsmen, a June season is biologically justified. Squirrels have two peak reproductive periods - one during February-March and another during July-August. Therefore, hunters can harvest squirrels during the June season without impacting populations.
Spring Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips
If you're planning to go squirrel hunting the June 5-19,2010 spring season, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. You'll also want to put on some bug repellent to ward off ticks, chiggers, gnats and mosquitoes. Learn to identify poison ivy (leaflets three let it be!) and avoid contact with the shiny green leaves and hairy vines. Note that you can also get a rash from handling clothes that have come in contact with this abundant woods plant. If you have walked through a patch of poison ivy, wash those clothes to remove the oils which cause the itchy rash. Snakes are also out and about with the warmer temperatures, so be alert. If it is a very warm day, it would be a good idea to field dress your harvested game as soon as possible and bring along a cooler with ice and plastic bags to store them. You may want to view the instructional squirrel skinning video featured in the next article.
As always, practice basic firearm safety. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, only point at what you intend to shoot, and clearly identify your game and what is beyond. So spray on a little bug juice and take a youngster squirrel hunting on one of the selected VDGIF's WMAs or private woodlands. You can locate the WMAs at the VDGIF map information system on our Find Game website.
Video Features Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting
Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. If you want to learn one of the best methods we've seen for skinning squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young & old.
Apprentice Hunting License: A Great Way To Get Youth Involved in Hunting
Because school will be out during most of the June squirrel season, it is a wonderful opportunity to introduce a youngster to hunting. There are very few other hunting opportunities available at the start of the summer. This time provides a youngster actual in-the-field hunting without some of the distractions or pressures of fall deer or turkey hunting like more hunters in the woods, cold and windy weather, or more elusive game. If they do not have their Hunter Education class completed, an Apprentice Hunting License can be purchased by a new hunter. However, apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license. Previous license holders are not eligible for Apprentice Hunting Licenses. Be sure to check out the Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted to its website. The video is an overview of how the new Apprentice Hunter program works. Watch the video and consider becoming a mentor to a friend or family member who's always wanted to try hunting.
What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.
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
Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
We received a great response from our readers with inspiring stories of new hunters — both young and old, that we want to share with you. Congratulations to the dads and moms and sons and daughters for discovering the passion for the outdoors and mentoring novice hunters resulting in wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime.
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 email@example.com for a caption including: names, age, hometown, location and date 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
Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Planning and Preparation Needed for Safe Summer Adventures
Skeeters, ticks, and snakes, oh my! If you stop to think about all the critters and conditions that can possibly make your summer outdoor activities miserable, you may make a big mistake and stay home. With a little planning, preparation, and the proper gear, you can minimize the discomforts that come with any outdoor adventure. The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," relates directly to you and your outdoor plans. There are some basic safety precautions directly related to summer heat and critter activity that warrant your attention. This article is based on my experiences, including mistakes, the past 30 years camping, canoeing, fishing, and exploring our wonderful wild places.
David Coffman, Editor
Clothing: dress for the conditions you plan to encounter, then take additional items in case conditions change. Consider wearing pants that have the zip-off legs to give some protection in case you encounter brush, poison ivy (leaflets three, let it be!), or ticks. Same advice for shirts - take a long sleeve - it may get cooler if out after sunset. Wear light colors, they are cooler and do not attract mosquitoes like dark shades. Carry a small folding poncho for sudden downpours. Wear a hat to provide shade. Use sunscreen, even if you already have your tan.
Water: have plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. As an Eagle Scout, the motto "Be Prepared" has helped me and my companions out of unforeseen circumstances on many occasions. I offer a personal tip for long drives. Always take a cooler with ice and a variety of liquid refreshments in your vehicle on any trip 5 miles or 500. With heavy traffic just about anywhere you go these days, a traffic stopping incident, or breakdown may strand you for hours, miles away from any refreshment. Keep a couple of bottles of water, or sports drink, and some packaged snacks in your vehicle just in case. You may just make someone's day, including your own. Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion - these conditions can kill. Keep hydrated and do not over do it. Know your physical limits. Rest or get in shade to prevent heat stress.
Critters: wear insect repellant. There are many kinds 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. If you happen to encounter a snake, it's best to leave it alone. Many species of snakes, including venomous ones, are very beneficial to humans. Snakes are not aggressive and only bite in self defense, or if provoked. If bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm and seek medical attention immediately. Most venomous snake bites in Virginia only result in some swelling and discomfort. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings pose a greater 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. Rabies gets a lot of attention in the summer. If during the daytime, you see a fox, raccoon, or other mammal that is normally nocturnal and elusive acting aggressively or strangely, keep away. Contact local animal control authorities or the police immediately with the location of the animal.
