In this edition:

Celebrate Freedom Responsibly

This edition of the Outdoor Report posts in between Fathers Day and the 4th of July Independence Day holiday. These two holidays have special meaning to all of us who enjoy and appreciate our rich outdoor traditions of hunting, fishing, boating, and seeking adventure and inspiration in our wonderful wild places. We have some great stories of families sharing outdoor adventures that may give you some ideas for future summer outings. As we prepare to celebrate our Nation's birth of freedom July 4th, remember that with freedom also comes responsibility. Do your part to ensure our freedom to pursue our great outdoor traditions is not jeopardized by irresponsible actions.

Safety and courtesy are free, use them generously as you share the outdoors with others. This weekend during Operation Dry Water, our Conservation Police Officers will be concentrating efforts to enforce Boating Under the Influence (BUI) to protect responsible boaters and anglers from those who act irresponsibly and break the law. Remember they are there to protect your freedom to enjoy the outdoors - support them in their important work by setting a good example and seeing that others around you do their share to enjoy the outdoors safely and ethically.

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, visit the Operation Dry Water website.

Beginning July 1, South Holston Reservoir Fishing License Available to VA, TN Anglers

Virginia and Tennessee anglers are celebrating the creation of the South Holston Reservoir Fishing License that will allow anglers from the two states to fish the entire lake with the purchase of this license. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency held a joint ceremonial signing of the reciprocal agreement at Observation Knob Park in Tennessee June 10, 2010 to officially kick off the program.

South Holston Lake is a nearly 7,600-acre impoundment with about 6,000 acres in Tennessee and about 1,600 in Virginia. Because the lake is located in both states, previously anglers needed a Virginia license to fish the Virginia side and a Tennessee license to fish the Tennessee side. This could be costly (purchasing resident and non-resident licenses can add up) and inconvenient. The new permit reduces that extra cost and confusion.

The South Holston Reservoir License will become available July 1, 2010. It costs $20 plus an agent fee of $1. The special permit is valid for one year from the date of purchase and allows the holder to fish both Virginia and Tennessee waters in South Holston. Virginia residents will still need to purchase a Virginia fishing license and if they intend to fish for trout will need a trout license.

The agreement between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also contains a joint fisheries management plan including consistent size restrictions and creel limits for the entire lake.

Size restrictions and creel limits can be viewed at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. Both agencies will coordinate stocking of various species including trout and walleye. After two years, and every two years thereafter, both agencies will review license sales data and compare revenue and stocking expenditures to ensure that the terms of the agreement are equitable as possible, and to determine if the annual cost of the South Holston Reservoir License should be increased on decreased. Many anglers are excited about the new permit and eagerly await its availability on July 1, 2010.

To learn more about fishing opportunities in Virginia, about fishing licenses and fishing regulations, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

Draft Elk Plan Available for Review and Comment

At its June 8, 2010 meeting, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries passed a motion to solicit public comments on the Draft Operational Elk Plan: Elk Management in Southwestern Virginia. The plan and opportunity to comment can be found at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. See the Hunting News section for five public input meetings scheduled June 24 - July 6 in southwestern Virginia locations.

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 Phelps Wildlife Management Area to Meet July 15

On Wednesday, June 9th, 20 volunteers met with VDGIF staff at C.F Phelps Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Work Center to discuss developing a "Friends of the Phelps Wildlife Management Area" program to address the maintenance and wildlife habitat needs of this important WMA in Fauquier County. Many organizations were represented at this meeting as well as several VDGIF Complementary Work Force (CWF) volunteers. The Friends of the Phelps WMA group is now officially organized and will encourage local support and citizen involvement in management activities at this WMA and will work on future stewardship. The next meeting is scheduled for July 15 at the Phelps Work Center from 7-9 p.m.. If you are interested in learning more about or participating in upcoming volunteer activities with the "Friends of the Phelps Wildlife Management Area" program, contact Patricia Wood at (703) 282-9035.

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 Workshops are scheduled as follows:

For scheduled times and additional information visit the Virginia Trapper's Association website, or the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association website.

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:, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749.

People and Partners in the News

Guy Crittenden wins 2010 Duck Stamp Contest...

Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will begin selling its 2010 Virginia State Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp on July 1, 2010. The artwork for the stamp, painted by Guy Crittenden, is entitled "Autumn Glow" and depicts a drake green-winged teal sitting quietly on calm waters. The green-winged teal is a fine representative for the Virginia duck stamp. It is one of the most abundant dabbling ducks in Virginia and can be found throughout most of the state. It is an early fall migrant but many teal stay around for the entire winter, especially in mild years. The green-wing is the smallest of all waterfowl in North America and is well known for its fast and sometimes twisting and turning flights.

Crittenden's painting was selected by a judging panel made up of Virginia Wildlife magazine Art Director Emily Pels; Migratory Game Bird Program Manager Gary Costanzo; VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan; Mark Crain of NVC Delta Waterfowl; Frank Wade of Waterfowl USA; Julian Ottley, State Chairman of Virginia Ducks Unlimited; and Kent Callahan of Virginia Waterfowlers Association. All submitted entries were produced by Virginia artists.

