In this edition:
- It's Showtime!
- New 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations Available
- Public Comment Period Open for Board Proposed Changes to Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Regulations
- Sportsman's Show Features New Opportunities for the Whole Family August 13-15
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Detailed Descriptions of Outdoor Events Across Virginia
- People and Partners in the News
- Unique Partnership between Agencies Conserves Wildlife Habitat and Forestlands
- Volunteers Recognized for Outstanding Service in VDGIF Region 1
- Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Classes in July - August
- Disabled Sportsmen and Wounded Warriors Participate in Numerous Summer Events
- Sportsmen and Conservation Organizations Hosting Annual Award and Fund Raising Events
- Hunting News You Can Use
- 2010 Hunting Opportunities on State Natural Area Preserves
- Information on New Regs and Youth Hunters Photos Featured at Sportsman Show
- Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
- New Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Now Available
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Life Jackets Required
- Beware of Lyme Disease Prevent Tick Bites
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
- "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- "Dodging Feet" by Katie Fenneran
- White-Nose Syndrome Fungus Found on a Different Bat Species in Virginia
- Save Time, Money and Gas - Plan Your Summer Vacation for Virginia
- Outdoor Recreation Focus of New Website
- Notes for Young Nature Explorers
- School's Out!! Now what do you do?!?
- Snakes Are Important Part of Ecosystem
- Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
- Habitat Improvement Tips
- Invasive Plant Control Workshop Scheduled in Front Royal September 16-17
- Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available
- Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
- CPO Recruitment
- Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
- Fishin' Report
- Fish Virginia First - Your Fishing Vacation Planning Tool!
- Bowfishing for the Potomac River Trash Fish Triple Crown --Carp, Gar & Snakehead!
- 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
- "Mountain Climbing in California" by Tyler Clements
Sportsman showtime that is... As we quickly approach August and the dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 65 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 25th. This is also National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting.
To properly prepare for hunting season there are dozens of quality sportsmen shows and events scheduled throughout August and September in every region of the state. These events all feature numerous exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities and seminars - something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new, innovative equipment and learn from the experts about new places and proven techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Detailed information and website links for each of these events is listed in this edition. All the events are unique and offer something different of interest to hunters of all skill levels. They range from one day hands-on workshops to three day shows with over 300 exhibits and demonstrations. Locate several of these events near you and take your family and friends and get ready for a safe and rewarding hunting season. I hope to see you all at the show!
David Coffman, Editor
New 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations Available
VDGIF is distributing the new 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest. This year's hunting seasons will be very similar to last year. However, hunters in Clark, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties as well as in the City of Winchester will want to note the additional regulations for these areas based on the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in western Frederick County in November 2009. Another noteworthy change this year is the addition of a Legacy Lifetime License.
The 70-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices and the Richmond Headquarters office. You can access the new regulations booklet on the VDGIF website. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements have been included again this year.
Public Comment Period Open for Board Proposed Changes to Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Regulations
On June 8, 2010, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries voted to propose a number of amendments to fishing, wildlife diversity (non-game), and boating regulations. A public comment period on these regulatory proposals opened July 16, 2010 and closes September 16, 2010. DGIF strongly encourages the public's participation in the regulation review process; for more information and to make comments on specific regulation proposals, go to the 2009-2010 Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Regulation Review and Amendment Process webpage.
Public Input Meeting for 2010-2011 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons August 3 in Richmond
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is holding a public input meeting Tuesday, August 3, 2010 to discuss and receive public comments regarding season lengths and bag limits for the 2010-2011 hunting seasons for migratory waterfowl (ducks and coots, geese and brant, swan, gallinules and moorhens) and falconry. The meeting is scheduled from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Headquarters office at 4000 West Broad Street, Richmond. All interested citizens are invited to attend. VDGIF Wildlife Division staff will review the Federal frameworks for the 2010-2011 seasons and bag limits for these species established by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and receive input on suggested seasons and bag limits for Virginia as it prepares recommendations to the Board. A summary of the results of this meeting will be presented to the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries for its scheduled August 17, 2010 meeting. At the August 17 meeting the Board will solicit public comments, after which it intends to set 2010-2011 hunting seasons and bag limits for the above species.
Sportsman's Show Features New Opportunities for the Whole Family August 13-15
The 27th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The three-day show is held at The Showplace in Richmond August 13-15, 2010. You can purchase your new Hunting and Fishing Licenses and 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar from the VDGIF booth and also subscribe to Virginia Wildlife magazine and the Outdoor Report at the Show. Biologists, conservation police officers, Complementary Work Force volunteers, and Hunter Education Instructors will be on hand to answer your questions. Get your free copy of the new 2010-2011 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience. The VDGIF Outdoor Report is sponsoring a "Young Hunters Wall of Fame." Share your favorite hunting photos at the Show. Young hunters age 15 and under are invited to bring a copy of a hunting photo showing their success to post on the wall at entrance to the Show. Photos must be no larger than 8x10 size and be in good taste. Photos will not be returned and will be on display throughout the show.
This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Certified judges from the VDHA and VDGIF will be awarding ribbons and trophies in four antler classes. The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. There are cash and prize awards with the first place winners in four Divisions eligible to go to the National Calling Contest. Lee and Tiffany Lakosky hosts of The Crush had such a great time last year they are returning this year to to talk about what we all love, HUNTING!
Check the Show's website for information on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.
Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience.
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
Dove Hunting Clinic July 31
Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club will host a special Dove Hunting Clinic. 9 am - 1 pm, Saturday, July 31. Cost is $65 per shooter, per clinic. Maximum eight shooters per clinic. Instruction Includes: safety, basic marksmanship, comfort, familiarity with firearms, shotguns, ear and eye protection, and targets. Reservations required. For more information, contact Henry Baskerville at 804-370-7565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waterfowl Hunting Workshops – Saturday, August 7, 2010
VDGIF and the Virginia Waterfowler's Association announce two waterfowl hunting workshop events to be conducted on Saturday August 7, 2010. The workshops will be conducted at Sussex Shooting Sports, located west of Waverly, on Route 460.
Basic Hunting Workshop 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Wing Shooting Clinic
Duck & Goose Calling – Decoy Placement Clinic
Waterfowl ID & Game Laws Clinic
This workshop provides 30 participants the opportunity to learn and/or improve their basic fundamentals of waterfowling. There will be three 75 minute clinics and a complimentary lunch included. $15.00 Fee covers cost of Basic Hunting Workshop.
Advanced Level Workshop 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Wing Shooting Clinic
Goose Hunting Clinic
This workshop provides 8 participants the opportunity to advance level fundamentals of goose hunting or advance level fundamentals of wingshooting. There will be one 90 minutes clinic. Participants must choose Goose Hunting or Wing Shooting. A complimentary dinner is included with this workshop only. $25.00 Fee covers cost of Advanced Level Workshop.
All participants will be required to be registered by July 24, 2010 Participants must be 18 years or older. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a registered adult. Workshops will be held outdoors RAIN or SHINE! To obtain registration form or more information, email Todd Cocker at email@example.com. Participants' information regarding all event details: schedule, directions, what –to-bring, etc. will be sent out by mail and/or email about one week prior to the event.
4H/NRA Shooting Education Camp at Holiday Lake August 15-19
The Virginia 4H/NRA Shooting Education Camp is scheduled at Holiday Lake 4H Center August 15-19, 2010. Registration Deadline has been extended until August 1st. This unique camp is open to boys and girls ages 12 to 16 with an interest and/or experience with firearms. Participants will receive 4 days of instruction related to their chosen discipline and consisting of such topics as Shooting Safety Education, Shooting Fundamentals and Theory, and Marksmanship Instruction. Each camper will have the opportunity to participate in one or more competitive shoots. All instructors are certified through 4-H, VDGIF, NRA, NAA and other national organizations. Classes offered: Small Bore Rifle, Shotgun, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, Archery Instruction, and Muzzleloading. For more information, or to register contact the 4H Center at (434) 248-5444 or visit the website.
