In this edition:

Gobblers, Trout, and Outdoor Adventure Perfect for Springtime Family Traditions

This March 9th edition has a long list of "wild events" coming this spring that offer a variety of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. There are outdoor events and indoor sportsman's shows that feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. And for many sportsmen the much anticipated Spring Gobbler season!! We also have the Big Game Harvest Results featured with photos of young brother and sister hunters and their grandpa, with there first bucks, using a special muzzleloader built by their grandpa and passed down to them to carry on the family hunting tradition and wonderful memories. This edition features the special Youth Turkey Hunt Day, April 2. It has been very exciting the last two months to see the growing number of 'sportsmen families' attending the outdoor shows around the state and signing up for the Outdoor Report. Seeing the families out there bodes well for the future of our treasured hunting and fishing heritage and traditions. The stories from our readers confirm the results of recent research that shows a majority of sportsmen are mentoring young people and how important it is to get the young kids outdoors—the younger they start, the more likely their participation will continue as adults and then teach their kids. Trout Heritage Day is also April 2. If you don't have a youngster to take spring gobbler hunting, or trout fishing—find one! Start your own 'family tradition.' Here's an idea—go turkey hunting in the morning, then go trout fishin' in the afternoon!! Make it a family tradition full of treasured memories...

David Coffman, Editor

Deer, Bear, Turkey 2010 Harvest Data Announced

Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) have compiled preliminary figures for deer, turkey, and bear harvests for the 2010-11 fall/winter hunting seasons. The white-tailed deer, bear and wild turkey harvests all declined this year from the previous year which was not a surprise. Exceptional acorn crops across the state coupled with other environmental conditions both this year and last as well as management actions to meet population objectives all factored into fluctuations in populations and harvest trends. The harvest figures continue to indicate that good hunting is available across the Commonwealth for these popular game species.

White-tailed Deer – This past deer season 219,797 deer were reported killed by hunters in Virginia. This total included 95,543 antlered bucks, 19,191 button bucks, and 105,063 does (47.8%). The fall 2010 deer kill total was 15% lower than the 259,147 deer reported killed last year. It is 3% lower than the last 10 year average of 227,430. More than 150,000 deer (68%) were checked using VDGIF 's telephone and Internet checking systems.

Black Bear – During the 2010-11 bear seasons 2,221 bears were reported killed during the archery, muzzleloader, and firearms seasons. The 2010 harvest was a 3.6% decrease from last year 's kill of 2,304, but similar to the 2008 harvest of 2,204 bears. In 2010, bears were harvested in 69 counties with successful bear hunters coming from 18 states other than Virginia. Equaling the average over the last five years, female bears, or sows, represented 39% of the 2010 harvest, which was less than the 42% sows in the 2009 harvest. The top five general firearms counties were Rockingham (128 bears harvested), Bath (115), Augusta (89), Highland (87) and Nelson (87). The 2010-2011 bear seasons represented a very typical harvest year and reinforce the fact that Virginia continues to maintain a high and healthy population of bears.

Fall Wild Turkey – In Virginia, 2,687 turkeys were harvested during the 2010-2011 fall turkey season. This harvest was 24% below last year 's reported kill of 3,538 birds. The harvest declined 34% in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (1,664 last year versus 1,102 this year). Counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains decreased 15 percent (1,874 vs. 1,585). Bedford led all counties with a harvest of 92 birds. Most of the harvest was reported on private lands. Thirty-seven birds were harvested on the Youth Fall Day Hunt. The harvest was not surprising given the exceptional acorn crops seen across Virginia this past fall.

For details on these bulleted topics, read the full Press Release. For more information about white-tailed deer, black bears and wild turkeys, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. The website also contains information about wildlife management, hunting regulations, and hunting opportunities within the Commonwealth.

Reminder... just 32 days till Spring Gobbler Season opens April 9th!

Virginia Reservoirs Ranked For Largemouth Bass Fishing

VDGIF aquatic biologists spend considerable effort and resources to manage, enhance, and protect largemouth bass populations in Virginia 's public fishing reservoirs, lakes, and ponds. Most of these waters are sampled each year, or every few years, to assess current largemouth bass population parameters such as age and growth, spawning success, and size distribution. These population samples are generally collected using daytime, boat electrofishing gear targeting largemouth bass and are conducted in a manner that allows several comparisons to be made concerning fish populations. Since many Virginia anglers target largemouth bass, and fish larger than 15 inches are considered "preferred" nationwide; the following summary contains information about bass over 15 inches (preferred size).

Relative stock density of preferred fish (RSD-P below) is the proportion of bass in a population over eight inches (stock size or recruits) that are also at least 15 inches. Thus, this index describes the size structure of the population and the bigger the number, the higher the percentage of big bass (>15 inches) in the population. Catch-per-unit-effort of preferred fish (CPUE-P below) is a measure of how many bass over 15 inches are collected by biologists during a set unit of effort (in this case, 1-hour of electrofishing). Thus, the higher the number, the more abundant big bass were during the sample. View the summary of the data with lakes ranked by CPUE-P and divided into the four management regions of the state. Those lakes ranked at the top of the table will provide excellent opportunities for anglers to catch quality largemouth bass. This is a guide for anglers to use and not necessarily the entire picture of Virginia bass fisheries but it will provide a good place to start.

Do You Use Wildlife Management Areas For Your Outdoor Recreation?

If So, VDGIF Wants to Talk with You.

Wildlife Management Area User Study to include workshop meetings in March

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) owns more than 201,000 acres on 39 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) located across the Commonwealth. The land was acquired primarily to conserve wildlife habitat and to provide wildlife-related recreational opportunities for the public. These areas were purchased and are maintained using Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Funds derived from excise taxes assessed on hunting and fishing equipment and supplies; hunting, trapping and fishing license revenues; and a variety of other funding sources including grants from partner organizations.

While WMAs were initially purchased by the agency to be used by hunters and anglers (many WMAs contain public lakes or have access to public waters), these largely undeveloped lands are also used by bird watchers, boaters, hikers, horseback riders, participants in field dog trials, and others. That's a lot of people who have an interest in Virginia's Wildlife Management Areas.

To gain stakeholder input regarding recreational use and land management of WMAs, VDGIF Bureau of Wildlife Resources staffs and researchers from Virginia Tech's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences will hold public workshop meetings on five evenings in March. At the request of VDGIF, Virginia Tech researchers completed a year-long study in September 2010 that examined recreational use on WMAs in Virginia. The March workshops are the next step in a multi-year process of assessing use of and developing a statewide management plan for Virginia's WMAs.

Three workshop meetings remain on weeknight evenings in mid-March. The dates, times, and locations of workshop meetings are as follows:

Thursday, March 10 (7:00-9:00 PM): DGIF Richmond Office, 4010 W. Broad Street, Richmond

Wednesday, March 16 (7:00-9:00 PM): Augusta Co. Government Center (South Board Room), 18 Government Center Lane, Verona

Thursday, March 17 (7:00-9:00 PM): Wytheville Community College (122 Smyth Hall), 1000 East Main Street, Wytheville

The public is invited to attend and to discuss goals and concerns regarding recreational use and land management on the WMAs. For information on WMAs contact David Norris, VDGIF, 804-829-6580. To help VDGIF plan, please call or email Amy Carrozzino at Virginia Tech (, 540-231-0961) if you plan to attend one of the meetings.

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

The Virginia General Assembly which convened January 13, 2011, has completed it 's legislative agenda. To keep you informed we have provided several links related to the legislative action this session. There was a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that can affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner, or concerned citizen. Status of legislation can be found on the following link.

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

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Virginia Trappers Annual Fur Sale March 12 at Augusta Expo

The Virginia Trappers Association Annual Fur Sale is scheduled Saturday, March 12 at Augusta Expoland in Fishersville. This will be an auction forum with a 3% commission on all fur sold. The sale will start at 8 a.m. The building will be open at 6:30 a.m. for dealer set up and pre-registered sellers. Pre-registration is open March 1-10 by calling Charlaine Crebbs (540) 832-2708. Dealers should call Glen Mabe (540) 860-2634. For more information visit the Virginia Trappers Association website.

53rd Annual Highland Maple Festival March 11-20

Fishing Report contributor for Lake Moomaw, local guide, Mike "Puff" Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, with Maple Tree Outdoors, reports that the snow is melting finally and with the cold weather, he and the family have been busy getting their gear ready and 'tuning' their calls for Spring Gobbler Season. He is already excited about taking his granddaughter hunting for her third spring gobbler during the special Youth Turkey Hunt Day April 2. Check out the feature article in the February 2010 edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine by Ken Perrotte on Puff and his unique hunting, fishing, and outdoor adventure opportunities at Southernmost Maple, his family mountain farm where the hospitality is wonderfully 'down home' in the peaceful and beautiful Highland County mountain setting. Puff extends a personal invitation to you all to come visit during the upcoming 53rd Annual Highland Maple Festival, March 11-20. There are lots of fun activities for the whole family, not to mention great food with a sweet maple syrup flair in the area known as "Virginia's Switzerland." The fishin' should be pickin' up by then too!

Urban Survival Seminar In Richmond March 13

Would you know what to do if the power went out, the water stopped flowing and the grocery stores and gas stations were closed or inaccessible? When most people think of survival training they envision learning about outdoor wilderness outings gone bad, yet every year thousands of people endure survival situations in their own homes. Remember, if you are caught unprepared even a winter snowstorm or spring flood can turn into a catastrophic event. The Urban Survival Seminar is being presented at the Eastern Martial Arts Center in Richmond March 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This program includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Optional classes include: Finding Water, Preparing your Home, Family, and Pets, Controlling Hyper & Hypothermia, Proper Clothing to Manage Your Environment, Heating and Cooling Your House Without Electricity, Tips and Tricks, Identifying Security Issues, Personal Safety, Storing and Preparing Food, and many more. Cost of seminar is $35 if not pre-registered by March 4, and covers all programming and instructor fees. To register contact Roy Hutchinson at:, or call (877) 614-5289. Check out the Wilderness Discovery School website.

Fredericksburg Outdoor Adventure & Gun-Knife Show Features Fishing Pros March 18-20

The 4th Fredericksburg Outdoor Adventures Show this year will also include the Fredericksburg Gun-Knife Show with a variety of vendors and attractions that appeal to hunters, boaters and fisherman of all ages. That's two shows for the price of one, March 18-20, 2011. Your ticket is good for admission all weekend and kids 12 and under are FREE. The Gun –Knife Show portion of the show will have hundreds of tables of guns and knives and accessories from quality dealers. The traveling "Hawg" Tank filled with a variety of quality fish will provide the background for many fishing seminars by the area's foremost experts on the Woods & Waters Magazine Pro Team. Meet Bill "Bear Crazy" Wiesner, an expert bow hunter, teacher, author and designer for the archery industry. Other top attractions include the FREE hunting and fishing seminars, Dog Training Seminars Doug Deats, the Virtual Fishing Simulator, Trout Pond, Kids Kasting Contest, various hunting and fishing adventure trips and suppliers, plus a variety of hunting and fishing information from the VDGIF. Take in one of Hilarious Comedian Bassmeister "Curt Strutz" shows, a comedian and ventriloquist with his talking bass. Staff from the Outdoor Report will be there to meet subscribers and sign up new subscribers. Stop by the VDGIF booth and complete a short Reader Survey, or sign up a new subscriber to receive a free safety whistle or carabineer. Visit their website for more details.

Virginia Living Museum Hosts Fly Tying and Casting Workshop March 19

Virginia Coastal Fly Anglers will present a one-day workshop at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News for those interested in learning and/or improving their fly fishing skills. Learn to tie three to four flys, how to throw your line to a fish, tie basic knots, match a rod to a reel and line. All materials are provided or you can bring your own equipment. Fly fishing merchandise coupons will be given to all participants. For adults, plus ages 12-16 with an adult. 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost $40 VLM members, $50 non-members. Register in advance at (757) 595-9135.

Augusta NWTF Hosts JAKES Shooting Workshop March 19th

The Augusta County Chapter of NWTF in partnership with VDGIF and Shenandale Gun Club Will host a JAKES Shooting workshop for youth on Saturday, March 19 at the Shenandale Gun Club Property near Buffalo Gap. The workshop includes hands-on classes covering Introduction to Shotgun, Archery, Air Rifle, Skeet shooting and hands on demonstration of turkey calls, target shooting, etc. Registration and check-in: 8 AM to 8:30 PM, Lunch: noon to1 PM, workshop ending at 4 PM. Register early as space is limited . Registration fee of $10 covers membership for 2011 to join the J.A.K.E.S. program.. Other sponsors include Cargill Foods, Pepsi- Cola of Shenandoah Valley , and "Peck 's" B.B.Q. Quality Deer Management Association- Rockingham Branch, will provide a gun to give away to a youngster attending the event! Instead of a covered dish, we ask that each person attending bring a few cans of non-perishable canned food to be donated to a local food pantry! For more information contact: Jan or Eddy Pitsenbarger @ 337-6902, Lennie or Bonita Tolley @ 248-4564 or visit the VA NWTF website.

White Stone Hosts 32nd Rappahannock River Waterfowl Art Show March 19-20

The 32nd Rappahannock River Waterfowl Show is a unique art festival showcasing all forms of wildfowl art including paintings, sculpture, carvings, prints, decoys, photography, jewelry and taxidermy. On March 19-20, the small town of White Stone, on the Rappahannock River near the Chesapeake Bay will host one of the highest quality art shows, attracting nationally prominent artists from all over the Eastern US. Our own staff artist, Spike Knuth from Mechanicsville, has been a regular at the Whitestone Show for over 20 years and always has several sought after, new originals and signed limited edition prints for sale. Spike's art is regularly featured in Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! column in the Outdoor Report. The VA Waterfowlers Association will also have an exhibit showcasing their youth hunting and habitat conservation projects. VAWFA members will also have VDGIF program materials and information on upcoming events of interest to outdoor enthusiasts including, wildlife watching, boating, fishing and hunting. For more information visit

Hunters Helping Kids Hosting Annual Banquet in Waynesboro March 25

The Waynesboro Valley Chapter of Hunters Helping Kids is hosting their annual Fundraising and Recognition Banquet in Waynesboro at the Best Western Conference Center, Friday March 25th. Hunters Helping Kids, Inc. (HHK) is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to inspire and educate our youth in wildlife conservation and management. Virginia representative Dennis Campbell notes, "It is our belief that by involving our youth in outdoor shooting sports, the desire to preserve the conservation and hunting heritage will endure through future generations. It's all about the kids!" To reserve tickets, or for more information on hunting events, or to volunteer to help with a hunt for youngsters, who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience an outdoor adventure, visit:, or contact: Dennis Campbell (540) 529-2202,

Kid 's Trout Fishing Day at Old Cossy Pond In Fredericksburg March 26

The annual Kid 's Trout Fishing Event at Old Cossy Pond in Fredericksburg is scheduled for Saturday, March 26. VDGIF Fisheries Biologists Steve Owens notes that the pond will be closed to fishing on Friday, March 25, 2011 and stocked with trout for the event. Fishing will commence for kid 's 12 and under at 9 am and last till 3 am. After 3 pm the pond will reopen to the general public of all ages. Registration for this free event will begin ~8 am on March 26. A limited number of loaner rod/reels will be available for children that may be in need of fishing gear for the event. Old Cossey Pond is located near the corner of Mary Ball Street and Kenmore Avenue in the City of Fredericksburg adjacent to the Dog Park. For additional information contact the Fredericksburg VDGIF Office (540) 899-4169.

Virginia Bats at Risk is Topic of Lecture Series at VA Living Museum March 6 & May 1

The mysterious White Nose Syndrome (WNS) that has killed hundreds of thousands of bats in the northeastern U.S. has been confirmed in some Virginia counties. Learn what is known about WNS, the current status of WNS in our state, which bats are affected and what the spread of WNS may mean to Virginia's caves and other wildlife in this lecture at the Virginia Living Museum 1 p.m. Part of the museum's Sunday lecture series. Included in museum admission of $17 adults, $13 ages 3-12.

Wildlife Center of Virginia Hosts Spring 2011 Open-Houses

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has scheduled six open houses for Spring 2011. These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the Waynesboro facility, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center's education ambassadors.
The open houses will be held on:

The Center will have three separate sessions each day – at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Each session lasts about an hour. As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public. The seasonal open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Center. There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required by calling (540) 942-9453 or A limited number of spaces are available for each session. Larger groups [school groups, scout troops, etc.] are encouraged to contact the Center's Outreach Department to make alternate arrangements.

During the open house, visitors will tour the Center's building, including the medical clinic [examination room, operating room, etc.]. In addition, visitors will get to "meet" the Center's education animals – some of the 20 non-releasable animals that the Center's education staff uses in school assemblies and classroom presentations. Every year, more than 2,000 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to opossums to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. "The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild," Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said. "At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release."

The Wildlife Center of Virginia "On the Road" Rehabilitation Classes Scheduled in March

The Wildlife Center of Virginia Director of Outreach Amanda Nicholson announces the Center's "On the Road" wildlife rehabilitation classes for this spring as follows:

March 19th: Bridgewater College -Bridgewater
Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation
Wildlife Capture, Restraint, Handling, and Transportation

Registration for classes scheduled June 25 in Lynchburg and August 24 in Charlottesville will be open for registration later in April. For registration contact Amanda Nicholson at (540) 942-9453 or email Find more information on the Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

Celebrate Trout Heritage Weekend with the Kids in Madison April 2-3

The Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited and VDGIF partner with Graves Mountain Lodge the first Saturday –Sunday in April for Trout Heritage Day and Kid's Fishing Day. Several hundred trout are stocked along a private section of the Rose River, solely for children under the age of 12 to experience the joy of fishing. This popular event was so busy last year that the sponsors agreed to make it a 2-day affair. Come join us on April 2-3 to support Kid's Day and Trout Heritage Day at Graves Mountain Lodge in Madison County adjacent to Shenandoah National Park. Check the vdgif website for details.

View the Kids Fishing Day video »

Basic Trapper Training Course April 2 in Bedford

The Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) is sponsoring the Basic Trapper Training Course, Saturday, April 2, from 7:45 am to 5:30 pm at the Bedford Moose Lodge #1897 in Bedford. This class is free but pre-registration is required. All youths under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Bring your own lunch or take your chances with the chili provided by the instructors. For directions and pre-registration contact: Greg Mason Tel: 434-525-7266; email: For information on VTA and other training and trapping opportunities, visit their website.

Clean River Day For Blackwater-Nottoway Scheduled April 2

Clean River Day is scheduled April 2 as a community effort to clean up the Blackwater & Nottoway watershed. This clean up is accomplished by teams and individuals going out on our rivers, streams and ditches, paring lots and picking up litter, trash and other junk. Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner notes, "It is a great opportunity for folks to contribute to the health of the watershed community they live in. We will provide litter getters and bags for those who need them. Teams or individuals can pick their own locations or I can find you one. My advice is to now start looking around at river and swamp bridge crossings or ditches in your area and be scoping out a place for you or your team to go after. Teams can pick what time of day they want to work and how long. Teams need to keep count of bag and participant totals and totals of tires etc. Make note of your "most unusual item found" and be sure to take pictures to send to me." More details will follow when you sign up. Email at or call me at 757-562-5173 to get signed up. This is a community event, get your group involved this year, it is a big event with big rewards and recognition for all that participate.

Wilderness Survival & Outdoor Skills Weekend at Cumberland April 8-10

Do you want to know the basics of wildland survival, or increase your knowledge and advance your outdoor skills? Are you just looking for a fun get away to challenge yourself and put your skills to the test? The Wilderness Discovery School is hosting a Basic Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Skills Weekend April 8-10 on their property in Cumberland. The program includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Optional classes include: Basics of Survival - What to think about to stay alive, Primitive Shelter - Space Blankets to Debris Huts, Water & Wild Edibles - Finding Water and Food, Situational Awareness – Use and detection of camouflage, Fire Craft - Making and maintaining a fire without matches, Managing Hypo/Hyperthermia. Each participant will learn how to build their own survival kit . Learn knowledge and skills to last a lifetime! Cost of workshop is $50 and covers all programming and instructor fees. Pre-registration required. Contact Roy Hutchinson, email:, Check out the Wilderness Discovery School website or call (877) 614-5289.

Fishing Camp at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center April 15-17

This weekend specialty camp is designed for boys and girls ages 9-13 and has something to offer for all skill levels. Whether your youngster is interested in learning to fish or has been fishing for years and would like to hone their skills, they will love this camp. Class instructors will include experienced fisherman and experts in the field of fish and wildlife sciences. Class topics include; Canoeing, Knot Tying, Casting, Fish Identification, and there will be a fish shocking demonstration by VDGIF biologists. For more information or to register, visit the 4-H Center website or call the 4-H Center Office at (434) 248-5444. Cost $75. Registration Deadline: April 1, 2011.

11th Virginia Fly Fishing Festival Celebrated in Waynesboro April 16-17

Fly anglers from across the country will celebrate the 11th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival on April 16-17, 2011. Held on the banks of the South River in Waynesboro, the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is the largest outdoor fly fishing event in the country that offers on-stream instruction. Only here can you learn all the latest techniques from the experts and then walk right over to the river and try them for yourself. The festival features small-group casting classes with fly fishing and fly tying experts from across the Mid-Atlantic. Members of the Federation of Fly Fishers will help children catch native brook trout from an on-site Children 's Catch and Release Tout Pool and then release them into the South River (with the help of their parents). Members of the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders Club, the largest FFF Club in Virginia, will also provide paid spey casting classes and offer basic fly tying tips to beginners.

The highlight of the weekend is the Festival Foundation Dinner sponsored by Dominion, at which the festival committee presents the 2011 Virginia Fly Angler of the Year Award. Visit the website for ticket information and other details. This year 's festival sponsors include: Temple Fork Outfitters, Dominion, Subaru, Orvis, Hanover Fly Fishers, Augusta Health, DuPont Community Credit Union, Eastern Fly Fishing, the City of Waynesboro, Montana Fly Company, Blue Ridge Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Virginia Sportsman, Appomattox River Company, The Georgetowner, Mid-Valley Press, Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders, and Waynesboro Downtown Development Inc. There will be raffles, live music and fun for the entire family from beginner to expert angler. Daily admission to the festival is $15 per person, and the festival runs from 9 AM to5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. For more information about the festival, visit

NRA Metallic Cartridge Reloading Classes Offered in Covington April 23 & May 7

Would you like to reduce your ammo costs and improve your shooting percentages? Then you need to be reloading your own ammo. Reloading costs less and your can tune your loads to your firearms individually!! There will be two NRA Metallic Cartridge Reloading classes offered on the following dates: April 23 & May 7 at NRA Instructor Mike Landis ' home in Covington. Each class covers all aspects of Basic Reloading; getting started, choosing equipment, and actual loading ammo. All safety guidelines are also covered as well as storing powder and primers correctly. The cost for either class will be $75, this is a non-refundable fee, and includes your NRA Packet and all other handouts. Classes start at 8:45 AM till 5:30 PM. Class size is LIMITED. The deadline for registration for April 23 rd class is April 9th and the deadline for the May 7th Class is April 16th. Contact Mike Landis, NRA Instructor @ (540) 965-0204 or at, for more information about the classes. You may also register at the NRA Website online.

Virginia Living Museum to Host Sporting Clay Classic in Providence Forge April 30

The Virginia Living Museum is hosting a Sporting Clay Classic Saturday, April 30, At the Old Forge Sporting Clay range in Providence Forge. There will be teams for Men, Women, and Youth. The Four-Person Teams will shoot on 12 stations. Proceeds from this event go to support the education and conservation programs of the museum. For information and registration visit for details, or call (757) 534-7487.

Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation Hosts Shooting Event in Remington April 30

The Northern Virginia Chapter 16 Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation™ will host its annual youth and adult shooting event Saturday, April 30, at the Shady Grove Kennel in Remington from 7 AM to 2 PM. Adult sporting clay shooters (age 13+) will get 50 target sporting clays, lunch, drinks and chance at winning top shooting prizes. Shells not included. Youth shooters will get 15 targets 5-stand shooting, 25 rounds of 22 and BB gun shooting, food and drinks plus a chance to win a top gun prize if person shoots highest combined score at shotgun, .22 rifle and BB gun. All youth shooting ammo costs included. Shotguns (12, 20 and 410 gauges) will be provided. Payment accepted at door. Other activities include, demonstration, door prizes, raffles, and silent auction.

The purpose of the event is to get adults and young people actively involved in the great outdoors and to learn the importance of wildlife habitat restoration and management. QUWF Chapter Chairman AC Duckworth commented, "Most of the funds raised in the region are used in that region for habitat improvement and youth projects. We are a member of the Virginia Quail Initiative and are working on partnerships with farm owners and the National Park Service on quail and upland wildlife habitat restoration projects." This is the Chapter 's annual fund raising event and promises to be a fun time for all participants. More information about Shady Grove can be found at For more information about the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation™, a 501(C)(3) national conservation organization founded in 2009, or to register for the Shooting Event, contact AC Duckworth, Chapter Chairman, at 540-840-5892 or visit website:

People and Partners in the News

Students, Teachers Fired Up About NASP

National Archery in the Schools Program Statewide Tournament Results

Individual student winners of the NASP State Tournament proudly pose with their trophies and Tournament sponsors. L-R Charles Hoskins, representative for sponsor Organo Gold Coffee presenting Scholarship checks, along with VDGIF COO Matt Koch; VA Male Champion, Blake Glover- 9th grade, Atlee High School, Hanover; VA Female Champion Emma Pearman, 7th grade, Northside Middle School Roanoke; Karen Holson, VDGIF VA State NASP Coordinator, and Robin Daniels from Organo Gold Coffee .

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) conducted the Third Annual National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Statewide Tournament on Saturday, February 26, 2011, at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell with a fired up crowd of students, teachers, coaches, parents, and other spectators. This year more than 500 youth registered to participate and 26 elementary, middle, and high schools were represented.

This statewide tournament is the culminating event for Virginia schools participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Virginia has more than 155,000 students at more than 400 schools participating in NASP and those students and coaches are on fire with participation growing from more than 90,000 Virginia students at more than 160 schools just three years ago at the first statewide tournament. The program is coordinated by the VDGIF Outdoor Education staff. According to Outdoor Education Supervisor and Statewide NASP Coordinator Karen Holson, "NASP is growing rapidly as teachers see the tremendous positive impact of the program on their students. The popularity of the tournament is a testament to how enthusiastic coaches, teachers, parents and student archers are about the benefits of NASP."

The National Wild Turkey Federation Virginia State Chapter provided each first place team with a check for $1,700 to help cover the cost of traveling to Kentucky to represent Virginia at the National NASP Tournament. Other sponsors of the statewide tournament included Mathews Bows; Green Top Sporting Goods; Wilcox Bait & Tackle; Hunt N Shak; Parker Bows; Bass Pro Shops; Morrell Targets, Inc.; Organo Gold Coffee; Gander Mountain; Learnt It Outdoors LLC; and Hoffman Archery.

Introduced this year was the Coaches Shoot-Off after the last flight of student archers concluded. The arena erupted with school cheers as the coaches from the participating NASP schools shot from the 15 meter line. After several elimination rounds, the spirited competition resulted in Sarah Jones of Northside High School in Roanoke, and Bruce Lovelace of Chickahominy Middle School in Hanover County being named Virginia Champion NASP Coaches for 2011.

The Coaches Shoot-Off was followed by the Individual Champion Shoot-Off which consisted of the three highest scoring males and females from each of the three divisions. The divisions are consistent with the format used at the National NASP Tournament which defines them as Elementary School (4-6th grade), Middle School (7-8th grade) and High School (9-12th grade). Any student participating in a NASP school can compete in the individual category without being part of a team. The 30 archers shot from the 15 meter line in an elimination round. The two highest scoring male and female shooters awarded Overall Individual Virginia Champions were: Girl-- Emma Pearman, Northside Middle School, Roanoke and Boy --Blake Glover, Atlee High School, Hanover.

The Virginia State NASP Championship Team with the highest scoring team at the tournament was Warwick High School in Newport News. The team score is made up of the top four male, top four female scores, and next four highest scores of the team. Teams can have between 16 and 24 participants with a minimum of five of opposite gender. Students can compete individually or form a school team of 16-24 members.

Overall Virginia Champion Team with a score of 3207, Warwick High School from Newport News, Coach Michael Cooke, Pictured with VDGIF Chief Operating Officer Matt Koch.

VA Outdoor Writers Annual Meeting at Bear Creek Lake State Park April 13-15

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association will hold their Annual Meeting at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland April 13-15, 2011. President Terry Lewis notes, "This year we 're doing something different than anything we 've ever done in the past. The Virginia State Parks are celebrating their 75th anniversary and have offered us special accommodations and activities for our meeting. This provides a great opportunity for members to get some terrific story material, excellent photos, and a wonderful time to get to know the other members of our Association." The program will feature the winners of the High School and Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Competitions. Guest speakers will be Joe Elton, Director of the Virginia State Parks, and Bob Duncan, Executive Director of VDGIF. There will be reports of activities by members and supporters and election of officers and board members for 2011-12. Networking opportunities and an exchange of information about VOWA for those interested in being more active in their association will continue during the post-meeting get together. Dominion Resources is a primary sponsor for this event. For advance registration to determine attendance and meal reservations, contact Linda Layser or call (540) 490-0353. Visit the VOWA website for details.

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

Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Annual Conference March 18 – 21

The Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association (M-DOWA) will hold their Annual Conference and Awards Banquet at the Holiday Inn Conference Center and Marina, located in the beautiful historic waterfront town of Solomon's, Maryland March 31 to April 3, 2011. Alex Zidock, President, M-DOWA notes that the cost is low and the benefits are high. There are tours planned to visit the Morgan State Estaurine Research Center and Biological Lab, then get on the Patuxent River for a trip to the oyster beds. Also visit area nature preserves, wetlands and museums. For conference information visit the M-DOWA website, or contact Alex Zidock Conference Chair at (570) 857-1557,

Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Events in Spring

Hunting, fishing and outdoor skills building workshops for disabled persons will be hosted by the VA NWTF chapter of the Wheelin' Sportsmen Program this spring with details posted on their website in PDF format. In the current issue of the VA NWTF Gobbler Tracks newsletter, available on the website, you'll find articles about their exciting Spring events. VA Wheelin' Sportsman Coordinator Mike Deane reports, "There are several spring gobbler hunts scheduled all over Virginia, and we encourage anyone with a disability to apply for these hunts. There is no charge for our events, and they are open to anyone with a disability. Our NWTF Chapters have worked hard to arrange these hunts, so please plan to participate. In addition, we are always looking for new hunt hosts or volunteers to help with our events." If you are interested in hosting or helping with an event, contact Mike Deane, tel (434) 996-8508 or

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen (VAWS) Spring Gobbler Hunt Schedule

If you have a disability and would like to participate, select your choice of hunts in order of preference, 1st, 2nd, etc. to be entered into the hunt draw. Application deadline is April 1st. Application available on the VANWTF website.

Hunts offered are as follows:

Hunters must comply with the following Requirements in order to participate:

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen (VAWS) Trout Fishing Events

If you have a disability and would like to participate, select your choice of fishing events and complete the Application available on the VANWTF website. Mail or email completed Application by deadline of April 20 to Mike Deane

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:

Been There - Done That! Can't Wait to Go Again...

Editor's note: One of my New Year's resolutions was to get out in the field as much as possible and participate in a variety of the great events and activities that we write about each edition of the Outdoor Report. In this new Section called "Been there – done that! Can't wait to go again...", here's the 'rest of the story' from my observations participating in this memorable expo event...

Sportsman's Expo Benefits Orange Student Angler Club and Community

The energy and enthusiasm generated by the OCHS teen anglers is infectious! The 7th Annual Orange County Fishing and Sportsman Expo held February 19-20 at the Hornet Sports Center in Orange is a testament to a school and community working together to put on a good show that benefits everyone. This unique outdoor sports expo is sponsored by the "Nation's Outstanding Junior B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Chapter", the Orange County High School 4-H and B.A.S.S. Angler's Club. There were exhibits featuring hunting and fishing guides, gear, artwork, taxidermy, boats and more. Teen club members showed younger kids fishing techniques in the trout fishing pond. Young anglers also participated in an official ESPN BASS Casting Kids Competition. VDGIF and other conservation organizations provided information on the great fishing and skill building workshop opportunities statewide. There were seminars on all kinds of fishing and VDGIF Volunteer Boating Education Instructors conducted boater safety classes throughout the weekend. A special note of "well done" to Club Coach, Advisor, Mentor and all around "go to gal", Earth Science Teacher Becky Gore who has developed this team of well-mannered, enthusiastic, dedicated, hard working student anglers into the 'best of the best.' The Orange community should be very proud of this team and how they conduct all their activities with excellence and passion for community service, sportsmanship and resource conservation. For information on how you can start a Teen Angler's club in your school, contact Becky Gore, Youth Advisor OCHS Anglers, at (540) 661-4300 ext 1154. There are currently similar Clubs in Frederick County, Warrenton and Broad Run High School in Loudoun. Get your kids hooked on fishing! You will all be better for it—just ask any parent, teacher, or student fishing club member at OCHS!

Photos by David Coffman, Editor unless otherwise noted.

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.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

Planning to Take a Youngster on a Spring Gobbler Hunt? Schedule a Hunter Education Class Now!

Now is the time to enroll in a Hunter Education Class for spring gobbler season. Class schedules are available on the VDGIF website. Hunter Education is mandatory for all hunters age 12 and older.

Don't forget about the special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt that will take place on Saturday, April 2, 2011, for youth age 15 and under. Youth hunters between the ages of 12-15 must have appropriate valid hunting licenses. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult. See the Department's website or Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations and Information digest for more information on Hunter Education requirements. The youth turkey hunt is a great way for an experienced hunter to introduce a youngster to the great outdoors. If you cannot schedule a hunter education class before the season begins, there is the option of getting an Apprentice Hunting License. See article below for details.

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

Volunteer VDGIF Hunter Education Instructors do much more than teach the required Hunter Education Courses, they also develop and assist with outdoor skills training events such as Becoming an Outdoor Woman workshops, sportsman show exhibits and other Special Youth Hunts throughout the year for deer, rabbit, waterfowl, squirrel and much more. To become involved as a Hunter Education Instructor, contact Sgt. David Dodson at Please include your locality in the e-mail.

Remember, only 24 days until the Youth Spring Gobbler Turkey Hunt Day,
April 2, 2011! See our website for details.

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

We're looking for some good deer, squirrel, rabbit, bear, and turkey hunting photos from youth, or novice hunters. Congratulations to those who have taken the time and commitment to mentor a young or novice hunter-- the dads and moms, uncles, aunts, grandparents, or friends for discovering the passion for the outdoors and providing this most important opportunity for developing new traditions, resulting in wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Keep sending in great photos of smiling young hunters. Also, any unusual pictures or stories from any hunters are considered for posting. The pictures need to be in good taste for publication—minimal blood, classic pose, etc. Our award-winning professional photographers offer a few tips on composition of your photos so as to capture the moment with a good photo—consider background, good light, contrast, and have both young hunter and mentor in the photo, especially father-daughter, or mother-son, etc. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction.

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

David Coffman, Editor

Ryan's First Buck Spike? Or 8 Pointer?

Travis Jones from Warrenton sent in this curious hunting story about the first , and somewhat unique buck killed by his 10 year old son Ryan. Two years ago Travis sent us the story and photo of Ryan 's first deer a doe and his sisters Erin 's first deer she killed with a special T/C .45 cal muzzleloader created by Grandpa Mike Jones, who is also a volunteer VDGIF Hunter Education Instructor. He modified this special smokepole with a cut down stock for the grandkids to use. Travis reports, " It was a great Veterans Day morning on November 11, 2010 . School was out so I took the day off to take Ryan hunting. I have game cameras on the family property here in Fauquier County and had seen a lot of nice bucks big and small. I kept asking my son since he 'd gotten a doe for his first deer 2 years ago and just 5 days earlier he got a doe with the muzzleloader would he shoot one of the spikes we got on the camera 's or let it pass for a bigger buck. He said he 'd like to get a nice 8 pointer, but he 'd never gotten a buck so if God gave him a chance at a spike he 'd be grateful.

That morning not long after light we saw a deer coming down a fence row between the woods and open field. We could tell it was a buck, but not sure if it was a spike or an 8 pointer. One minute in the scope Ryan said it looked like a spike, then it looked like a nice buck. He was headed away and towards a creek bottom when I said, 'get ready ' and not wasting time, I just used my mouth to make a bleat call. The buck stopped. Then started to walk again so I bleated again. He stopped, then started to walk. I bleated again and he stopped, then turned and walked over the corner of the fence then stood for second and jumped the fence. He came in fairly quickly and ended up only 20 yards away below the stand. All this time Ryan had to act quick and move the gun. At the point he moved the gun due to trees, the buck stopped and looked right up at us. I immediately could tell this buck would not stay long and I said you have to shoot now Ryan. Within less than a second the gun went off and the buck dropped. Ryan made a great shot- a double lung hit. The photo tells the story why we were not sure the type of rack. He got both types of bucks, half spike/half nice 8 pointer. Ryan really likes the unique look of his first buck. I found the front right hoof was messed up on this buck which is why the left antler I believe didn 't fully develop. It was another great day to be outdoors with my son making memories for life.

Can you guess what may have caused this odd antler arrangement; spike on one side, 8 point typical on other side? We'll have the "official" answer from VDGIF Deer Project Leader Matt Knox in the March 23rd edition. Send me your answer via email... First correct reply wins a 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar

License Options for Novice Hunters

Take a look at an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. Apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license. Be sure to check out the new Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted on YouTube. The video is an overview of how the Apprentice Hunter program works. Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, stars of the Outdoor Channel program, "The Crush with Lee & Tiffany," have a special video message to take the time to introduce a friend or youngster to the great outdoors with an Apprentice Hunting License.

There are youth and family-friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsmen event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.

Remember to make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry when you purchase your licenses through the convenient check-off option- give $5 to show you care for those in need!

Is it a Gobbler or a Hen? The Beard is Not the Best Clue!

Although commonly called Spring "Gobbler" Season, the legal description allows that "bearded turkeys only" may be harvested. This is because 10-20 percent of hens may grow beards and could be mistaken for a bearded gobbler. Even though it is legal to harvest a bearded hen, take a good look and determine if your quarry is truly a gobbler. Hens have a fuzzy, blue-gray head - a gobbler's head is red and white. Gobblers will appear black in color while hens will be more brownish due to the buff color tips on the breast feathers. Although harder to see at a distance, only gobblers have leg spurs. Many sportsmen will pass up the hen with a beard to help the population grow a little. Remember as you take youngsters afield with you, always set a good example for safety and ethics. Teaching these hunting heritage traditions to the next generation are the most important lessons we as sportsmen and sportswomen can make.

New Special Conservation Order Season for Light Geese February 1 - March 26

Are you still looking for some goose hunting in Eastern Virginia? Vance Shearin who staffs the Information Desk at the VDGIF Richmond HQ notes that the new Conservation Order Season for Light Geese could be for you. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in cooperation with VDGIF has developed a special late season for the hunting of "Light Geese" and have enacted special rules and hunting methods to help control this goose population. Light Geese include: Greater Snow Geese, Lesser Snow Geese, and Ross' Geese. The Conservation Order Season (COS) is open from February 1 through March 26. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit for this special season. Also there are some special hunting methods for this season including; use of electronic calls, and unplugged shotguns, as well as extended shooting hours to ½ hour after sunset. This special season is only open in the Conservation Order Season Zone, which is the same as the AP Canada Goose Zone – the area east of the Stafford/King George County line from the Potomac River south to the Rappahannock River, then west along the Stafford County line to Interstate 95, then south along I-95 to Route 460 in Petersburg, then southeast along Route 460 to Route 32 in the City of Suffolk, then south to the North Carolina border.

Special Registration Required for COS... If you want to participate in the Conservation Order Season you have to register in advance of hunting and complete a Harvest Report Form and mail it to VDGIF within two weeks of the close of the season to report how many geese you harvested. You will be able to register online through our website or by calling our Customer Service center, Monday-Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM, excluding holidays, at 1-866-721-6911. Finally, in addition to registering and reporting, you will need the normal licenses and stamps to participate including: a Virginia State Hunting License, a Federal Duck Stamp, a Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (unless exempt) and Virginia HIP number. The use of non-toxic shot is also required. Don't miss this great opportunity for some late season goose hunting.

Preserve Your Trophy Properly

For information on taxidermist services visit the Virginia Taxidermist Association or visit the taxidermy exhibits at the various sportsmen shows statewide coming up. For tips on field preparation to protect and preserve your trophy animal or bird, check the Outdoor Report archives. Just enter the name of animal [like bear, deer, turkey, waterfowl] or 'taxidermy tips' in the search box. See list of sportsmen shows in Wild Events section.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Make Your Spring Gobbler Hunt a Safe One!

This edition features numerous workshop opportunities sponsored by sportsmen's groups in partnership with VDGIF, encouraging special training for youth and novice hunters to participate in the upcoming Spring Gobbler season. To ensure a safe and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends reviewing the following guidelines for a safe Spring Gobbler hunting experience for young and old, novice and experienced alike:

Hunt safely, responsibly and ethically.

Get more tips on how to stay safe during your Spring Gobbler hunt!

No Outdoor Burning Before 4 p.m. Until April 30

The Commonwealth's 4 p.m. Burning Law goes into effect February 15 – the start of spring fire season in Virginia. The law prohibits outdoor burning before 4 p.m. each day until April 30th if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials. "This law is one of the most effective tools we have in the prevention of wildfires," notes John Miller, director of resource protection at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). "Each late winter and early spring, downed trees, branches and leaves become 'forest fuels' that increase the danger of a forest fire. By adhering to the law and not burning before 4 p.m., people are less likely to start a fire that threatens them, their property and the forests of Virginia."

A violation of this law is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage caused to others' property. In 2010, there were 897 wildfires that burned 8,485 acres of forestland in the Commonwealth. This was a seven percent increase in the number of wildland fires compared to the number (837) of fires in 2009. Similarly, the amount of acreage burned increased 13 percent when compared to 7,494 acres that burned in 2009.

Periods of wet weather during the spring and fall fire seasons were a critical factor in reducing the number of wildfires. Of the fires that did occur, citizens burning debris or yard waste continue to be the leading cause of wildfire in Virginia. Arson and equipment use also make up the majority of the fires. To learn more about how to protect yourself and your property, visit the VDOF website.

"Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts

This section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoors enthusiast 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.

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

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

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

Be a Sweetheart to Wildlife

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

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

This section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun: plus provide the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. The Virginia Wildlife calendar lists natural events that can serve as a "lesson plan" to get students outdoors exploring, observing, and having fun while learning about the woods, fields, and streams and the fascinating plants and animals that share these habitats with us. Each edition we will bring you ideas on topics, natural occurrences, and events to spark your interests in exploring nature. Make it a family adventure!

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

Visit the Virginia Naturally website now for ideas on nature learning activities. Teachers, there are also ideas for workshops and training available for your continuing education and getting a start on environmental lesson plans for the next semester.

Kids Discover Nature by Jodi Valenta also provides ideas for parents to get your kids "nature aware."

Summer Adventure Camps

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

Holiday Lake Forestry Camp - More Than Just Trees!

One of the longest-running Forestry Camps in the country – Holiday Lake Forestry Camp – is seeking youth ages 13 – 16 for its 65th annual week-long camp program that will be held June 13-18, 2011 at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center, located within the 20,000-acre Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest. Teachers, natural resource professionals and others may nominate youth for this outstanding program. Nomination forms are available on the VDOF website and will be accepted until April 8, 2011. Financial sponsorships from forest industries, conservation agencies, associations and individuals cover most of the cost of the Camp. Each camper selected to attend receives a $200 "scholarship," which means each camper pays just $75 to participate in the week-long, residential program.

"Forestry Camp is much more than a walk in the woods," said Ellen Powell, conservation education coordinator with the Virginia Department of Forestry. "Campers experience hands-on learning about wildlife habitat, tree identification, timber harvesting, reforestation, environmental protection and more. They also take part in exciting field trips, exploratory classes, outdoor recreation and a Lumberjack Field Day.".

Youth Conservation Camp Sponsored by Soil & Water Districts

The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) has sponsored a week long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students (grades 9-12) on the campus of Virginia Tech for 30+ years,. The program brings together about 90 interested students for a week of learning about Virginia's natural resources by conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors. The 2011 Camp is July 10-16, 2011. Applications are available online and must be submitted to your local soil and water conservation district. Check with your local office for due dates. Contact information for your local office can be found at VASWCD's website. For further information please contact Beth Sokolik at or (804) 559-0324.

Trout Unlimited Tri-State Conservation & Fishing Camp

Trout Unlimited is hosting their annual Trout Unlimited Tri-State Conservation & Fishing Camp Sunday, June 26 to Friday, July 1, 2011 at Graves' Mountain Lodge in Madison County adjacent to Shenandoah National Park Enjoy an exciting week of hands-on action packed fun in our mountain stream environment that will help you become a skilled angler and an experienced conservationist. You'll learn firsthand from officials of the National Park Service, professional conservationists with state natural resources agencies, environmental educators, professional fishing instructors and guides, and experienced members of Trout Unlimited. For information contact George Gaines, Executive Director, at, (202) 904-3547 or

Summer Fishing Camp Adventures

Outdoor Report Fishing Report contributor Tee Clarkson runs a series of summer fishing schools and canoe adventures. Visit the Virginia Fishing Adventures website for details and schedule of sessions and registration.

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for late March:

Answers to February 9 edition quiz for nature events in Winter...

Get your copy of the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Trappers & Waterfowlers Partner To Host Waterfowl Predator Management & Trapping Workshops

For the second year in the row, the VDGIF Outdoor Education Program, Virginia Waterfowlers ' Association (VAWFA) and Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) will partner to provide the general public educational component workshops. Last year 117 constituents participated in four statewide workshops. This year, beginning on April 30th., there will be four more waterfowl predator management & trapping programs workshops throughout the state. These educational component workshops will be FREE educational workshops relating to wildlife and predator animals. The locations are hosted by Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain stores. Listed below are the workshops ' dates and locations:

 These workshops will benefit the sportsmen and landowners who want to know more about managing wildlife and controlling predators. There will also be opportunities of HANDS-ON educational workshops with traps provided by the Virginia Trappers per request. For more information visit the Virginia Trapper 's Association website or the Virginia Waterfowlers ' Association website.

Quail Biologists Eager to Assist Landowners and Hunters

In January 2011 as part of implementing the VA Quail Action Plan (VQAP), five new pairs of field boots hit the wildlife habitat dirt. These boots belong to Virginia's first cooperatively hired Private Lands Wildlife Biologists. Marc Puckett, VDGIF Co-Project Leader for the Quail Recovery Initiative (QRI) reports that this unique program represents a joint hiring effort between the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, they are the first of their kind in Virginia. Similar, highly successful, programs have existed for several years in Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and other states. They represent the closest partnership ever between the cooperating agencies. Jack Bricker, State Conservationist for NRCS and Bob Duncan, Director of the VDGIF, signed an agreement formalizing the partnership December 2009. The new biologists work daily with partners in the agricultural community – one critical to wildlife nationwide. Their primary role is helping private landowners develop wildlife habitat through a variety of financial incentives programs.

VQAP was the impetus for this successful partnership. In its first year of implementation, the hiring of the 5 new biologists was a major goal of the VQAP. The biologists spend a great deal of their time working on early-successional habitat – a habitat type that benefits not only bobwhite quail but dozens of early-successional species including pollinating insects.

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

Large-scale habitat restoration and education are the key elements of the VQAP. The Virginia Quail Council was established as a coordinating group of conservation organizations and agencies actively supporting the Virginia Quail Action Plan through the promotion and application of land management practices and programs that increase the quality and quantity of quail habitat on agricultural and forested landscapes.

A copy of the Virginia Quail Action Plan and Virginia Quail Council members can be viewed on the Department's website. For information on the bobwhite quail, read the feature article in the Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! section. View the new video, "Answering the Call: Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative," featured in this edition of the Outdoor Report.

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.

Region I - Tidewater

Bear poacher investigation leads to charges and confiscation of hide... While responding to a treed black bear in a Chesterfield neighborhood in early December 2010, CPO Kopelove received information from a Chesterfield Police Sgt. concerning a black bear that was killed recently while the hunter was possibly trespassing. After receiving the tag information of the suspect vehicle, CPO Kopelove confirmed allegations that the individual was showing pictures of the bear at a gas station and visited the suspect 's address. The suspect initially laughed and vehemently denied killing a bear and said that he had no idea bears were in the area. After catching the suspect in a lie concerning his hunting license, the suspect admitted to killing the bear and not checking it in because his friends told him he could not kill it. The hide of the bear was confiscated and the suspect was charged with failing to validate a bear tag, failing to check the bear, and destroying the identity of the bear prior to checking it.

Hunt club halts illegal practice of dumping deer parts in river... In early January 2011, Officer Kopelove received a video and an aerial map from waterfowl hunters on the Appomattox River who observed two deer hunters dumping deer parts and carcasses in the river. After it was determined that the road accessed by the deer hunters was used by a local hunt club, CPO Kopelove walked into the gated club and found a vehicle matching the one seen in the video, interviewed the owner, and received a written statement that another hunter was using that truck on the day of the offense. CPO Kopelove located the hunter in question and obtained a written confession on dumping the deer parts, which was up until then, standard practice for the hunt club. The individual was charged with dumping dead animals in a public waterway.

Region II - Southside

Intoxicated boater arrested after beaching pontoon on island... On Saturday, February 19th, Master Officer Greg Funkhouser and Officer Michael Morris were on boat patrol on Smith Mountain Lake. At approximately 1030 hours, the officers witnessed a pontoon boat operating erratically. There was one male occupant and 2 dogs aboard the pontoon. Officers watched as the operator beached the pontoon on an island near Becky and Betty's Creek. Officers approached the island and spoke with the male operator. The operator stated he was taking his dogs out for a ride and had stopped at the island to take a break. Officers immediately detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person and noticed his glassy, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Officer Morris offered the operator field sobriety tests and subsequently arrested him for operating under the influence. Officers transported the operator to the Franklin County Sheriff's Officer where he submitted to an evidentiary breath test. The operator registered a BAC of .23.

Region III - Southwest

Sneaky "trout poacher" caught by Officer ' keen observations... On February 22, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips assisted Fisheries staff with trout stocking on Wolf Creek in Giles County. Officer Phillips observed a man that had a fishing rod and tackle near one of the stocking stops on the stream, but was not fishing. When fish were put in the water, the fisherman walked away and watched from a distance. Officer Phillips noted the man 's description and continued stocking the stream. After the stream was stocked, Officer Phillips was patrolling and noticed the same fisherman at the lower end of the stream fishing. Officer Phillips conducted a license check and found that the man did not have any kind of license and was charged with fishing without a fishing and trout license.

"Honest Angler" returns wallet to Tarheel fisherman... On February 26, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Jim Anders met a subject from Kannapolis, North Carolina to return a wallet that had been turned over to him by a trout fisherman from the Peak Creek Patrol of February 19, 2011. The subject was located with the assistance of the VDGIF dispatch contacting Kannapolis Police Department and making contact with the individual. The fisherman advised he had laid his wallet on his tailgate in N.C. and driven all the way to Virginia to Peak Creek in Pulaski County, a trip well over 100 miles. He had no idea where the wallet had fallen off the truck. The fisherman was very appreciative in getting the wallet returned to him.

Bear poachers implicate each other during interviews... On December 16, 2010, Senior Conservation Police Officers James Hale and D. L. Austin received an anonymous complaint that a man (suspect number 1) had a small bear hanging on his back porch. Upon their arrival at the suspect 's residence the bear was gone, but blood and black hairs were found on the porch. During an intensive interview, the suspect took the officers to the bear, which he had dumped over an embankment in front of his residence. He implicated two men in the killing of the sixty-five- pound bear cub. Officer Hale recognized their names as those of two individuals he had been searching for following incidents on May 17 and December 11, 2010. The two suspects, number 2 and number 3, allegedly lived in Jolo, WV. The officers located subject number 2 and number 3, and interviewed them. During a series of interviews, subject number 1 was ultimately implicated as the shooter of the bear. During the interviews, two of the suspects admitted to hunting bear during closed season, trespassing and hunting on Sunday, May 17, 2010. The appropriate charges were placed against all three suspects and served on January 17, 2011.

Repeat "over the limit" trout offender, moves to other species... On February 19, 2011 Virginia Conservation Police Officers Jason Honaker and Tosh Barnette were patrolling the Clinch River in Scott County. The officers observed two subjects fishing from the bank and Officer Honaker recognized both of them. One of the subjects had a license that had expired and Officer Barnette issued him a summons for no fishing license. The other subject had been charged several years before by Officer Honaker for possessing 21 trout over his limit. Officer Honaker questioned this suspect back at his vehicle and asked him if they had caught any fish, to which he replied that they had not. Officer Honaker noticed a bag in the back of the car and asked to look inside. The suspect consented to the bag being searched and Officer Honaker discovered what appeared to be a smallmouth bass that was in the slot limit and a walleye inside of the bag. The suspect admitted that he had caught the walleye upstream a little earlier and just had caught the bass. When Officer Honaker told the suspect of the size limits for the fish he replied that he guessed that he should have read the regulation book. Officer Honaker issued a summons to the subject for possessing a smallmouth bass in the slot limit. The Suspect stated after signing the summons that "At least this time it wasn't trout".

Region IV - Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont

Citizen tip and Officer 's teamwork lead to successful trout operation... On February 23, 2011, District 41 Officers, with the assistance of a concerned citizen, charged an individual with exceeding his daily creel limit of trout and continuing to fish in Passage Creek in Shenandoah County. The individual charged, had changed clothes and returned with another angler to catch over his limit of trout.

Question on Legal Shot when using a Depredation Permit...

Outdoor Report reader Buddy Marson emailed us this question: "I am confused about a new law about using lead shot for hunting crows. If I am using a "Depredation Hunting Permit" to hunt crows, according to the new law, I cannot use lead shot. If I am hunting crows in season (this is where I am confused) am I allowed to use lead shot at that time? Please clear this up for me if you can."

Lt. Colonel Mike Clark, Assistant Director of Law Enforcement emailed this answer: During the Regular Crow Season, hunters may use lead shot, unplugged shotguns and electronic calls. When utilizing a Depredation Permit, you must abide by the Permit conditions.

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

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

Fishin' Report

Anglers throughout Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more than 25 license agents, marinas, fishing guides, and bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares this Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report.

The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.

The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested. Consult the regional location map to find the major river or lake you want to know about.

For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) website. New Saltwater Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) Requires Angler Registration Starting January 1, 2011 : The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) will implement a free state saltwater angler identification program as of January 1, 2011. Purchasers of annual Virginia saltwater fishing licenses do NOT have to register. The Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) will require unlicensed saltwater anglers aged 16 and older to register and receive an identification number annually. Adult anglers who fish for anadromous or marine species in freshwater must also register. There is no cost for registration. Online registration is available on VMRC's website. To register by phone, call toll-free 1-800-723-2728. For more information, visit VMRC's website or contact VMRC at (757) 247-2200.

The new 2011 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. 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 2011.

Virginia Reservoirs Ranked For Largemouth Bass Fishing

VDGIF aquatic biologists spend considerable effort and resources to manage, enhance, and protect largemouth bass populations in Virginia 's public fishing reservoirs, lakes, and ponds. Most of these waters are sampled each year, or every few years, to assess current largemouth bass population parameters such as age and growth, spawning success, and size distribution. These population samples are generally collected using daytime, boat electrofishing gear targeting largemouth bass and are conducted in a manner that allows several comparisons to be made concerning fish populations. Since many Virginia anglers target largemouth bass, and fish larger than 15 inches are considered "preferred" nationwide; the following summary contains information about bass over 15 inches (preferred size).

Relative stock density of preferred fish (RSD-P below) is the proportion of bass in a population over eight inches (stock size or recruits) that are also at least 15 inches. Thus, this index describes the size structure of the population and the bigger the number, the higher the percentage of big bass (>15 inches) in the population. Catch-per-unit-effort of preferred fish (CPUE-P below) is a measure of how many bass over 15 inches are collected by biologists during a set unit of effort (in this case, 1-hour of electrofishing). Thus, the higher the number, the more abundant big bass were during the sample. View the summary of the data with lakes ranked by CPUE-P and divided into the four management regions of the state. Those lakes ranked at the top of the table will provide excellent opportunities for anglers to catch quality largemouth bass. This is a guide for anglers to use and not necessarily the entire picture of Virginia bass fisheries but it will provide a good place to start.

Walleye Fishing Forecast and Tagging Study Updated for 2011

It's cold and windy, but you walleye anglers know that this is your time of year! Walleye fishing season is just around the corner! To get you started in 2011, the Walleye Fishing Forecast and the Walleye Tagging Study update are both available on-line. The fishing forecast is a must for any angler thinking about accepting the challenge of walleye fishing in 2011. VDGIF has come a long way in developing very good walleye populations in a number of lakes through a stocking program; has learned a lot about walleye habitat, life history, and angling techniques in Virginia; and has lead the way in discovering and enhancing a unique strain of walleye found only in the New River.

The forecast is the biologist's best predictions about where, when, and how to get the most out of your walleye pursuits. VDGIF is also continuing a walleye reward tag study in 2011 and the update will give you details about how you can participate. Anglers should note that an 18-inch minimum size limit is now in effect statewide for walleye. All walleye less than 18 inches must be released unharmed. Exceptions to the statewide regulation include Claytor Lake, the New River above Claytor Lake and Lake Robertson in Rockbridge County. Good luck and enjoy the walleye fishing!

Now is a Good Time to Take Required Boating Education Course

All Personal Water Craft operators (PWC), age 50 or younger, and all persons age 20 or younger operating a 10-hp or greater motorboat, are reminded they are required to complete a certified Boating Education Course by July 1, 2011. VDGIF Volunteer Boating Safety Education Instructor, and Commander of the Smith Mountain Lake (SML) Sail & Power Squadron,Randy Stow, advises that, "February-March are great times to take an approved course before the spring warm-up gets boaters anxious to get back out on the water." Cmdr. Stow adds, "It's easy to locate courses being offered near you by visiting the Boating Safety website for details and a list of courses being offered throughout the state. Our squadron teaches the Boat Virginia course as well as the US Power Squadron's "America's Boating Course" which covers boating safety and basic boating. The squadron currently has 18 active VDGIF qualified instructors and as an additional element to our classes, we have excellent support from the participation of various Conservation Police Officers who provide observations and answer questions for the classes. In 2010 the Squadron volunteers taught 13 classes with 773 graduates. Additionally, we graduated 24 from the America's Boating Course." For more information on the Boating Education Courses being held throughout the state, or to find one of Cmdr. Stow's classes, visit the Boating Education Section in the sidebar for more information on Boating Education classes statewide.

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

Attention boaters, VDGIF has begun to phase in Virginia's boating safety education requirement and wants to remind boaters that as of July 1, all operators of personal watercraft (PWC), including Jet Skis, Sea Doos, and other PWCs, age 14 to 35 will need to have proof of boating safety course completion onboard while operating the vessel. PWC operators must be at least 14 years old. To find out more about the boating safety requirement, the rest of the phase-in for Virginia boaters, or to find a boating safety course, visit the Department's website.

Virginia's life jacket laws require that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) USCG approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. All boats, except for personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks, and inflatable rafts, must carry one USCG approved Type IV throwable ring or seat cushion. In addition, if you are boating on federal waters where the USCG has jurisdiction, children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket unless below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.

Review the article, "Does Your Lifejacket Really Fit?" in the May 26, 2010 Outdoor Report Be Safe... Have Fun section.

Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!

How was your last fishing trip? Did you take pictures of your catch? Send them to us and share it with the world! Here's how:

  1. Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
  2. Or, if you already have an account on Flickr, join the group and submit your photos. It's easy!

No matter how you send in your pictures, please remember to include the species, date, and location of your catch. If you know the length and weight, please include it.

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

  1. Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
  2. Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
  3. Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
  4. Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
  5. Only submit photos for which you have permission to post online. For example, any minor pictured must have documented permission from his or her parent or guardian in order to appear in the group. By submitting a photograph of your child, you are giving VDGIF permission to post the photo on the Flickr "Virginia Fishing" group.

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

Attention Readers – If your favorite body of water is not covered in the Fishin Report, and you are a guide, tackle shop owner, marina or just a devoted angler; please drop me a line and we will see about adding your bi-weekly or periodic reports in the e-newsletter by telephone or email contacts. You can reach me, Sarah White at

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: (757) 566-2277, Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley. Spring Peepers are singing and turtles sunning. The fish are still deep on points and humps. Jigs, deep running crank baits, Rode Runners and large minnows are catching fish. One almost 5 pound bass fell to large minnows. With all those frogs in the shallows, hungry bass will be there too. Just fish hard and often and one day they will turn on then it will be wild. The lake is at full pool, water temperature 49 degrees, with visibility about 6 feet.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by C. Blair Evans, Park Supervisor. The fishing has continued to improve here at Beaverdam. Anglers are still reporting good days of crappie fishing. The bass fishing is also improving and it is looking like they are moving to shallower water. Jermiah and Jeremy Carr of Gloucester County weighed in a nice 6 pound 2 ounce bass that measured 22 inches long. This citation bass was caught with a crank bait in approximately five feet of water. The water is 46 degrees, slightly stained and at full pool.

Beaverdam 's first Big Bash Bass Tournament of the year will be held on March the 19th. Remember to sign up early because this Tournament always fills up. For more information about the Tournament, visit our website or call the park at (804) 693-2107. Tournament dates for the 2011 season are as follows; March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, September 17 and the Big Bash Classic on October 15.

Park Hours are as follows:
March 1 to 12 - 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
March 13 to 31 - 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim reports that speckled trout can be had in the Elizabeth River. They are going for Mirrolures and grubs. Tautogs are around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and will take a green crab or a hermit crab. Rockfish are also around the Tunnel, but remember that they must be released, as they are not in season there. The water is 43 degrees and clear.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports that things are just starting to pick up, and that he should have lots to tell us next time. The water is slightly stained and warming.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that bass are really hot just now. They will attack "anything you throw at them". Spinners, cranks and plastics are all good bets. Crappie fishing has been slow, but should get better in a few weeks. No word on cats. White perch are feeling frisky and will go for minnows, small spinners and night crawlers. Yellow perch are not as obliging these days and few have been landed. The water is slightly stained and in the mid to high 50s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that bass are hitting well on jigs and plastics. Crappie are also cooperating and will take a minnow or jig. Cat fishing is good, with fresh shad being good bait. Not much white perch action, but wait a few weeks and that should change. It 's still too cold for good bluegill fishing. The water is clear and in the low 40s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner I was on the Blackwater the 1st through the 3rd. A few people are catching shad there and on the Nottoway. Stripers are also being caught on both rivers.  I caught a few speckle on the blade bait but that was about it. Thank goodness water temps have warmed up to 53 degrees. It 's time to go fishing!

Clean River Day For Blackwater-Nottoway Scheduled April 2

Clean River Day is scheduled April 2 as a community effort to clean up the Blackwater & Nottoway watershed. This clean up is accomplished by teams and individuals going out on our rivers, streams and ditches, paring lots and picking up litter, trash and other junk. Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner notes, "It is a great opportunity for folks to contribute to the health of the watershed community they live in. We will provide litter getters and bags for those who need them. Teams or individuals can pick their own locations or I can find you one. My advice is to now start looking around at river and swamp bridge crossings or ditches in your area and be scoping out a place for you or your team to go after. Teams can pick what time of day they want to work and how long. Teams need to keep count of bag and participant totals and totals of tires etc. Make note of your "most unusual item found" and be sure to take pictures to send to me." More details will follow when you sign up. Email at or call me at (757) 562-5173 to get signed up. This is a community event, get your group involved this year, it is a big event with big rewards and recognition for all that participate.

Use common courtesy on the river and at landings... If you're boating or fishing on the river this spring please remember that a lot of people fish anchored in the middle of the river this time of year. So, please slow down around those blind curves and don't wake people hard when they are fishing. At the boat ramps please don't prepare your boat to put in on the ramp or prepare your rig for going home on the ramp. There is usually lots of room in the parking lot. If you're in your boat waiting for the boat ahead of you to get out of the way, remember, don't make it harder on them by cruising back and forth in front of the landing at ¼ throttle and throwing a 3 ft. wake. You're only going to make him mad and take longer to get their boat on the trailer, plus it's against the law! Be courteous and respectful of others, after all we all want a safe and enjoyable trip to and from the river.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike ventured out on to the Pamunkey for what proved to be a veritable minnow love fest. Bass, yellow perch, crappie and cats were all landed on minnows. The water was stained and 48 to 50 degrees.

In the James some big stripers have been landed near Hopewell on bloodworms. Soon we should be seeing shad and stripers in the James near Richmond, where the water is stained and warming.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. Plenty of big blue catfish are being caught on cut shad all around the river.  But the highlight on the river now is the anticipation of the return of the American shad and hickory shad 's annual spawning run from the sea to the fall line of the James in Richmond.  Once mature, these native species return each year to the river in which they were born in order to spawn.  They begin this annual migration up the James once the water temperatures reach the mid 50s. These fish are fun to catch on hook and line.  Fly fishing brightly colored shad flies, or casting a spinning rod rigged with a silver or gold spoon are excellent ways to catch these hardy fighters.  Shad like to jump and fight all the way to the net.  It 's a great way to take a kid fishing in late March and April.  Please practice catch and release on these two species, and be sure you know the difference between the two, because American shad are illegal to keep.

Region 2 - Southside

Nottoway Falls: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. The TV promised 50 degrees at noon and 57 by 4 p.m. with a chance of light rain starting at 4:00 and I needed a part for the tractor in Crewe, so I thought I would drag the boat behind me and be on Nottoway Falls by noon. On the lake at 12:06 and fishing, but it did not feel like 50 degrees so I kept my insulated coveralls on and fished from the old Virginian Railroad Bridge toward the dam. I started catching some 9 and 10 inch crappie in the middle of the lake not far from the dam. At about 1:30 my plans went haywire, it started raining. I fished for another hour and half in the rain and did not catch another crappie or bluegill, I did catch 5 bass a 9, 10, 11 and two 12 inch. This cold almost wet man loaded the boat and headed home to find that it was only 47 degrees. The water was stained with only about 2 foot visibility. I caught everything on a 2 inch chartreuse and 1/32 lead head.

Fort Pickett Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Much nicer day so there was no way I could continue working, so old blue and I took off for the reservoir at Ft. Pickett. I had the boat in the water at 6 minutes after noon and fishing. The water had a slight stain with visibility a little over two feet. I fished up and down the aeration lines in the middle of the lake all afternoon using my 1/32 and chartreuse and purple twister tails catching crappie here and there, never got more than two in one place at a time. I caught everything in 5 to 8 feet of water. I had the boat back on the trailer by 4:40 with 30 crappie between 9 and 13 inches and 6 for my cats of about 7 inches. Much better day than Nottoway Falls with the temp in the 60s.

Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. The waters are warming up and so is the fishing. The most productive fishing has been with Shaky Head or Drop shot rigs tipped with a Zoom finesse worm in green pumpkin colors. Jig with a Zoom Bait Company Super Chunk or Super Chunk JR has produced some nice fish as has the Rapala Jerkbait in natural shad patterns. I also recommend using the Strike King Red Eye shad in either a craw-fish, sexy shad, or Blue and Chrome bleeding shad as well. I would throw these around any ditches, rock, or yo-yoing them over the different contour changes on the points near creek lines.

The fishing in the next two weeks should be getting better and better so get out there and wet a line!!! The water temperatures for both Briery and Sandy this past weekend are around 46 to 48 degrees varying in the different creeks.

This report was supplied by Jack's Bait Company - ZOOM BAIT COMPANY product retailer, specializing in special runs and limited editions.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366. We are getting some much needed rain at this time and another system is predicted towards the end of the week. Look for both a rise in levels and the river becoming off color. There have been reports of some anglers enjoying great flathead action. I hear that both chub minnows and shrimp have been the bait of choice. Smallmouth anglers are having success with jigs and trailer and tube flies. The smallmouth are still found for the most part in their winter holes. Once the water temperatures get into the 50s look for the action to be more consistent.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Brandon Gray says that bass are there to be had, especially on rocks or red clay banks. Cranks and rattletraps are good bets. Crappie action is good in the backs of creeks and on flats. The traditional minnows and jigs should serve you well. Cats can be found in the mouths of rivers and are going for cut small shad. Stripers are off the points and like bucktails and cranks. No word on bluegill. The water is in the mid 40s to low 50s and clear.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Larry Sledge advises that trout anglers in the Smith River try small soft hackle nymphs. In the James, try nymphs and streamers. Overall the action is picking up, especially with rainbows. The delayed harvest streams like Back Creek will give good fishing, especially with nymphs and streamers. The water is 41 degrees and slightly stained.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. No report this edition.

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,

Stripers: Fishing continues to be mixed. While some anglers report that stripers have proven difficult to find and catch, others are having notable success. Try trolling with Umbrella rigs (Urigs) slowly near the mouths of the major creeks around the lake. Bucktails, flukes rigged on jigheads, spoons and swimbaits are producing when cast up close to shore and retrieved with a yo-yo style presentation. Anglers fishing with live bait are successful. Several have already broken out their planer boards to catch stripers up near the shoreline and off primary and secondary points.

Alewives: Live bait is coming into lights on deep-water docks. Nice alewives are being caught in cast nets thrown on dock "spot lights", even when there is no evidence of activity under the light. If you are currently using floodlights to attract baitfish and are having difficulty bringing them in, consider changing to a more powerful spotlight. Using a larger cast net and one that is heavier and will sink faster will also increase the amount of bait caught as will turning off your light a second before you cast your net.

Crappie: Fishing has really picked up recently. Anglers continue to use small "crappie" minnows to locate and catch good numbers of quality fish. Some are being caught suspended in the tops of submerged brush and trees. Others are being caught on the outside edges of guts and creeks as they start to move into pre-spawning locations. It is best to keep the lures and bait just above them as they tend to feed looking up. Watch for a slack line as often they will move up and pick up a lure or minnow without putting tension on your line.

Bass: Fishing is improving. Some bass continue to suspend off bluffs as well as primary and secondary points where they can be located on electronics and caught using jigging spoons, drop shot rigs and small bucktails and hair jigs. Bass are also being caught by anglers using deep diving, suspending jerkbaits. The jerkbait bite has been good and is improving for those who use the appropriate lures.. Finesse baits are also working. Drop shotting continues to produce good numbers of bass, especially when rigged with floating worms like those by Roboworm and Big Bite. Slow rolled spinner baits and medium diving crank baits are also producing an occasional bass, especially when retrieved near structure including submerged dock pilings and sun warmed natural rock.

This coming weekend the first Anglers Choice Marine Tournament of the year will be held out of Parkway Marina. It promises to be a huge event and could easily have a field of well over a hundred boats. For more information about the tournament or to register, contact Tournament Director Chris Lucas at or see their website

The water is 43 degrees and clear. Good luck and good fishing.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488.

Bass: The water temp is low to mid 40s. With all the rain, the water clarity is muddy to fairly clear. Good color choices are American Shad, Chartreuse Shad, and Ghost Minnow. Jigging spoons also work great this time of year. With the muddy water a crawdad colored crankbait like the Rebel Deep Wee-R or the Storm Wiggle wart are excellent crank baits. A chartreuse and white chatterbait is also a great vibration bait for muddy water. The muddy water can make for some great fishing!! For more info call Mike at (540) 980-1488.

Crappie: They were starting to catch a few before the rain muddied up the lake, but I haven 't heard anything in the last week.

Yellow Perch: Yellow perch are starting to pick up using live minnow on a small lead head hook.

Bluegill/Panfish:  Still a little early for the Bluegill.

Stripers: Unlike the bass, the stripers are harder to catch with the stained water. Last week the striper action was good in Peak Creek using jig head rigged Zoom Super Flukes and Yum Money Minnows.

Catfish: Have not heard anything on the cats.