Guy Crittenden grew up fishing and hunting on the Chesapeake Bay in Gloucester, Virginia. and learned about wildlife and the ways of watermen from his grandfather. Guy has been named Virginia Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year three times, and was one of the Runners-up for the 2004-2005 Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year. This is the third time he has won the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition. For information on Crittenden's work visit his website. Stamp collectors who would like the 2010 Virginia waterfowl stamp and/or print with artwork by Guy Crittenden can request it by contacting Mike Hinton at

Last year, 22,443 duck stamps were sold bringing in $201,987. The funds generated from sales of the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp are placed in the Department's Game Protection Fund and are accounted for under a separate fund designated as the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Fund. These funds are used to contract with appropriate nonprofit organizations for cooperative waterfowl habitat improvement projects; to protect, preserve, restore, enhance and develop waterfowl habitat in Virginia through the department's waterfowl program; and to offset the administrative costs associated with production, issuance of, and accounting for the Stamp.

For more information on waterfowl hunting in Virginia, visit the Department's website.

Region 5 VDGIF Complementary Work Force Volunteers Recognized for Service

On May 1, volunteers, their family members, and VDGIF staff sat together with conversation and dining at Ryan's Family Restaurant in Fredericksburg's Central Park for the annual event to recognize and honor the Region 5 Complementary Work Force Volunteers for service and support provided to the agency in many activities.

This makes the second CWF recognition and awards event held in the region for the three-year-old VDGIF pilot/demonstration volunteer program. Hosted by Region 5 CWF Coordinator, Thomas Goldston, the event celebrates the work of volunteers as they support attainment of the VDGIF mission. Quoting Goldston, "…these dedicated and arguably selfless individuals logged a total of 3704 hours of service, drove 32, 991 personal vehicle miles, helping inspect for and issue over 650 Wildlife Damage Kill Permits, over 600 hours of staffing for public and private exhibits, Outdoor/Sporting trade shows, wildlife and fish surveys, trout stocking, youth fishing events, and other service oriented projects. Forty individuals are recognized for service support contributions for the year ending March 31, 2010.

The highlight of the event is the recognition and presentation of award plaques for outstanding volunteer contributors for each quarter and the Region 5 Volunteer of the Year. Volunteers-of-the-Quarter in Region 5 are:

Tim Hall is the Region 5 Volunteer-of-the-Year and is the CWF program Volunteer- of-the-Year. The CWF program Volunteer-of-the-Year is chosen from the list of Regional Volunteers-of-the-Quarter for the current three active regions, (I, IV, & V). The award recognizes overall outstanding service including total hours of service, scope of activities, and overall performance and customer service in carrying out assigned tasks.

Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays Fun Shoot Aids Hunters for the Hungry

The Hunters for the Hungry program and Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays held its second Sporting Clays Fun Shoot on Sunday, May 23. The event was held at the Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays facility in Mount Crawford, VA.

The event was another big success raising approximately $6,200, which will be utilized to process and distribute venison to needy families in the Harrisonburg and Shenandoah Valley areas and all across the state this year. This amount of funding will allow the Hunters for the Hungry program to process and distribute an estimated 31,000 four-ounce servings of this high protein nutritious meat to those less fortunate.

A total of 81 shooters participated in the event, which included 100 rounds of clays per shooter on this exciting and challenging course. At the conclusion of the shoot, participants were divided into five classes, with awards going to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category. The following is a list of winners in each category, but as one shooter put it, "Everyone was a winner who helped raise these monies to provide for those in need."

Shooter Score

Class 1
1st JEFF ATKINS, #183 93
2nd RAYMOND KINLEY, #218 90
3rd CHARLES PEEBLES, #206 90

Class 2
1st ROBERT WINNER, #153 81
2nd JEFF LANTZ, #150 81

Class 3
1st DAVID RHODES, #194 72
2nd JOE JENNINGS, #158 72
3rd T.S. MARTIN, #199 72

Class 4
1st DAVID KISTLER, #166 61
2nd CURT CROWDER, #176 61
3rd CONRAD MARTIN, #193 61

Class 5
1st JOSH LYONS, #219 54
2nd ROGER DINGUS, #192 53
3rd JIM SPROUSE, #178 53

Special thanks go to John Alexander and Rick Hill of Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays for allowing the use of their outstanding facility and for their overall support of this event and the Hunters for the Hungry program. Also recognized were the volunteers and shooting participants that helped make the event a huge success. Additionally, the following sponsors and donors helped make this year's event another success: Stonewall Jackson Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation; Quality Deer Management Association, Rockingham County Branch; Western Virginia Deer Hunters Association.

