In this edition:

Honor and Remember Our Veterans Who Answered the Call This Memorial Day

As spring gobbler season comes to an end and we clean and stow our gear, and get out the boat and fishing gear, be reminded that Memorial Day is a few days away on, Monday, May 30th. To all our veterans and their families and friends we honor and remember your service, courage, and sacrifice. Thank you for "answering the call" to defend freedom and preserve liberty. Thanking those who now actively serve and live in our communities by helping them in some good deed is a tangible way to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice that we memorialize this special day.

The following weekend June 3-5 we celebrate Free Fishing Days and the opening of the Spring Squirrel season June 4-18. As we join with family and friends to continue our rich hunting and fishing traditions and introduce new sportsmen and women to our outdoor pursuits, we recognize that these opportunities are intertwined in your service and preserved for future generations to enjoy due to the ultimate sacrifice of so many for our benefit. Honor these veterans by pursuing your outdoor adventures with safety and courtesy for your fellow outdoor enthusiasts and appreciation for the opportunity just to be out there.

David Coffman, Editor

This is National Safe Boating Week May 21-27

Time to Remember Life Jackets Save Lives

National Safe Boating Week is May 21 - 27, 2011, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is reminding all boaters to remember some important safety tips this boating season. One of the best ways for boaters to stay safe is to always wear a life jacket while on the water. A significant number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year would be alive today had they worn their life jackets. The VDGIF wants boaters to "Wear It" - make a commitment to wear their life jackets at all times while on the water.

Virginia law requires that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. In addition, on federal waters children under age 13 on the vessel must be wearing a life jacket unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin. Federal waters in Virginia include waters in which the USCG has enforcement jurisdiction; the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Gaston, Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), Claytor Lake, Lake Moomaw, are some of the inland waterways considered federal waters.

While getting ready for the boating season, boat owners need to make sure they have life jackets in good condition that fit every occupant of the boat, including kids. There are numerous life jacket designs that appeal to youngsters, and by getting them involved in the selection they are more likely to wear them without a fuss. Inflatable life jackets make it easy for adults to "Wear It" while enjoying their time on the water and being a good role model for young people on their boats.

Before you head out on the water, take a boating safety education course! The VDGIF recommends that anyone who operates a boat complete a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by VDGIF. Virginia's Boating Safety Education Compliance Regulation, that will require Virginia boaters to take a boating safety education course, is being phased in over the next several years. At this time, PWC operators age 35 and younger are required to complete a boating safety education course and have proof of that in their possession while operating a PWC, commonly referred to as a "jet ski". The third phase-in date is July 1, this year, when PWC (jet ski) operators age 50 and younger and motorboat operators age 20 and younger, will be required to complete a boating safety education course AND have proof of that in their possession while operating the vessel.

If you have previously taken a boating safety education course and have your card, you are in compliance with the new regulation. There is no need to "register" with the Department to show you are in compliance, simply carry your course completion card or certificate on board.

Our optional Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card is available to those who meet the boating safety education requirement. This durable, 'drivers-license' styled card is available for a fee of $10.00. You can get an application by visiting our website. To learn more about boating laws in Virginia and about boating safety education courses, visit the Department's website. Remember, everyone wants to have a safe, enjoyable day on the water. Do your part by wearing your life jacket and taking a boating safety education class. Be responsible, be safe, and have fun!

Free Fishing Days June 3-5 - Try it, You'll Be Hooked!

June 3, 4, and 5, 2011 have been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters, on these days. Plan some time to go fishing and boating; take the family fishing and boating or learn to fish and boat! See our Where to Fish section to get started!

There are few better times to reconnect with family and friends than while waiting for that next strike. Time spent fishing is always a welcome retreat, a bit of an adventure and the perfect setting for getting back in touch with what matters most. Escape, relax, play, reconnect with nature. And rediscover the fun of fishing and boating. You'll be surprised at how much you've missed it. Buy your fishing license today!

Don't forget that June 18, 2011 is the deadline for submitting photos to the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!

2011 Spring Turkey Harvest Shows Slight Increase

Spring turkey hunters reported harvesting 15,687 birds during the 2011 season. The statewide harvest was 3% higher than last year's total of 15,190 birds. Counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains increased 3% with a harvest of 10,441 birds compared to 10,130 birds last year. The harvest in counties west of the Blue Ridge (5,265) was 4% higher than last year's take (5,054). Most (85%) of the birds taken were adult gobblers. Forty-six bearded females were harvested. Overall, the spring harvest suggests a stable or slightly increasing turkey population. Youth hunters reported taking 340 birds during the special Youth Spring Hunt Day April 2. Last year youth hunters took 347 birds on the "youth only" day.

Based on the Department's 2010 Spring Gobbler Hunter Survey, hunting effort declined in 2010 due to the recession. Cooperating 2010 hunters indicated they hunted 23% fewer times on average due to economic concerns. Although hunter effort during the 2011 spring gobbler season is unknown, it is likely fuel and other economic concerns again contributed to reduced hunting effort. Assuming effort may have again been negatively impacted by economic concerns, the increase in the spring harvest was indeed encouraging.

Many hunters checked birds in excellent condition, with weights exceeding 25 pounds reported. Last year's exceptional mast crop likely resulted in birds being in excellent physical condition. Energy demands from the winter weather were likely below-average because of last winter's relatively mild weather. One bird was harvested in Frederick County with a 16" beard. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the national record for beard length is 22.5 inches.

Gary Norman, Wild Turkey Project Leader, predicted a similar spring gobbler harvest based on average production reported in the 2009 season. Two-year old birds generally comprise a large percentage of the harvests, so the spring kill is typically related to reproduction two years prior to the season. Recruitment in 2009 was average compared to recruitment levels we've seen over the past 5 years. Recruitment has been fairly consistent over the past 5 years and the turkey population has been essentially stable largely due to these average recruitment years.

Many variables influence recruitment; weather typically plays a critical role in survival of young birds. Extended cold and wet weather can lead to high poult mortality rates. Current weather conditions (as of mid-May) have not been conducive for good brood survival with extended cool and rainy days. These cool and wet conditions may spell trouble for early hatched broods. But, it is still relatively early in the reproductive cycle and many hens are still incubating nests. The peak hatch in Virginia is not expected until later May and early June. Hens likely went into the spring season in excellent physical condition so that may help hen success. Again, there are a host of variables that impact recruitment. Let's hope for favorable weather in the balance of the reproductive season so the turkey population will get a good boost with a good hatch this summer.

For further information contact Gary Norman at (540) 248-9389 or email gary.norman@dgif.virginia.gov.

The Top 10 Counties:

2011 2010
Bedford 493 Bedford 525
Pittsylvania 452 Pittsylvania 421
Franklin 448 Southampton 411
Southampton 418 Franklin 401
Halifax 417 Scott 325
Campbell 328 Sussex 296
Scott 317 Surry 272
Sussex 305 Campbell 266
Grayson 272 Grayson 254
Botetourt 269 Botetourt 250

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

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

Free Fly Fishing Courses at Orvis in Richmond May-July

The Orvis Company has announced the Spring/Summer 2011 line up of Fly Fishing 101 and Fly Fishing 201 classes. Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers have also partnered with Orvis for this series. Each class is FREE. Perfect for the beginner, Fly Fishing 101 teaches the basics of fly fishing - from casting to outfitting. Fly Fishing 201 takes participants out to the water to put their new skills to the test. The two classes meet at the Orvis retail store at Short Pump Town Center and are approximately three hours in length. Reservations are required for attendance and there is a fifteen student maximum per class. Call 804-253-9000. Orvis is encouraging family participation, ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Fly Fishing 101
The Fly Fishing 101 class consists of casting basics, how to assemble a rod outfit and tie basic knots. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Each Fly Fishing 101 group attendee will receive a certificate for a free Trout Unlimited membership and a free membership in the Federation of Fly Fishing - a $70 value! Additionally, each group attendee will receive a $25 coupon off any purchase of $50 or more good toward Orvis gear.

Fly Fishing 101 Class Dates: May 28, 29; June 11, 12, 18, 19; July 2, 3, 9, 10
* Indicates a corrected date from flyer

Fly Fishing 201
Fly Fishing 201 builds on the knowledge students have learned in Fly Fishing 101. This class entails a short outing on local water for students to try their hand at catching (and releasing) their first fish.

Fly Fishing 201 Class Dates: June 4, 5, 25, 26; July 16, 17

Herpetological Society to Hold Annual Survey At Fairfax Park June 4

On Saturday, June 4, 2011, VHS will hold a special survey at Old Colchester Park in Fairfax County.  The VHS has been invited to conduct a survey by the Fairfax County Park Authority on a recently acquired property on Mason Neck in Fairfax County, called Old Colchester Park. This will be a one-day survey to help the park authority inventory their natural resources on the site. Old Colchester Park is 140 acres and is currently closed to the public. This means that the VHS is giving you access to sites where other harpers are not permitted! Please contact John Orr (jorr1@gmu.edu) for further information regarding this survey.  Information for this survey can be found online.

Friends of Phelps WMA Hold Youth Fishing Event June 4

The Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA are sponsoring a Youth Fishing Event at the C.F. Phelps WMA Fishing Pond near Remington on Saturday, June 4, from 9 am to 12 pm for all ages. The event is FREE! Come have some fun and learn the basics of fishing!!! Some loaner rods and reels available Cancelled if inclement weather! To register for the event or if you have questions contact Patricia Wood @pwood12@earthlink.net.

Wild Edible Plants Workshop in Cumberland June 4 – Learning Nature's Bounty

Have you ever wondered which plants are edible, medicinal, poisonous or just ornamental? Is that plant in your lawn or garden just a 'weed' or is it a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins and minerals?

The Wilderness Discovery Tracking & Survival School will conduct a workshop on Wild Edible Plants June 4, from 10am to 4 pm at their property in Cumberland. The cost is $20 per person. Pre-registration required by calling VM: (877) 614-5289 (toll free) or email: roy@trackingsurvival.com, or the Wilderness Discovery website.

This introductory workshop can begin a wonderful journey into the often ignored world of wild plants. A starting point for new learners or an opportunity to sharpen existing plant identification skills, the workshop will cover individual plants in various habitats, help students to learn how to use available printed resources and most importantly introduce the skills of awareness and attention to detail needed to successfully locate and identify edible wild plants. This workshop is an expansion of a wild edible plant class developed and taught by Wilderness Discovery instructors for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Outdoor Education Programs. The workshop will also incorporate various components from other Wilderness Survival Classes taught to better establish the relationship of plants into the overall wilderness survival package of skills.

Instructor Will Dotson's 20-plus years of outdoor experience include 10 in Search and Rescue. He is a member of the International Society of Professional Trackers (ISPT) and is an Operational Tracker and Assistant Director of the Search and Rescue Tracking Institute (SARTI). Will is also a member of Commonwealth Search and Rescue and the Training Officer of Carroll County Search and Rescue. He teaches animal tracking, short term survival, use of wild plants, etc. as a volunteer instructor for such organizations as the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. For information on other wilderness survival related classes visit the Wilderness Discovery website, or the VDGIF website on upcoming Outdoor Education classes.

Concerned Hunters in Allegheny Highlands to Meet with VDGIF Officials June 15

Responding to concerns from local hunters, the Bath County Board of Supervisors has asked representatives from the VDGIF to come to Bath to discuss firsthand the concerns local hunters have for the dwindling deer numbers evidenced in recent years. "There was a time here in Bath County," explained Jon Trees, Supervisor from the Warm Springs District, "when hunters came from all over to hunt for deer and trophy bucks and they found them here. That time is long gone."

The meeting has been set for Wednesday June 15, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bath County High School Auditorium on Route 220 in Hot Springs. "We are asking hunters from this area, Bath, Highland, Allegheny to join us in a conversation with VDGIF reps to voice our concern over not only the dwindling number of trophy bucks in our area, but to discuss the issue of deer management in general." Trees added. Scheduled to join the hunters at the June 15 meeting thus far are VDGIF representatives, Leon Turner, VDGIF Board Member 6th Congressional District; Jerry Sims, VDGIF Terrestrial Program Manager: Matt Knox, VDGIF Deer Project Manager; Rick Busch, VDGIF Assistant Bureau Director, Mike Fies, VDGIF Furbearer Program Manager, and Al Bourgeois, VDGIF District Wildlife Biologist.