Mother and Daughter Outdoors Weekend August 20-22 at Holiday Lake
The Mother and Daughter Outdoors program is scheduled at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox, August 20 - 22, 2010. This weekend program is designed primarily for women and provides an excellent opportunity for anyone nine years of age and above to learn outdoor skills usually associated with hunting and fishing, but useful in a variety of outdoor pursuits. The courses offered at this 2-3 day event are similar in content to the Becoming an Outdoor Woman and the Virginia Outdoors Weekend events. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page Valley Sportsmen Host Youth Shooting Workshop August 28
The Page Valley Sportsman Club, Inc. in Luray is sponsoring a Youth Shooting Workshop Saturday, August 28, 2010. This is a great opportunity for youth 7-17 to be introduced to shooting sports. There will be opportunities to experience an Air Rifle Range, Archery Range, Sporting Clays course, Rifle Range, Skeet Range and a Trap Range. Youth under 7 will have alternative activities available for them. This event is free and open to the first 35 registered participants and their families. Lunch is provided. All shooting supplies and safety equipment is provided. Pre-register by contacting Art Kasson at (540)622-6103, or email: email@example.com.
Outdoor Festival in Farmville August 28
The Riverside Community Church will host the 5th annual Outdoor Festival to be held Saturday August 28. The festival will take place at the Five County Fairgrounds off of Business 460 on the West side of Farmville. Festivities go from 10 am till 7 pm. A delicious lunch and supper will be served. This is a family event to celebrate the outdoor heritage of Virginia. Thanks to the many sponsors and help from the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, every year this event seems to get bigger and better. There will be a kid's fishing pond, BB gun range, hunting simulator, five stand sporting clays shooting, turkey shoot, turkey calling contest and a 3-D archery contest. There will be many taxidermy displays, outdoor vendors, and a big buck contest. The live music will be exceptional featuring Crimson Flood and other bands. Riverside Community Church sponsors this event simply to honor the community and welcomes all outdoor enthusiasts. All events are free except for the vendors. This year the organizers are asking for a $5 donation for each person over 10. So come on out and bring the whole family, friends ,and pets. For questions call (434) 607-7776, or (434) 547-6770, or go to our 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749.
Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Powder Horn and Decoy Carving Workshops
The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox is again offering a variety of popular fall workshops for unique outdoor related skills for building your own powder horn or carving a duck decoy.
September 19-22: Build your own powder horn! The powder horn that participants will be making is a common horn from the late 1700's or early 1800's. Registration is $210 and covers all programming and instruction fees, powder horn kit, meals, and lodging. Register by September 3rd.
September 19-23: Learn to carve your own traditional duck decoy or sharpen your carving skills! Beginners Welcome! Carving experience not needed. First time carvers will carve and paint a Canvasback, one of the most popular of all decoys. Returning students will carve and paint a decoy of their choice. Decoys will be carved from Tupelo, a favored decoy wood. Workshop price is $275 and includes meals, lodging, materials, and instructor fees. Register by September 3rd.
Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. For details contact Nate Mahanes, Program Director, by email: email@example.com, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749, or visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website.
September Big Game Contests Promote New Hunting Opportunities
Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... Be sure and visit the VDGIF exhibits at upcoming sportsmen's shows this fall. These are excellent opportunities to bring a friend who is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience. The trophy bucks on display can provide some inspiration too!
September 11-12: 71st Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF.. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the hound hunting issue and new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. For Contest rules and information visit: www.vpsa.org
September 11-12: Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) Hunting & Fishing Expo, SVHEC is hosting a Hunting & Fishing Expo in Abingdon. VDGIF is participating by offering the Hunter Education Course, providing additional educational programs, demonstrating the fishing/hunting simulator, and SVHEC will provide computers for guests to obtain their license online during the event. Longbow legend, Byron Ferguson, is the featured celebrity guest who will be demonstrating bowhunting skills. Kim Stewart, Director for the event, noted that exhibitor spaces are still available for vendors, seminar presenters and all organizations/associations affiliated with hunting and fishing to participate. For information visit: www.swcenter.edu
September 25-26: 71st Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. This year the Western Regional is also the State Championship. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org
Hunter Skills Weekend Returns to Holiday Lake October 1-3
The first of its kind Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend held this past May was such a success that the sponsors have decided to offer a second event set for October 1-3 at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. This workshop offers expert instruction for participants to learn new hunting skills or hone the ones they already have developed.
The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in partnership with VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, sponsor this unique training event. Designed to bridge the gap between the basic Hunter Education course and actual hunting experiences, the event will offer specialized training in the use of hunting firearms and archery equipment, hunting techniques for deer, turkey, waterfowl, and small game, and other useful woodsmanship skills. All instruction is provided free; participants pay only for meals and lodging. To find out more, or to register, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or call (434) 248-5444.
People and Partners in the News
Unique Partnership between Agencies Conserves Wildlife Habitat and Forestlands
In a unique partnership for the Commonwealth, the Department of Forestry (DOF) and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) have acquired 4,400 acres of pine forest in Sussex County creating a new State Forest and Wildlife Management Area (WMA) that will be managed cooperatively. The acquisition creates the DOF's first State Forest in southeastern Virginia, and 21st statewide, and DGIF's 38th WMA statewide. The agencies acquired the property, commonly known as Big Woods, from The Nature Conservancy.
Details on usage, public access, permit requirements, and land management strategies are still being developed as DOF and DGIF collaborate on a detailed management plan for the site. Extensive work will need to be done to develop habitat and to build appropriate infrastructure for public access and land management.
Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said, "The DOF will actively manage its portion – the 2,200-acre Big Woods State Forest – for sustainable forestry, economic development and landowner education. Keeping working forests as working forests is vital to both the economic and environmental health of Virginia. We're very excited to be able to add this important piece of land to our State Forest system."
DGIF will manage the 2,208-acre Big Woods WMA for conservation and management of the red-cockaded woodpecker, as well as bobwhite quail, Bachman's sparrow, southeastern fox squirrel, and other species. It is anticipated that the Big Woods State Forest and Big Woods WMA will offer wildlife watching, as well as deer, turkey, quail and other hunting opportunities.
Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech expressed enthusiasm for future public use of the property. "For the more than 1.5 million Virginians who live within a 45-mile radius, Big Woods State Forest and Big Woods WMA will protect the tradition of hunting for this region."
DGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan noted, "As a comprehensive wildlife agency, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries seeks opportunities to conserve not only wildlife and important habitat, but also to offer a variety of recreational opportunities. These include hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife watching – activities that connect the public with the outdoors, making all of us better stewards of our natural resources."
DGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan acknowledges the important role TNC played in the acquisition stating, "We are indebted to The Nature Conservancy for its vision and commitment to this project. It helped make the acquisition a reality by holding the land and facilitating a very complex acquisition process."
Information from VDGIF is featured on the new Mapping Virginia section on the Virginia government portal. VDGIF wildlife management areas, boat access sites, and Birding and Wildlife Trail sites are included. Check it out!
Volunteers Recognized for Outstanding Service in VDGIF Region 1
VDGIF Region I Complementary Work Force (CWF) volunteers, guests, family members, and VDGIF staff met, conversed, and dined together on May 15, at Golden Corral in Williamsburg for the annual event which recognizes and honors the Region I Complementary Work Force Volunteers for service and support provided to VDGIF.