Harrisonburg area sponsors: Joe Bowman Auto Plaza, VerStandig Broadcasting, Valley Engineering, Superior Concrete Corporation, Pepsi of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Golf Cars, Inc., Allied Portable Toilets, Affordable Tents and Party Rentals, Old Dominion Realty, Premier Vinyl, LLC., Roberts Home Medical, Heartland Home Improvements, , VA; Bowman Auctions, VBS Mortgage - Anita Beckman, Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays, ; C. C. Rosen & Sons, R & L. Construction, and Bowman Family Dentistry, Waynesboro.

Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Classes in July - August

Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center, announces that the "On the Road" Rehabilitation classes scheduled for this summer:

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.

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 summer 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:

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.

Apply for 2010 – 2011 Quota Hunts July 1

For the 2010 – 2011 hunting season, there are 37 quota hunt opportunities to take black bear, feral hogs, quail, rabbits, turkeys, waterfowl, and white-tailed deer. Beginning July 1, 2010, hunters may apply by mail, telephone or online.

2011-2012 Hunting and Trapping Regulation Review and Amendment Process

Stage 1: May 1 - July 23, 2010 Scoping Period

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. The regulations are reviewed in two separate biennial processes, with different regulations being under review in alternating years.

May begins the 2011-2012 Regulation Review and Amendment Process for Virginia's regulations governing hunting and trapping. In this earliest, scoping stage of the current regulatory review process DGIF staff is soliciting the public's views on what changes in regulations citizens would like to see. During this period, staff also collects and analyzes biological and sociological data relevant to regulatory issues. Such information typically includes constituent satisfaction survey results, conversations or meetings with constituents in groups and individually, and other forms of feedback from the public that occurs continuously including before the scoping period.

DGIF strongly encourages the public's participation in the regulation review process. You are invited to use this online comment submission system to submit your views.

For information on future stages in the periodic regulation review, see the Schedule for 2011-2012 Hunting and Trapping Regulation Review and Amendment Process.

Public Meetings Scheduled on Draft Elk Plan for Southwestern Virginia

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will conduct five public meetings to obtain public input on elk management in southwestern Virginia. These meetings will all be from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and will begin with a short presentation on the Draft Operational Plan for Elk Management in Southwestern Virginia, to be followed by a question and answer period.

The draft Elk Management Plan can be viewed on VDGIF's website. Comments for the public record should be submitted in writing via the following methods: on the website, mailed to the Department (c/o Wildlife Division – Elk Plan, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230), or submitted at one of the public meetings. The public comment period will run through August 1, 2010.

Public Meetings will be held at the following locations:

Date/Time: June 24, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Russell County Government Center
137 Highlands Dr
Lebanon, VA 24266 (Russell County)
Date/Time: June 29, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Wise County Courthouse
206 East Main Street
Wise, VA 24293 (Wise County)
Date/Time: June 30, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Ralph Stanley Museum, Community Room
Main Street
Clintwood, VA 24228 (Dickenson County)
Date/Time: July 1, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Appalachian School of Law, Booth Center
1169 Edgewater Drive
Grundy, VA 24614 (Buchanan County)
Date/Time: July 6, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Lee County High School, Auditorium
Clyde Pearson Rd
Jonesville, VA 24263 (Lee County)

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.

Order your own copy today!

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 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!

Low Head Dams – Danger Ahead!

Floating downstream on a river, you see a point in the water that looks like a small step or ripple all the way across the river. You may not realize it, but you are about to cross a low head dam!

Low head dams are deceptively dangerous and merit the name given to them, "drowning machines." Virginia has several of these killers on rivers throughout the state. Over the years, powerboats, canoes, kayaks, and swimmers have all fallen victim to them.

Low head dams may range from a 25 foot drop-off to a mere 6 inch drop-off. Some dams are very wide and others, not wide at all. Interestingly, the characteristics of moving water are the same – regardless of the dam's size. Most people associate danger with a dam having a significant drop-off and fast-flowing water, but fail to realize the danger is just as great with a 2 foot or 3 foot dam face and moderate water flow.

Danger lurks both above and below the structure. Water that is flowing over a drop forms a hole, or hydraulic, at the base which can trap objects washing over the drop. Backwash, or re-circulating current, is formed below the dam. Once swept over the top, a victim becomes trapped and is forced under water, pushed away from the dam, and then circulated to the top. It is nearly impossible to escape the strength of the hydraulic when trapped.

Low head dams are dangerous above and below the dam. Consult a river map to locate low head dam hazards and be sure to steer clear of this danger!

(This is an excerpt from the June 2010 issue of Virginia Wildlife magazine and written by Tom Guess, VDGIF Boating Education Coordinator.)

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

Remember summer is the time to be aware of ticks and the potential for Lyme disease.. Information about Lyme disease and what people should do if they are bitten by a tick can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website. Virginia Wildlife Magazine featured an article about Lyme disease prevention that can be read on our agency website.

The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Use insect repellant to prevent ticks from getting on you. There are many kinds of effective insect repellants on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Some may be applied directly to the skin, while others should only be applied to clothing. Read the label! Note the proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. Should you notice the target type ring around a tick bite or any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, seek medical attention immediately, as early detection and treatment will speed recovery in most cases. Be sure and check yourself, your children and your pets frequently whenever outdoors and after you return home for a few days.