Current plans are for VDGIF staff to make a power point presentation on area deer, deer habitat, and deer population and harvest data, and brief the audience on a coyote research project VDGIF is beginning in Bath County before opening up the session to Q & A. Hunters are expected to discuss their concerns about the current condition of white tail deer here in the area, ways in which to ensure the future of white tail deer hunting, restraint in harvesting young bucks, adequate harvest of adult does, year round feeding and game management and the better understanding of wildlife management." For more information please call: 540-279-4383 or visit the website: TourBath@bathcountyva.org

Urban Survival Seminar In Richmond June 18

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, spring flood, or summer hurricane can turn into a catastrophic event. The Urban Survival Seminar is being presented at the Sandston Moose Lodge near the Richmond International Airport from 10 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 pre-registered by June 6, and covers all programming and instructor fees. To register contact Roy Hutchinson at: roy@trackingsurvival.com, or call (877) 614-5289. Check out the Wilderness Discovery School website.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia "On the Road" Rehabilitation Classes June-August

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

More information can be found on the Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

Registration for classes scheduled June 25 in Lynchburg and August 24 in Charlottesville are open, contact Amanda Nicholson at (540) 942-9453 or email ANicholson@wildlifecenter.org. Find more information on the Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

Mother & Daughter Outdoors Program Returns to Holiday Lake July 22-24

The Mother and Daughter Outdoors program is designed primarily for women. Held this year at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox, Friday, July 22, through Sunday, July 24, it provides an excellent opportunity for anyone 9 years of age and above to learn outdoor skills usually associated with hunting and fishing, but useful in a variety of outdoor pursuits. Registration deadline is July 1, 2011. View the Mother & Daughter Outdoors PDF for more information and registration form. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at 804-367-0656 or jimmy.mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.

People and Partners in the News

Sergeant Karl Martin Honored with Inaugural Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Award

On March 10, 2011, the Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council presented its inaugural Water Safety Award to Sergeant Karl Martin.  This award is presented to a person or organization that makes significant contributions to water safety in and around Smith Mountain Lake.  This is the first year for this award and the award will be named after this first recipient.  The "Karl Martin Water Safety Award"  will be displayed in the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor's Center for all to view.  Delegate Charles Poindexter, Colonel Dee Watts, Lt. Colonel Mike Clark and Major Ron Henry were present for this presentation.  Congratulations Karl, job well done!

Competition at Hunter Education Challenge Develops High Level of Outdoor Skills

Over 130 young people from all over Virginia traveled to Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox April 30-May 1 for the 2011 Virginia Hunter Education Challenge (HEC). Graduates of the Virginia Hunter Education Course competed in Rifle, Shotgun, Archery, Outdoor Skills, and a Hunter Responsibility Test. Overall individual winners were Hunter Shorter of Nottoway in the Junior division, and Brandon Diehr of Shenandoah in the Senior Division. Top teams were Powhatan County for the Juniors, and Scott County for the Seniors. A complete list of award recipients is available on the VDGIF website.

Ft. Lee "Dusters" Clay Target Team Wins Virginia State Title

The Ft. Lee "Dusters" clay target team earned the State Title to represent Virginia at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Nationals in Sparta, Illinois in July. The state competition was held May 15 at Central Virginia Sporting Clays in Palmyra, in Fluvanna County.     In the Junior Varsity Division, the Ft. Lee "Dusters" were victorious placing first place in sporting clays with a team score of 243 out of 300 on Saturday. The Junior Varsity team members are Alex Murray from Drakes Branch. Corey Shornak, Lucas Meredith, and Kevin Christiansen from Chesterfield. The team's head coach Jeff Atkins from Farmville noted, "These young boys will shoot and represent Virginia well at the Nationals."  This team will proceed to the Nationals which will be held July 13-16 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Ill. SCTP is a program for youths in grades 12 and under, sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation managed in partnership with the national governing bodies for shooting sports: USA Shooting, Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association.    With remarkable growth over the past eight years, the program is considered "the Little League of shooting sports." Some 8,000 to 9,000 students from over 45 states are expected to compete this year.

Team Fundraiser Sporting Clays Shoot June 12 in Waverly

In order to raise funds for their Nationals competition trip to Sparta, Illinois to represent Virginia at the SCTP Nationals, a Sporting Clays Fundraiser Shoot is being held at Sussex Shooting Sports on Route 460 near Waverly on Sunday June 12, beginning at 10 AM. The shoot will have 100 Targets for $ 60 with $ 5 of entry Fee going back to Lewis Class. There will be 3 Lewis Classes 1st, 2nd, 3rd each class- 50/30/20 payout. Come out and enjoy a day of fun shooting and fellowship. Not to mention some good BBQ cooked by Coach Jeff Atkins for lunch! We need your support!

Novice Hunters Gain Skills Beyond Hunter Education Course

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in cooperation with Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, conducted the third Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend on May 14-15, 2011. The Weekend workshop is designed to help graduates of the Virginia Hunter Education Course gain hands-on skills needed to succeed in their pursuit of game birds and animals. Classes on shooting skills, land navigation in wild areas, and preparing game for the table were some of those offered. More than 65 youth and adults, including several families participated in the weekend training. To find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VHEA website.

VA Outdoor Writers Present Annual Awards at Bear Creek Lake State Park

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association held their 2011 Annual Meeting at the Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland County, April 13-15. VOWA President Terry Lewis noted that the Association was doing something different this year by holding a three-day meeting at a Virginia State Park (VSP) to join in the celebration of the VSP 75th anniversary with special accommodations and activities for the meeting. This provided a great opportunity for members to get some terrific story material, excellent photos, and a wonderful time to get to know other members.

Joe Elton, Director of the Virginia State Parks, talked about the past and future development of the public parks and facilities around Virginia--the first state to embark on a state system. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan, spoke about some new programs, cost saving measures and the current financial opportunities facing the Agency in the slow economy.  Read about their comments and more conference news in the VOWA News Notes, Spring 2011 edition now online.

The following students were recognized for excellence in writing as winners in the writing competitions:

Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Awards  were presented by VOWA Board Chairman Milan Majarov who noted the Contest is being supported by an increasing number of colleges and Universities from across our Commonwealth each year, with competition being quite stiff.
First Place,  Mallory Taylor, a Junior at Ferrum College, "Recreation Leadership:  Where Business Meets Adventure"
Second Place, Brandon Fair, a Sophomore at Virginia Tech, "Canadian Pinholes".

High School Writing Competition Chairman Frank Mundy, noted there were many outstanding articles submitted this year, but these three students were selected for their overall impressions on the judges with their real life memorable experiences.

Excellence in Craft Awards were presented to VOWA members:

Editors note: Marie Majarov, King Montgomery, Marika Byrd, and Robert Thomas are frequent contributors to the Outdoor Report. Congratulations to all the winners and participants in the writing contests. Look for publication of the winning stories and other outstanding articles submitted for the contests in future editions of the Outdoor Report in the Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers section found at the end of each edition.

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Host Events in Summer

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 to Mike Deane wheelin4u@yahoo.com.

The VA Wheelin Sportsman Chapter will host their annual Hunting Heritage Awards Recognition and Fund Raising Banquet, Saturday June 18 beginning at 5:30 pm at the Augusta Expo Land in Fishersville. For reservations and ticket information contact Committee Chairman Sharon Engle at (434) 985-6313 or email: sengle1214@embarqmail.com.

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 our 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 staff and partner observations participating in these memorable events...

"Two-Fly" Trout Fishing Tournament Provides Wounded Vets Rehab and Recovery

I was honored and excited to receive an invitation to attend the prestigious "Two-Fly Tournament", held at Rose River Farm in Madison County to benefit Project Healing Waters on May 1. This is the same location where Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling filmed the fishing promo video in March featured in the Outdoor Report and on the VDGIF Website. VDGIF provided a variety of promotional fishing items for the veterans, sponsors and volunteers participating in the event including Virginia Wildlife Calendars, fish measuring tapes, safety whistles and the new VA Tourism Outdoor Guide as nearly a third of the 170 participants were from out of state.

Although I went to volunteer to work, with plenty of volunteers I was directed to take pictures and interview folks… that I did! I had a very memorable day being able to have interviews and conversations with the "who's who" of the fly fishing world , including Craig Peterson, CEO Project Healing Waters, Phil Johnson, PHW Mid-Atlantic Event Coordinator, Douglas Dear, PHW Board of Trustees Chairman and owner of Rose River Farm, and Beau Beasley, Exec. Dir. VA Fly Fishing festival.  There was open access for one-on-one contacts and photographs with both veterans and volunteers while fishing.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PHW) , hosted the Fifth Annual Two-Fly Tournament with the assistance of, Eastern Blue Ridge Fly Fishers, Fly Fishers of Virginia, Rapidan TU, Kanawha Valley TU, NCC-TU and Beaver Creek TU, CACI and many other volunteers. PHW is dedicated to teaching fly fishing and fly tying to aid the physical and emotional rehabilitation of wounded and injured members of the Armed Forces returning from the present conflicts, as well as disabled veterans of past wars. Fly anglers from across the country converged on the pristine waters of Rose River Farm, on the eastern slope of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, for a day of fun competition for the trout of the Rose River and, in doing so, contribute in a tangible way to the rehabilitation of these wounded veterans. Over 150 fly fishing enthusiasts participated in the 30 two –person teams that also included 14 disabled veterans teamed up with experienced anglers. The event raised $160,000 for support of PHW activities and events.   To learn more about PHW and how you can contribute visit their website.

The goal of the tournament is for every fly angler participating in the event, to catch, measure, and release as many trout as they can in two 90 minute fishing sessions during the day, from 8 AM to 4 PM. As the tournament implies, anglers can only use two flies to tempt the trout. If they lose their two flies, fishing must stop, but teams can continue to advise and support the other team member. Other activities included casting lessons from expert casting instructors, including three of the nation's most renowned fly fishermen legends: Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys and Ed Jaworowski. Kayak fishing was also provided by Ruthless Outfitters, contributors to the ODR Fishin' report from Tidewater area.

The Rose River is a pristine freestone stream that flows down from headwaters located in the adjacent Shenandoah National Park and holds a wide array of edible treats for wild rainbows, native brook trout, and jumbo Rose River rainbows. The Annual Trout Heritage Kids Fishing Day sponsored by VDGIF, NWTF and TU also use this stretch of trout stream. To find out more about Rose Rover Farm fishing adventures and staycations, visit their website.

The "Two-Fly" concept is not wholly about fly fishing or competition, but more about friendship, good humor, and fun times as you support our wounded and disabled veterans and contribute in a tangible way to their physical and emotional recovery! A small way to say "thank you" for their service, courage and sacrifice.

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

June Squirrel Season Opens on Private Lands and Selected WMAs June 4-18

For the fifth year a statewide squirrel season will be available for sportsmen June 4-18, 2011, on specific VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as listed on the VDGIF website and on all private lands. Fox squirrels may only be harvested on all private lands in counties with an open fox squirrel season and on the following WMAs: Big Survey, Goshen, Havens, Little North Mountain, Merrimac Farm, Phelps, Rapidan, and Thompson WMAs. Hunting squirrels with dogs is now allowed during the June season.

Although it may be a foreign idea to many sportsmen, a June season is biologically justified. Squirrels have two peak reproductive periods - one during February-March and another during July-August. Therefore, hunters can harvest squirrels during the June season without impacting populations.

VDGIF Board Approves Facilities Use Fee and Certain License Increases

At the May 3, 2011, Board of Game & Inland Fisheries meeting in Richmond, several milestone decisions were made that will benefit the Agency and its ability to continue to provide a multitude of services to all the citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth. The Board approved only the second increase in license fees in the past twenty-four years along with an exciting array of hunting and trapping regulation proposals. The adoption of a facilities 'Use Fee' is important well beyond the actual revenue derived since it provides the means by which folks who use these wonderful Wildlife Management Areas and state fishing lakes can contribute, on either a daily or annual basis, to their maintenance and management. Users with valid hunting, trapping or fishing licenses, boat registrations, 16 years old or younger, or hiking the Appalachian Trail will not have to pay the use fee. In order to educate the public sufficiently, the Use Fee will have a sunrise of January 1, 2012. Additionally, the Board approved license increases on some, but not all licenses with a special focus on basic hunting and fishing licenses, the trout license and the big game license. Nonresident licenses were increased in a manner that was proportional to the increase for resident sportsmen and women. Staff's recommendations and the Board's action reflected the general theme learned during the 120-day public comment period. The Board's decisions were made easier due to solid support from the Agency Advisory Group, which is made up of leaders of sportsman and outdoor enthusiast organizations that meet quarterly with the Director and Department staff to gain input and make recommendations on program management, operations, legislation and future services options. The details of the hunting and fishing regulations, license fee changes and facilities user fees are being reviewed by staff and will be posted on the VDGIF web site shortly and will be covered in more detail in future editions of the Outdoor Report.