Hosted by Region I CWF Coordinator Jim Battle, the event celebrated the work of all regional volunteers as they support attainment of the VDGIF mission. Jim Battle recognized the significant accomplishments of the volunteers noting, "These dedicated and arguably selfless individuals logged a total of 1,941 work hours, with 194 volunteers reporting work hours driving 5,850 miles." Activities included inspections for issuing Wildlife Damage Kill Permits, staffing exhibits at outdoor trade shows, conducting fish and wildlife surveys, stocking trout, assisting with youth fishing events, writing articles, and proofreading the Outdoor Report. Individuals were recognized for service support contributions for the year ending March 31, 2010. The following volunteers were recognized with award plaques for outstanding service as Volunteers-of-the-Quarter in Region I:
- Marika Byrd, April—June 2009, 119 hours
- Robert Clark, July—September 2009, 152 hours
- Wayne Hipkins, October—December 2009, 109 hours
- Mike Vober, January—March 2010, 31 hours
Marika Byrd was named the CWF Region 1 Volunteer-of-the-Year.
Special recognition was given to the retiring CWF Region 1 Coordinator Jim Battle, for his years of service in volunteering as a Hunter Education Instructor and with outstanding development of the CWF program to provide assistance in a variety of programs throughout the Agency.
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:
- Saturday, July 31st, 2010, Sandy Bottom Nature Park, Hampton
- Wildlife Capture, Restraint, Handling, and Transportation
- Introduction to Raising Orphaned Mammals
- August 28th, 2010, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Clifton Forge
- Overview of Wildlife Rehabilitation & Wildlife Capture, Restraint, Handling, and Transportation
- Introduction to Raising Orphaned Birds
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:
- More than a dozen local VA NWTF Chapters will be hosting fund raising events and skill building workshops throughout the summer months. Funds raised at these events are used locally by the volunteers to enhance habitat, access to hunting lands, support law enforcement, the Wildlife Crime Line and Rewards Program and fund research to improve wildlife management. For details on these upcoming events and how you can participate visit their website: www.vanwtf.com.
- July 29 – Fredericksburg, Ruffed Grouse Society, Inaugural Sportsmen's Conservation Shoot & Dinner. Ticket forms and information are available on website: www.ruffedgrousesociety.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- August 7 - Marion, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation VA Big Game Banquet, contact Charlotte Faris, (276) 783-2993, or email: email@example.com.
- August 14 - Roanoke, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation VA Big Game Banquet, contact Brandy Vassar, (540) 992-2172, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- September 17 – Waynesboro Valley Chapter of Hunters Helping Kids Annual Banquet. Visit: www.huntershelpingkids.com Contact: Dennis Campbell (540) 529-2202 email@example.com.
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.
2010 Hunting Opportunities on State Natural Area Preserves
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is offering managed hunts for deer and waterfowl at four state natural area preserves in 2010.
At Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve on the Eastern Shore, a lottery hunt is available for white-tailed deer. There are both Muzzleloader ONLY hunts in early November and shotgun or muzzleloader hunts in November and December. Each applicant selected in the lottery will be randomly assigned a two-day hunting period. Successful applicants will have the option of purchasing from one up to a total of five permits for their hunt, allowing each hunter to form a party consisting of themselves and up to four other hunters.
At Dameron Marsh and Hughlett Point natural area preserves on the Northern Neck, a lottery hunt is available for waterfowl beginning in November and running through January 2011. Hunts are on Mondays only during the last segments of the general duck season. Successful applicants have the option of purchasing from one up to a total of three permits each for their hunt day, allowing each hunter to form a party consisting of themselves and up to two other hunters. One blind per hunt party is land accessible ("walk-in"). All other blinds are accessible by water ONLY.
At Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County, a lottery hunt is available for waterfowl beginning with the early September goose and teal seasons and running through the end of the general duck season in January 2011. Successful applicants will be responsible for building and/or reconditioning their own blinds at two assigned locations along the shoreline or in the marshes at Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve. Hunting will be on Fridays only from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.
Anyone 16 years of age or older may enter these lotteries by completing an application and returning it along with a $5 non-refundable application fee to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – Division of Natural Heritage, 217 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219. As with all DCR hunting opportunities, proof of completion of a hunter safety course is required for each hunter. Hunter safety certificates must be in possession and presented along with licenses if checked during the hunt. For specific hunt dates and additional information and to download an application form, go to the DCR website.
Information on New Regs and Youth Hunters Photos Featured at Sportsman Show
Be sure and visit the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries booths at the 27th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show held at The Showplace in Richmond August 13-15, featuring 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Conservation police officers, hunter safety instructors and wildlife biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing, and wildlife information questions. It's also a great time to purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar. Get your free copy of the new 2010-2011 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience.
With record deer and bear harvests last year, there are bountiful opportunities for pursuing big game, small game, waterfowl, and trapping. Sportsmen and landowners can get information on habitat improvement and the new quail restoration program. Hunter Education Instructors will have demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, and safety reminders for all hunters. Complementary Work Force volunteers will show opportunities for volunteers to work side by side with professional staff in a variety of projects. The Department and partner organizations will have displays featuring specialized, innovative equipment, and opportunities for persons with disabilities and training in outdoor skills. Visit the Department's website for more information on Department programs and hunting opportunities.
Share your favorite youth hunting photos at the Show... Young hunters age 15 and under are invited to bring a copy of a hunting photo showing their success to post on the wall at entrance to the Show. Photos must be no larger than 8x10 size and be in good taste. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction. For some good basic photo tips see the section below - Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us... Photos will not be returned and will be on display throughout the show. Prizes will be awarded for the Top Ten Photos and will be featured in the Outdoor Report and Whitetail Times, official magazine of the VA Deer Hunters Association.
Text in Sportsman to 68247 for a chance to win a Big Game, Big Buddy, 2 person ladder stand. Also watch for details on how to be automatically entered into the drawing for the Moultrie Game Spy I-45 Digital Trail Camera. Contest sponsored by the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show and Green Top Sporting Goods.
*Standard text message rates apply. Go to www.sportsmanshow.com for more details.
Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
We're looking for some good spring gobbler or spring squirrel hunting photos from youth, or novice hunters. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
New Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Now Available
The new Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License which became available for sale July 1, is a great way of creating lasting memories with your family and friends. For more information or to purchase a Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License please visit the Department's website.
Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Life Jackets Required
Virginia's life jacket laws require that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) USCG approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. All boats, except for personal watercraft and non-motorized canoes, kayaks, inflatable rafts, and other manually propelled boats, must carry one USCG approved Type IV throwable ring or seat cushion. In addition, if you are boating on federal waters where the USCG has jurisdiction, children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket unless below deck, or in an enclosed cabin.
Borrow a kid's life jacket: If you're expecting young guests aboard and have a temporary need for the right-sized lifejacket, the BoatU.S. Foundation has over 500 Kids Life Jacket Loaner Program locations across the country where you can borrow one for free. For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation services for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com. For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.
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:
- 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.
By Katie Fenneran
The early morning sun glistened off the pristine Lake Shenandoah in Rockingham County, while songbirds chirped merrily off in the woods. Volunteers from the community and wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries tip-toed, slowly around a barn on the waters edge. Striving to not startle the unsuspecting flock of resident Canadian geese sitting beneath a tree. The group of wildlife enthusiasts slowly circled them, making sure none escape. Coming forward cautiously, carrying pieces of portable fencing, we quickly trapped the geese. Then chaos quickly erupted. Honking and biting, the geese tried their best to escape. But they could not, because this was molting season. Time to shed old flight feathers and grow new ones, which hadn't quite come in yet.