Finally, always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. These days with cell phones, SUVs, and GPS, we have gotten somewhat complacent on this basic safety rule. Murphy's Law is lurking out there - no cellular signal, dead batteries, twisted an ankle - insert your own excuse here. No wildland adventure is without some risk - it's why we call it "wild" and part of the appeal of venturing outdoors! If you take simple steps to be prepared, have the proper gear for the conditions and take basic safety precautions, you optimize your chances for a great wildland experience. Now go out there and have fun, seek adventure, respect and enjoy our great wild places.
Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
The upcoming summer boating season is right around the corner, and VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:
- wear your life jacket
- do not mix alcohol and boating
- take a boating safety course
Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!
"Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
This section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoor enthusiasts can join with others to do simple things in your outdoor pursuits that can make a big difference in keeping Virginia "green" and wildlife "wild" to benefit us all.
Outdoor Recreation Focus of New Website
Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech announced a new Virginia parks and outdoor recreation website. The Virginia Outdoors website will make planning summertime trip planning easier. The site content includes video tours of trails in all Virginia State Parks and audio podcasts with park staff and others who provide an insider's view on what our parks and open spaces have to offer. Also visit the VDGIF Birding & Wildlife Trail website for trail features and locations.
Encouraging visitors to enjoy Virginia's outdoors also has real benefits for the state's economy. In 2009, Virginia State Parks had a record 7.5 million visitors. This generated an economic impact estimated at $175 million. Donations from the Dominion Foundation helped develop the new website.
Grab Your Hammer- Help Build Wood Duck Nest Boxes in New Kent
Join volunteers from the VA Waterfowlers Assoc for a Wood Duck Nest Box Building Workshop June 12 at the New Kent Forestry Center near Providence Forge. Contact Todd Cocker for details and registration. firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (804) 317-8058.
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!
School's Out!! Now what do you do?!?
Just because school's out for the summer doesn't mean learning and fun take a vacation too. Look for Summer Nature Adventure ideas for having fun and studying nature while school's out this summer in the next June 9 edition. You can visit the Virginia Naturally website now for more ideas. Teachers- there are also ideas for workshops and training available for your 'continuing education."
Kids Discover Nature by Jodi Valenta also provides ideas for parents to get your kids "nature aware."
Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in late June:
- What is the date for the first day of summer?
- What event in nature determines the first day of summer?
Answers to May 26 edition quiz for nature events in eary June...
- What large tree blooms with large white flowers followed by 'bean-pod like fruits? Catalpa
- What are the dates for FREE Fishing Days in Virginia? Take your parents fishing!! Free Fishing Days were June 4-6, 2010
Get your copy of the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.
Habitat Improvement Tips
Forestry & Wildlife Management Workshop June 12 in Catawba
A series of Forestry & Wildlife Management Workshops is being sponsored by the Catawba Landcare group beginning June 12, 2010 at the Catawba Community Center from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This first workshop will cover how you can attract the wildlife you want and deter the ones you don't. Habitat is key and native warm season grasses and forested stream banks can help. This workshop will cover topics including:
- What sorts of habitat attracts what wildlife
- Establishing and managing habitat for different goals or critters
- Cost-share programs available to assist in covering expenses for habitat plantings
Bob Boeren, Area Forester VA Dept. of Forestry, Dan Lovelace, District Wildlife Biologist, VDGIF, and Jane Shaw, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS & WHIP Coordinator will be on-hand to provide information and answer questions.
The next workshop covering Streamcare in Action on the North Fork is scheduled for Saturday, July 10, 2010 from 1:30 .p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is a driving tour with stops at various landowner sites to see projects in action.
At the headwaters of the James and Roanoke Rivers, the streams and creeks of the Catawba Valley are critical for the water quality for millions of people. The VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the New River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Catawba Landcare invite you to explore Streamcare options, funding sources, and visit stream restoration work completed by your neighbors along the North Fork. Visit exhibits by agencies involved with various aspects of streamcare along a driving tour of neighbors properties and join representatives from Save Our Streams to sample and evaluate the quality of the water in the North Fork. See restoration projects completed under VDGIF's Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). For the full schedule of stops and map directions contact Ned Yost at email@example.com.
Catawba Landcare is a group of residents and landowners in the Catawba and North Fork Valleys near Roanoke, dedicated to the care of the land and community. The group organizes workshops to share their stories about caring for the land and to learn from the experiences of neighbors and professional natural resource managers. For information contact Paul Hinlicky at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rob & Linda Guiles at email@example.com or (540) 384-6786.
"Tree Cookies Etc." Landowner Newsletter Available On-line
Adam Downing, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent Forestry & Natural Resources - Northern Region in Madison County has completed a new edition of the electronic newsletter for forest landowners, "Tree Cookies Etc."
Learn about forestry, wildlife, water quality and other natural resource management issues and tips to manage your woodlands for multiple uses and benefits.
Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available
The Habitat at Home© DVD features the yards of four homeowners in different parts of the state who have removed invasive plants, reduced their amount of lawn, added water features, and planted flowering perennials and shrubs. VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator Carol Heiser advises, "Native shrubs in particular are an excellent choice for wildlife, because they support native insects that make up a critical part of the food web. Native plants are better adapted to our growing conditions and are much easier to maintain than non-native ones. So many of our neighborhoods lack the kind of native plant diversity that wildlife really needs. You'll be surprised at the number of birds and other wildlife that use native shrubs. Visit our website to purchase your own copy of the 40-minute DVD!
Read the feature on planting a butterfly garden by Marie Majarov in the Notes for Young Nature Explorers section.
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 3 - Southwest
OUI Checkpoint gets dangerous boater off the water... On May 29, 2010, Conservation Police Officer Larry Walls and Sergeant Jamie Davis conducted an OUI checkpoint at South Holston Lake in Washington County. A male subject operating a pontoon boat came through the checkpoint. During the stop and conversation with the operator, a strong odor of alcoholic beverage was detected coming from his person. During the boating safety equipment check, the subject's speech sounded slurred and he was slightly unstable on his feet. The subject advised he had drunk four large beers. The subject was transported to the patrol boat for FST's. When the subject removed his sunglasses, his eyes were bloodshot. Officer Walls conducted FST's on the subject on which he performed poorly. The subject agreed to take the Preliminary Breath Test which resulted in a 0.137. Officer Walls placed the subject under arrest and transported him to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail. The subject submitted to a breath test and his final results were a 0.12 on the Intoxilizer. Officer Walls charged the subject for operating a motor boat under the influence of alcohol, no boat registration and operating a motor boat with unserviceable fire extinguisher. The subject was held at the Regional Jail on a $2,500 bond.
Alcohol and boating don't mix - if drinking on the water, drink responsibly and always have a designated driver in the crew.
Increased BUI Enforcement
June 25-27, 2010
Never Boat Under the Influence!
Officers quick response to fire saves boat from exploding... On May 29, 2010, while on a boat patrol on South Holston Lake, Senior Conservation Police Officers D. Austin and R. Salyers observed a pontoon boat on the ramp at Washington County Park that was afire in the covered area over the battery/fuel compartment. The owner was trying to put out the blaze, but in the excitement had broken off the activation knob of his fire extinguisher. Officer Salyers quickly removed the extinguisher from their patrol boat and threw it to Officer Austin who was standing on the shoreline. Austin took the extinguisher to the owner and he used it to extinguish the blaze. Upon examination of the boat, it appeared the fire was electrical in nature and had caught one of the batteries on fire. This battery was less than 2 inches from a full 25 gallon plastic fuel tank. The owner thanked the officers profusely for their quick actions, as he was sure the boat would have exploded if he had not been able to extinguish the blaze as fast as he did. The damage to the boat was minimal.
SAFETY TIP... Always check your fire extinguisher to confirm it is in good working order each time BEFORE going out on the water. Be sure it is secured, and in an easy to reach location in case of emergency. As this boater experienced, seconds may be the difference in avoiding a disaster! Your preparation and safety awareness may save you or a fellow boater from injury in an emergency.
Region 1 - Tidewater
CPOs tour aircraft carrier... On Saturday, May 22, 2010, Sgt. Jon Ober, Sgt. Marshall Crosby and Senior CPO Mitch Beatley had the opportunity to visit the crew of the newest United States Navy (USN) aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, to take part in an ongoing USN program. Periodically, the Navy will fly visitors out to a carrier to meet the crew and to see the men and women of the USN at work. During the visit the CPO's met and talked with numerous sailors and pilots about their work in addition to educating them about the VDGIF and their duties protecting and serving the citizens of the Commonwealth. The CPOs commented this was a truly awesome experience and were impressed with the dedication, skills and pride of these fellow sailors who serve and defend our freedom.
Region 2 - Southside
Officers quick thinking and swift action averts dangerous situation... On May 19, 2010, CPO Joe Williams responded to a reckless handling of firearms complaint in Franklin County. When Officer Williams arrived at the complaint scene, an intoxicated 42 year old suspect admitted to shooting at birds after first denying knowledge of shots being fired in the area. During the interview, he produced a shotgun and pointed it at Officer Williams and a Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy that also responded to the call. After several requests, he refused to put the weapon down and pointed the shotgun at both of the officers and advised them that they would" have to kill him to get it". CPO Joe Williams repositioned himself and was able to grab the shotgun from the suspect and disarm him. The man was arrested and charged with assaulting both officers (felonies), reckless handling of a firearm, obstruction of justice, and hunting under the influence. A potential tragedy was averted due to quick thinking and swift action by CPO Williams. The suspect was jailed on the charges and is now a suspect in an earlier assault on a census worker on the same day.