Award winning outdoor writer and Outdoor Report contributor Bill Cochran has posted a review of the Board actions from the "sportsman's perspective" on his Roanoke Times online outdoor column. Bill's own insight and interviews with various sportsmen leaders on these Board actions will provide you with the background and projected program enhancements to be gained by these actions.

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 dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov 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

Cliff Presley from Front Royal sent in this story about how important hunting is to his family...

I killed my first spring gobbler April 29, 1982, when I was a freshman at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown.  But what truly got me hooked was about a week prior.  I had called a gobbler to within 30 yards, just on the other side of a rise in the ridge from me, he must have stayed there and gobbled every fifteen seconds for two hours.  I could feel the rumble of his gobble in my chest, then he was gone, he had just vanished, like a ghost.  It was truly a life altering experience for me, I have been enamored with the wild turkey ever since.  I killed my second gobbler about two weeks after my first, then in 1983 I killed my third spring gobbler and decided I was going to go to Virginia Tech in the fall and study Wildlife, so I could learn as much about the wild turkey as I possibly could.  When I got to Tech and Dr. Bromley introduced me to the NWTF, I couldn't believe that there was an organization dedicated solely to the wild turkey, I had to join!!!  Been a lot of water under the bridge AND over the dam since then!!!

Passing on this passion for our rich hunting heritage and traditions, sharing time with my sons in the woods is very important to our family.  This spring gobbler season was very special. as the photo shows Tyler Presley (13) and Matthew Presley (8) from Front Royal, with Tyler's Eastern Longbeard killed near Browntown, VA on Good Friday, April 22nd, 2011.  The gobbler weighed 20 ½ pounds, had a 10 inch beard and a ¾ inch spurs.  Tyler and Matthew are both competitive turkey callers, and have each been the Virginia State Champion in the Juniors (Tyler) and Poults (Matthew) Divisions, and they both competed at the Grand National Calling Contest in Nashville, TN in 2011 where Tyler finished 4th runner up in the Juniors and Matthew finished 5th runner up in the Poults Division.

New Mattaponi WMA Offers Good Hunting Opportunities for Northern Virginia

The acquisition of Virginia's newest Wildlife Management Area contributes 2,542 acres to the Governor's goal of conserving 400,000 acres during his administration and brings the total of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to 39. VDGIF is the Commonwealth's largest public landowner with properties totaling 201,408.

The newly-acquired property, known as the Mattaponi WMA, conserves critical habitat and will provide quality wildlife-related recreation in central Virginia. The landscape ranges from mature upland hardwood and mixed forests to wetlands and rivers. The property borders portions of the Mattaponi River/Campbell Creek watershed and the South River/Mays Run watershed. Governor Bob McDonnell summarized the project by saying, "This acquisition is vital in that it conserves valuable natural resources and plays a key role in Virginia's efforts to protect an important watershed of the Chesapeake Bay."

Two recent acquisitions by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries make up the new Mattaponi WMA. Both purchases were underway simultaneously. VDGIF obtained a 765.6-acre tract first. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) helped in that acquisition by purchasing and holding the property until DGIF could put together its funding package. DGIF purchased the property for $2.4 million using federal dollars from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration Program matched with agency revenues from hunting license sales and sales of Virginia's duck stamp. The agency closed on that parcel on August 30, 2010.

The second acquisition involved three parcels of land totaling 1,777 acres that surround the original tract. It includes more than 5 miles of scenic Mattaponi riverfront and another 1.5 miles of riverfront along the South River. DGIF purchased the land for $5.2 million and closed on December 17, 2010. Partners also contributed to the second acquisition.

The property lies partially within the buffer area around Fort A.P. Hill. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Defense contributed more than $1.4 million from its Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB). Fort A.P. Hill will also be able to use some 500 acres of the area to establish one of the Army's first wetlands mitigation banks. The Trust for Public Lands (TPL) administered the ACUB funds in Virginia.

Other partners included the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration Program and the State Wildlife Grants which matched VDGIF funds. Because of wetlands and wetland restoration opportunities on the property, Ducks Unlimited (DU) also contributed $30,000 to the purchase. The majority of VDGIF's contribution of approximately $4 million will be reimbursed over the next few years from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration Program.

Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech noted the recreational significance of the property, "The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been looking for some time to provide more public land and boating access within a short drive of Northern and Central Virginia. The Mattaponi Wildlife Management Area will offer greater opportunity for outdoor recreation to these Virginians."

Fort A.P. Hill Garrison Commander Lt. Col. John Haefner stated, "Army Compatible Use Buffers around Army installations limit negative effects of incompatible development, helping sustain military readiness while providing the simultaneous benefit of preserving wildlife habitat or agricultural land. This particular property offers the Army a wealth of benefits, not the least of which is a tremendous opportunity for Fort A.P. Hill to establish one of the Army's first wetlands mitigation banks. This joint venture of VDGIF, DU, TPL, and the U.S. Army underscores the value of working together."

All the partners recognized that purchasing the property will conserve critical habitat for wildlife and inland fish as well as threatened and endangered species in a rapidly developing area of Virginia. "Conserving this property protects habitat for nearly 60 species of greatest conservation need in the Commonwealth, and we were pleased to partner with VDGIF to conserve this property that provides more than 2,500 acres of open space and natural habitat for future generations of Virginians to enjoy," said Michael Lipford, Virginia director of The Nature Conservancy.

According to Kurt Dyroff, Director of Conservation Programs at Ducks Unlimited's Annapolis Office, "Waterfowl conservation is facing important challenges as wetlands and associated habitats are being degraded and lost. This project aligns perfectly with our mission to conserve, restore and manage these habitats for waterfowl while also benefiting other wildlife and people. Ducks Unlimited and our nearly 14,000 members in Virginia are proud to support this important acquisition."

The Mattaponi WMA will offer Virginians a premiere destination for quality hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching experiences. VDGIF is currently working on a management plan for the site and infrastructure such as signage and parking. The Mattaponi WMA was opened to the public on March 30 in order to be available for the Special Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt Day and spring turkey season in April.

To learn more about Wildlife Management Areas, hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching in Virginia visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

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.

Licensed adults who take a novice hunting with an Apprentice License should be vigilant to ensure that hunting safety rules are followed at all times. It is best if the licensed adult does not carry a loaded firearm, so that the focus can stay on the apprentice. Teach new hunters to be safe from the start!

There are youth and family-friendly events throughout the year 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!

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 david.dodson@dgif.virginia.gov. Please include your locality in the e-mail.

Attention Date Changes Made For Purchase of Waterfowl Blind Licensees

There has been a change in the dates when stationary blind licenses can be purchased and posted. The change was made to avoid confusion and overlap between when riparian and non-riparian blind licenses can be purchased and erected. The change creates separate time periods for the purchase and posting of stationary blind licenses based on whether you purchased the blind license as a riparian owner, as a non-riparian owner for a blind that had been licensed in the previous year, or as a non-riparian owner for a blind that had not been licensed in the previous year. The new dates for the purchase of stationary blind licenses are as listed below:

Riparian owners, their lessees or permitees: May 1 through June 15; plates with current decal must be affixed to a stake or blind by June 30.

Nonriparian license for a stationary blind in the public waters previously licensed the year before: July 1 through August 15; plates with current decal must be affixed to a stake or blind by August 31.

Nonriparian license for a stationary blind in the public waters not previously licensed the year before: September 1 through October 15; plates with current decal must be affixed to a stake or blind by November 1.

There has been no change in the date that a stationary blind must be erected. For all stationary blinds, if a stake has been erected on the site of a stationary blind, such stake must be replaced by a blind by November 1.The other major change waterfowl hunters will need to be aware of is the way blind licenses are purchased. All blind licenses will now be available through the department's point of sale (POS) system just as other licenses are sold. You no longer have to go to the license agent in the county where your blind will be located. You can go to any license agent in the state or you can do it on the internet from your home! In the case of stationary blind applicants the same information provided to agents in the past will be collected by the license sales systems. This includes the county and body of water where the blind will be located. A license will be provided to you at the time of sale. Applicants will have the option to request that a blind plate be sent if they do not already have one. The blind plate, if requested, and a decal for the plate will be mailed to you within 3 to 5 business days. Information on the new dates and the purchasing process is posted on our website and will be listed in our 2011-12 hunting and waterfowl regulation brochures. Thank you for your support of our wetland and waterfowl resources.

Agricultural Depredation Order For Resident Canada Geese Offered Again In Virginia For 2011

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the Wildlife Services Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working together to offer Virginia farmers an additional tool to manage problems caused by Resident Canada geese. This tool is an Agricultural Depredation Order.

The Agricultural Depredation Order was proposed in the Environmental Impact Statement on Resident Canada geese published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September 2006. The Agricultural Depredation Order was offered for the first time in Virginia in 2009. This Depredation Order authorizes landowners, operators, and tenants actively engaged in commercial agriculture to use certain lethal methods to control Resident Canada geese on lands that they personally control where geese are damaging agricultural crops.

The Agricultural Depredation Order is a bit different than the Nest and Egg Order in that it is administered by the state agencies and state authorization is required to conduct this control. There is no federal website registration or federal permit, but a state permit is required. The permit is free and agricultural producers can apply for the permit by calling the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, P.O. Box 130, Moseley, VA 23120 Phone: (804) 739-7739 FAX: (804) 739-7738. The authorization process will provide a quick turn-around for permits and should make the process more user friendly for landowners and managers.

Activities allowed under this permit include the lethal take of Canada geese from May 1 through August 31, and the destruction of Canada goose nests and eggs between March 1 and June 30. All management actions must occur on the property controlled/managed by the applicant. Geese may not be taken using hunting methods such as decoys and calls. Permit holders must keep a log of their control activities and must submit a report by September 30 of each year detailing the number of birds taken. A copy of the Permit Application, detailing the terms and conditions of the permit, and an Annual Report Form can be obtained from the USDA at the address/number above.

Past efforts have shown that Canada goose depredation control is most effective when a combination of management techniques is used in an integrated approach. These techniques include hunting seasons (special early and regular Resident Canada goose seasons with liberal bag limits), nest and egg destruction, non-lethal treatment methods like hazing and harassment, habitat management and lethal alternatives when needed.

For additional information about Resident Canada geese and other waterfowl populations in Virginia, visit the waterfowl section on the Department's website.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

National Safe Boating Week is May 21-27, Time To Remember Life Jackets Save Lives

National Safe Boating Week is May 21-27, making right now the time to remind boaters to be safe on the water. First and foremost, boaters need to think about life jackets and plan to wear them. A significant number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year would be alive today had they worn their life jackets.

It is the law in Virginia that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. In addition, no person may operate a recreational vessel on federal waters with any child under age 13 on the vessel unless each child is either wearing an appropriate life jacket approved by the USCG, or below deck, or in an enclosed cabin. This applies to waters in which the USCG has enforcement jurisdiction, and in Virginia that includes the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Gaston, Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), Claytor Lake, Lake Moomaw, and other inland waters that are considered navigable. VDGIF is asking boaters to make a commitment to wear their life jackets at all times while on the water.

It is recommended for anyone who operates a boat to complete a boating safety education course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by VDGIF. Virginia's Boating Safety Education Compliance Regulation is being phased in over the next several years. If you have previously taken a boating safety education course and have your card, you are in compliance with the new regulation. Visit the VDGIF website for course information and for information about how to get replacement cards. To learn more about boating laws in Virginia and about boating education courses, visit the Department's website.