All the geese were flightless making it easy for two volunteers to jump inside the fence and begin grabbing geese, handing them to the rest of us outside on the other side of the enclosure. When handling a goose, two things are extremely important: have a good grip on the wings and the feet, but be careful to handle the birds in a manner so as not to hurt or unduly stress them. We worked quickly to restrain the geese who were flapping in attempts to escape. While dodging their wings and endeavoring to not drop them, we also fought to avoid their kicking feet and being scratched. Once the volunteers outside the pen obtained a goose, we walked with a steady grip over to a bander, who then carefully secured a small, metal band on the goose's leg. Each band contains an individual number which can be used to track the goose. After receiving a band, the goose was then turned over to wildlife biologist and waterfowl expert Gary Costanzo who, flipping the goose upside down, determined the age and sex of the bird. A volunteer then recorded the age, sex, and band number of each bird. Many volunteers were able to participate in the process, including a nine year old girl who handled the smaller geese. After being trapped, banded, and held upside down, the goose is then released. Honking and flapping his wings the goose swiftly returns to the lake and freedom. We repeated this procedure at three additional locations throughout the day.
Although it may seem intrusive to subject the geese to such a process, it is beneficial for them in the long run. Biologists who work for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries use the individual numbers on the leg bands to help track waterfowl populations and to help manage hunting seasons. For example, when a hunter shoots a goose during hunting season they then report the location and band number to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Slowly, one by one, they observe migration patterns and population numbers for specific areas. They use this information to determine hunting regulations, goose management practices, and to resolve human-goose conflicts. Geese thrive, humans are happy, and all it takes are dedicated volunteers and a few metal bands.
Editors note: This article was written by 15 year old Katie Fenneran, a homeschooled rising junior from Staunton, who volunteered to assist in the VDGIF goose banding event in the Shenandoah Valley near Harrisonburg. Katie is very interested in the outdoors and she and her mom were joined by other local volunteers who gladly assisted with this important wildlife conservation program. Katie would some day like to pursue a career in the outdoors and really enjoys writing and outdoor photography. The excellent photographs are also taken by Katie and show the various activities to carry out a successful and safe goose banding event. Katie's article provides a great example of the value of volunteers working hand in hand with VDGIF biologists to carry out important wildlife conservation research and management activities. Volunteer assistance, especially by young nature enthusiasts provides valuable hands-on experience and a demonstration of the stewardship ethic that benefits us all. For VDGIF volunteer opportunities visit our website.
White-Nose Syndrome Fungus Found on a Different Bat Species in Virginia
Biologists working to better understand syndrome and its impacts
A sick bat found in Pocahontas State Park has tested positive for a fungus indicating White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), the disease killing bats from New Hampshire to Virginia and Tennessee. This is the first occurrence of the fungus detected in this bat species (southeastern myotis) which is found in only a few counties in southeast Virginia. The U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, found the bat to be positive for the fungus but was unable to confirm WNS, calling it "likely" to be infected.
Studying WNS in Virginia
Biologists from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have joined with the National Speleological Society, local caving organizations, and volunteers to study the progression and impacts of WNS in hopes of gaining information that could lead to ways to combat this unprecedented wildlife epidemic. From last summer through early spring, Virginia biologists banded over 2200 bats with small metal alloy bands ("bracelets") pinched to the bat's forearm, each with a unique identification number. "It is hoped that by following these bats over time we'll be able to determine if there are individuals that are resistant to WNS," said VDGIF Wildlife Diversity Biologist Rick Reynolds.
In addition to banding bats, VDGIF and partners are visiting known and suspect WNS sites to assess the impacts on bats. "We surveyed several sites this past spring and the results do not look promising. We found dead bats at all the sites and the fungus was evident on many of the bats still alive in the caves," said Reynolds.When asked what this means to the average citizen, Reynolds responded, "While we are not 100 percent certain what the impacts to our ecosystem will mean, we do know their role in insect control is an important one and the loss of bats will likely be felt by many."
Reynolds noted other contributions related to bats. "Most people don't realize the many technological advances we have gained through the study of bats. Scientists have advanced our knowledge of sonar, coagulation in blood, vaccine development, and artificial insemination by studying these mysterious night flyers."
It is essential that any caving clothing and equipment be thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated before and after caving trips, and that gear used in WNS positive areas not be taken into caves to the south and west. Decontamination protocols for caving gear can be found at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.
Anyone who observes dead or dying bats or bats exhibiting abnormal behavior (flying during daylight hours) can report these activities at the Department's website.
The May issue of the Virginia Wildlife magazine carried a special article on WNS and the impacts to bats.
For additional information about white-nose syndrome and its impact to Virginia bats, please visit:
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries »
- Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation »
- US Fish & Wildlife Service »
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 VirginiaGreenTravel.org, a website dedicated to environmentally friendly travel in Virginia. The new site has convenient links to Virginia state parks, outdoor adventure programs, the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, eco-friendly events, 140 green lodging facilities, restaurants, attractions, and travel tips. "Virginia Green is 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."
Snakes Are Important Part of Ecosystem
Snakes have been the focal point of folklore for centuries. From the hoop snake that sticks its tail into its mouth and rolls after you to snakes that hypnotize their prey. No other group of animals has suffered more from negative misinformation than snakes. In fact, snakes are some of the most fascinating and beneficial creatures on the planet. The benefits range from the thrill of a chance encounter while on a walk in the woods to the consumption of thousands of rodents that may potentially cause millions of dollars in agricultural damage every year. Their benefits to us and the ecosystem they inhabit are some of the reasons it is illegal in Virginia to intentionally kill snakes. Generally speaking, snakes are very reclusive and timid. Many species of snakes will not even attempt to bite when handled.
Of the 30 species in Virginia, only 3 are venomous: copperhead, cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake. All three of which are considered docile, unless provoked. Copperhead bites are by far the most common venomous snake bite in Virginia. However, in the 30 years that the Virginia Department of Health has been keeping records on venomous snake bites, no one has ever died from a copperhead bite. Copperhead bites often only result in mild inflammation and discomfort.
If you do encounter a snake in the woods, simply leave it alone, it'll get out of your way or you can walk around it. SNAKES DO NOT CHASE PEOPLE. Here are a few tips to avoid the possibility of being bitten when hiking in the woods"
- Stay on the trail.
- Watch where you place your hands and feet, and where you sit down.
- Do not attempt to capture snakes.
If you are bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm and seek immediate medical attention. None of Virginia's venomous snakes are considered to be highly lethal, but medical attention is necessary for all venomous snake bites.
If you are lucky enough to encounter a snake while enjoying the outdoors; step back and watch a moment. Notice the way the sunlight reflects off the scales and the incredible way a snake can glide off into the leaves barely making a sound. Unless cornered the snake is going to slip away as quick as it can.
To learn more... A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia, one of VDGIF's most popular publications since its 2001 release. This 32-page full-color booklet, co-authored and illustrated by Mike Pinder, our Region 3 Wildlife Diversity Manager, presents all of Virginia's 30 species of snakes in an attractive and educational "field-guide" format. It also includes snakebite information, provides answers to frequently asked questions about snakes, and suggests what you can do to protect or control snakes in your yard and home. Finally, it summarizes snake conservation and management issues, and offers ways you can help protect these fascinating animals. Single copies of the guide can be picked up free of charge at the Department's regional offices; or copies may be purchased online through the VDGIF Outdoor Catalogue for $5.00 each, or in cases of 60 copies for $150 per case.
- Purchase copies of A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia »
- View Streaming Video on Rattlesnakes »
- Read the Outdoor Report article 'The Eastern Cottonmouth: Separating Fact from Fiction' from July 22, 2009 »
Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in early August:
- What butterfly begins a long migration south to Central America?
- Fall colors begin to show on these tree species in swampy areas.
Answers to July 14 edition quiz for nature events in late July...
- Wild Ponies are 'penned' in what Chesapeake Bay location? (Editors note: I made an error in my question where I noted the ponies are penned in what Chesapeake Bay location- actually the islands are on the Atlantic side of the Eastern Shore, not in the Chesapeake Bay.)
The Chincoteague Pony is a hardy breed that developed on Assateague Island, which is off the Atlantic coast of Maryland and Virginia. The ponies live in a feral condition on the Virginia portion of Assateague and are owned and managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. (Wikipedia)
- How did the ancestors of these ponies get to the Chesapeake Bay area originally? There are two theories of how these horses (locally referred to as 'ponies' due to their small stature) came to live on Assateague Island. The legend is that a Spanish galleon wrecked off of Assateague Island and the surviving horses swam to the island. However, there is little evidence supporting this theory, and the more likely origin of the ponies is that early 17th century colonists let their animals loose on the island to avoid fencing laws and livestock taxes. Whichever theory is true, the free-roaming ponies of Assateague have been living there for hundreds of years. (Wikipedia)
Habitat Improvement Tips
Invasive Plant Control Workshop Scheduled in Front Royal September 16-17
Virginia Cooperative Extension & the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute in partnership with VDGIF and other conservation agencies and organizations across the Mid-Atlantic region is sponsoring a workshop for natural resource professionals, landowners and volunteer on "Good Green, Bad Green - Invasive Plant Control for Habitat Restoration". The workshop is scheduled September 16-17, 2010, at the Northern Virginia 4H Center and Smithsonian Conservation Ecology Center near Front Royal.
Topics to include:
- Species identification techniques & emerging issues
- Integrated Pest Management
- Treatment demonstrations
- Strategies for conducting site triage
- Herbicide safety
- Restoration successes and challenges
This 2 day workshop is intended for Natural Resource Professionals, Master Naturalist, Consulting Foresters , Arborists , Master Gardeners, Green Industry Professionals, landowners and land managers. For registration and other information check out the event website.
Also check out "Tree Cookies Etc.", an electronic newsletter for forest landowners.
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!
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.|
VDGIF Now Accepting Applications for Conservation Police Officer Positions
Individuals who are interested in a law enforcement career could easily find themselves migrating into the field of natural resources where exciting opportunities await them as Conservation Police Officers (CPO). Once known as Game Wardens, these public safety professionals dedicate their lives to the protection of our natural resources by enforcing laws and regulations that regulate the activities of sportsmen and women who participate in outdoor recreation. Before pursuing this career path, candidates should consider both the attraction of working outdoors as well as the inherent dangers of the profession. If you have the ability to rise to such demands, then you may very well have what it takes to become a Virginia Conservation Police Officer!
View the video that showcases the CPO training program and what it takes to become a Virginia Conservation Police Officer
Must apply online no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, August 12, 2010.
For additional information contact our CPO Training Division at (804) 367-DGIF or visit the Department's website.
Never Boat Under the Influence!
During Operation Dry Water, CPOs patrolled lakes and rivers and successfully conducted OUI tests for suspected boaters and removed them from the waterways in the interest of public safety.
During Operation Dry Water, the Weekend of June 25-27, 2010, our Conservation Police Officers concentrated efforts to enforce Operating Under the Influence (OUI) to protect responsible boaters and anglers from those who act irresponsibly and break the law. Operating Under the Influence (OUI) 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. Remember CPOs are there to protect your freedom to enjoy the outdoors safely - 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. Safety and courtesy are free, use them generously as you share the outdoors with others. The following reports are examples of the officers activities...
Region 1 - Tidewater
OUI Enforcement reduces problems with 'party boaters'... During recent July boat patrols on the Chickahominy River, District 15 CPO's conducted checkpoints and late evening/nighttime patrols in an effort to target operating under the influence (OUI) operation. This area of the river has become a popular party place for a large number of boaters, oftentimes numbering over 200 boats. During this effort, 4 OUI cases were made within a one week period. Senior CPO Bell made 2 arrests and CPO's Goodwin and Baker each made 1 arrest. The preliminary BAC's on all of the arrestees were relatively high, ranging from .12 to .16. The patrols were so effective that word of mouth rumors spread among the citizenry of the 2 counties bordering the river that CPO's were conducting checkpoints; even when they were not on the water patrolling. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.
Refusal to take breath test leads to serious charges for drinking boater... On July 5, 2010, CPO's McCuistion, Agnese, Dobyns, and Dunlevy conducted a boat safety checkpoint on Broad Creek in Middlesex County. Near the end of the checkpoint a motorboat came through and while CPO's McCuistion and Agnese were waiting for the operator to climb down from the fly bridge, a 5 gallon bucket full of empty beer bottles was seen on the deck. CPO McCuistion conducted field sobriety tests on the operator. After the field sobriety tests were given, the operator was placed under arrest for OUI. At the Sheriffs Office the operator refused to take the breath test and was subsequently charged with refusal. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.
Region 2 - Southside
Midnight DUI arrest nabs felons and illegal firearms... On June 26, 2010, at approximately 0030 hours CPO Dallas Neel and CPO Matthew Silicki were returning to Smith Mountain Lake from the magistrate's office in Franklin County. The two Officers had participated in one of two checkpoints conducted on the lake during Operation Dry Water and had processed an OUI suspect that had been arrested. A vehicle pulled from a driveway in front of the two Officers and shots were fired from the passenger side of the Ford Explorer. A handgun was thrown from the vehicle after the Officers activated emergency lights and siren. After a short chase the vehicle was stopped. The driver was arrested and charged with DUI. The two passengers were arrested and charged with public intoxication. All three were felons and were charged with possession of firearms after being convicted of previous felonies. The three suspects were jailed in Franklin County. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522.
Region 4 - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley
Illegal anglers caught by COPs using kayak... On Sunday, July 04, Sergeant Carl Martin and Officer Kevin Bilwin worked a special operation with Department of Conservation & Recreation Officers Tony Widmer, Andy Davis, and Brett Clawson at the Shenandoah River State Park in Warren County. Sergeant Martin, Officer Bilwin, and DCR Officer Davis worked the South Fork by kayak and in plain clothes. DCR Officers Widmer and Clawson provided a uniform presence (they also issued four summonses for drinking in public within the park). Officers Bilwin and Davis also charged an individual with taking fish by an illegal method; this subject used a spear gun to take two smallmouth bass within the slot limit, a 21" channel catfish, a 17 ¾" channel catfish, and a bullhead catfish. Another subject was charged with possessing illegally taken fish. In addition, six summonses were issued for fishing without a license along a 3-mile section of the South Fork bordering the park. For more information contact Lt. Ronnie Warren at (540) 248-9360.
Citizen tips lead to crackdown on use of illegal cast nets... District 41 Conservation Police Officers, Sgt. Carl Martin and Officer Keith Crider, and District 42 Officers Beth Harold and Rob Ham conducted a special operation on the Shenandoah River at Watermelon Park in Clarke County. The operation targeted the taking of game fish by illegal methods, specifically cast nets. CPO's utilized kayaks, worked in plain clothes in order to observe the illegal activity. The operation took place over two days, 07/17/10 and 07/18/10. Several concerned citizens contacted VDGIF to express their concern about the fisheries resource in the Shenandoah River and the taking of this resource by cast nets. While CPO's have been working this area for some time, the use of cast nets has increased. Region 4 Officers were able to document the illegal catch and charged ten individuals under 29.1-531, take game fish by illegal method. A total of seventeen summonses were issued over the two-day operation. On July 17, 2010, CPO's seized 95 game fish of varying size from four individuals. On July 18, 2010, approximately 160 game fish were seized from six individuals. Species taken by illegal method included smallmouth bass, rock bass, and other sunfish. In addition, 41 channel catfish were caught by cast net. Continued harvest at these rates over several months could certainly have an effect on local fish populations. CPO's will continue to conduct patrols in this area. For more information contact Lt. Ronnie Warren at (540) 248-9360.
These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!
If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.
To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
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.
Fish Virginia First - Your Fishing Vacation Planning Tool!
Fish Virginia First is an inter-jurisdictional marketing effort seeking to link Virginia’s fisheries with anglers, travelers, outdoor television networks, and tournament organizers from across the nation. The initiative’s goal is to better inform anglers, vacationers, and fishing tournament organizers of the outstanding fisheries available in the Commonwealth’s rivers, lakes, streams, and reservoirs and to provide assistance with planning a fishing adventure in Virginia by linking visitors with local hotels, restaurants, guide services, campgrounds, state parks, and fishing related businesses that can make fishing trips easy and fun. Visitors are encouraged to visit the site and begin exploring the fisheries resources that are awaiting you whether you are planning a day trip on your next day off or a two week family vacation of a life time!
Visit the Department's website to learn more about this innovative fishing trip planner.
Bowfishing for the Potomac River Trash Fish Triple Crown --Carp, Gar & Snakehead!
Editors Note...Adam Hatchl does his fishing with a bowI He sent us this great story about a successful day he and a friend had bowfishing in Northern Virginia. Adam notes how he got "hooked" on bowfishing and then got his friend hooked too on a successful outing in May...
A bowfisherman's tale by Adam Hatchl
"I grew up in the Woodlawn/Mt. Vernon area of Alexandria, near Ft. Belvoir, and became interested in archery as a teenager. My father Russ and I joined the Belvoir Bowhunters, in the early 1990s, and we were first introduced to bowfishing during the club's annual Carp/Gar shoot. Dad and I actually won it one year, using the same aluminum Smokercraft canoe that I still use today. If you would like to see more bowfishing action, you can review the clubs activities and upcoming events on our club website.
On the first Sunday morning in May, with just a PSE Kingfisher bow and aluminum canoe, we put in at Pohick Bay Regional Park, and paddled up the bank toward Pohick Creek. Ft. Belvoir and Accotink Creek are just across the water, and there are lots of trash fish around. Using a canoe is nice because it only draws 2-3 inches of depth, so you can access a lot of shallows that larger motor boats can't get to, particularly when the tides shift. Between the two of us we arrowed what I like to call the Potomac River Trash Fish Triple Crown (Carp, Gar & Snakehead). We also saw bald eagles, osprey, brown water snake, black snake, and even a deer swimming across Pohick Creek! All in all, it was a great day outdoors .
I paddled first, so my friend Eric Gibbons could stand up front and shoot. He and I teach at Oakton High School, and since it was his first time out, I wanted him to get his first fish before we switched. Things started off pretty slow, and the wind seemed to always be in our face, but around 10 am, the carp started spawning and thrashing around in the lily pads. At that point, the pace picked up, and we had lots of shots. After Eric got his carp, we switched places. Then I got my carp and gar back to back, and Eric arrowed the snakehead just before we left. We didn't have a net or gaff, and a few carp and one big gar managed to get loose before we could land them.
As for the snakehead, it was decapitated with a hatchet, and buried in my backyard, but prior to that, it survived it's arrow wound and 4+ hours out of the water, including a ride up I-95 in our upturned canoe. I hear that they are good to eat (certainly better than carp or gar), and my amateur dissection showed thick white fillets, but so far I have not eaten one.
I began seeing snakehead there a few years back, but on this particular day we saw more than in all the previous years combined (9 total, including the one pictured). They are showing up in the same areas as carp and gar, like lily pads and creeks, and behave very much like gar in the water. I missed a huge one that couldn't have been more than a few yards away, resting near the surface.
We got sunburned and tired, but we had a blast! It was Eric's first time out, but he's hooked now too! He went out and got his own Kingfisher outfit just after this trip!
VDGIF Regional Fisheries biologist John Odenkirk follows up Adams story with a few tips:
- Snakeheads are good eating, as they are very tasty with firm white meat.
- Take a cooler and ice with you so as to keep the fish from spoiling.
- Take a net so as to successfully land the fish that are arrowed.
- Potomac rivershed anglers are reminded that the law states that nobody may possess any snakehead fish of any species unless the fish is a northern (the kind in the Potomac). Adams snakehead was legally caught, is dead, and the catch was called in to the hotline (804-367-2925). We appreciate his efforts to catch snakeheads and follow-up with reporting the catch and kill.
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.
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 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.
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
Region 1 - Tidewater
Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by C. Eddie Hester, Park Ranger, (804) 693-2107. Fishing has been very slow this week. The hot temperatures and lethargic fish bite have most anglers staying home. The few anglers that have come out to fish are catching some catfish. Hopefully the weather will break and the temperature will come down before long. The next night fishing event will be on August 6 at Beaverdam. The water is slightly stained, at full pool and 87 degrees.
Little Creek Reservoir: (757) 566-1702. According to Kristi Flower, not much has been going on at Little Creek. A few bass and some yellow perch, but that's about it. The water is clear, low and in the 80s.
Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim reports that the heat has slowed things down considerably. Some spot and croaker have been landed at the mouths of the James and York. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are at Cape Henry, but the bite is slow. Try spoons. Some flounder are being brought up around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, but most are too small to keep. The water is clear and 86 degrees.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown told me that, while the heat has kept most anglers away, those that do come can get lucky. The bass bite is good with soft plastics being your best bet. Watermelon with a red or chartreuse tail is a good choice for color. No word on crappie. Some big cats have been landed on live eels. A number of panfish are coming in on red wigglers. The water is clear and in the 90s.
North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that a few bass are hitting on topwaters early and late. No word on crappie or perch as the water has been so hot. No word on cats either. Bluegill are going for poppers early and late. The water is clear and in the 90s.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. According to Drew Dixon, bass angling is "hit and miss" due to the heat. Some crappie are going for minnows. No word on cats. Bream are responding to crickets and worms. The water is clear, at a low level and in the high 80s.
Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com Fishing in the Blackwater and Nottoway remains pretty dismal. Low river levels and water flow combined with low dissolved oxygen (DO) is making it pretty tough fishing. Not to mention the extreme heat we have been having. A few bass are being caught really early and late, but that's about all I have heard. People sometimes think fish seek deeper water in the rivers during these conditions, and some species do; however, dissolved oxygen levels are usually worse in deep water this time of year. DO levels tend to be higher in the shallow water next to green vegetation during the day. The plant's output combined with wave action can put enough DO in the water to keep the fish going. However the water temps are usually higher shallow so it is kind of a trade-off. Upper reaches of the rivers are so low I do not recommend trying that unless you are really in good shape for portages. More rain please!
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike hasn't been on the James in a while, but does report that fishing for croaker on the Pamunkey near West Point is really good just now. He landed 100 on one trip!
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. No report this edition.
Region 2 - Southside
Nottoway Falls: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Cricket man and I thought Nottoway Falls would be coolest lake in the area so we gave it a try. Needless to say, the water is warm and clear with a brown stain We fished from the ramp to the dam and Cricket man picked up several bluegill working up close to the dam and I got one crappie in the middle of the lake next to the dam and one about 50 yards from it. I tried around the old bridge supports but did not have any luck. We fished the shore line, me with the fly rod and size10 popping bug and Cricket man with his worms, only catching a few bluegill here and there until we got to the old beaver lodge where crappie have been known to feed. I used 1/32 lead head and a purple twister and caught dozen or so 8 to10 inches. I finally talked Cricket man into using his spinning rod and he caught some of the crappie too. About now the sun was winning so we headed up lake where we could be in the shade of the trees. We picked up a stray bluegill every now and then along with a crappie or two all the way up the river until we got into a gathering of hungry crappie about half way up the inlet. We caught all the crappie at least 4 to 6 ft. down and the bluegill all over the place. Cricket man ended the day with 23 bluegill between 5 and 7 inches with 6 crappie and I had 23 crappie and 19 bluegill and 1 ten inch bass.
Brunswick Lake: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. I received an email from Sarah requesting our reports and since I only had one set of lies, I talked myself into heading to the county pond, i.e. Brunswick Lake. The water is about 10 inches below normal with a brownish stain and very warm. I headed straight to the bridge and picked up 2 crappie on chartreuse 2 inch twister and couple 6 inch bluegill. I tried the fly rod and only caught few more bluegill around the shore line so I headed back up lake to deeper water. I fished the fly rod along the shoreline and picked up a total of 33 five to seven inch bluegill, I also had 8 of what I call cat fish, those two finger wide bluegill that I feed the cats. I fished the middle of the lake with the spinning rod and several color twisters but only caught five 9 and 10 inch crappie in the middle of the lake in 6 to 8 ft of water. Found myself out of liquids so headed in by 2:30 and picked up one 12 inch bass on the way. I had a 1/2 gallon of lemonade, a frozen 2 liter bottle of water and another 24 oz. bottle of water. I use the frozen 2 liter of water to help keep things cool in my cooler as well as a back up drink. That thing will never melt if you are thirsty even when you try to cool the lake water by holding it under water. All in all it was not that bad a day fishing.
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. L.E. reports that the fishing is good. Bass are going for soft plastics with Watermelon and Green Pumpkin being good colors to try. Fly anglers should try popping bugs. Cat angling is good too, with the traditional baits. The water is clear and 87 degrees.
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 2 1/4 to 4 oz. range on main lake points in the Nutbush area will soon pick up.
Catfish: Fishing for cats remains good with blues 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 1 ½ lbs. 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. Tom Reisdorf says that bass are hitting popping bugs and white baitfish imitations. Browns and rainbows in the Jackson are going for nymphs. Tom says the water is too low to go for the brookies. The water is very clear in both the James and Jackson, with the temperature warming in the James and 59 degrees in the Jackson.
Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that bass are hitting topwaters around docks and vegetation; bigger ones can be had by going deeper with Carolina rigs or suspended plugs. Crappie are going for small minnows around 8 to 12 ft. drop offs. Cat action is good on shrimp, chicken livers and cut bait. Perch are responding to small minnows and red wigglers the water is slightly stained and in the low to mid 80s. Fishing is better in the creeks and coves, where the water is cooler.
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.
Stripers: Fishing was good this past week, especially for anglers using live bait like shad and the shiners. Stripers are being found both in small pods and in large schools. They continue to be caught on downlines as well as shot lines presented under floats and behind planer boards. Most are being caught on downlines from 18 to 60 feet below the surface. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon, huge schools of stripers are being found from 35 to 50 feet deep near the major creeks in the mid and lower lake. Stripers seem to prefer small baits like alewives and shiners rigged downlines. Stripers are also being caught early and late in the day by anglers casting and retrieving lures on long shallow points, near deep water. Trolling is another effective technique for schooling stripers this time of year. Consider attending our "Summer Trolling - Tackle, Techniques & Tips" Workshop on Thursday, August 5th. For more details on this and the other workshops we are conducting this summer just go to our website.
Bass: Fishing continues to be good, but many are smaller fish. There is still a topwater bite very early in the morning. Rico's, Pop-R's and small Spooks are good choices on calm days. Once the sun moves overhead most bass will either move into the shade provided by deep-water docks or down into deeper water. Those under docks can be caught near pilings and other structure on Yamamoto worms. Bass suspending on docks and off steep bluffs can also be caught on light shakey head jigs. Squirrel head, Giggy Head, Shakee and Owner shakey head jigs are all good choices. For additional information about how to select, rig and present lures for bass during the summer consider attending our "Summer Bass - Early, Late and At Night" Workshop this Thursday evening starting at 6:30 p.m.
Crappies: Fish are being caught deep on small minnows rigged on light jigheads and small, thin wire hooks. Successful crappie anglers report that location is critical and that crappies are currently being found in submerged timber from 12 to 22 feet below the surface. They report that once the crappies are located they have been able to continue catching limited numbers of quality fish from the same spot, but that if they drift or move off the structure just several feet it will kill the bite almost immediately.
Catfish: Channel catfish continue to be caught in good numbers using commercial "stinkbaits" presented on bottom rigs with spring hooks and on night crawlers. One of the best stinkbaits used on this lake is made by "Magic" bait. The water is clear and 86 degrees.
Region 3 - Southwest
Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Contributed by Mike Burchett:
Bass: Bass are doing pretty good considering how hot it is. They seem to be in the grass. If the grass is topped out and thick the Tru-Tungsten Mad Maxx frog is a good bet. If the grass is still below the surface try a small crank bait like the Lucky Craft B.D.S. Marty or S.K.T. Mini. Try ticking the top of the grass and getting a reaction bite. A drop shot with a Roboworm is still the most consistent way to catch bass on Claytor. After dark try slow rolling a Jolt spinnerbait or dark colored chatterbait. Our weekly Tuesday night tournament at the Rock House Marina was won by Brian Stacy and Mark Cox with 9.70 lbs. For more info on the Tuesday night tournaments call Mike at (540) 980-1488.
Crappie: Haven't heard or seen anything on crappies.
Bluegill/Panfish: Get some night crawlers and head to any dock or back of a cove and you find plenty of action and fun.
Stripers: At the mouth of Dublin Hollow and around the Dam area of the lake from approximately 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. the shad are up on the surface. Walking a Storm Thunderstick or Cotton Cordell Redfin across the surface can lead to exciting top water activity. During the day time, trolling umbrellas rigs with bucktails or swim baits at 30 plus feet.
Catfish: Starting hear a few reports that they are being caught at night time in peak creak using live shad as bait.
Water temp is low to mid 80's, clarity is clear to lightly stained due to the recent rain storms.
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 heat has slowed the bite down. Some small bass are being landed with Senkos and grubs at night. The muskies are in their deep summer holes and not budging much, so don't make a special trip up just to get them. A very few have been fooled by inline spinners. The water is very clear and over 85 degrees.
New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. No report this edition.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry, float fishing for smallmouths is good in the South Fork of the River, between Luray and Bentonville. Good flies are: The Shenandoah Sunfish Slider, size 4; Shenandoah Chartreuse Popper, size 6; Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; Olive Marauder, size 6; and Murray's Roadkill Skunk, size 6.The water is clear and 78 degrees. The stocked streams in the Valley are running very low and clear, but will produce if you wade carefully. Good spots are: Big Stoney Creek and the Hidden Valley of the Jackson River. Good flies are: Betsy Streamer, size 12; Casual Dress, size 12; Murray's Professor Dry Fly, size 16; and Murray's Flying Beetle, size 16. The water is clear and 78 degrees.
Low, clear water has made it harder to get a brookie in the Mountain streams, but it is possible with a cautious approach. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 16 and 18; Murray's Housefly, size 16; Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 16; and Murray's Dry Sulfur, size 18. The water is 66 degrees and clear.
Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. No report this edition.
Ed Lewandoski sent us this story of his "Virginia Muskie":
I was fishing with Mike Coley of Savage Strike Guide Service on the New River. My friend, Ken, just had a 'follow' on a crankbait. I was throwing a fire tiger Mepps Musky Killer bucktail on Power Pro 80# Braid. On about the third cast after my friend's follow, this muskie hit my bucktail. It was a great fight and a great net job by Mike. As Mike and I were extracting the hook while the fish was in the net, I heard Ken yell out "Follow!" I looked and barely three feet from the net was a similar-sized muskie just sitting there. We and the fish were making a racket and there was another fish just parked there. Crazy fish!! The fish was safely unhooked and released in good health. We never keep fish, and Mike, on his website, states clearly that ALL fish will be released.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River - DC to Harpers Ferry. If you get out early in the morning or late in the evening, the smallmouth action on the Upper Potomac is good. In the middle of the day, the sun is your enemy -- especially as the temperatures blaze into the high 90s. Fish are probably smarter than we are as we wade or float down river, sweating bullets. The fish retreat to deep holes under shade to escape the heat and, if you can find those spots, work them hard! Fishing improved as the stain that was present a week ago has cleared up. Good spots continue to be up or downstream from Lander with the float from Lander to Point of Rocks a popular choice for a short trip. If you float or are willing to walk up the towpath and wade, the rapids downstream from 39.286488,-77.555948 are producing well right now. White's Ferry upstream on the Virginia side or the ledges around Harrison Island is another good spot to target. All of the river gages are close to their summer lows and we are in the best season for wading. If you do that, wear a PFD as you search for the deep spots that hold the fish. The standard arsenal is working well -- top water, plastics (worms and grubs), and even buzz baits near the shore. While you can float on the Upper Potomac, American Whitewater reports that both the Rappahannock and Rapidan remain below recommended levels. You will end up dragging your kayak or canoe more than you want to. In spite of the pressure, the Rappahannock upstream from Route 1 is productive. Wade up the middle of the river from the bridge and fish the deep run along the northern bank. Don't bother to wade around the northern side of Laucks Island - it's all shallow. Over on the Rapidan, if you can find rocks, you can find fish. If you are still looking for trout, I recommend you avoid the mountain streams given the stress the heat has placed on the brook trout population. Instead, fish the cold tailwater of the North Branch of the Potomac below Barnum.
Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. No report this edition.
Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. Chuck Perry reports that, while the heat has made the bass bite slow down considerably, sweet beavers have been effective. No word on crappie or cats. Some yellow perch have been landed with worms and crankbaits. A few bluegill have gone for worms on the Occoquan. The water is slightly stained and in the mid 80s.
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. No report this edition.
Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.
Stripers: July's weather has been one of the hottest on record, but not as hot as the striper fishing has been. For the last couple of weeks our clients have been averaging a minimum of 10 fish an hour, allowing them to enjoy a great fishing trip and being able to get off the water early enough to beat the heat. The stripers are schooled for the first 2 hours in the morning gorging themselves on herring, then by 9 a.m. their bellies are full, the schools break up and the bite turns off. The mouths of all the creeks, main lake flats and humps are producing the best catches. On cloudy days or low light conditions the schools are busting on the surface, Pencil poppers, Pop R's, and Spooks thrown nearby the breaking fish will catch fish on almost every cast. Trollers are catching fish on Deep diving Redfins with trailers, drop rigs and umbrella rigs. If you find the fish schooled, deep jigs and spoons will get you hooked up. Herring are producing the largest catches, use planner boards and free lines in the low light times of the day and downlines when the sun is bright. The morning of July 25th my clients limited out by 8:30 a.m.with 4 stripers over 10 pounds in 90 degree water. To view our catches check out Jim Hemby.
Bass: Main Lake work humps, ledges and points near channel bends and primary points that drop off quickly. Work 10 inch worms on Texas and Carolina rigs for the better fish in 15 to 25 feet of water. Bridges are holding nice bass, especially in the back of Contrary. Bass will turn on in the backs of the creeks and up the rivers if we get any cooling rains or cooling weather. The bass will relocate to the edges of the channel on bright days and move up on to the flats to feed on schools of bait. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits will work best here.
Crappie: Many anglers are catching very nice crappie at night on deep boat docks with lights on them. Two to three inch jigs and small to medium minnows are working well.
Catfish: These fish are feeding everywhere on the lake, especially below and behind the schools of stripers. They love medium to large live minnows on fish finder rigs.
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
Summer vacation can be an adventure when you travel across the country and participate in an outdoor adventure that you cannot do at home. For 16 year old Tyler Clements, a sophomore at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, a family vacation trip to California when he was ten years old provided a very memorable adventure mountain climbing. As the family left the city environs of their relatives in San Francisco and began their hike and climb up a rocky mountain slope, the natural environment brought sights and thrills that inspired him to see nature differently and more respectfully. 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? Write us and let us know.
Mountain Climbing in California
By Tyler Clements
A couple of years ago my family and I took a vacation to California to visit my cousins. The previous times we had visited we had gone to a San Francisco Giants game, went to Alcatraz, and other things that you would normally do when visiting the San Francisco area. This time on our trip we were doing something different, we were going to climb a mountain.
This mountain climbing was not exactly what you would expect if you were reading an adventure book or going to climb Mount Everest, but it was climbing a mountain none the less. It is a little bit less than 4,000 feet high, and it was called Mount Diablo.
It was a beautiful day for this adventure, about seventy degrees and sunny with a gentle breeze. We didn't actually start climbing at the very bottom of the mountain, because we drove a good way up before we parked and got out to eat a picnic style lunch. After we were done eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we got on our way. We started hiking up the mountain going over large boulders and stopping in the various caves to go exploring. Of course when we were exploring everything that we found suddenly became an ancient artifact that was an important part of American history.
After our exploring, hiking, and going over the simplest ledges, boulders, and rock formations we got to some actual rock climbing. We climbed up several cliffs that were all probably about twenty to thirty feet high. Some of these were difficult to climb because there were some trees growing around the cliffs and their leaves were starting to fall. The leaves would fall into the cracks and crevices that were good for foot holds and cause them to be much more slippery than usual. After all of the intermediate cliffs and parts of the mountain side we saw a taller cliff that was about fifty feet high and it was overlooking the mountain side.
We decided to climb this cliff to see the wonderful view from high up on the mountain. Up and up we went and finally reached the top. We all stood up there afraid to go near the edge because of the height and how scary it looked from up there. To try and be cool we would see who could get closest to the edge and other things that we thought were very daring at the time. Then we climbed off of the cliff and went the rest of the way up them mountain to see what it was like and to take pictures. Finally we hiked back down to the car and drove back to our cousins' house.
We left a couple of days later and flew back to Virginia Beach. This is still one of my most memorable outdoor events even though I was fairly young when this happened. Some people could argue that this was not a very exciting outdoor adventure but when you are ten years old it seems like the most exciting thing that will ever happen to you.
This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2008-09 High School Writing Competition by Tyler Clements , a sophomore at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach placed in the Top Twenty. 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: email@example.com
In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:
- Dove Hunting tips and opportunities
- Sportsman Shows Coming August-September
- How to Find a Hunter Education Class Near You