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:

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.

VOTE Online to Help VA State Parks Plant Trees

Your vote on-line can result in funds for planting trees in Virginia State Parks through the Odwalla Tree Planting promotion. According to Nancy Heltman, Director of Operations for Virginia State Parks, "Odwalla will be giving away $200,000 to plant trees in State Parks across the nation.  Last year Virginia finished second only to Michigan and we received $23,577 for trees for our parks." The Odwalla Plant a Tree Program is in its 3rd year, and in 2010 will be available to all 50 States. The program allows a person to "vote" for which state they want trees to be planted in, and each "vote" = $1 for your state parks to be used to plant trees.

Interested voters can visit and choose which state they want to vote for. No purchase necessary. Currently Virginia is behind 3 other states in the voting. People can vote through Facebook or by just including their email address. This is just to limit to one vote per person – the email address will not be used in any other way. The nearly 30,000 Outdoor Report subscribers can have a major impact on the funds raised simply by voting on-line. Get family, friends and colleagues to vote and a significant number of trees can be planted to enhance our state parks. Go Vote for trees!

Save Time, Money and Gas - Plan Your Summer Vacation for Virginia

With rising gas prices this summer, consider visiting Virginia on your vacation this year. There is a good reason why our Commonwealth is a top tourist destination - there are thousands of attractions, outdoor adventure opportunities, and natural and cultural history opportunities to explore right here at home! Rediscover why Virginia is for Lovers!

To help plan your Virginia adventure, visit, a website dedicated to environmentally friendly travel in Virginia. The new site has convenient links to Virginia state parks, outdoor adventure programs, the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, eco-friendly events, 140 green lodging facilities, restaurants, attractions, and travel tips. "Virginia Green is an important focus for our tourism industry, as we work to educate ourselves and improve upon how we treat the natural habitat that helps make Virginia a top travel destination," said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "It's smart business sense for Virginia and will help preserve and protect our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and tourists."

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.

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 early July:

Answers to June 9 edition quiz for nature events in late June...

Get your copy of the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Streamcare Workshop July 10 in Catawba

The Catawba Landcare group is hosting a workshop covering Streamcare in Action on the North Fork 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

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 or Rob & Linda Guiles at 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.

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!

Region 1 - Tidewater

CPOs help make Kids Fishing Days events big success... District 15 Conservation Police Officers participated in two Kid's Fishing Day events recently. The first event was held in New Kent County at Chickahominy Lake on May 22nd. Officer Philip Baker and Sgt. Randy Hickman assisted several New Kent County event coordinators with the activities. Approximately 50 kids participated at the event with prizes being given out to every participant. The second event was held on June 5th at the Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery in Charles City County. Sergeants Mike Hill and Randy Hickman assisted at the event where over 100 kids participated. Prizes were awarded to the top 10 kids with the largest fish. A cookout followed the fishing activities.

Illegal Fishing shown on YouTube leads to arrest... On Sunday, May 30, 2010, Officer Corley received a Crime Line report of someone in Virginia Beach, fishing with an electrified fishing net. The crime line report further listed the link to the YouTube video posting. While reviewing the video, Officer Corley noticed that the subject video taped his license plate while putting his car battery back into his car. The video showed the subject catching 3 carp and 2 bass. The subject kept the bass and returned the carp back to the lake. On Monday, June 14, 2010 Officer Corley interviewed the subject and obtained a full written confession. A warrant was served for taking fish by illegal methods.

Region 2 - Southside

Community joins with CPOs to host fun fishing event... On Saturday, June 6, Senior Officer Brett Saunders and the ARNG MTC Fort Pickett held the Eleventh Annual Fort Pickett "Fishing is Fun" Day. In spite of an extremely hot day for fishing, almost 140 people participated in this event designed to allow families to spend time together and introduce the sport of fishing to our children. To this end, catfish were stocked in Twin Lakes Pond using money generated from the sales of fishing and hunting permits on Fort Pickett, and area children enjoyed a day of fishing, (using bait donated by Perk's Corner Market), free food, (provided by Fort Pickett MWR), and prize drawings of items paid for by Benchmark Community Bank.

Region 3 - Southwest

Remember life jackets required for your safety... On June 6, 2010 Senior Officer Jeff Pease and Officer Justin White conducted a canoe of an inaccessible section of the New River on the Pulaski/Wythe County line. Officer Billings had observed several out of state boats using this section of the New River the previous day. During the patrol Senior Officer Pease and Officer White encountered various types of out of state watercraft and issued two summonses for unregistered boats and two for no PFD'S on board.