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

Spring Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to go squirrel hunting the June 5-19,2010 spring season, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. You'll also want to put on some bug repellent to ward off ticks, chiggers, gnats and mosquitoes. Learn to identify poison ivy (leaflets three let it be!) and avoid contact with the shiny green leaves and hairy vines. Note that you can also get a rash from handling clothes that have come in contact with this abundant woods plant. If you have walked through a patch of poison ivy, wash those clothes to remove the oils which cause the itchy rash. Snakes are also out and about with the warmer temperatures, so be alert. If it is a very warm day, it would be a good idea to field dress your harvested game as soon as possible and bring along a cooler with ice and plastic bags to store them. You may want to view the instructional squirrel skinning video featured in the next article.

As always, practice basic firearm safety. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, only point at what you intend to shoot, and clearly identify your game and what is beyond. So spray on a little bug juice and take a youngster squirrel hunting on one of the selected VDGIF's WMAs or private woodlands. You can locate the WMAs at the VDGIF map information system on our Find Game website.

Video Features Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting

Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. If you want to learn one of the best methods we've seen for skinning squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young & old.

Order your own copy today!

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

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

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

"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.

If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone!

It's that time of year again when white-tailed deer fawns are showing up in yards and fields and concerned citizens want to know how to help. In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space and leave it alone. By giving it a wide berth, you also reduce the risk of inadvertently leading dogs and other predators to the hidden fawn. The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation. Fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer, called does, stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators to their location. They will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young. You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a very few minutes before leaving it alone again.

Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned. Most such "orphans" that good-intentioned citizens "rescue" every spring should have been left alone. Most wild animals are dedicated parents and will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time while looking for food. If a fawn or rabbit has been "rescued" when it shouldn't have been, it can often be released at the same location. Parents tend to remain in the area for at least a day, looking for the lost youngster.

If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. You may contact a licensed rehabilitator by visiting the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) website. Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a state permit. Besides, each animal's nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival.

See Habitat Partners© Streaming Video of 4 Corporate Habitats

In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Corporate Habitat program, four habitat improvement projects installed by private businesses are being showcased in streaming video on the agency's website. Pfizer Consumer Healthcare in Richmond; Boxley's Piney River Quarry in Amherst County; Wetland Studies and Solutions in Gainesville; and Capital One in Goochland County have all shared the successes of their habitat work. Each of the four companies took a close look at the landscape and made a commitment to adopt management practices unique to their specific site. The streaming videos provide visual examples of a variety of improvement methods that benefit wildlife, such as: a meadow planting along a woodland edge; a wetland restoration; a butterfly garden; and plantings that also improve water quality, such as rain gardens and a green roof. In addition, company employees enjoy the added benefit of working in a more aesthetically appealing environment. These examples are described in more detail in an article also posted on the same web page.

Small Boats Needed For Clean The Bay Day June 4

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and its partners are now recruiting volunteers to clean up shoreline litter for the 23rd Annual Clean the Bay Day, Saturday, June 4, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Clean the Bay Day is a hands-on opportunity for individuals, families, businesses, and groups to join CBF, municipalities, concerned organizations, and businesses in one of the largest volunteer cleanup efforts in Virginia. The annual project, managed by CBF, involves thousands of Virginia citizens working on foot and by boat to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers, and streams. The event also raises public awareness about pollution issues beneath the surface. Last year, 7,430 volunteers removed 217,641 lbs of debris at 245 sites along 419 miles of Chesapeake Bay watershed shorelines. Cleanup sites are available throughout Hampton Roads, Virginia's Eastern Shore, Northern, and Central Virginia. To register, visit cbf.org/clean, send an e-mail to ctbd@cbf.org, or call 1-800/SAVEBAY.

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!

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

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

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest In celebration of National Fishing Week

Picture the excitement!

It certainly isn't hard to "picture it," kids 'n fishing that is - smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement. So, join in on the fun, catch the excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company... celebrate National Fishing Week! The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. Winning pictures will also be posted on the VDGIF website and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications. There is no need to be a professional photographer. Any snapshot will do.

Contest Rules:

To Enter Send your photo, with the child's name, age, phone number and address, along with the Photo Contest Release Form (PDF), to:

2011 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
P.O. Box 11104
Richmond, VA 23230-1104

View the winning entries from the 2010 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!

You Live in Bear Country...

As new spring growth emerges, so do bears, and they are following their stomachs in search of food.

With a healthy and growing black bear population, bear sightings are becoming the norm throughout Virginia. While the highest concentration of bears occurs in the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains and around the Great Dismal Swamp, bears are likely to be seen just about anywhere in Virginia. During the months of April and May bears have left their dens and are ending their winter fast. Bears do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate while they are in dens. Additionally, while denning, female bears may give birth to cubs. Cubs are born weighing less than a pound and are reliant on their mother's milk.

In Virginia, bear diets consist of 80% vegetation and only 20% protein from common sources like insects and carrion. Bears are highly adaptable and intelligent animals and can learn to associate human dwellings with food. In their search for food, bears are attracted to residential areas by the smell of food around homes.

Please don't feed the bears.

Always remember that a bear is a wild animal, and that it is detrimental to the bear, as well as illegal in Virginia, to feed a bear under any circumstances. Even the inadvertent feeding of bears is illegal. The most common food attractants are bird feeders, garbage, and pet food. Additionally outdoor grills, livestock food, compost, fruit trees, and beehives can also attract bears.

Click on the following link to learn details on how to handle bears in your backyard...

If you do see a bear in your area, enjoy watching it from a distance. If you experience a bear problem after taking appropriate steps of prevention, please notify your Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Regional Office. Phone numbers for the regional offices can be found by visiting the Department's website.

Remember, if you live in Virginia, you live in bear country.

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

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 early June:

Answers to May 11th edition quiz for nature events for early May...

Get your copy of the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Living with Bees & Wasps

Many people are afraid of bees and wasps, insects that can sting if they feel threatened. But how likely are you to get stung?

Unless you are bothering a bee's nest or you touch a bee, you are highly unlikely to get stung by one of these critters. A bee is reluctant to sting because the stinger will be torn from its body, killing the bee. That's why a bee buzzes loudly—it wants to let you know that it is nearby so you will give it plenty of space! Therefore you can avoid being stung by always paying attention when you hear buzzing so you will know right where the bee is. You may safely watch it gathering food at flowers.

A wasp, on the other hand, can sting many times because its stinger remains attached to its body. Still, a wasp is unlikely to sting unless a person is near its nest or the person touches the wasp, either by accident or on purpose. When you see a wasp, look at what it is doing. A wasp searching for food at flowers and going about its business should not bother you. However, if it is standing still and intently watching you, the wasp probably has a nest nearby. You should walk from the area right away, back in the direction from which you just came.

You need to be careful in the presence of bees and wasps, especially if you are allergic to their stings, but you do not need to be terrified of them. They will interact with you only if forced to do so. These insects are very useful to humans. Some bees make honey that people enjoy eating. All bees and many kinds of wasps help flowers to make fruits and seeds by pollinating them. Some kinds of wasps help to limit the numbers of other small animals, such as insects and spiders, which they feed to their young.

Tips to avoid getting stung:

  1. Don't walk barefoot outdoors where you are likely to step on critters.
  2. Don't put your hands into anything without checking it first. I got stung once when I reached into my newspaper box and inadvertently grabbed a wasp along with the paper.
  3. In spring, morning temperatures are often in the 40s and wasps are sluggish. This is a safe time to knock small nests off your house.

Editors note: This article was provided by Marlene A. Condon, a naturalist who gives slide presentations from spring through fall in Shenandoah National Park. She has taken many close-up pictures of bees and wasps without having ever been stung. She is also a writer whose passion is helping folks to create wildlife habitat around homes and businesses.  Marlene has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines and is the author/photographer of The Nature-friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People (Stackpole Books). Marlene writes a monthly nature/gardening/cooking column, "Condon's Corner", for The Crozet Gazette.  On July 2, 2011, The News Virginian of Waynesboro will start carrying her newest column, "Ask the 'Nature Lady' ™", which Marlene is syndicating.  Special rates are available for clubs (such as garden, bird, scouting, etc.) that would like to use the column in their newsletters. You can contact the author at www.marlenecondon.com.

Butterfly Gardens: Critical Habitat - Now is Time for Planning and Planting

By Marie Majarov, Majarov Photography, www.majarov.com

Marie Majarov, outdoor writer and photographer from Winchester is a true butterfly enthusiasts. She and her husband Milan work throughout the year on Monarch butterfly conservation projects. Marie notes, "This is a critical time to plant a butterfly garden as one of our loveliest and most recognizable butterflies, the large, brilliantly-colored, orange and black Monarch, has been and continues to be in grave danger. Shrinking summer habitat, very dry conditions in Texas welcoming the returning monarchs that wintered in Mexico this year, and some of the unusual weather experienced across their range, are all causing major concern for the monarchs' ability to produce reasonable numbers for their migration this coming fall. Gardens with Monarch host plants, milkweed, and nectar sources are called Waystations. Your help is essential in saving this beautiful butterfly.

VDGIF website "Creating A Butterfly Garden" by Master Naturalist Donna Cottingham will give you many suggestions for native plants, both annuals and perennials, and describes which plants are hosts for various butterfly species. The new Habitat at Home© DVD will also provide you with many helpful ideas. (see details of this DVD in Habitat Improvement Tips section)

Marie Majarov and her husband Milan are Clinical Psychologists, nature enthusiasts, and members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. They maintain a butterfly garden and bluebird trail at their home in Winchester, VA. Inspiring children, both young and old, about the wonders of nature and encouraging the preservation of our precious natural resources is their dream for Majarov Photography. More about their work can be seen at www.majarov.com.

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 II - Southside

K-9 Officer Howald and Partner "Scout" are powerful team to investigate and track violations... On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Richard Howald and his trusty new partner K-9 Scout, assisted Officer Jake Clark with a trespassing case. After observing two vehicles parked in an area where people often park to launch canoes to float the Staunton River, Officer Jake Clark assumed the occupants were doing just that. K-9 Scout, on the other hand, was not convinced as he picked up a scent and followed it approximately 1/4 mile onto posted property to a trespassing fisherman. Officer Clark stated, "It was an eye opening experience that helped me to realize some of the benefits of having the K-9's available as a valuable tool to use in the performance of our job. Without the benefit of the K-9, we could have spent much longer trying to locate the fisherman, or we may have just gotten into our patrol vehicle and left."

The very next day, May 11, Officer Clark received a complaint about a fisherman below the Leesville dam keeping an undersized striped bass. While enroute to the call, another fisherman who had just left the dam flagged him down and reported the same violation and same suspect. While conducting this investigation, Officer Clark questioned the suspect about keeping undersized fish. The suspect vehemently denied this accusation. After the suspect repeatedly kept saying that he did not have a fish and since Officer Clark was unable to locate one, Officer Clark contacted Officer Howald and asked that he respond with K-9 Scout. Officer Clark informed the suspect that he had a K-9 responding that had been trained in the detection of striped bass. After a brief period of time to digest the K-9 being on the way, the suspect admitted that he did have an undersize striped bass and retrieved it from the spot where he had hidden it. The fisherman was charged, and the undersize fish was seized. Officer Clark stated that, "I have no doubt that the only reason he eventually admitted to it was because he knew that the truth would be discovered when K-9 Scout arrived."

CPO's hit jack "pot" when investigating illegal deer kills... On Monday, May 9, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Edgar Huffman received information that a Franklin County man had illegally killed multiple deer. The follow-up investigation, with assistance provided by CPO's James Slaughter, Chase Meredith and Brandon Edwards, resulted in a 42 year old Snow Creek resident admitting to illegally killing three deer and not checking them in. In addition, and through the diligent work of these investigators, this case continued to evolve as a total of 98 marijuana plants were found growing near this suspects residence. It is noteworthy to say that he also claimed them too! The case will be presented to a Franklin County Grand Jury later this month.

Bike Patrol nabs variety of suspects... Conservation Police Officer Matthew Silicki conducted a "bike patrol" on the Dan River in the City of Danville from April 21-23. Eight charges were placed against fishermen after complaints were made that undersize stripers were being creeled. Additionally, after suspecting and then determining that a fisherman had given false information concerning his identity, warrants were obtained for forgery and identity theft.