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.
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.
Millions of American Shad Stocked in Virginia Rivers
The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, a private fisheries consulting firm, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin continued stocking American shad into three of Virginia's coastal river systems this spring. As recently as the 1960's, American shad still supported one of the largest fisheries in Chesapeake Bay. However, dams, pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing caused the species to decline dramatically in the 1970's. In response, the fisheries in both Virginia and Maryland were closed. Because shad were not showing signs of recovery in the James River, a re-stocking program was initiated in 1992. With the help of watermen, adult shad have been collected each spring in the Pamunkey River, which still supports a relatively healthy spawning run. These fish have been stripped of their eggs and milt, and the fertilized eggs were used to produce fry for stocking the James River.
During April, the James River upstream from Richmond was stocked with a total of 3.68 million fry. This brings the grand total stocked in the James since 1992 to 111.8 million. Embrey Dam in the Rappahannock River was removed in 2004 to allow migrating anadromous fish such as American shad to re-access historical spawning grounds upstream of Fredericksburg. To promote the recovery of this spawning run, restoration stocking was initiated there in 2003. The Potomac River, which has the healthiest run of American shad in Chesapeake Bay, has been used as the source of fish for stocking the Rappahannock. A total of 3.94 million fry were stocked in the Rappahannock River upstream of Fredericksburg as part of this on-going effort, which brings the total number stocked since 2003 to 30.2 million. Approximately ½ million shad fry were also stocked in the Potomac River, bringing the total to 5.2 million since 2003. These fish are stocked to compensate for the eggs taken to stock the Rappahannock.
Since the inception of the restoration program, 174.6 million American Shad have been stocked into Virginia's waters. Both the James and Rappahannock rivers now support more American shad than they did prior to the initiation of the Restoration Program, but in order to reach the goal of restoring these spawning runs to historical levels, stocking must continue. For more information regarding this program, please check out our Shad Restoration Program website.
|Year||River||Number of Fry Stocked|
|Total Per River System||James||111,760,473|
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.
Review the article, "Does Your Lifejacket Really Fit?" in the May 26, 2010 Outdoor Report Be Safe... Have Fun section.
Shenandoah and James Rivers - Fish Health Update
VDGIF fisheries biologists continue to be extensively involved with field collections and studies that are part of ongoing efforts to investigate the Shenandoah River and James River fish disease and mortality events that have occurred each spring for the last several years. For a full update on ongoing investigations, what we know to date, and the status of the sport fisheries, go to the Shenandoah and James Rivers Fish Health Update.
Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!
How was your last fishing trip? Did you take pictures of your catch? Send them to us and share it with the world! Here's how:
- Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
- Or, if you already have an account on Flickr, join the group and submit your photos. It's easy!
No matter how you send in your pictures, please remember to include the species, date, and location of your catch. If you know the length and weight, please include it.
Rules for submitting photos to the group:
- Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
- Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
- Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
- Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
- Only submit photos for which you have permission to post online. For example, any minor pictured must have documented permission from his or her parent or guardian in order to appear in the group. By submitting a photograph of your child, you are giving VDGIF permission to post the photo on the Flickr "Virginia Fishing" group.
Sarah White's Notebook - Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
Fathers Day... continuing the outdoor tradition is the perfect gift!
Michael Odum from Max Meadows sent me this story about the joy and pride he experiences in continuing the hunting and fishing traditions passed down from his parents and wants to encourage all the parents who read this to make the time to get outdoors with your kids… you will all be better for it!
"I have been fishing and hunting with my son since he was old enough to hold a gun and a fishing rod. He has always been lucky when it comes to bagging a big buck or catching a big fish. He is 12 year old and has bagged a nice 8 and 10 pointer and always ends up catching the biggest fish of the day. He has more patience than most adults when it comes to sitting in a tree stand or casting a plug when there are no fish to be seen. I have had the pleasure of hunting and fishing with several kids and most of them are ready to go home within couple of hours, but Davin is completely different. He is more fun to fish with than most adults and much more quiet in the woods than my wife. We are a hunting and fishing family and to say the least we are very competitive, but the day Davin caught this big muskie this spring was very special. We have been fishing for muskie for several years and if you know anything about this fish you will know that having one follow your lure to the boat is a blessing. He has cast heavy lures with me for hours at a time without a complaint and his reward was the moment of a lifetime. The attached picture is Davin holding his 19 lb 43 inch muskie and I think his smile was just about as big as the fish. It was a great day for him and a day that Dad will never forget or live down. The most vivid memories I have as a kid are with my parents when we were fishing and hunting. I hope the same holds true with my son."
Region 1 - Tidewater
Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by C. Blair Evans, Park Supervisor, (804) 693-2107. Anglers are still reporting overall good fishing. The crappie fishing has appeared to slow down while the yellow perch action has remained steady. Anglers fishing from the pier should begin to expect catching more bream and catfish. The warm temperatures are beginning to send the fish to the deep holes for the summer. Latest reports have the bass hanging out around the drop-offs to deep water. Doug Gurganus of Gloucester checked-in a citation 12 in. yellow perch at the ranger station. The water is at full pool, slightly stained and 84 degrees.
Beaverdam's next Big Bash Tournament will be held Saturday June the 19th. For more information, please call the park at (804) 693-2107. Park Hours: May thru Labor Day 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. The fishing is good up Captain Jim's way. Cobia have arrived at Nine Foot Shoals and the sea side of Fisherman's Island, they can be landed on crabs, cut bunker or eels. Red and black drum are also on the sea side of Fisherman's Island, and also like crabs and cut bunker. Croaker and spot are at the mouths of the James and York Rivers, and are attacking Fishbite and blood worms. Flounder at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel are going for minnows and squid. The water is 68 degrees and clear.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown said that lots of small bass are being brought up. Your best bet is a plastic worm; any color is good, but Watermelon Seed is a good one to try first. No word on crappie. Cat anglers are getting "eating sized" fish on cut bait, fresh shad and eels. Some surprised anglers that were going for cats have pulled up a gar! Some bluegills are being fooled by crickets and worms. No word on perch. The water is 81 degrees and fairly clear.
North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports that bass are biting really well; with some lucky anglers bringing home 4 ½ pounders. They are going for spinners, top water poppers, chatterbaits and soft plastics. Crappie and perch fishing is slow, as the fish have gone deep. There's lots of bluegill to be had on flats and drop offs; with crickets, worms and beetlespins being your best bet. Not much cat action, but try the traditional cut bait. The water is clear and 70 degrees.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Josh Winslow told me that bass are hitting slowly retrieved Senko's in any color. Crappie are not biting. Shellcrackers are on their beds and will attack a cricket or a red wiggler. Croaker can be found in the Nansemond. Not a lot of cats. The water is slightly stained and warming.
Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com Both the Blackwater and Nottoway are in good shape right now and fishing is good for all species. Fly rod action can be terrific for bream. Topwater casting action is great nowadays for largemouths. Night time catfish action is excellent this time of year and temps are nice enough at night to make it a pleasant experience. Just be sure you wear your PFD and remember to check your boat's running and anchor lights.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Mike says that the river is too muddy to fish just now; but before that the fishing was good. Crappie were biting in Herring Creek on small minnows. Bass were going for soft plastics in shallows. Stripers could be had with Redfins and shallow running cranks. Mike expects that once the river lowers a bit and gets clearer, things should pick back up. The water is muddy and around 80 degrees.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. No report this edition.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350.
Fathers Day Gift Idea for the 'fishin dad' that's also a history buff... Enjoy the natural beauty of the James River as you trace the naval actions that took place in the area of Dutch Gap and Jones Neck from 1862-1865. Listen to stories about Confederate torpedoes, the Dutch Gap Canal, The Bermuda Hundred Campaign, and the James River Squadron's desperate attempt to break out at Trent's Reach. This stretch of river offers a unique opportunity to visualize these and other historic events in a landscape that has changed little since the time they took place almost 150 years ago. The tour also offers great opportunities to view wildlife on the river and in the Dutch Gap Conservation Area. The tour will be led by Capt. Mike Ostrander and Scott Williams. Capt. Mike is recognized as one of the leading river guides on the James, and has been offering a variety of fishing, historical and wildlife tours for 10 years. Scott is the Chairman of the Military History Committee for the Chesterfield Historical Society. He was the mapmaker and a contributing author for the recently published Bermuda Hundred Campaign Tour Guide.
Call Capt. Mike to sign up for this unique opportunity on board the Discovery Barge II, a 24-foot, covered pontoon boat.
June 26, 2010 8:30-10:30 & 11:00-1:00
Deep Bottom Boat Landing
$40 per person
Limited Seating: 6 people per trip – 12 spots total
Region 2 - Southside
Lake Gordon: Contributed by our man in the boat, Willard A. Mayes. Cricket and Worm Man had some worms he wanted to drown so we thought Lake Gordon would be a good place to do that in. We got to the lake to find the water warm with a brown stain, visibility to about two feet or so. The wind was very light so I got out the fly rod while Cricket Man started his worm drowning. First area of action was in a 2 ft. area under small tree hanging out over the lake - no fish. We moved up the lake to the first cove on the right and I picked up half dozen or so 8 to 10 in. crappie around the beaver lodge there. I got half dozen 6 to 8 in. blue gill on the other side of the cove. Cricket Man was getting a few bluegill on his worms. We went back across the lake to the 2 by 4 sticking out of the water; this was where I continued to catch crappie of the same size. Cricket Man was trolling his worms out the back of the boat and he caught a couple of white perch while we were crossing. Anytime we were moving, he would catch a white perch and ended up with six between 7 and 10 in. I would fish the shore line with the fly rod and a number 10 popping bug and when I got tired switched over to the spinning rod with a 1/32 lead head and 2 in. twister tail. The fish hit any color but they loved the purple one. I brought home the limit of crappie up to 10 inches and I thought I had the limit of 6 to10 in. bluegill, but it was only 46. I threw back 22 crappie and 28 bluegill. Cricket Man had 20 bluegill, 1 crappie, 6 white perch and one 15 inch cat fish that I made him put back because it either had belly full of eggs or mighty big fish. We were back at the dock before 5:00 p.m. and the water had turned over and was now clear to about 4 feet. It was one of those good fishing days.
Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. Jack reports that no fishing trips have been taking place because school is out for the summer, but he hopes to go fishing soon.
James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James has been blown out the better part of the past week and a half. Heavy thunderstorms have impacted the watershed. It is currently the color of chocolate milk but clearing. Check the gauges before heading out. The Howardsville boat ramp is now CLOSED! Don't head that way until further notice.
Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Taken from the Bob's website.
Striper: Fishing for stripers remains good. Fish are being found all over the lakes major creeks like Rudds, Eastland, Ivy Hill and Grassy Creek. Fishermen are finding fish in the shallows in the morning and late evening with swimbaits and topwater and out off of major points and creek channels with live bait and bucktails during mid-day.
Catfish: There is good river fishing right now with reports of nice blues and flatheads being caught in the 30 to 50 lb. range. Most fishermen are anchoring on flats or logjams and creek channel bends. Preferred baits are bream, shads, menhaden, goldfish and jumbo minnows.
Crappie: Fishing remains good with many different methods working. We still may have a little spawning left to go, but about 3/4 of the fish are finished spawning. Fish are being found on laydowns with deep water in front of them. Bridge poles and brush are starting to pick up and boat docks are holding fish with deeper water under them. Most fishermen are casting jigs to areas or with minnows on slip corks. Good colors are blue/chartreuse, pearl white, Tennessee shad and John Deere green. Water temps are 68 to 74 degrees.
Bass: Mixed patterns are working with a little water still in the bushes. Fish are being found with top water and shallow running crankbaits in the morning and evenings. During the day, fishermen are moving out a little on secondary points with crankbaits in the 5 to 10 ft. range, and Carolina rigs and shaky heads are doing well.
James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. According to Doug Lane, things are "great". Smallmouths are going for crayfish imitations, bait fish and popping bugs. Brook trout are responding to Yellow Stimulators, sizes 10 to 14; and Yellow Stoneflies, sizes 8 to 10. Rainbows like crayfish patterns and Red Sang Guan Worms, size 12. Brown trout are biting Robo Pheasant Tails, size 16. The water is clear and in the mid 50s.
Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Unfortunately, all Ron Karpinski had to report was that due to the great number of holiday weekend boaters, not many anglers had been out. Thus he had no real news. The water is clear and warming.
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.
Bass: The night bite is starting later in the evening, is on for a much shorter period of time and is really showing signs of slowing down as the surface waters warm and the alewives conclude their spawning activities. Topwater lures that are working for bass feeding on alewives include several topwater poppers and propeller baits, hard and soft swimbaits and spinner baits. Bass are also being caught at night using larger, dark colored plastic worms and creature baits. The Smith Mountain Lake Bassmasters will be holding an all night bass tournament on Saturday, June 26th. This tournament, which guarantees a $1000 first place payout, will run from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. and be held at Sportsman's Marina.
Stripers: Most anglers are still catching stripers in the daytime fishing live bait on freelines. As the water surface warms, more stripers will be caught on downlines and bottom rigs. Although many fish continue to be caught in the lower lake and around the mouths of most main channel creeks, there are also fish being caught up the lake. If you are interested in learning more about specific fishing patterns and techniques at Smith Mountain Lake, stop by the shop for a short tutorial and consider attending one of our upcoming workshops.
Catfish: Catfishing has really picked up over the past several weeks, especially after dark. Prepared stink baits continue to work well for channel cats. To effectively fish these baits on the bottom, use a spring hook on a 2-3 foot leader ahead of a swivel and egg sinker. Shad, small panfish and the large, live shiners available in most tackle shops and marinas are good bait for flathead catfish.
Keep an eye on the sky for thunderstorms this week, especially late in the afternoon and in the evening. The water is clear and 81 to 84 degrees. Good luck and tight lines.
Region 3 - Southwest
Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Mike Burchett reports that bass are going for top water lures and Robo Worms on dropshot. No word on crappie. Cat action is picking up, try live shad. Bluegill are "anywhere and everywhere", biting nightcrawlers. No word on perch. Stripers can be found by the dam at night, between 11 p.m. and 3 to 4 a.m. Try Thundersticks or Redfins rolled slowly of a rocky point. If you can find baitfish, the stripers will be there. The water is clear and 80 degrees.
Use Common Courtesy and Common sense 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, wait until you get off the ramp to secure your rig for travel, don't do it on the ramp.
Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that the river is "very, very pretty" just now; and the fishing is good. Bass are going for Senko's, with Green Pumpkin and Watermelon Seed being good choices for color. Muskies are active and attacking inline spinners and crankbaits. Cats fishing is picking up, your best bets are cut bait, shrimp or chicken livers. The water is in the upper 70s and slightly stained.
New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash Reports that the smallmouths are really going for soft plastics. Muskies are responding to spinners. The water is slightly stained and warming.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Fly guy Harry Murray told me that the recent rain had made smallmouth fishing on the North and South Forks of the River the best that it has been all year. Good flies are: Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; Shenk's White Streamer, size 4, and the Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 6. The water is clear, at an excellent level and 74 degrees.
The stocked streams in the Valley are getting low, but are still producing good rainbows. The fishing is best below incoming springs in late evening. Good dry flies are: Murray's Sulfur, size 16, and Murray's Littlie Yellow Stonefly, size 18. The water is clear, at a normal level and 72 degrees.
The mountain streams are also producing well in their upper reaches. Your best bet is to park at the trail heads on the mountain tops and hike down about 1 mile, then turn around and fish your way back up. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 14 and 16; Murray's Sulfur, size 16, and Murray's Stonefly, size 18. The water is at a normal level, very clear and 54 degrees.
Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Check the website for updated info.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / New Book Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River - DC to Harpers Ferry) reports that bass and trout action is remains uniformly good in the region. The smallmouth fishing on the Rappahannock above Kelly's Ford has improved with more of the larger fish starting to hit. The best spots are the grassy islands and channels leading into pools. Two weeks ago, the Rappahannock bass were not interested in poppers. That has changed as they rip into small top water lures twitched next to rocks and the shoreline. As this is being written, the Rapp is just barely above minimum levels for canoeing and kayaking. Watch the Fredericksburg gage to make sure it remains above 3.75 feet before you make the run from Kelly's Ford. Below that, you can expect to spend some time dragging your boat. The water levels are dropping. Over on the Rapidan, there is good action above Elys Ford with perfect water levels. Walk to the bend and fish upstream in the rocky area. According to Ken Penrod, conditions on the upper Potomac are best when the water levels are stable. After the spike with the rain in late May, the water levels at Point of Rocks have been between 2.7 and 2.5 feet for several days. While this remains too high to wade easily, it offers good conditions for floating. The Lander to Point of Rocks trip is always a good choice. Wait for the water to drop some more before wading in the Harper's Ferry area. Charlie Taylor reports that the Occoquan Reservoir is seeing a spike in largemouth action and cites plenty of fish in the 2-5 pound range being caught on plastic worms, top water and deep crankbaits. The stocked trout fishing program wrapped up at the end of May. Stockers are still being caught in the Robinson, but few fish have been reported in the Hughes and Rose. In general, if you want to stalk trout, put your hiking boots on and head into the park where the brookies are still willing to slam into gnats, Mr. Rapidan and attractor patterns. Visit Steve's blog, SwitchFisher.com, for more information.
Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures in the mid 70s climbing to 80 degrees during the heat of the day. The largemouth bass are keying in on 'shad-like' baits and soft plastics. There is a good top water bass bite early and late in the day. Catfishing remains strong throughout the lake on live bait and chicken livers. Crappie are being taken around the fishing pier and fish attractors in 10 to15 ft. of water using live minnows. A few nice walleye have been caught using harness rigs with night crawlers. The deeper end of the lake is your best option for the walleye bite.
Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. Chuck Perry reports that fishing is just great in his area. Bass are biting "anything you throw at them". Crappie are going for minnows in the D.C. area. Cats are attacking large minnows. White and yellow perch are responding to minnows and cranks. Stripers on the Occoquan will strike on herring. The water is stained to muddy and in the upper 70s.
Potomac: Outdoor writer and fishing guide, Charlie Taylor provides a weekly Fishing Report for the Potomac River and other NOVA lakes and rivers, which may be accessed at any time at: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeqbewt/. This web-report is updated every Thursday afternoon.
Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, Local guide and Editor-In Chief, Woods & Waters Magazine, (540) 894-5960.
Largemouth bass: The best method is to target schooled fish that harass herring or shad. You'll find spots like these, often by accident when baitfish follow up your lure or you happen to find fish chasing bait. A soft plastic jerkbait is great as is a topwater bait you can "walk". Fishing the edge of the willow grass in the North Anna is also good now. Topwater poppers, buzzbaits and wacky worms are effective early and late. Try a worm or jig when he sun is high. The offshore structure pattern will develop in early June. Drop shotting and shaky worms are best when fishing deep. This pattern works best in 15 to 20 ft. of water in the mid and down lake regions.
Striped bass: When you find the fish you can catch limits very easily now. Daily movements and fishing pressure dictate where the fish will be. The 208 region on up to The Splits has been reliable for those using live bait and trolling deep diving plugs and bucktail combos. Vertical jigging with Toothache spoons has also begun. Target deep flats in the 35 to 42 ft. range. Tapping the bottom with the spoon and then lifting it up and letting it fall on a tight line will incite violent strikes. The hologram scale Toothache is the top choice. On some days the fish will chase bait on the surface. Having a soft plastic jerkbait at the ready is always a good idea.
Crappie: Fish up to 15 in. can be had on offshore structure like rocks, brush and Fish Structures. One-inch jigs on 6 lb. test line with a 1/16 oz. jighead are great if you like light line fishing. Minnows on slip bobbers are also effective now. Deep is relative depending on what region of the lake you are fishing. We recommend you fish the up lake region in 6 to12 ft. for the next two weeks and then go deeper as the water approaches 80 degrees.
Panfish: Another strong bluegill and shellcracker spawn began May 24 on the full moon. Use surface poppers for the 'gills and a subsurface offering like a Wooly Worm for the 'crackers. Crickets and red wigglers are good, too.
Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. See website for daily reports.
NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. If you should manage to catch one of these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
With summer on the way, and schools letting out for summer vacation, its easy to find an excuse to go out and enjoy the outdoors. For 16 year old Terri Corbett, a Junior at Loudoun Valley High School in Lovettsville, an encounter with an angry swarm of bees, inspired her to have a greater appreciation of "wild" places and all the critters in which we share the natural world. What outdoor adventure during your summer vacation may inspire you to become more aware of the wonders of nature and conserve them for future generations. Terri entered her article in the 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and placed in the Top 10.
Never Anger the Bees
By Terri Corbett
The moral to this story, before it is even told, is do not anger the bees. Do not steal their honey, do not swat at them, do not even look in their direction, but most importantly, do not ever destroy their bee hive. Bees are very bitter, vengeful insects, torturing all who disturb them. And yes, they're vital for pollinating plants, but that's another story for another time.
When I was younger, we lived in a white house, with a garage and a sunroom. There was a play set out back and a shed with all my dad's tools and tractors and of course, the resident snakes and mice that I had nightmares about. Our property covered ten acres of land with a strip of woods between our nearest neighbors and us. A lot of our land happened to be covered with trees, and woods, so my siblings and I would spend a lot of time hunting around during the day.
My brother is about three years and 11 months older than me. We spent most of our time together running around through the woods, hanging out in his tree house, trading "Pokemon" cards, and hanging with our friends next door. Being a little girl, I followed him around everywhere I possibly could -- asking him questions, bugging him and his friends, and torturing him as most little sister's tend to do.
One spring day, while following my older brother around, my mom asked us to run over to the neighbor's house and give them an envelope. The envelope was sealed, with a name on the front. But, I did not really get a chance to think about what was enclosed in the envelope before my brother took off into the woods to deliver this mysterious envelope. Running after him, something I often did, I was not paying attention to my feet. I never did pay attention to feet, because running was just a habit. All of a sudden, my feet were not on the ground, I was running sideways until my "backend" hit the ground before anything else. I was so shocked, I did not understand what had happened, and it took me a few seconds to start to cry. But before those tears could come out, I realized my "backend" was in severe pain, but not because of the fall. I had landed directly on a beehive and those bees, one by one, were getting their revenge on me for disturbing their peace.
I like to think that my reaction was one like an old "Three Stooges" episode, where I leaped to my feet faster than you could say "ouch." I started screaming, running, and swatting, all the way back to my house. Running in the door, it probably sounded as though someone had died. My mom immediately came running, and my siblings came out of their various places, laughing at me. Through my tears, I managed to get the story out to my mom, with help from my brother who had come running behind me.
As embarrassing as it is to sit on a beehive, I cannot remember a more vividly "fun" experience that I had outdoors. It taught me an enormous lesson about the pathetic lives of bees, their pitiable faults, and to just never make them angry.
This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2007-08 High School Youth Writing Competition by 16 year old Terri Corbett, a Junior at Loudoun Valley High School in Lovettsville, placed in the Top 10. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:
- Snakes - Splendor in the Grass!
- Elk Management Plan for Southwest Virginia
- Big Catfish in the James