Water temp is low to mid 40 's, clarity is stained to muddy.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the smallmouths are not active yet. In Claytor Lake the yellow perch are going for small minnows and jigs and small jigging spoons. The muskie bite is good with big jerks, trout or suckers. The water is stained and in the mid 40s.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that windy conditions have made fishing difficult. Bass will hit spinners, deep running cranks and jigs. Muskies are going for sliders and grannies. The water is 46 degrees and stained.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Nice to see old man winter taking a break on the river. Water temp is 48 which means it is walleye time and the bucks are showing up in numbers. Remember to look for your $20 reward tag which will be located at the back of the dorsal fin. 300 fish are being tagged this year with some fish having double tags! The information you provide when returning the tag is very beneficial to the biologists working on this fantastic walleye fishery. Remember you can't keep walleye in the 19 to 28 inch slot limit now, and only 2 fish per day on the Upper New. The river is muddy right now from the much needed recent rains but as it clears fishing should be great. Jerkbaits and spinnerbaits should provide action on the walleye and some shots at smallies. Muskie are heavy with eggs so handle them carefully and get them back in the water quickly.

Virginia Now Stocking Trout In South Holston Lake

Trout stocking trucks from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) were at two Virginia and Tennessee boat ramps in mid- February carrying the first trout to be stocked in the South Holston Lake as part of a reciprocal agreement between the VDGIF and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency that went into effect July 1, 2010. The agreement between the two states contains a joint fisheries management plan including consistent size restrictions and creel limits for the entire lake. The South Holston Reservoir License which became available July 1, 2010, costs $20 plus an agent fee of $1. The special permit is valid for one year from the date of purchase and allows the holder to fish both Virginia and Tennessee.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley - Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 The smallmouth streams in the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah are "worth trying". Try a deep running streamer or nymph on a fast sinking tip line. Good flies are Murray 's Black Hellgrammite, size 4; and Murray 's Olive Marauder, size 6. The water is clear and 44 degrees.

The recently stocked streams in the valley, such as the Bull Pasture and the Big Stoney Creek West of Edinburg are giving good fishing. Good flies are the Casual Dress, size 10; Murray 's Olive Caddis Pupa, size 12; and Murray 's Dark Stonefly Nymph, size 12. The water is 45 degrees and clear The mountain streams are fishable but low, use nymphs in the deep pools. Good flies are: Mr. Rapidan Beadhead Nymph, sizes 12 and 14. Other mayfly nymphs will work well also. Water is in the mid 30s and clear.

Trout Stocking to Resume at Lake Thompson

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announced January 12, 2011 that it will return Lake Thompson in Fauquier County to the Agency's list of designated stocked trout waters for 2011. Lake Thompson is a 10-acre pond located on the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area (WMA) which has been in the state's trout stocking program for many years. However, the lake self-drained last summer due to a faulty emergency drain feature. Recently the leak has plugged itself and the water level has been stable for several months. Lake Thompson is a Category A "put-and-take" trout water which means it will be stocked six times between now and May 31, 2011 and a trout license is required in addition to a fishing license for anglers over age 15. Questions concerning this fishery should be directed to John Odenkirk at (540) 899-4169 x117 or

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, "Puff" reports that Lake Moomaw is still about 16 feet low with Bolar Flat boat ramp now accessible. Lower lake is accessible and the Fortney Branch ramp is open. Coles Point ramp is closed due to low water level. Streams throughout the area are running full now with trout stocking in progress.

Weather conditions and temperature can change conditions at any time so check website for current updates. This is a great time to get rods and reels and equipment ready for the spring warm-up and some great fishing as Moomaw has been noted for. Also this weekend begins the 53rd Annual Highland Maple Festival the 2 weeks of March 11-20. There are lots of great activities for all outdoor enthusiasts throughout the Highlands. Visit Puff's Southernmost Maple rural retreat for great food, including his maple syrup and famous maple donuts made right there on-site. In addition to hunting and fishing guide info, also see displays and demonstrations of outdoor related arts and crafts, hunting and fishing gear.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac) The recent burst of rain revitalized the mountain streams. Although the fish remain skittish after the summer drought followed by the winter lows, they should begin moving more and more in direct proportion to the warming weather and water. As long as you use caution as you approach the small mountain pools, you should be able to lock in good results using the normal assortment of nymphs (Hares Ear and Prince) or small spinners. Beyond the mountain trout, there was a massive amount of stocking activity all over the State last week with the Robinson River in Madison County getting another healthy dose of robust fish. A quick drive over the mountain puts you on other good water like Hawksbill Creek or the North River. Spin anglers can take advantage of the stocking immediately while fly enthusiasts should wait a week to allow the trout to adapt to their natural setting. If they go out earlier than that, they should use brightly colored streamers that mimic flashy spinners. According to Charley Taylor, the smallmouth bass fishing is starting to slowly come to life on the Upper Potomac. His "spies" indicate that the best areas include Seneca Creek, Edwards Ferry, Nolands Ferry and below Point of Rocks. Of course, the warm water output from the Dickerson Power Plant continues to be productive.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. We will be opening up the week of March 19th. The fish are very lethargic, hitting slow moving baits. Crappie can be found around standing trees and brush piles in 8 to10 ft. of water depending upon the day. On a sunny warm day, they will be in 8 ft. of water. On a colder, blustery day, they can be found in the 20 ft. depths. Crappie are attracted to live minnows and small jigs. Largemouth bass are hitting crank baits and jig & pigs around cover in depths of 10 to 30 ft. of water. The water is clear with temperatures in the 40s.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144.

The Lake Anna guides are packing up from the OCHS Fishing Expo last month and restocking for the Fredericksburg Outdoor Sports & Gun-Knife Show at the Fredericksburg Convention Center in Central Park March 18-20.

The 4th Fredericksburg Outdoor Adventures Show this year will also include the Fredericksburg Gun-Knife Show with a variety of vendors and attractions that appeal to hunters, boaters and fisherman of all ages. That's two shows for the price of one, March 18-20, 2011. Your ticket is good for admission all weekend and kids 12 and under are FREE. The Gun –Knife Show portion of the show will have hundreds of tables of guns and knives and accessories from quality dealers. The traveling "Hawg" Tank filled with a variety of quality fish will provide the background for many fishing seminars by the area's foremost experts on the Woods & Waters Magazine Pro Team. Meet Bill "Bear Crazy" Wiesner, an expert bow hunter, teacher, author and designer for the archery industry. Other top attractions include the FREE hunting and fishing seminars, Dog Training Seminars Doug Deats, the Virtual Fishing Simulator, Trout Pond, Kids Kasting Contest, various hunting and fishing adventure trips and suppliers, plus a variety of hunting and fishing information from the VDGIF. Take in one of Hilarious Comedian Bassmeister "Curt Strutz" shows, a comedian and ventriloquist with his talking bass. Staff from the Outdoor Report will be there to meet subscribers and sign up new subscribers. Stop by the VDGIF booth and complete a short Reader Survey, or sign up a new subscriber to receive a free safety whistle or carabineer. Visit their website for more details.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. No report this edition.

Attention Readers – If your favorite body of water is not covered in the Fishin Report, and you are a guide, tackle shop owner, marina or just a devoted angler; please drop me a line and we will see about adding your bi-weekly or periodic reports in the e-newsletter by telephone or email contacts. You can reach me, Sarah White at

NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. If you should manage to catch one of these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the warming weather trend and promise of Spring, many of us are anxious to get over our "cabin fever" and get outdoors again to explore wild places. For a Southwest Virginia teen, March brought the adventure of tapping the sugar maple trees for making maple syrup. The trial and error involved in developing a new outdoor related hobby to hopefully grow into a business provided a great story with lots of lessons learned the hard way. This story by then 14 year old Owen Morgan , a Sophomore at George Wythe High School in Wytheville, was one of the Top 3 Entries in 2009-10 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition. The vivid descriptions of his families attempts to learn the art of making maple syrup will give you a much greater appreciation of what all is involved in producing the sweet syrup overrunning those hot buttery pancakes and savory sausage... ymmmmmmmmmmmm!

Maple Syrup: Not Just for Vermont Anymore!

By Owen Morgan

It 's that time again, the time when the sap shall once again flow freely from the lofty sugar maple and the process of collection will begin. Tubes will run out of the maples and into a sugar house at the bottom of the hill. Here it will be painstakingly processed by an assortment of employees while the old men supervise and drink gin. That 's how the pros do it. Needless to say, that 's not how we do it here in Southwest Virginia.

My family has a longstanding dream. In Burkes Garden, located in Tazewell County, we have some 500 sugar maples. Someday we want to tap these, collect their sap, and sell it for profit. We, sadly, aren 't at that point yet. I truly believe it will happen, eventually, but now is not the time. Now we will have to tap our trees at home, in Wytheville, Virginia. At the moment we are tapping a whopping three trees, and last time we cooked down our syrup we had enough for about eight pancakes, but man, was it good!

Three trees still produce a significant amount of work, especially for the clueless and unprepared. We found buckets without any trouble, but we had more trouble finding suitable taps. Not willing to spend money on the classic manufactured tap, we opted for the old timey method. Find a stick from a sumac bush, hollow out the pithy center, drill a hole in the tree, and hope for the best.

I was, I 'll admit, a skeptic at first, but I came around. The taps were reasonably effective, after all, how hard is it really to make a tube to get water from one place to another? With one problem solved, we were, of course, confronted with another. How can we keep rainwater out of our buckets? With cardboard, that is if you 're considerably more concerned with being economical then effective. And believe me, we are.

We only encountered a slight problem with this. Cardboard, being the paper-based substance that it is can only hinder a small rainfall. Sadly, in a deluge, the cardboard becomes saturated and entirely unsuccessful at preventing the dilution of the sugar water. Fortunately, at this time, we have not encountered any major problems with rain in our sap. I have a feeling though, after the recent rains, this next batch is going to take a little longer to cook off.

For three trees, this maple syrup venture is taking a considerable amount of labor. It takes 40 parts sugar water just to make one part maple syrup. I really can 't imagine what it must be like to do this sort of work all day long. Really, though, it 's not too bad. It 's just a little effort, and there are great rewards in the form of homemade pancakes.

I wouldn 't be doing this except for the pancakes. Store bought syrup pales in comparison when pitted against the homemade stuff. With all our work out in the cold, we just had enough syrup for eight delicious made from scratch pancakes. They were the best pancakes I 've ever had. With my own maple syrup, the rewards were all that much sweeter. One day, after we 've completed our syrup venture here, and in Burkes Garden, I 'll look back fondly on those first pancakes with the homemade maple syrup.

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) annually sponsors a High School and Collegiate Writing Competition. with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience." The contests deadlines for entries this year were closed February 25, 2011. Details for the Annual Awards presentations April 14 at Bear Creek Lake State Park are posted in the People & Partners section of this edition. We encourage you to write your most memorable hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventure story and enter the 2011-12 contest. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website:, or contact VOWA Writing Competition Chairman:

David Coffman, Editor, Outdoor Report
VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
POB 11104 Richmond, VA 23230
Telephone: (434) 589-9535, Email:

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