Convicted Felon caught with untagged turkeys... On April 21, 2011, while on patrol in Mecklenburg County, Conservation Police Officer Matthew Sandy observed a vehicle parked on the side of the road that appeared to be hunting. Officer Sandy set up surveillance in a wooded area across from the vehicle. Sometime later Officer Sandy saw a man exit the woods carrying a camouflage shotgun. The man then got into his vehicle and pulled toward the road. Officer Sandy exited the woods and identified himself. The individual then returned to his original parking place, exited the vehicle and walked toward Officer Sandy. He appeared nervous while taking his license out of his wallet. Officer Sandy asked if he'd had any luck this year with the turkeys. He stated that he had not killed anything. After inspecting his license they walked down to his vehicle. In the bed of his truck Officer Sandy saw three spots that looked like where a turkey might have been laying. When Officer Sandy questioned him, he stated that a friend gave him two turkeys the day before. He gave a name and number that was later determined to be fictitious. Officer Sandy began searching the vehicle for turkey parts. When he approached the passenger side tool box, the suspect stated that there were some turkey beards in it. Officer Sandy located four turkey beards. After presenting the suspect with the beards, Officer Sandy obtained a confession that he had killed three turkeys and not checked any of them. Officer Sandy then advised him that he would be citing him for the violations. Officer Sandy ran the suspects information through Richmond dispatch. Not only did the suspect's information come back indicating that he had a suspended driver's license, but also that he was a convicted felon. Officer Sandy placed the suspect under arrest and transported him to the Mecklenburg County jail.

Switching driver's seat gets both boaters BUI charges... Conservation Police Officer's James Slaughter and Edgar Huffman observed a pontoon boat on Smith Mountain Lake on April 29, 2011 with a passenger bow riding. Upon activating emergency lights and siren, the operator changed places with a passenger. Field sobriety tests were administered and "both" operators were arrested for Boating Under the Influence.

CPOs conduct boat training on Smith Mountain Lake... On May 5, 2011, members of VDGIF Law Enforcement Boat Training Unit put on a one-day training session for the Bedford County Sheriff's Office. The Bedford Sheriff's office had recently acquired a new patrol boat on a Homeland Security grant and wanted instruction on operation and boat laws. 15 deputies and 2 Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Officers completed 10 hours of classroom and on-water boat training at Smith Mountain Lake.

Region III - Southwest

CPO Honaker Coaches Hunter Education Championship Team... On the weekend of April 29 - May 01, 2011, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker attended the Virginia Hunter Education Championship held at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center in Appomattox, Virginia. Officer Honaker is coach and president of the Scott County Outdoor Team. This year the Scott County Outdoor Team sent twenty-two competitors ages ten to eighteen to the competition. The Scott County Team has been competing in the championships since 1994. This year marked the first time that the Scott County Team has sent an all female team to the competition. According to staff working at the competition, it marked the first time that anyone could recall an all female team competing.

The Scott County Outdoor Team won the following awards this year: First place in Senior Team Shotgun, First place in Senior Team Rifle, Second place in Senior Team Archery, Second place in Senior Team Outdoor Skills, And First place in Team Overall. The Senior Team also won the following individual awards: First place in Rifle, tie for First place in Shotgun, Second place Overall Individual, and Third place Overall Individual. The Junior Team won the following team awards: Second place Team Shotgun, Second place Team Archery, Second place Team Outdoor Skills, Third place Team Rifle, and Third place Team Overall. The Junior Team also won the following Individual Awards: First place Individual Outdoor Skills. The fifteen awards earned by the Scott County Outdoor Team beat last years total of ten. Officer Honaker has been assisting with the team since 2000 and is responsible with making sure that the team has a place to practice each year. Officer Honaker works with archery clubs and shooting ranges in the area for practice sessions. He also instructs Map/Compass, Outdoor Skills, and Rifle for the team each year. Officer Honaker is extremely proud of the Scott County Outdoor Team and what it has accomplished. He makes sure that each year everyone that joins the team gets to compete at the championship in Appomattox regardless of skill level and/or their financial situation. The Scott County Outdoor Team is committed to making sure that every youth has a chance to learn or sharpen hunting skills in a safe and responsible manner.

Closed Bear Case nets convictions and fines... On May 5, 2011, Senior Conservation Police Officers Dennis Austin and James Hale closed cases in Buchanan Court stemming from an illegal bear kill on December 18, 2010 in Buchanan County. Restitution for the cub bear was $2000, Total fines and additional court costs were $1500. The three men convicted of killing the bear illegally also lost their privilege to hunt in Virginia for three years each.

Nice Try- there is no "universal" fishing license good in all states... On May 7, 2011 Conservation Police Officer Mark Brewer conducted a solo boat patrol on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County. Over the course of the 4-hour patrol, a total of six summonses were issued (three fishing without license, one safety equipment violation, one no wake zone violation, and one possession of alcohol by a person under age 21). The last boat checked was a paddle boat on two small aluminum pontoons. Both operators had Bud Light beer bottles at their feet, and they were fishing. One of the subjects was age 25 but had no fishing license. The other subject was just age 20; he was a Virginia resident who claimed to have a North Carolina license. He said he thought his North Carolina license was universal and valid in every state. They were issued summonses for fishing without a license, and the underage subject was issued a summons for possessing alcohol under age 21.

Pulaski County Kid's Fishing Day huge success... Innovative publicity, leadership and dedication by Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips helped make the 2nd annual Pulaski County Kid's Fishing Day at Camp Powhatan on May 7, a great success. Officer Phillips, and his Kids Fishing Day Committee, started to meet back in the winter of 2010 to prepare for the event. Officer Phillips did a public service announcement at the local radio station, a live 'on the air' broadcast with the morning show host, talked about the upcoming event, and contacted the local newspaper to run a story. To promote the event, Officer Phillips arranged for advertisements to be sent out with county quarterly utility bills. On the day of the event, over 325 kids participated in fishing and over 750 people were in total attendance. Bait stations were set up around the lake to handle tackle needs for the fishermen and a fish cleaning station was available to fillet the trout and put them on ice until the event was over. The largest fish caught was a 4 pound 11 ounce rainbow trout by a young man that netted the free taxidermist mount prize for largest fish. Every child in attendance got a tee shirt and a prize which consisted of fishing rod combos, tackle boxes, tote bags, and water bottles. The grand prizes given out were two lifetime fishing licenses awarded to one boy and one girl. A Thompson Center muzzleloader raffle winner was announced when Captain Clark Greene picked the winning ticket out of a hat. Other activities included, inflatable air jumping toys, the Department's laser shot firearms simulator, live music, and several exhibits. Police and EMS agencies in attendance included the Virginia Tech Police Department, Radford City Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, The Pulaski County Fire Marshall, Claytor Lake State Park Rangers, The Department of State Police, The Department of Forestry, rescue squads from REMSI and Carillion Health Systems and officers from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The day was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Larry Phillips who passed on in September 2010. Mr. Phillips was a charter member of the first Pulaski County Kid's Fishing Day Committee that started back in 2009. Plans are already in the works for May of 2012 when the third annual Pulaski County Kid's Fishing Day will take place.

Using sister's identity to avoid arrest, BIG mistake... In the spring of 2010, Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips charged a woman fishing at Claytor Lake for fishing without a license. Later in the year, it was determined that the suspect had given Officer Phillips her sister's information and signed her name to the summons. The victim noticed this when she tried to obtain a drivers license and found out that she had failed to pay fines for a fishing violation that she had never committed. Officer Phillips investigated the complaint and interviewed the suspect and obtained a complete written statement from the suspect admitting to using her sister's information to avoid prosecution on an outstanding trespassing warrant. The suspect was charged with forgery, falsely identifying self to police to avoid arrest, and fishing without a license. A list of other charges were placed against the suspect from other officers as well. The suspect was found guilty on most of the charges, had to pay fines over $5100 and was ordered to serve over seven years in a state penitentiary. Thanks to Officer Phillips, the victim's identity cleared with the DMV and her license was restored.

Kid's Fishing Day on Barbour's Creek community success... On May 14, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Francis Miano helped coordinate and lead the 12th Annual Craig Co. "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" Kid's Fishing Day on Barbour's Creek. Officer Miano, Craig County Sheriff Clifford Davidson, Karen Reynolds, and Lynn Price met in March to go over plans for the event. A date was picked to ensure that the Upper Craigs Creek Fire Dept. could assist. The Fire Dept. is instrumental in cooking and serving lunch to the kids and their families. We met with Lynn Price from IGA Mick or Mack to ensure all the food including hot dogs, buns, chili and all the condiments, chips, cakes and drinks were ordered. Officer Miano orders all the prizes through Ellen Horn at the Hunter's Den, as well as sets up the trout stocking with Ernie Palmer from the Paint Bank Fish Hatchery. Several townspeople are always excited about assisting with the stocked fish at 0700 hrs on the day of the event. Three hundred sixty one kids showed up for this year's event and thankfully the weather cooperated. Each kid, at registration receives a prize, t-shirt and meal ticket. The prizes include fishing poles, tackle boxes, turkey calls, sleeping bags, binoculars, and flashlights. Twenty Nine citation trout were caught including the biggest fish which weighed in at 3.50 lbs and measured 19 ¾ inches! Great Job Paint Bank Hatchery!!! The largest fish prize includes a free mount from Smith's Taxidermy in Newport. The Grand Prize for the Age 9-15 division was a lifetime fishing license and a very nice trout vest. The age 3-8 division received an 8-man tent and a trout vest. Along with Officer Miano, Craig Co. Head Dispatcher, and event coordinator, Karen Reynolds announced the winners during lunch at the Craig Co. Fairgrounds in New Castle. Other assisting agencies included the Craig Co. Sheriff's Office, the Virginia Sate Police who manned our weigh station, US Forest Service Law Division Officer John Price, the Upper Craig's Creek Fire Dept and the Craig County Rescue Squad. This is a yearly event that the community really looks forward to.

Region IV - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont

New K-9 Officer Billhimer and partner K-9 "Justice" aid in hunting accident investigation... On Saturday, May 7th, Conservation Police Officers Billy Angle and Tony McFaddin were dispatched to investigate a hunting incident in Alleghany County. While enroute to the scene, the officers asked for assistance from their neighboring District and had Officer William Herndon, Officer Rob Ham, K-9 Officer Wayne Billhimer, and K-9 Justice respond. The two Districts worked together in a proficient and professional manner to quickly investigate the incident. Their investigation revealed that a 10 year old boy was turkey hunting with his uncle, when the two briefly separated. The uncle heard some turkeys in the distance and then thought he heard a turkey walking in his direction. The uncle thought he saw the tail fan of a turkey come into view and fired a 3 ½ inch magnum blended shot shell containing #5, #6, and #7 shot. The shot traveled approximately 40 yards and struck the 10 year old on his left side from his knees to his head. The 10 year old was air lifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital and then air lifted again to the University of Virginia. His injuries were not fatal, but his left eye sustained a very serious injury.

K-9 Justice was utilized at the scene and very quickly became an instrumental member of the investigative team. K-9 Justice came out of his patrol vehicle and was ready to work. He did not wait on the other officers and went straight to the crime scene on his own locating the two shotguns that had been left at the scene. While Justice was waiting on the officers to get there, he was able to take a short break. He then went back to work and located the spent shot shell. While the Officers worked the scene, K-9 Justice took another break and did an interview with the local news. When the officers found the shot path, K-9 Justice went back to work and within 30 seconds had located the shot cup.

K-9 Justice's interview »

When Officer says buy a license- listen... On Tuesday evening, May 10, Master Conservation Police Officer Grauer was patrolling along Mt. Vernon Parkway in Fairfax County to check the local fishing spots. While standing on the Little Hunting Creek Bridge observing some fishermen below, three young men walked up next to Officer Grauer to look over the bridge wall. Officer Grauer asked the young men for their fishing licenses but all three said they did not have one. Officer Grauer advised them that they needed to leave to go buy their licenses. The men turned and headed back to the parking lot. Officer Grauer issued 3 other summonses to individuals that he observed down below, and then went on to check some other locations north towards Alexandria. On the way back south along Mt. Vernon Parkway, Officer Grauer noticed three vehicles parked at the Dogue Creek Bridge. He stopped and walked over to watch three fishermen on the bank of Dogue Creek for a while. When Grauer approached the three fishermen, he realized it was the same three young men he talked to earlier at Little Hunting Creek. They did not bother to take Officer Grauer's advice to go buy a license, so all there received summonses. Kids just don't listen!

These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!

If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at
1-800-237-5712.