It's illegal to use game fish on trotline... On June 4, 2010 Senior Officer Billings completed an investigation of an illegal trotline complaint on the New River in Pulaski County. The complainant reported observing two subjects baiting a trotline with live bluegill and bass on June 3rd. Senior Officer Billings utilized an unmarked vehicle and conducted surveillance on the subjects until late in the evening on June 4th. The two subjects were approached and questioned about the trotline. The subjects were cooperative and transported Senior Officer Billings by boat to their illegal trotline. The trotline was not properly tagged and was baited with bluegill. The subjects also possessed three floating minnow buckets containing numerous live bluegill and bass. Summonses were issued for Untagged Trotline and Using Game Fish on a Trotline.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Anglers complaints of illegal fishing leads to crackdown... Officers in District 51 recently concluded a multi-day, multi-agency special operation targeting illegal fishing practices at Chain Bridge in Arlington County. The general consensus among fishermen that frequent Chain Bridge is that the fishery is in distress due to illegal fishing practices and littering. A total of 71 violations were recorded, including illegal possession of anadromous fish, littering, and fishing without a license. One individual was charged with having 214 illegal-sized white perch. Six others were found to be in illegal possession of rockfish and six more were found to be littering.

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.

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

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.

Beginning July 1, South Holston Reservoir Fishing License Available to VA, TN Anglers

Bristol, VA – Virginia and Tennessee anglers are celebrating the creation of the South Holston Reservoir Fishing License that will allow anglers from the two states to fish the entire lake with the purchase of this license. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency held a joint ceremonial signing of the reciprocal agreement at Observation Knob Park in Tennessee today to officially kick off the program.

South Holston Lake is a nearly 7,600-acre impoundment with about 6,000 acres in Tennessee and about 1,600 in Virginia. Because the lake is located in both states, previously anglers needed a Virginia license to fish the Virginia side and a Tennessee license to fish the Tennessee side. This could be costly (purchasing resident and non-resident licenses can add up) and inconvenient. The new permit reduces that extra cost and confusion.

The South Holston Reservoir License will become available July 1, 2010. It costs $20 plus an agent fee of $1. The special permit is valid for one year from the date of purchase and allows the holder to fish both Virginia and Tennessee waters in South Holston. Virginia residents will still need to purchase a Virginia fishing license and if they intend to fish for trout will need a trout license.

The agreement between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also contains a joint fisheries management plan including consistent size restrictions and creel limits for the entire lake.

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.

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 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.

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.

Sarah White's Notebook - Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by C. Blair Evans, Park Supervisor, (804) 693-2107. The warmer temperatures are really changing the fishing conditions. The fish have begun their journey to the deeper portion of the lake. However, those fishing early in the morning may have some luck fishing the top water. Anglers looking to fish in deeper water may have their best luck using crank baits and rubber worms. People fishing from the pier and banks are beginning to catch more bluegill. Smaller sized crappie are also still being caught. First Place in the June 19th Beaverdam Tournament went to Rudy and Daniel Michaud with 18 lbs. 4 oz.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Capt. Jim, cobia can be found at Fisherman's Island and around the buoys in the Bay; try bucktails or live eels. Black and red drum are at the mouths of the York and the James and are responding to crabs and cut bunker. Spot and croaker are in the James, York, and also the Rappahannock; they are attacking Fishbite, blood worms and squid. Bluefish are around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and will go for cut bunker or spoons. The water is clear and 72 degrees.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports a "mixed bag" of luck for anglers. Lots of bass are being landed on spinners, soft plastics and buzzbaits. Not much crappie action reported. Cats are biting live eels. No word on perch. Some bluegill are going for worms and small jigs. The water is slightly stained and in the 80s.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that things have slowed down due to the recent heat. Some bass are going for top waters, cranks and spinners. Crappie are not being very obliging; but if you use a small minnow around a bridge piling you might get lucky. No word on cats. Fly fishermen are landing lots of bluegill. The water is clear and in the high 60s to low 70s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that bass fishers are doing "right well" with Senko's in all colors, pig and jigs are also getting them. Crappie fishing is good at the newly opened Burnt Mills. Folks are landing lots of cats with cut bait. White perch are mostly gone, but some big ones are still lurking in the area. Bream angling is good with crickets and minnows. The water is in the high 70s and clear.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Not much new happening on the Blackwater or Nottoway. Lower parts of the rivers are better right now as water levels drop and water temps go up. This drives DO levels down which makes the fish pretty lethargic. Bream still good on fly-rod and bass action good early and late in the day. Get ready for the dog days of summer.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Capt. Mike reports that bass are biting well on 6 in. plastic worms, with Pumpkin Seed being a good color to try. They are also going for top waters and buzzbaits. Crappie can be found in 3 to 8 ft. of water and will take a crappie jig. Cats are doing fairly well on live and cut shad. There are plenty of bluegill who will be happy to bite your cricket or worm. The water is stained but clearing and 87 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. Fishing has really picked up over the last week in the James River Park System. Clients have been catching catfish over 20 pounds on all non-tidal river trips. A few smallmouth bass and sunfish are also being caught. Catfish are biting live and cut bait, while bass and sunfish are hitting spinners and small grubs.

Region 2 - Southside

Great Creek in Lawrenceville: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Ed Shuttleworth of Holly Grove Marina had a bunch of popping bugs for me so we agreed to meet at Great Creek Watershed in Lawrenceville where I thought I could fool some bluegill into the boat with the new bugs. We met a little after 8:00 a.m. and we were on the water by 8:45. The water was clear to about 4 or so feet and had warmed up a lot. Ed went down one shore line looking for, of all things, bass, and I the other with my fly rod. I picked up a few 5 to 7 inchers where the trees start along the dam. By the time I reached the area front of "the house" I had my limit of bluegill and 32 largemouth bass, but nothing over 12 inches. I switched over to the spinning rod with 1/32 lead head and 2 in. twister tail of chartreuse, light yellow and a twin tail of brown with green tint. A tree had fallen into the lake in about 6 ft. of water and I caught about 15 nice crappie around it between 8 and 10 inches, most in the 9 and 10 inch range. I fished around the flats there with both spinning and fly rod picking up 56 more bluegill about the same size as the ones I had in the boat, and 5 more crappie in the middle of the flats in 4 to 6 feet of water. I might have caught more crappie if I fished in area but I was headed back to the truck and some cool, by then. We ended the day with limits of bass, 20 crappie and a total of 102 bluegill. I only had 46 bluegill in the live well when I got home, some must have climbed out the drain when I wasn't looking because I know I did not miss count. I am not going to say anything about the 96 degrees they claimed it got to that day.

Fort Pickett Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. The TV claimed today would be the only day to be in the mid 80s, so I thought it was time to head back to Ft. Pickett reservoir. I was on the lake by 9:30 a.m. fishing with the spinning rod from the launch toward the flats beyond the aerators. The water was warm enough to bathe in and clear with a slight green tint. The visibility was to about 4 feet. I started catching crappie in 4 to 6 feet of water not too far off the bottom. I fished the shore line with the fly rod catching few 5 to 7 in. before heading back out in the lake with the spinning rod. I caught 17 crappie in the 8 and 9 inch bracket all in 4 to 6 feet of water from the bridge back to the ramp along with 9 bass. I also caught a 19 inch channel cat out there in the middle too. I gave my neighbor 23 blue gill and the 17 crappie and I threw back little over 30 blue gill from 2 finger to 5 inch. I also think the TV lied to me about the temperature because I drank the half gallon cooler of Kool-Aid, a 12 oz. soft drink and 36 oz. of water.

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, (434) 286-3366. The river is in great shape. The air temps, are hot as is the fishing. Smallmouth up to 18 inches have been taken on "Bugs". Fly anglers fishing top water are having success fishing them tight to the bank. Baitfish patterns fished around mid stream and bank structure are also producing quality smallmouth. Conventional anglers throwing Tiny Torps-Cripple Killers and soft plastics are boating some nice fish as well. Access to the James is tough now. The Howardsville ramp is closed. Warren is gated and open from around 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Hardware ramp is still under construction. So plan to encounter crowds were ever you go!

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

Striper: Size and numbers are starting to pick up as fish are moving back into the lake. Fishermen are finding fish in the Goat Island area and up to Eastland Creek. They are trolling bucktails, deep diving red fins and Capt. Mack's umbrella rigs with downriggers. Heavy jigging spoons in the 21/4 to 4 oz. range on main lake points in the Nutbush area will soon pick up.

Catfish: Fishing for cats remains good with blue's in the 20 to 40 lb. range being caught and flatheads in the 30 to 40 lb. range. Fish can be found from the mouth of rivers to Goats Island. Fishermen are anchoring on main channel breaks fishing with shad, bream, and jumbo shiners. Noodling has also picked up in major creeks.

Crappie: Fish have moved to their summer hideouts. Deep brushpiles around main lake points in the 15 to 30 ft. range. Fishermen are reporting catching fish up to 11/2 lb. Most are casting jigs like Bobby Garland, Kalins and Southern Pro and are also using the slip cork method.

Bass: Fish are being found in all depths. Fishermen are reporting finding topwater fish early using Zara Spooks & Splash-It's. They are catching them around bridge poles with crankbaits, flick shake rig and shakey heads.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. The folks up there told me that the smallmouths are really picking up. Try a Kreelex, size 4 or 5; a Chartreuse Wooly Bugger, size 4; or a Black Wooly Bugger, size 4. Brown and rainbow trout are striking in the Jackson River on nymphs, try the Hare's Ear, size 14; or some ant and beetle imitators. The water in both the Jackson and James is clear and warming.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. According to Craig Karpinski bass are biting well; taking top water poppers, buzzbaits and Carolina rigged plastic worms, try Green Pumpkin. Crappie angling is fair, a minnow around deep water drop-offs should be effective. Plenty of cats are going for chicken livers and cut bait. Yellow perch are attacking spinners and red wigglers. Bluegill like the worms too. The water is in the high 70s to low 80s and slightly stained.

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,

Bass: The night bite continues to weaken as many of the alewives, which have been up along the bank spawning for months, finish and move into deeper, cooler water. The lures that continue to work for bass include jerkbaits, wakebaits, topwater poppers, propeller baits, swimshads and flukes. Large, dark colored plastic worms are working at night, and this bite will get better as we move through the summer. Worms and other plastics are also successful in the day. Bass are hitting topwater poppers and flukes early in the morning. Pig and jigs, Senko's and crankbaits are working around structures and deep, once the sun moves overhead.

Stripers: Striper fishing has been outstanding this year. In the daytime, most anglers are catching stripers on live bait rigged on freelines and shotlines behind in-line planer boards and floats or on conventional downlines. As the surface temperatures increases, the baitfish and the stripers will move deeper in the lake and downlines will become increasingly productive. Although stripers continue to be caught near the mouths of most main channel creeks in the lower lake, recent reports suggest the striper fishing is good in the mid to upper arms of the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers. Trolling for stripers is picking up as well. Good trolling lures right now include a Sutton spoon and heavy bucktail with a trailer, sassy shad, swimbait or Umbrella rig.

Catfish: Catfishing has picked up over the past several weeks. Shad, small panfish and the large, live shiners are good bait for flathead catfish. Prepared stinkbaits and dead shad are working for channel cats. To effectively fish these baits off the bottom, use a 2 to 3 foot leader ahead of a swivel and egg sinker. At night, live bait can also be placed under a float or bobber and allowed to swim along the shoreline, off points and flats near deep water.

The water is clear and 84 degrees. Good luck and tight lines.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Mike Burchett reports that bass fishing is slow but try finessing with some purple soft plastic. Also try top waters early and late. No word on crappie. Some cats have been fooled with live shad. The water is clear and 82 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 bass angling is slow, but try cranks and Jolt spinners at night. Cat action has been "decent" with chicken livers, cut bait and shrimp being good bets. Muskie fishing is slow, as the fish are seeking deep holes. If you are lucky enough to find a hole, the fish might go for a big online spinner. The water is clear and very warm.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says that soft plastics like flukes and Senkos are good for landing local bass. Muskies are harder to bring in, but try jerkbaits and cranks. The water is clear and warming.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 From his ashram in the drug store, fly guru Harry Murray reports that the smallmouth streams are accessible by both wading and floating. Good streamers to use there are: Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; and Shenk's White Streamer, size 4. Good surface flies are: Murray's Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 6; and Shenk's Hair Popper Yellow, size 6. The water is clear and 76 degrees.

In the Valley, recent rains have brought very good fishing opportunities to the stocked streams. Good dry flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, size 16; Shenk's cricket, sizes 14 and 16; and Mr. Rapidan Ant, sizes 14 and 16. Fish all these on a 9 ft. 6X leader. The water is 75 degrees and clear.

The mountain streams also make for good fishing now. Good flies to use are the ones mentioned for use in the Valley. The water is 61 and clear.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, Mike "Puffy" Puffenbarger reports that fishing is slowing down some but boating activity and recreational sports are on the increase with water temperature being around 79 degrees at Lake Moomaw. The past several weeks the lake has produced some nice brown trout in the 4 to 7 pound range with one 8 pound fish being caught. Yellow perch activity picked up slightly with a few citation fish being taken and occasional schools of smaller fish being located. Largemouth bass are in the summer patterns and always producing some fish. Smallmouth have slowed down a bit and gone a little deeper but still catchable. Channel catfish should make a strong appearance this month as well as some filleting size bluegill been providing some great action all day long. Water levels are still holding up fairly well with the level being about 2 foot below full pool at the time of this report. Thanks to recent thunderstorms lake and stream levels throughout the area holding up fairly well. Trout stockings have stopped for the spring but area trout streams should be holding some fish. Caution should be used in catching and releasing trout during the hot months of the year in lake and streams. By the fourth of July all campgrounds should be open with new restroom facilities on the upper end of Lake Moomaw.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore, / Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River - DC to Harpers Ferry. Whoa! Great fishing last week! The smallies are alive! The fish are ready to play! Super popper action on top when floated under shade and near logs. The Point of Rocks gage on the Upper Potomac blew through the critical 2 foot level this last week and opens up several months of superb wading (be cautious, wear a PFD) in the Knoxville Falls area below Harpers Ferry, near Brunswick and upstream from Point of Rocks (details in the book). Upstream from Lander is fishing well with Ken Penrod confirming that the smallies are where you expect them – in the current seams, cruising around the deeper holes and downstream of any of the current breaks below rocks. Hit them hard with tubes. At Whites Ferry, stay on the Virginia side upstream from the boat launch. Drift slowly down and fish all the great rock. Spend some time on the area near the confluence of Limestone Branch. Waders can work the area downstream of the Ferry between the tip of Harrison Island and the Maryland shoreline. As a reminder, your Virginia license is good on either bank until you reach the West Virginia border below Harpers Ferry. According to American Whitewater, both the Rappahannock and Rapidan are below recommended levels for floating – so plan on mounting a ground attack. The Rappahannock is still a bit cloudy from the recent rains with the gage a touch high for comfortable wading - but the water levels are trending down. Optimum wading is below 2.41 at the Fredericksburg gage. Over on the Rapidan, the water is looking good and running at 78 degrees. While Steve did not hear any reports of large fish caught, their smaller cousins are active with Powerbait worms and grubs being productive. Fly rodders report success on streamer patterns and large nymphs. Fish like cover. Target blowdowns, deep water near rocks and the shady shoreline. For trout enthusiasts, get out there this weekend. With the warming trend in our mountain streams demonstrated by temperature readings pushing 90 degrees, the trout season is over. For example, water in the Conway River is lethargic and slow with trout being found in pools that are at least 1 foot deep. These guys are wary… use 6X or 7X tippet. Conway water temperature measured last weekend was already 60 degrees. For your last shot, go armed with Mr. Rapidan, Blue Wing Olives and terrestrial patterns.. and switch to smallies or pound the area lakes for bucket mouths during the heat of the summer. Visit Steve's blog,, for more information.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures around 80 degrees. Largemouth bass are feeding well on top water baits in low light periods of the day. During the sunny part of the day, the bass can be found on the brush piles in 10 to 15 ft. of water hitting crank baits and soft plastics. The crappie bite remains strong in 10 to 15 ft. of water around the fishing pier, in brush piles, and fish attractors. Walleye have been picking up on harness rigs being trolled in 12 to 15 ft. of water using live bait. Catfishing is strong throughout the lake with live bait and chicken liver. Shellcrackers are at the tail end of the spawn being taken on red wigglers.

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. Chuck Perry reports that local largemouths are hitting on just about anything you throw at them: swimbaits, Senkos, soft plastic frogs and chatterbaits. Not a lot of crappies are coming in, but a few have been landed in the Occoquan. Cats are going for big minnows and cut baits. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is stained and 82 degrees.

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: 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. See website for daily reports.

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.

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the first day of summer and the days heating up, it's easy to find an excuse to go out and enjoy the outdoors. For 16 year old Lindsey Heizer, a Sophomore at Riverheads High School near Staunton, going outdoors in the summer with her brother and cousins and building a play area in the pine woods, created memories of the wonders of nature and exploring wild places and having fun. 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? Lindsey entered her article in the 2009-10 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and placed in the Top 10.

A Pine Tree Playground

By Lindsey Heizer

Hey, let's see if your brother and mine can play with us. It's too hot in the house and we want to play under the pine trees. Can you play with us? Let's get the wagon, the old book bag with the rope and every thing else we need to build our play house in the pine trees. Is the wagon and the book bag in the old chicken house or did mom move it?

Thump, thump, OUCH! I just hit my thumb with the hammer! Are you ok, yea I'll be ok; thump, bang, thump, bang. Hey, why don't you go see if Nana and Granddaddy will let us have some of those bricks, we could make a fake fire pit under the pine trees. Look after all the thumb hitting I got this board nailed into the branch and have a good seat for you little kiddies. We are not little kiddies; we can climb the trees as good as you and him.

Look, I got the bricks set up, they look just like a fire pit. I wonder if mom would let us have our lunch under the pine trees. I don't know, let's go see. Look, she gave us a blanket and some sandwiches, a bag of potato chips and some cookies. It's nice and cool under the pine trees we should hang out under them all the time wouldn't it be so much fun. I have an idea for the two Chestnut trees, we should get a really long board and nail it to either tree and make a bridge between the two trees. Could you put a string up so that we have something to hold on to when we go across?

Does anybody know were we put the saw horses the last time we played under the trees? I think they are in the old chicken house. Yea, that's were they where. Do you know what you're going to do with them? Yea, actually I do know what I am going to do with them. If we put a board on one of them like so, we will have a see-saw. Um, I don't think that's safe, it could wiggle off when I'm in the air, and I'll fall on my face. We'll just have to be careful, with our little kiddies won't we? We could put two saw horses together and make a bench. Yea, but that's not as much fun as a see-saw.

Under the trees we would spend long hot summer days. We would make up games or play different games. We would pretend to be Native Americans helping the soldiers who came out to settle and make forts, and trade with the pioneers just passing through to an unknown destination. We would be native people on a deserted island somewhere out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We would be just ordinary kids with broad imaginations looking at an ordinary old pine tree and see a tree house or a fort in the tree. We would pretend that the chestnut trees were two tree houses in the middle of a jungle and the only way to get between the tree houses would be by going across the bridge made of an old board we nailed to the trees.

We never made it huge and complex it was just a board nailed here and a string tied there. All we ever needed was our imaginations nothing more, nothing less. If I could go back and spend a hot summer day with my brother and two cousins I would. I wouldn't change a thing. I would leave it all the same and I would just wish for more time to do it. If I could sit down with them we would most likely talk about all the good times we had. We never fought over what we did, all we did was have fun and make elaborate memories together.

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2009-10 High School Youth Writing Competition by 16 year old Lindsey Heizer, a Sophomore at Riverheads High School near Staunton, placed in the Top 10. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website:, 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:

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