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

Fishin' Report

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

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

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

For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) website. 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.

VA State Record Blue Catfish at Bass Pro Shops Aquarium in Ashland

On Thursday, May 5th the state record blue catfish was released into the aquarium at Bass Pro Shops south of Ashland in Hanover County. The catfish was caught by Tony Milam of South Boston on March 17, 2011 at Buggs Island Lake. The massive fish weighed in at 109 pounds even and was 53 inches long. The fish was kept alive and transported to the Bass Pro Shops Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri where it spent six weeks being treated by their veterinarian staff and becoming accustomed to aquarium life before returning to Virginia. Now she is home and on display for everyone to see and enjoy!

Chesapeake Bay Program & Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Seek Your Involvement in Action on Blue Catfish

The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) has several science teams. One such team is the Sustainable Fisheries Goal Implementation Team composed of fisheries managers from around the region. The Team's mission includes supporting viable recreational and commercial fisheries, with a view to "ecosystem-based" management goals.

After hearing from a panel of blue catfish science experts during its December 2010 meeting, the Team determined to develop a Chesapeake Bay wide management policy for blue catfish. The team asked this group of experts to develop a range of management options by the time of the Team's June 2011 meeting. The Team requested assessment of policy options ranging from eradication to leaving management unchanged. While the Team recognized eradication of blue catfish from the Chesapeake Bay watershed is likely not feasible, this was one of the management options the Team requested the group of science experts to evaluate.

The CBP Fisheries Goal Implementation Team recently developed a draft resolution on blue catfish and flathead catfish for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). An early draft of the ASMFC resolution defines blue catfish and flathead catfish as "invasive", and "that all practicable efforts should be made to reduce the population level and range of non-native invasive species" in the Chesapeake Bay watershed – which includes Virginia's tidal river blue catfish populations.

If you are a recreational angler, or otherwise have an interest in this resource, you have a role to play in this ongoing process. Both the Chesapeake Bay Program and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission welcome and encourage stakeholder and public involvement.

View the Chesapeake Bay Sustainable Goal Implementation Team online »

View the Atlantic States Fisheries Commission online »

Changes in Tidal River Blue Catfish Populations and Fishing Forecast

It has been over 35 years since blue catfish were established in Virginia's tidal waters, and the populations still have not stabilized at a level sustainable in the long-term. In the period 2002 – 2008, as blue catfish populations became overcrowded, VDGIF biologists documented significant declines in blue catfish growth in the Rappahannock, Mattaponi, and Pamunkey. Until recently growth in the James River had remained stable, in spite of dramatic increases in the number (crowding) of blue catfish in that river. However in 2010, significant declines in growth were documented in the James River. The time it takes a James River blue catfish to reach 35 inches increased from 13 years to 15 years. In other words, to reach 30 pounds a blue catfish will now have to live 15 years, when it previously would have reached this weight by age 12. If growth continues to slow in coming years, as has been the case in other tidal rivers, the resulting increase in the time to reach a given weight will mean fewer fish surviving to reach "trophy" size.

Forecasts

  1. James River and its tributaries: Virginia's premier trophy blue cat fishery, still with good numbers of fish to the 50 pound range, and fair numbers of fish to the 70 pound range.
  2. Mattaponi and Pamunkey: Currently good numbers of fish to the 50 pound range, with anglers reporting the occasional fish to 80 pounds. Growth rates in decline, therefore future production of trophy fish is uncertain.
  3. Rappahannock River: This river is only rarely producing citation-sized blue catfish. However, as with Virginia's other tidal blue cat fisheries, an extremely high abundance of smaller fish are available to anglers looking to take fish home to the table.

For more information, the 2011 Tidal River Blue Catfish Report for Anglers has been posted in the VDGIF fishing website.

Safe Boating Week May 21-27, 2011 Gear up for Summer! Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class

Attention boaters, VDGIF has begun to phase in Virginia's boating safety education requirement. To find out more about the boating safety requirement, the rest of the phase-in for Virginia boaters, or to find a boating safety course, visit the Department's website.

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

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

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

Two Streams Added to the VDGIF Catchable Trout Stocking Program

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has added two new streams to its Catchable Trout Stocking Program in southwest Virginia. A 2.3 mile section of the South Fork Powell River in the Town of Big Stone Gap and a 0.75 mile section of the Middle Fork Holston River in Chilhowie have been added to this very popular program. Included in the program are those waters that are posted as "Stocked Trout Waters" and are stocked with catchable-sized trout from October through May each year. Designated stocked trout waters are listed by the Director of the Department in the annual Trout Stocking Plan published in the "2011 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia" regulations pamphlet on pages 20 - 21.

This modification to the trout stocking plan will be effective with the formal posting of regulations on the new streams. "We are very excited about this great opportunity for anglers in Wise and Smyth Counties," stated Bill Kittrell, Regional Aquatic Manager in the Department's Marion Regional Office. "It has taken a considerable amount of work on the part of both the Town officials as well as Department staff to bring this about," Kittrell explained. Officials from both the Town of Big Stone Gap and the Town of Chilhowie have presented the Department with formal resolutions supporting the concept. "In both cases, the Towns own large tracts of land adjacent to the streams, and access for the public is excellent," Kittrell continued. These waters will only be considered designated stocked trout waters from October 1 through June 15, and a trout license will be required to fish in addition to the regular fishing license. A trout license is not required from June 16 through September 30. Trout angling hours on designated stocked trout waters are from 5:00 a.m. until one hour after sunset. For more details on the Department's Catchable Trout Stocking Program and the many other great fishing opportunities in Virginia, please check out the Department's website.

Contact: William B. Kittrell, Jr., Regional Aquatic Manager, Marion Regional Office, (276) 783-4860, bill.kittrell@dgif.virginia.gov.

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest In celebration of National Fishing Week

Picture the excitement!

It certainly isn't hard to "picture it," kids 'n fishing that is - smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement. So, join in on the fun, catch the excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company... celebrate National Fishing Week! The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. Winning pictures will also be posted on the VDGIF website and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications. There is no need to be a professional photographer. Any snapshot will do.

For Rules and To Enter Send your photo, with the child's name, age, phone number and address, along with the Photo Contest Release Form (PDF), to:

2011 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
P.O. Box 11104
Richmond, VA 23230-1104

Photos must be postmarked on or before June 18, 2011

View the winning entries from the 2010 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!

Hydrilla Infestation Being Addressed in Claytor Lake

Hydrilla is an invasive plant that has affected large parts of many inland Florida lakes and many inland lakes including Lake Norman, Smith Mountain Lake, Gaston Lake, and most recently, Claytor Lake. If left unchecked hydrilla would grow in all water under 14-feet deep. In effect, the development of a "bathtub ring" of hydrilla would form around the perimeter of the Lake. The hydrilla has grown so dense that some residents are unable to get boats out of their docks and swim near their property. As a result, property owners face serious declines of property values. Due to lake access denial and limited boating channels, tourism will be adversely affected. Also, the growth is nearing the Public Service Authority water intake point.

Early in its growth pattern, hydrilla provides habitat for fish, but the quality of this habitat declines as the density of hydrilla increases. As it expands, it out competes, and replaces other aquatic plants, negatively impacting many aquatic species. Hydrilla eventually chokes off near shore fish habitat. It interferes with predators feeding on prey, resulting in unbalanced fish populations. As of last summer, approximately 400 acres of the 4,633-acre Claytor Lake or approximately 10% has been impacted. In many places hydrilla has grown to the surface and has formed a base for algae growth. The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, Friends of Claytor Lake, and Appalachian Power Company are proactively seeking to address hydrilla growth this summer by taking the following actions:

  1. Application of herbicides in safe doses by a certified applicator as now required by state law. Appalachian Power will be providing $50,000 this summer for herbicide application in the vicinity of public access points. Any remaining funds will be applied on a prorate basis to assist lake property owners who contract with certified applicators for controlling hydrilla along their waterfront.
  2. Stocking of 6,000 certified triploid sterile grass carp funded by the Board of Supervisors for $12,540. Grass carp are the most effective means of safely controlling hydrilla. These sterile carp will be strategically stocked on May 25th near the State Park and in the upper portion of Claytor Lake where hydrilla was most prevalent last summer. Because grass carp only eat vegetation, their presence will not affect fishing in Claytor Lake. Stocking will be supervised and conducted by permit from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and 30 of the 6,000 fish will be radio tagged to allow tracking of fish movements and longevity. Typically, grass carp live for up to 15 years, with the majority of their eating ability taking place in the first five years. Radio transmitters are being provided by Virginia Tech.
  3. Mechanical harvesting may also be used in particularly heavily infested areas or if mechanical removal can be accomplished at a lower cost than through chemical application.

The combined reduction in hydrilla growth through chemical or mechanical means combined with the presence of sterile grass carp attracted to eating submergent growth has been the most effective approach possible in other locations. The experience in other locations has been that controlling hydrilla is a long-term undertaking and it can be expected that it will take up to four years before this combined approach begins to significantly reduce hydrilla in Claytor Lake. To prevent the spread of hydrilla to nearby waters, Claytor Lake boaters should remove all vegetation from their trailers, propellers, livewells, and boats before heading to another location.

For more info, you may visit Friends of Claytor Lake at www.focl.org or contact the President of FOCL, Ronnie Powers at (540) 674-0166 or contact the County Administration office at (540) 980-7705

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.

Free Fishing Days June 3-5 - Try it, You'll Be Hooked!

June 3, 4, and 5, 2011 have been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters, on these days. Plan some time to go fishing and boating; take the family fishing and boating or learn to fish and boat! See our Where to Fish section to get started!

There are few better times to reconnect with family and friends than while waiting for that next strike. Time spent fishing is always a welcome retreat, a bit of an adventure and the perfect setting for getting back in touch with what matters most. Escape, relax, play, reconnect with nature. And rediscover the fun of fishing and boating. You'll be surprised at how much you've missed it. Buy your fishing license today!

To find a great place to fish during Free Fishing Days, read through Sarah White's Notebook to get the current conditons for the rivers, lakes, and streams throughout the Commonwealth!

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

We were all distressed to hear that this week that Willard Mayes, better known around here as "Our Man in The Boat", suffered a heart attack last week. The good news is that Willard has had surgery to help repair the damage and is doing well. His daughter, Anne Kuhfuss, has been kind enough to keep us informed of his progress. We know that everyone is going to want to keep him in their thoughts and prayers as he recovers. If you want to send "get well soon wishes" for Willard, please send through our Fishin' Report email at: fishing_report@hotmail.com and we will forward them to him.

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 fishing_report@hotmail.com.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by C. Blair Evans, (804) 693-2107, www.gloucesterva.info. It appears that the fish are beginning to move to the deeper water for the summer. Anglers are finding that both the bass and crappie are hanging around the drop-offs to the deeper portions of the lake. Fishing has been improving at the pier and we are beginning to see a lot of bluegill and brim. Fishing for cats has also been improving.

The next night fishing will be held on Friday, June the 18th and the main entrance of the park will be open till midnight. The next Big Bash Bass Tournament will be on Saturday June the 10th. For more information, call the park at (804) 693-2107.

Beaverdam Park Big Bash Tournament results:

First Place: Steve Harger (Mathews County) & Woody Cosby (Gloucester County), 15 lbs 9 ozs

Big Fish: Steve Harger & Woody Cosby, 4 lbs 12 ozs

Park Hours: May to September 5th: 6:00 a.m.to 8:30 p.m.

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The striper are biting live herring but some fish will hit long lip cranks and top-water, too. Newport News Waterworks has stopped pumping water now so the striper bite will slow down. But they can still be found on deep water points and humps through the summer. Bass are taking green and brown worms rigged Texas style. Long lipped crank baits are working also. The Crappie are biting well, with small jigs out fishing live bait. They are schooled in 12 ft. plus of water. Brim are taking all kinds of worms at 6 ft. to 8 ft. Cat fish are eating minnows and night crawlers. The lake is at full pool with a water temperature of 75 and visibility at 12 ft.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim says that croakers are at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and are going for Fishbite and squid. Flounder can be found at Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets and will take cut fish or bull minnows. Red and black drum are at Fisherman's Island and will bite clams and green crabs. The water is 69 degrees and clear.

Back Bay: New reporter and local angler Tom Deans. No report this edition.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports that bass action is good, especially if you use spinners, cranks or plastic worms. Crappie are biting nicely on minnows and jigs. Some cats 40 lbs. and over have been brought up with live eel and fresh cut bait. Bluegill are going for red wigglers. The water is slightly stained and in the upper 60s.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that there are lots of big bass to be found in his area. Try top-waters, cranks and spinners. Not many crappie are coming in, but those that do are big. The cats are there to be taken and will go for night crawlers and cut bait. White perch are being cooperative and will bite jigs, night crawlers and spinners. Plenty of bluegill are being brought up on popping bugs, crickets and red wigglers. The water is clear and in the high 60s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that the bass bite is good, with cranks and soft plastics proving particularly effective. Some big crappies are coming in on minnows and jigs. Cat action is good on cut bait. Several citation sized shellcrackers have been brought up on red wigglers and night crawlers. Bluegill are going for crickets and red wigglers. The water is clear and in the low 70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Jeff is out fishing, for fishing conditions visit the website.

Recycle Your Used Fishing Line

You know how aggravating it can be to be pulling in you lure and you snag a wad of fishing line discarded by some discourteous angler into the water or strewn on the bank where some unsuspecting critter will get hopelessly entangled. In 2009, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) launched a monofilament fishing line recycling program across the Commonwealth. Both state agencies installed PVC pipe recycling containers at public boats launches at numerous lakes, rivers and coastal waters. Anglers and boaters are encouraged to deposit used monofilament fishing line into the PVC containers. According to VDGIF Fisheries Assistant Director Ron Southwick, who is coordinating the line recycling program for the Department, "Several conservation organizations and municipalities jumped on board as partners sponsoring sites for the containers across the state." Sponsoring groups include the Virginia Bass Federation, Fairfax County Park Authority, Suffolk-Nansemond Chapter of the Isaac Walton League, Northern Virginia Kayak Fishing Club, Orange County High School Anglers Club, City of Richmond Parks and Recreation, VA B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, and the Isle of Wight Ruritan Club. In addition to providing the monofilament fishing line recycling containers, the sponsors also help maintain the containers and collect the used line for recycling. Groups interested in participating in the fishing line recycling program can contact Ron Southwick at (804) 367-1292 or by email Ron.Southwick@dgif.virginia.gov. If you're out with a novice angler during the Free Fishing Days June 3-5, set a good example and make an effort to collect any litter and discarded fishing line from others and recycle in proper containers.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Mike told me that the river in his area has been too high and muddy to fish last week, but by mid week it should be fine. The water is muddy and in the low 70s.

Region 2 - Southside

Twin Lakes at Ft. Pickett: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. I spent several hours getting the lights working on the boat trailer, and the only way to be sure they are working is to go fishing and the closest place is Twin Lakes on Pickett. l launched the boat and got about 50 yards from the ramp and turned around to pick up my fly rod from the floor of the boat and to my surprise there were 2 inches of water in the bottom of the boat. It all came back to me in a flash; I had removed the plug to drain the remaining rain water that the bilge pump would not pump out. It was back to the ramp I headed, and I did manage to get the back on the trailer so I could drain the water and replace the plug. That was the highlight of the day. I fished the fly rod along the shore line and only caught 2 and 3 finger bluegill before giving up and fishing the spinning rod. I caught several hand size bluegill as well as six 10 and 12 inch crappie all in the middle of the lake before I tried the fly rod again and found one spot under a tree along the shore where I picked up a half dozen 8 and 9 inch bluegill. I caught a total of 16 bluegill and 6 crappie in the brown stained water that had about 18 inches visibility. I got almost all of them on my purple twister tail. I tried pumpkin seed, John Deer green and chartreuse without much luck.

Briery Creek: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Unable to take it anymore, I just had to try out Briery Creek where monsters are known to hang out. The TV promised me only 5 to 10 mph. winds so I thought it was the day to try Briery. The water had a slight stain and you could see at least 5 feet down. I put in the upper launch and fished the fly rod all around that area and only caught small bluegill. I tried to fish the shore line toward the dam but those 6 inch waves and whitecaps sent me back to the cove where the trees blocked most of the wind and I fished the spinning rod. I hit one area where I caught 14 crappie on my purple twister about 4 ft. down. All but two of them were 10 and 11 inches. I managed to catch 19 normal size bluegill between the fly rod and spinning rod before giving up around 4:00 p.m. and heading home.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The rain and storms have blown the river out. The river rose to over 10 feet. It is on the downward swing now but still high and muddy. Without any hard rains it should be fishable again by the end of the week. The Albemarle County lakes have been fishing well, giving us the opportunity to enjoy some spring angling. Soft plastics, crankbaits and jigs have all been boating fish. Keep checking the river gauges and hit the river when conditions improve.

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

Striper: With the lake level dropping to normal pool, be looking for the fish to start making their way out of the rivers. The Clarksville main channel will get good with schooling fish. They can be caught with top-water, swimbaits, jighead flukes or live bait. Fish also can be found in major creeks such as Grassy, Rudds & Eastland.

Bass: With the water temps in the 70s and the falling lake levels, fish will start using mid to main lake points. Top-water on Buggs from mid May through June is best. Pop'Rs, spooks and buzzbaits work early and late in the day. During the day try 8 ft. to12 ft., using crankbaits, football jigs and Carolina rigs. The fish will use rock and hard bottom areas first after the spawn to recover. Average weights in tournaments are running 12 lbs. to 14 lbs.

Catfish: Catfishing has been best from the upper end of the lake in the shallow flats into the rivers. Blues can be caught in shallows on cut and live shad or crappie or bream. Flatheads can be caught in the rivers mainly fishing live bream or buck shad in the log jams.

Crappie: These fish are in the transition now from shallow to deep. Most have spawned, but there are a few late spawners in May. Folks are still catching a few trolling. Fish are also being caught under and around boat docks, and around bridge pilings. Fish are beginning to move on brush. Some are being caught on plain minnows, while others are being caught on jigs only. Good baits are Bobby Garlands, Kalins, Sliders and tubes.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf says that the James in his area has been too high and muddy to fish. The mountain streams, however, are in "nearly perfect" condition. Try Green Drakes, Sulfurs and Tan Caddis. The water is clear and in the 50s.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that bass action is good. Try top-waters, plugs, lizards and frogs. Local crappie are responding to minnows and jigs. Cats are going for chicken livers, clam snouts, shrimp and minnows. Bluegill are spawning and will take a small worm or jig. Perch are going for small worms. The water is clear and 68 degrees.

Lake Gaston Health Advisory: The Virginia Department of Health has issued an advisory on walleye fish consumption due to mercury contamination in Lake Gaston. Recent fish tissue sample results from the North Carolina Division of Public Health show mercury levels in walleye fish exceed the amount considered safe for long term human consumption. VDH advises the consumption of no more than two meals a month of walleye taken from Lake Gaston. Virginia's advisory stretches from John H. Kerr Dam downstream 18 miles to the Virginia-North Carolina state line. For additional details, visit the VDH fish consumption advisory page.

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com. Striped bass can be found in large schools in a number of locations around the lake, breaking on the surface near the mouths of most major creeks in the lower lake in the morning and evening. Nice stripers are being caught using live bait, pulling alewives, gizzard shad or large shiners on freelines and shot lines behind in-line planer boards and floats and on downlines. Trolling with Captain Mack's Umbrella Rigs, heavy bucktails with trailers and other select artificial lures has also been working. There are many anglers, including yours truly, who enjoy chasing schools of breaking stripers this time of year and casting artificial lures to them, a technique often referred to as "jump fishing". I went down to the lower lake last week and caught a number of fish while they were breaking on the surface in open water. There were far more boats than normal fishing in the same areas, so a quick review of "jump fishing etiquette" might be helpful to those who are just getting started. Anglers who arrive late to a break should shut their engines off well before approaching the fish and should give way to those who arrived first and are already fishing. Another popular fishing pattern this time of year is referred to as the "top-water night bite" or "stick bite". It is created when the alewives move into the shallow water near the shoreline at night to spawn. This pattern usually occurs for about two months every year providing anglers the opportunity to catch bass, stripers and an occasional flathead catfish on individual artificial lures at night. The Night Fishing workshop scheduled for this week has been cancelled, so if you need help with this technique just stop by the store during the day. For a full 2011 Virginia Outdoorsman Fishing Workshop schedule as well as regular updates on fishing at the lake, just go to our website. Bass are being caught on wacky rigged Senko worms, shakey head jigs, spinner baits and crankbaits. A number of bass are being found suspended near pilings on deep-water docks, along natural rock shorelines and off rock shelves. Bass are also being caught on deep-water points using Carolina rigged plastics including worms and lizards, drop shot rigs and crankbaits.

If you belong to a bass club or host a tournament at the lake and want information about an upcoming event or the results included in future issues of this report, just email them to me at virginiaoutdoorsman@gmail.com.

The water is 71 degrees and clear. Tight lines and enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend.

Remember with these nice sunny days comes a hidden killer, SUNBURN, and all the bad stuff that comes with it. Take it from me, 45 years of fishing with half of that done nearly naked in my youth is dangerous. We used to go get in the boat with just cut offs on, the muddy water was our sun block and it didn't work. I have already had one melanoma cancer removed from my neck that left an ugly 3 inch in diameter scar. So wear a hat or something that will cover your face, neck and ears. Put on a good high number sun block on the rest of you exposed to the world. It's not sissy to put on sun block; it beats having chunks of your face and arms/legs removed for cancer down the road.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Editor note: Read the feature article at the beginning of the Fishin' Report on the hydrilla problem at Claytor Lake and what I being done by local and state authorities to fight the 'green hydrilla gorilla". The hydrilla has grown so dense that some residents are unable to get boats out of their docks and swim near their property. As a result, property owners face serious declines of property values. As it expands, it out competes, and replaces other aquatic plants, negatively impacting many aquatic species. Hydrilla eventually chokes off near shore fish habitat. It interferes with predators feeding on prey, resulting in unbalanced fish populations. As of last summer, approximately 400 acres of the 4,633-acre Claytor Lake or approximately 10% has been impacted. In many places hydrilla has grown to the surface and has formed a base for algae growth. The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, Friends of Claytor Lake, VDGIF and Appalachian Power Company are proactively seeking to address hydrilla growth this summer by applying herbicides in public ace area and stocking 6,000 certified triploid sterile grass carp funded by the Board of Supervisors for $12,540. Grass carp are the most effective means of safely controlling hydrilla. These sterile carp will be strategically stocked on May 25th near the State Park under the supervision of VDGIF. Read more detail in feature article...

Bass: There are still some bass on beds, but a lot have finished and are guarding fry. The Lobino lures Rico popper is great bait for the fry guarding bass. A bright colored trick worm, hooked wacky style, is also a good lure for fry guarding bass especially around low hanging bushes and docks. There are still a few smallmouth bass that are still spawning and for the most part they spawn a little deeper and harder to see. Lucky jerk baits are a great choice for locating the very protective spawning smallmouth. Usually once you find one smallmouth with the jerkbait, slow down and thoroughly cover the area with a drop shot roboworm, normally there will be more than one smallmouth spawning in the area. The first Tuesday night tournament was won by Marvin Bugg and Kevin Kirk with a 5 fish limit weighing 12.13 lbs. Marvin and Kevin also had the lunker largemouth weighing 6.36 lbs. The Rock House Marina holds an open bass tournament every Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. For more info call Mike at (540) 980-1488.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is still doing well. Jigs and live minnows are both working well.

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

Bluegill/Panfish: Bluegill are plentiful around docks and in the back of coves. Night crawlers are a great choice.

Stripers: With the shad starting to spawn, the night time striper and hybrid bite has turned on. Jerkbaits, Thundersticks, and Redfins are excellent lure for the night bite.

Catfish: Have not heard anything on the cats.

Water temp is upper 60's to low 70's and clear.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that the smallmouths coming in are getting bigger, with tubes being the best producers. The muskies are done spawning and are starting to get frisky. Try jerks or inline spinners. The water is in the low to mid 60s and clearing.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash told me that the smallmouth fishing has been "phenomenal". Try cranks or spinners. Muskies are going for spinners and large cranks. The water was muddy due to recent rain, but should have cleared up nicely by the time you see this report. The water should be high green and in the upper 60s.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Well, it has been a brutal year on the Upper New for fishing. So much rain (17.95 in.) has given us very few days of "fishable" water since March 1st. On the few days we fished dingy water some nice smallmouth and muskie have been caught. By the time this report is released the forecast is for clearing, warmer weather so hopefully the river will be clearing up and stay that way for awhile. Smallmouths should still be on the beds so make sure to get these fish back in the water quickly after landing. Muskie fishing should be on fire, so top-water, glide baits and big plastics should be working well. Although we don't recommend keeping a muskie, remember that Citation size is 40 in. but must be 42 in. to keep. There are lots of stripers and hybrids in the river right now with the water levels up but they can be tough to get to hit on sunny days. If you can catch a cloudy day, Redfins and big poppers or chugbugs should bring them up to hit. Everyone please be safe on the river, if you are going to do a float make sure someone knows where and when you should be taking out. Water temp is around 67 degrees.

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.

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry says that the smallmouth streams in both the North and South Forks of the river have been too high to fish. However, the North Fork should be fishable again by this upcoming weekend; with the best fishing being upstream from Edinburg in the North Fork. Best flies are: Murray's Magnum Darter, size 4; and Murray's Skunk Roadkill Nymph, size 6. The water is clearing and 65 degrees.

The stocked streams in the Valley have also been too high, but by this weekend, Big Stoney Creek West of Edinburg and Passage Creek East of Edinburg should be fine. Best flies are: Casual Dress, size 10; and Murray's Cranefly, size 12. The water is 68 degrees and fairly clear.

The mountain streams are full, but fishable. Your best bet is to start at the stream heads. Good flies are: Murray's Inchworm, size 14; Murray's Professor Dry Fly, size 14; and Murray's Yellow Drake, size 14. The water is fairly clear and 61 degrees.

Kid's Fishing Day in Rockingham County - On April 17th, 2011 Conservation Police Officer's William Herndon, Beth Harold and Rob Ham attended Kid's Fishing Day which was held at Silver Lake in Rockingham County. A total of 517 kids were issued arm bands which allowed them to fish, eat free pizza, free drinks and win some great door prizes including bicycles, HD televisions, Wii set, bag toss and lots of other nice gifts. A lot of families attended with their children and had a great time. 120 free pizzas were delivered to the lake along with chips, cakes and every kid received a goody bag. Lots of compliments were heard about the quality of the fish so a big Thank You goes out to the folks at the Coursey Springs. This Kid's Fishing Day has turned into one of the largest and well organized in the state.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff says Lake Moomaw water levels have gone to being several feet over full pool several times over the last two weeks.  Seems like about every other day we get hard downpours and localized flooding occurs. Area trout streams are running extremely full which should make for some scattered fish.  Lake Moomaw would be a little discolored, but the past few weeks smallmouth fishing has been improving with a few citation yellow perch caught last weekend.  Fish seem to be staging up on rocky points, lots of citation size fish being caught, trout seem to be a little bit more hesitant a few showing up in the 10-20 foot range.  Windy days with a little chop on the water seems to help.  Largemouth becoming very active also,  Crappie bite should also increase in the next couple of weeks and a few nice channel cats have been caught recently.  As always the alewives would be the preferred bait for all species. Frontal systems has played an important part in fishing the lake changing from day to day- hard to predict.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: SwitchFisher.com) For a wonderful, brief interlude, the rivers dropped to fishable levels with acceptable clarity. Of course, all that evaporated with the rain last week. Fortunately, with clear weather and only random thunderstorms in the forecast, water levels should drop considerably by this coming weekend. However, with any thunderstorm, there may be a quick spike anglers must react to. For example, on May 17, the Rappahannock jumped from just over 2,000 CFS to approximately 25,000 CFS in a matter of hours! The danger is especially acute for wading anglers. If you wade, calibrate the gage reading to your personal capabilities. Each time you go, make note of the level and whether you felt as if it was safe. If your instinct tells you that it is not safe, do not enter the water. For example, my personal maximum is 1,050 at the Fredericksburg gage - you should come up with your own standard. While the Rapidan and Rappahannock may be fishable this weekend, the Upper Potomac will clearly be outside the range for waders and even boaters should exercise caution with the water levels being far above average for this time of year. In the mountains, the streams experienced the same dramatic rise that pushed them to unfishable levels. That should change by the coming weekend with brookies anxious to provide action as the water calms. Finally, the mud that you may have seen in the rivers is also present in the lakes. The runoff stained the water making it difficult to fish. As a general rule, stick with dark colored lures to provide contrast from the darker water. Hopefully, the lakes clear up and can present a good alternative to rivers that may still be running at high levels.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The crappie bite has picked up around the pier and near brush piles in depths of 10 ft. to 15 ft. Crappie prefer small minnows, the smaller the better. Largemouth bass are hitting top-waters in low light periods of the day, but prefer soft plastics in full sun. Bluegills and shellcrackers are spawning. The pan fish bite should be great over the next few weeks on the banks. The catfish bite is strong throughout the lake on chicken liver. Walleye fishing is phenomenal with some nice walleyes caught in the 2 lb. to 4 lb. range. Walleye are attracted to minnows and night crawlers on a harness rig with a bright color spinner. Walleyes can be found shallow during the low light periods and in the 10 ft to 12 ft. range in rocky area of the lake when it is bright and sunny. John Eddins of Madison, caught a walleye measuring 24 inches on Sunday. The water is clear with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. Welcome to one of the best months of the year to enjoy Lake Anna!  May is the official start of the boating season as well as a great month to fish here. Shad and herring are spawning now so many game fish are in post spawn feeding frenzies and looking for these "buffet" lines. While not all of the spawning is over (full moon on May 17) most is. Our sunfish are also spawning, so fly casting can be a lot of fun, too. Water temperatures are 68 to 76 degrees. Here's what you can expect during your visit this month.

Largemouth Bass: Some fish will spawn on the May 17 full moon, so don't be surprised if you see a bed or two, mostly in the uplake region, especially in willow grass. Try a Tiger Shad spinnerbait in this shoreline structure or a soft plastic jerkbait. Later in the month a buzzbait, surface popper, even a surface frog might produce bites early, then it's time to pitch a Texas-rigged worm. Mid lake bass will be cruising flats near spawning areas looking to eat! Top-waters and soft plastic jerkbaits and wacky worms are good ways to catch them. Downlake bass will also be cruising early and then holding on docks and offshore structure during the day.

Striped Bass : Good fishing in all three regions of the lake this month. From Dike III to the upper portion of the North Anna and Pamunkey you'll find striper around spawning baitfish. Fish early in the morning for some excellent surface and schooling action using top-waters and soft plastic jerkbaits. Once this activity dies, move to 18 ft. to 25 ft. of water and starting jigging a Toothache Spoon where your depth finder shows fish. The mouth of Pigeon Creek and the Rt. 208 region will be hot as will Dike III.

Crappie : Some uplake fish will spawn in the grass on the 17th, but most are now post spawn and on structure just off the bank in about 10 ft. to 20 ft. Small minnows on slip bobbers are excellent in either situation. Get three dozen and go on a freckle hunt above the first two bridges in either branch or fish the bridges if you just cannot find them anywhere else.

Good luck and see you on the water.

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 fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

Got Tips?
Got Tricks?
Adventure Stories?
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?

email your material to
fishing_report@hotmail.com
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As summer has officially begun, and schools are out, many folks head for the great outdoors for vacation. As Holly Kays describes in her story, "With a Notebook in Hand", putting the inspiration experienced during an outdoor adventure into words can be difficult, but simply trying to find the right words can be a rewarding journey in itself. She offers some valuable observations and suggestions from her experience. Holly submitted her story while a sophomore at Virginia Tech, double majoring in Natural Resources Conservation and English . This story was awarded second place in the 2008-09 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Contest with the theme - "My Most Memorable Outdoor Experience."

With a Notebook in Hand

By Holly Kays

"I have never seen such a perfect landscape before. Recently emerged from the crowded family minivan, I now stand on the edge of Jackson Lake, watching the Grand Tetons rise from the green valley opposite me with primitive jaggedness, expending their entire 13,000 feet of elevation in sheer cliffs and pointed peaks. Even in June, streaks of snow cover the mountain-tops, a drape that hides their elegant ferocity as unsuccessfully as a Santa beard hides the sharp-angled sinew of a tough old man."

I pause my typing, trying to recall this moment, looking for the words to describe exactly what I had felt as I stood on the pebbly beach of Jackson Lake, looking up at mountains fiercer and more beautiful than anything I had ever seen. This family vacation out west, a mere twenty days carved from a summer buried three years in the past, stirred something inside me, something that I have since struggled to express adequately in writing.

As I stood at the base of such high, ruggedly perfect mountains, I experienced the heightening of a sense that has lived in me my entire life. For me, nature has always induced feelings of awe and wonder, as well as an uncontrollable desire to touch, feel, smell, and understand. I felt this desire even as a toddler, escaping to the neighbor's yard to investigate the rocks in their driveway and slipping outside when Mom wasn't looking to crawl through the wet grass of our yard. As I got older, my interactions with nature became more scientific. I learned to identify local bird species and searched for their nests, checking them with regularity. When my family went hiking, I frequently brought up the rear due to my need to overturn every rock in search of salamanders. I was interested in all kinds of insects, especially caterpillars, and of these, especially monarchs. Every August and September, my plastic Dollar Tree bug cages were home to multiple monarchs in various stages of metamorphosis.

Through the investigations of my childhood, and, I admit, of my young adulthood, I learned much about the natural life of the Mid-Atlantic temperate region. I could tell the difference between the nests of catbirds, robins, and bluebirds, was able to demonstrate how a threatened black swallowtail caterpillar would unfurl slimy, putrid-smelling orange antennae, and could conclude firmly, based on personal observations, that the red-striped salamander was the most common species of salamander in the Appalachians. But I learned something else as well; I learned that the world is far too large and biology far too complex for me to ever know it all.

For every bird whose nest I could identify, there were four species I had never even seen, and for each species of caterpillar I had successfully raised into a butterfly or moth, there were ten species I had never held in my pink-lidded bug cage. Though I had never wanted to conquer nature with violence or smother it with concrete, I had tried to master it enough to reduce its mystery to orderly columns of facts. Now I was forced to admit, as countless others had done before me, that nature is unconquerable.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to learn, and I still absorbed information about the adaptive mechanisms of trees, the overwintering habits of ladybugs, and the 17-year reproductive cycle of cicadas with fascination. Nature still enthralled me, but at the same time I realized that it is too vastly intricate to be completely chartable. If it is impossible to unravel the Maker's nature, doesn't it follow that His creation should be the same way?

Earlier, my focus had been knowledge. Now, I sought to find definition. The outdoors— trees and flowers and the sense of deep mystery that lived with them—meant something to me. They gave me the peace that comes from the presence of something more beautiful and perfect than I could ever be. Before, I had held this feeling unexplored as I pursued the knowledge I wanted. Now, realizing my inability to define the universe with facts, I approached the outdoors seeking to understand, rather than to conquer.

Now, I experienced nature with a notebook in hand.

I had always enjoyed writing, and I had always been good at it. Even as a 7-year-old, I would declare enthusiastically, when asked, that I was going to be an author when I grew up. However, that choice often seemed incompatible with my zeal for the outdoors. My first stories were about boys and mice making friends and lost dogs coming home. I wrote these stories under fluorescent classroom lights and in the concrete-walled basement that housed my parents' computer. Writing cut me off from the leafy woods and raspberry bushes that waited outside.

Eventually, I discovered that my new desire to understand what nature does to me fits perfectly with my love of writing. Sparked by a subject that fascinated me far more deeply than the trite storylines I first used, my writing improved to something I could be proud of. Now a college student, I continue the marriage of the two subjects with a dual major: creative writing and natural resources conservation. I love both studies, and I can see them working together in my future, whether I end up writing nature articles for magazines or describing the world I love in full-length books.

For the present, my body sits in front of the computer while my imagination stands at the base of the Grand Tetons and my mind searches for the words to describe the moment. The perfect words do not come, but I find something close, just a shade away from the purity of soul that I experienced. As I continue to type, I do not feel failure. I have learned before that nature is unconquerable. It will always evade my attempts to define it. I can only try and hope to come close.

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 of the Annual Awards presentations April 14 at Bear Creek Lake State Park are posted on the VOWA website. 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: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: