In this edition:

Father's Day Ideas for the Outdoor Dad

This June 8th edition of the Outdoor Report is full of ideas for gifts for that special "outdoors Dad." But you won't see ads for new fangled gear and gadgets to wrap up as a gift. I learned from my Dad that the best gift for Fathers Day was sharing time and making great memories. Besides he already had two of everything, or so it seemed. A new fishing pole, camo truck mats, or rifle scope are nice, but include the gift of time to share in using these material things. With our busy lives these days, taking the time for an outdoor adventure, or making plans for a special trip this fall will create family bonds and memories that will last long after the other stuff. We hope the many stories and opportunities for outdoor related events in this edition will give you a great idea to honor your Dad or someone in your life that introduced you to the outdoors. If your kids aren't sure what to get you, go ahead and hint for the new shotgun, but note you would also prefer some time together to "unwrap" a very special gift.

David Coffman, Editor

Time to Remember Life Jackets Save Lives

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!

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.

Virginia State Parks Marks 75th Anniversary with Special Events, Prizes, Free Parking

The award-winning Virginia State Parks, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, continue the year-long celebration of the park system's 75th anniversary with a week of free parking, special events and a prize-a-day during the "75 Days of Summer" contest.

On June 15, 1936, Virginia became the first state in the nation to open an entire state park system on the same day. In recognition of the anniversary, state park visitors will receive free parking in all parks June 13-19. While free parking will be available all week, the primary celebration will by Saturday, June 18, when all state parks will observe the anniversary with complimentary cake. In addition to cake, each park will offer special activities reflecting its unique nature and heritage.

"For 75 years generations of Virginians have grown up with Virginia State Parks, enjoying decades of family vacations and weekend getaways," said DCR Director David Johnson. "The free parking, as well as the additional special events and activities we have planned, are ways to thank visitors for their loyalty to state parks and their commitment to preserving Virginia's environment." In 2010, Virginia State Parks hosted more than 8 million visitors who contributed around $189 million to Virginia's economy.

Hungry Mother State Park, in Marion, one of the original six state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, will host a special day-long celebration. The day's events include a ceremony featuring Gov. Bob McDonnell, a one-act play, concerts, and the showing of the documentary, Virginia State Parks: 75 Years and Still Growing, produced by Blue Ridge PBS. The celebration week also kicks off the "75 Days of Summer" contest, in which prizes will be awarded for visiting the parks or www.virginiaoutdoors.com. The grand prizes include the use of a 31-foot motor home for a week's travel in Virginia and seven nights in a state park campground, sponsored by McGeorge's Rolling Hills RV Supercenter, a 21-foot trailer rental for seven nights at Westmoreland, Lake Anna or Shenandoah River state parks, sponsored by Road Trip Rentals, and a new popup camper provided by Coastal RV of Carrollton

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: 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 25, 26; July 16, 17

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.

Let's Play Ball... Wildlife Foundation and VDGIF Sponsor Richmond Squirrels at the Diamond June 24

"Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks..." and join The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia and VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) who are sponsoring the Richmond Squirrels vs. the Erie Sea Wolves baseball game on Friday evening June 24th at the Diamond in Richmond. You don't want to miss this game as the crew from Cornelia Marie, Discovery Channel's "The Deadliest Catch" TV real life adventure series, will be featured at the game along with the introduction of the VDGIF's new K-9 Units and exhibits featuring Law Enforcement, Boating Safety, Hunter Education, Outdoor Report free subscription sign up, the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, and much more.  So, "Let's root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, if we don't see you at the game!" Let's show our spirit and support for the for those great American traditions like fishing, hunting and baseball! Visit the Richmond Squirrels or the Wildlife Foundation of VA websites for details.

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.

Virginia Trappers Host Annual Sports Show July 15-17 in Orange

The Virginia Trappers Association is hosting their annual Convention and Sportsmens Show at the Orange County Airport, near the town of Orange July 15-17. Whether you are an experienced or novice trapper, this event is one that you won't want to miss. There are workshops, exhibits, trapping supplies for sale and lots of experienced trappers to share information with you. The VTA Convention is a great place to meet with other trappers and VDGIF staff to learn about trapping regulations and gain additional trapping skills. For details visit the Virginia Trappers Association website or contact Art Foltz; artfoltz@comcast.net, (540) 630-1756 or Ed Crebbs; edcrebbs@yahoo.com, (540) 832-2708.

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.

AKC Hunt Test Retriever Seminar for Judges & Handlers July 30 in New Kent

The Tidewater Retriever Club will host an AKC Hunt Test Retriever Seminar for Judges & Handlers at the New Kent Forestry Center near Providence Forge Saturday, July 30. The program will be presented by AKC performance event staff and utilize multimedia demonstrations, lecture and group discussions. Subjects covered include: The purpose of Hunting Tests, Performance Standard for Junior, Senior and Master, Hunt Test Scoring, Guidelines for Judges of Hunt /tests, How to Apply and Conduct a Hunting Test, The responsibility of Key Personnel Involved, Gun Safety AND How to Handle Misconduct. Registration begins at 8:00 am with classes completed by 4:30 pm. Registration $45 for members and $50 for non-members. Seminar price includes light breakfast and lunch. Motel room style lodging is available at the New Kent Forestry Center @ $ 65 per night. Google New Kent Forestry Center for details of their Nature Trails, etc. Contact Linda M. Downey, TRC Secretary H- (804) 794-8212 C - (804) 837-9308 or email linda.tidewater@hotmail.com in advance if you are interested in lodging. Although your retrievers will not be a part of the Seminar, if you have to bring them along, there are many shade areas for parking. Registration is due by June 30. AKC requires 20 attendees to schedule seminar - so register as soon as possible.

People and Partners in the News

Richard Howald Named Conservation Police Officer of the Year

At the May 3, 2011 Board of Game & Inland Fisheries in Richmond, CPO Richard Howald was recognized as the Conservation Police Officer of the Year by Colonel Dee Watts. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan added his congratulations to Richard on a well deserved award. Duncan continued, "Richard, a former Marine, has a long list of accomplishments and is an exemplary employee of whom we all can be justifiably proud." Not surprisingly, Richard was accepted into the newly created K-9 Program and he and his dog – Scout - are already providing valuable support to investigations and solving cases from finding hidden firearms to tracking poachers and finding lost people. See story of recent investigation by Officer Howald and K-9 Scout in CPO Notebook.

Mitchell Norman Makes Heroic Rescue of Capsized Fishermen

At the May 3, 2011 Board of Game & Inland Fisheries in Richmond, Region 1 Aquatic Operations Manager Mitchell Norman was recognized for his heroic actions in saving the lives of two fishermen whose boat had capsized in the Nottaway River near the Department's General Vaughan's Bridge boat ramp. Other VDGIF staff from the Wildlife Bureau and Law Enforcement assisted with various aspects in support of Mitchell's timely and courageous rescue. A third individual lost his life in this tragic boating accident; however Conservation Police Officers were able to assist with the recovery of the victim. The simple act of wearing life jackets could have prevented this tragedy.

Complementary Work Force Volunteers Recognized, Citizens Making A Difference Outdoors and In

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), Complementary Work Force (CWF) program hosted its third successful annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon for the Region 4 Fredericksburg office area. Volunteers, spouses, and invited guests gathered at Ryan's Family Restaurant in Fredericksburg's Central Park location on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Conversations were lively; the food superb, with mutual recognition and respect shared by volunteers and staff alike for work performed highlighted the Fredericksburg Regional Office hosted event.

Established in 2007, CWF program volunteers work with VDGIF staff providing help with trout stocking, deer damage kill permit inspections, public use facilities maintenance, office administrative tasks, equipment inventory, vehicle transport, public exhibits, Kid's Fishing Days, and other VDGIF tasks. During the 2010 fiscal year, volunteers dispatched from the Fredericksburg office donated over 3140 hours and logged more than 32250 personal vehicle miles driving to and from various assignments.

Thomas Goldston, Regional CWF Coordinator announced that Volunteers, John McMann (Fauquier County), Roger Brown (Fairfax County), Michelle Flynn (Stafford County), and Dan Beisner (Albemarle County) were the Region's quarterly honorees for outstanding service. William (Bill) Hutchinson (Orange County) is the Regional Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his exceptional support of and service to the Fredericksburg Regional Office.

CWF Volunteers Honored for 1000 Hours of Service Milestone

At the May 3, 2011 Board of Game & Inland Fisheries Meeting in Richmond three Complementary Work Force (CWF) volunteers were recognized for volunteering over 1000 hours. VDGIF Volunteer Administrator Estella Randolph provided some insight on the unique experiences, skills and commitment these valuable volunteers bring to the Agency and the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Bill Hutchinson
Bill is the consummate CWF volunteer. Over his three years of involvement in Region 4 (Fredericksburg), Bill has worked on a variety of projects, including equipment repair and maintenance, damage permits, Kids Fishing events, sports show exhibits to name a few. When not volunteering, Bill is usually found working around the family home in Gordonsville or travelling to visit his grandchildren

Roger Brown
From his home base in Herndon, Roger leads a team of volunteers who assist with trout stocking in Albemarle, Greene and Madison Counties. In addition, he assists with department exhibits and facilities maintenance at Phelps WMA. Roger's other activities include membership in Trout Unlimited and "Friends of Phelps".

Tim Hall
Tim is an outstanding example of a CWF volunteer. Always a visible presence in Region 4, Tim has issued damage permits in Fairfax County, assisted with the NASP Tournament, Kids Fishing events and local community events.

For information on volunteer opportunities and application information contact VDGIF Complementary Work Force Program Volunteer Administrator Estella Randolph at the Richmond Headquarters via email: estella.randolph@dgif.virginia.gov.

Hunters for the Hungry Announces Two New Fund Raising Raffles for 2011

Hunters for the Hungry has announced their newest 2011 Raffles that are very different in nature and have some of the neatest prizes they have ever offered at the best price going! A single ticket is $5 and 3 chances for $10. Fund Raising Coordinator Gary Arrington expressed appreciation to the many folks and organizations that have supported and helped with the raffles and other fund raisers in past years. He noted, "These funds raised are critical in paying for the processing of the donated venison and supporters continue to be a blessing to our program and to all those whose lives are touched by what you do! For every $5 ticket we sell we can provide 25 servings of venison to needy men, women, and children."

The Electronics Raffle has 5 GREAT prizes and is topped off with a $3,300 dollar package which includes LG 55" LED LCD HD flat scrren TV and has with it a Samsung 1330 watt 7.1 3d Blue Ray Home Theatre System! IT IS AN AWESOME PACKAGE OVERALL! Check it out! The total retail value of this raffle is $6,350.00!

Our Outdoor Adventure Raffle has a first ever TOP PRIZE! It is an ALASKAN FISHING ADVENTURE FOR 2 - it is about 10 days with about 7 days of fishing, meals, lodging, and AIRFARE! To be scheduled in 2012! This trip packageit is over $6,000 in value!

The total value of the whole raffle including the hunts and the fishing trip is about $11,400! To view the actual photos of the electronics package items, check out the website at www.h4hungry.org and if you would like to purchase some of these tickets and / or would like to help us sell some of these please let us know! We could so use your support in these special fund raising efforts!

Virginia Tourism Corporation Offers Popular Website To Promote Outdoor Events & Activities

With the summer vacation season heating up, thousands of visitors will be looking for outdoor adventures throughout the state. The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) encourages everyone who has an event, workshop or outdoor-related activity to post it to the official tourism website of Virginia -- www.Virginia.org. This is a free service offered by VTC. Virginia.org is very popular with both in-state outdoor enthusiasts and out-of-state visitors interested in vacationing and seeking outdoor adventures here in the Old Dominion. Dave Neudeck, Director of Electronic Marketing for VTC, notes that the Virginia.org website attracts approximately 500,000 viewers per month.

The events or workshops need to be open to the public and should be something in which the traveling public can participate. Log in to the new Virginia.org Administration Tool to submit a new listing or update existing listings.

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!

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...

Trappers & Waterfowlers Partner to Host Waterfowl Predator Management Workshops

For the second year in the row, the VDGIF Outdoor Education Program, Virginia Waterfowlers ' Association (VAWFA) and Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) partnered to provide the general public educational component workshops on waterfowl predator management. This year, 210 constituents participated in four workshops held throughout the state. These educational workshops were FREE to participants. The locations were hosted by Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain stores.  These workshops benefited the sportsmen and landowners who wanted to know more about managing wildlife and controlling predators.

The workshops included three education levels, novice, basic and hands-on with traps provided by the Virginia Trappers Assoc. Many participants were landowners with coyote, fox and raccoon problems. Non-hunting participants, members of home owner associations, addressed their issues and concerns with beavers, raccoons and foxes. For more information on predator or nuisance wildlife management visit the Virginia Trapper's Association website, or the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association website.

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

Dad Gets Special Gift for 40th Birthday - His Daughters First Gobbler!

Libby Fisher, oldest daughter of Jason and Cindy Fisher was successful at her first personal crack at a spring Tom. It was not only Youth Day on April 2, but it was her dad's 40th birthday. Libby had been afield numerous times before to witness how turkeys are hunted from her father's tactics. Local friend Bill Stillman turned the two onto the hunting spot after no success at an earlier farm that morning. The bird came in to the setup along a road in full strut at 20 yards. She asked after the shot with her dad's 20 gauge Remington Wingmaster with 7.5 high brass shot, "Is this a dream dad?", as he reassured her that this was real and she had done a fine job. The gobbler weighed 21 lb. 4oz., 10.5 inch beard, and 1 ¼ inch spurs. The harvest was not the most important accomplishment that morning. Although a nice bird that will be hard to top in measure, a higher measure would reveal time spent afield to witness and experience the shear awe of the performance displayed by a wiley tom in the spring, and a determined young girl and her father rewarded with a memory for a lifetime. Happy Birthday Dad! And Great shot Libby!!

Patience on Youth Day Brings in Big Gobbler

Shaffer Kelly sent in his story of a successful Youth Gobbler Day...

I knew turkey season was coming up so I and my Uncle Mather started watching for turkeys. We noticed a gang of about thirty in one corner field every night. We figured they had to be roosting nearby. I told my dad about all the turkey we had been seeing and that I wanted to go Youth Day. The Saturday before Youth Day my dad and I went down to the farm in Goodview where we had been seeing the turkey. We went up to the corner of the field where we had been seeing the turkeys and crossed the fence and started on a blind about fifteen yards from the field. We spent about thirty minutes stacking up old dead timber in the shape of a triangle in-between three trees. The next week went by pretty fast, but Friday seemed like the week had started all over again. Friday night I went to bed around 10:30 pm and woke up three times to check the clock waiting for it to strike 5:30 am. Finally it was time to get up and get ready for the big hunt. We left Vinton at 6 am and pulled into the farm about 6:15 am. We finished putting on all of our hunting clothes and headed for the blind.

Once we got in the blind I prayed to God that I would have a successful hunt. Five minutes after daylight I asked my dad if he had heard any turkeys yet, he said just one and that it was way off. I didn't wait another five minutes before I heard the "bone chilling" - "hair stand up on the back of your neck" gobble. I got my box call that my dad had bought me at the Virginia Tech game in the book store. I let out three good calls and the gobbler answered me right back, but he sounded very faint this time. I waited for him to gobble two more times just like my Grandpa had told me to do. I couldn't wait any longer so I called three more times. This time when he gobbled I knew he was on his way. My dad told me to get my gun up and ready in the turkeys direction. It wasn't two minutes later that my dad spotted him down in a finger ridge working his way towards us. It took another minute or two for him to top the ridge where I could see him about seventy five yards off. He went down into another finger ridge and I had to move the gun for a better shot. My dad kept getting on me for moving it but I knew I could when he went behind a tree or down into a finger ridge. My dad laid down and asked me where he was at. I told him that when he came up he would be right behind a dead pine that was only ten yards from the blind. Dad said if he pops his head up you put that bead on his head and pull the trigger. By this time my dad said my eyes were as big as silver dollars and I was breathing really heavy. The turkey came up about twenty yards from the blind and then went behind a big popular tree. I had to move the gun once again but this time on the other side of the tree. I got it moved and the turkey came out and then went behind the roots of a fallen tree. Still twenty yards from the blind. When he came out he gobbled again and I thought I was going to pass out. My dad asked me again where he was at and I said right there. My dad peaked out a crack in the blind and said all he could see was turkey. He said shoot it. As the turkey was going into another gobble he stuck his head out and I pulled the trigger. The turkey folded. In seconds my dad was out of the blind and on the turkey. I got up and ran to the turkey. It was a gobbler alright and a big one. The turkey weighed 21 lbs. 5 oz. on certified scales with a ten inch beard and one inch spurs. I had prayed again and thanked God for the opportunity to take such a beautiful bird.

Virginia Receives $75,000 Grant from NSSF to Promote Hunting

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been awarded a grant for $75,000 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation to expand opportunities for hunters.

The state is one of nine to receive funding from NSSF through its Hunting Heritage Partnership program. NSSF, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting-sports industry, has provided more than $4.3 million in grants to 38 state agencies over the past nine years to support programs that promote hunting and target shooting.

The agency will take the lead on a multi-state research project that will determine the motivations of apprentice-hunting license holders for obtaining a first-time license; their expectations related to hunting; and their satisfaction with their hunting experiences. Research from Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina will be part of the project. Such information can be used by state agencies to help encourage apprentice license holders to become active hunters.

"The apprentice hunting license is a great tool to recruit new hunters, and Virginia is very pleased to have the opportunity to enhance the value of this popular program," said Bob Duncan, executive director of VDGIF. "We look forward to working with our partner states and Mark Duda with Responsive Management to focus on the challenges of removing barriers to hunting and identifying ways to secure the future of our rich hunting heritage." Responsive Management is a Harrisonburg-based outdoor recreation research firm.

NSSF developed the Hunting Heritage Partnership grant program to assist state agencies nationwide in their attempts to help hunters locate land on which to hunt and easily access state hunting information plus encourage newcomers to start and then continue hunting.

"NSSF grants to state agencies are making a difference," said Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of NSSF. "Programs are being launched to benefit hunting and target shooting that otherwise might never have gotten off the ground in these challenging economic times." The grant program is helping NSSF fulfill its goal of increasing participation in hunting and target shooting by 20 percent by 2014.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org. NSSF is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011. Learn about the Foundation's history at www.nssf.org/50.

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.

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. 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. Read the full article in the May 11, 2011 edition of the Outdoor Report.

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!

Be a Safe Boater - Remember Life Jackets Save Lives

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 Fishin' Report section.

Spring Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to go squirrel hunting the June 4-18, 2011 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.

Snakes: Splendor in the Grass

Snakes have been the focal point of folklore for centuries. From the hoop snake that sticks its tail into its mouth and rolls after you to snakes that hypnotize their prey. No other group of animals has suffered more from negative misinformation than snakes. In fact, snakes are some of the most fascinating and beneficial creatures on the planet. The benefits range from the thrill of a chance encounter while on a walk in the woods to the consumption of thousands of rodents that may potentially cause millions of dollars in agricultural damage every year. Their benefits to us and the ecosystem they inhabit are some of the reasons it is illegal in Virginia to intentionally kill snakes.

Generally speaking, snakes are very reclusive and timid. Many species of snakes will not even attempt to bite when handled. Of the 30 species in Virginia, only 3 are venomous: copperhead, cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake. All three of which are considered docile, unless provoked. Copperhead bites are by far the most common venomous snake bite in Virginia. However, in the 30 years that the Virginia Department of Health has been keeping records on venomous snake bites, no one has ever died from a copperhead bite. Copperhead bites often only result in mild inflammation and discomfort.

If you do encounter a snake in the woods, simply leave it alone, it'll get out of your way or you can walk around it. SNAKES DO NOT CHASE PEOPLE. Here are a few tips to avoid the possibility of being bitten when hiking in the woods:

  1. Stay on the trail.
  2. Watch where you place your hands and feet, and where you sit down.
  3. Do not attempt to capture snakes.

If you are bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm and seek immediate medical attention. None of Virginia's venomous snakes are considered to be highly lethal, but medical attention is necessary for all venomous snake bites.

If you are lucky enough to encounter a snake while enjoying the outdoors; step back and watch a moment. Notice the way the sunlight reflects off the scales and the incredible way a snake can glide off into the leaves barely making a sound. Unless cornered the snake is going to slip away as quick as it can.

To learn more... A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia, one of VDGIF's most popular publications since its 2001 release. This 32-page full-color booklet, co-authored and illustrated by Mike Pinder, our Region 3 Wildlife Diversity Manager, presents all of Virginia's 30 species of snakes in an attractive and educational "field-guide" format. It also includes snakebite information, provides answers to frequently asked questions about snakes, and suggests what you can do to protect or control snakes in your yard and home. Finally, it summarizes snake conservation and management issues, and offers ways you can help protect these fascinating animals. Single copies of the guide can be picked up free of charge at the Department's regional offices; or copies may be purchased online through the VDGIF Outdoor Catalogue for $5.00 each, or in cases of 60 copies for $150 per case.

State Parks Want YOU to be in "Tree Army"

This is our third year participating in the Odwalla Tree Planting promotion, the fourth year that Odwalla has donated money to America's State Parks to help them buy trees. So far Odwalla has donated $350,000. Nancy Heltman, Director of Operations for Virginia State Parks notes that, "This year their plan is to donate $100,000 more. We want as much of that donation to come to Virginia State Parks as possible and you can help. This is our 75th anniversary and our original six parks and four others were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Another name for the CCC was Roosevelt's Tree Army." As you know, this is our 75th anniversary and our original six parks and four others were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Another name for the CCC was Roosevelt's Tree Army.

All you have to do is Click Here To Vote and then provide the requested authorization information. Odwalla does not use this information to spam you or sell a list with your information. It's just to keep people from cheating by setting up web bots to vote.

Virginia State Parks use the trees to beautify our parks, add screening between campsites, replace trees lost from storm damage or disease, and to discourage the public from making unofficial trails that threaten sensitive habitat. We use our dedicated corps of volunteers to plant the trees. To get an idea of what we do with the trees, Check Out This Video we made to help convince people to plant trees in our Virginia State Parks. If we just got every Twitter follower, eNews subscriber and Facebook Fan to plant one tree, we would do better than the last two years combined!

When you visit one of our parks and get the new Welcome Map, look for the Odwalla ad. There will be a secret code that will give you the opportunity to plant another tree. And be on the lookout as last year Odwalla came back and let folks plant more trees. We will let you know if that happens!

Virginia's Newest Wildlife Conservationist Bluebird License Plate Now Available

Motorists in Virginia have a new opportunity to show how much they care about Virginia's wildlife by being one of the first to drive away with the latest in the series of Virginia Wildlife Conservationist License Plates, The Bluebird of Happiness. Not only will drivers have a chance to show everyone they care about wildlife, but they will also help increase public awareness about the importance of preserving and protecting Virginia's diverse natural resources. After the first 1,000 Bluebird plates have been purchased, the VDGIF will receive $15 of the $25 additional annual fee. In 2010, the Wildlife Conservationist License Plate series generated $369,420 for VDGIF's conservation efforts. The proceeds are reinvested in wildlife management, research, educational programs, and for purchasing public lands that benefit all wildlife while assuring that outdoor opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and wildlife watching will be enjoyed by Virginians and by future generations.

The artwork for the new Bluebird Wildlife Conservationist License Plate was painted by nationally-renowned wildlife artist and conservationist Spike Knuth. As far back as the 1950s, Spike has had an eye for painting birds in their natural habitat. Spike has five state waterfowl duck stamps to his credit. After 29 years of service, he retired from VDGIF where his paintings, writings and photography highlighted the beauty of the wildlife and nature in a multitude of publications, including Virginia Wildlife Magazine, the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail guides, posters, and brochures. He has donated more than 460 original paintings and nearly 100 prints to Ducks Unlimited and other conservation organizations to support fundraising efforts.

VDGIF Executive Director and avid birder Bob Duncan predicts "the Bluebird of Happiness – the eighth in the Wildlife Conservationist License Plate series – will be one of our best-selling plates." Since 1991, the VDGIF and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) have worked hand-in-hand to develop the very popular series of wildlife license plates. The complete wildlife series includes Mallard Duck, White-Tailed Deer, Largemouth Bass, Brook Trout, Wild Turkey, Black Bear, and Bald Eagle. All are currently available through DMV offices.

The Virginia Bluebird Society, a VDGIF conservation partner, was thrilled to hear of this addition to the Conservationist License Plate series. "The Bluebird is emblematic of conservation success in Virginia and this plate celebrates that success," said Anne Little, President of the Virginia Bluebird Society. To date, with the support of DGIF, the VBS has helped to fledge over 158,000 cavity nesting birds through their Bluebird Box Trails.

Learn more about the DGIF Wildlife Conservationist License Plates online or visit The Virginia Bluebird Society.

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

Photos must be postmarked on or before June 18, 2011

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!

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.

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 late June:

Answers to May 25th edition quiz for nature events for early June...

Get your copy of the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Quail Biologists Eager to Assist Landowners and Hunters

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

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

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

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

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

Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available

The Habitat at Home© DVD features the yards of four homeowners in different parts of the state who have removed invasive plants, reduced their amount of lawn, added water features, and planted flowering perennials and shrubs. VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator Carol Heiser advises, "Native shrubs in particular are an excellent choice for wildlife, because they support native insects that make up a critical part of the food web. Native plants are better adapted to our growing conditions and are much easier to maintain than non-native ones. So many of our neighborhoods lack the kind of native plant diversity that wildlife really needs. You'll be surprised at the number of birds and other wildlife that use native shrubs. Visit our website to purchase your own copy of the 40-minute DVD!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.

Region I - Tidewater

CPOs Surveillance photos help find campers careless with fire... On April 28, 2011, Senior Conservation Police Officer Beatley was informed by the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) of a small wildfire that occurred in the Cavalier Wildlife Management Area, (WMA), on Easter Sunday, April 24. Approximately 3 acres were burned by what appeared to be a campfire that was not properly extinguished. In talking with VDOF personnel, Beatley was informed that the fire occurred near the parking lot at the 2nd information kiosk. Beatley had that area under surveillance just prior to the fire and had photographs of a man and woman parking their car in the lot the evening before. The pictures showed them removing camping gear from the vehicle. From the pictures Beatley was able to obtain the license of the vehicle and run the owner's info. He turned over this info and copies of the photos to the VDOF Technician investigating the wildfire. VDOF is in the process of trying to obtain compensation for the expense of the fire suppression that totaled almost $500.00.

K-9 Aids in Locating Runaway Juvenile... On May 14, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Baker was contacted by the New Kent Sheriff's Office to assist with the search for a female runaway juvenile. The juvenile was believed to be in the company of an 18 year old male. The subjects were last seen off Shooters Run Road in New Kent County. New Kent Sheriff's Deputies had been looking for the runaway since May 10, 2011, with no success. CPO Baker contacted K-9 Officer Megan Vick to have her dog come help with the search. CPO Baker coordinated with CPO Wilson, the New Kent Emergency Response Team and New Kent Fire and Rescue to organize a search. Both subjects were found unharmed later that evening. The K-9 was vital in locating the missing juvenile.

"Shocking" Fish Arrest Made... On May 19, 2011 around 1800 hours, Conservation Police Officer Corley observed two men in a Jon boat, in a canal off of Halifax Drive in Virginia Beach. The two men were placing a dip net into the water and shocking fish, and then scooping them up with the dip net. CPO Corley watched the men for several minutes, then stepped out from behind a tree and confronted the two men. Both men were issued a summons for Fishing by Illegal Methods. CPO Corley seized the electrified dip net, a transformer that was connected to the net, and a car battery that was connected to the transformer. One of the men was arrested one year ago for the same offense by CPO Corley. Both men are scheduled to appear in court in June 2011.

Region II - Southside

Innovative Investigation leads to illegal "pet" fawn... Senior Conservation Police Officer Brett Saunders received a tip that a subject had posted a picture of a whitetail fawn on his Facebook page, with the caption, "My new pet". The subject had his page partially secure, and Officer Saunders was unable to view the picture, as he was not on the suspect's "friend list". Additionally, the subject went by his nickname on his page, and there was no phone or address listing. Officer Saunders checked the suspect's list of friends and found a person who agreed to let Officer Saunders view the suspect's page through their Facebook page. While looking through the suspect's pictures, Officer Saunders was able to gather sufficient evidence to lead him to the suspect's house. Officer Saunders then went to the home and determined that the fawn had been picked up to "show to the kids", and then released again in the same spot where it had been found. After issuing a warning, Officer Saunders left. That evening, in response to his being "reported", the suspect apparently took down the picture of the fawn and posted, "Aw, come on people!"

It is illegal and unhealthy to keep wild animals as pets. Read "Leave Fawns Alone" in the Green Tips Section.

Several Agencies Work Together With K-9 to Make Arrest... On May 9, 2011, District 21 Conservation Police Officers charged a 40 year old Franklin County man with possession of illegally taken deer and with growing marijuana (98 plants were seized). The investigation continued and on May 24, 2011, a search warrant was served on the same individual. As a result, 34 firearms were seized and the individual was arrested and charged with being in possession of firearms by a felon. K9-3 CPO Richard Howald and his partner "Scout" provided assistance in locating weapons and searching for other contraband. Assistance in this special operation was provided by agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Virginia State Police (VSP), and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit (county and town officers).

Region III - Southwest

No Life-Saving Devices on Craig's Creek... On May 28, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Francis Miano patrolled Craig County during the Holiday weekend. Officer Miano concentrated on the Craig's Creek area. Eleven kayaks/canoes were checked in a three hour period, and eight had no Life-Saving Devices on Board, including an 11 year old male who was allowed to navigate a kayak without any Life-Saving Device. Seven summonses were issued for No Life-Saving Devices.

Multiple Violations on South Holston Lake... On May 28, 2011, Senior Conservation Police Officer Dan Hall and Sergeant Jamie Davis conducted an evening OUI checkpoint and boat patrol on South Holston Lake in Washington County. During the checkpoint, a total of ten boats were inspected, and one violation was encountered for operating a motorboat without required safety equipment. During the scheduled boat patrol the officers encountered multiple violations on several boats. A total of nine summonses were issued for operating a motorboat without registration, safety equipment, and proper lights displayed after sunset. A total of 4 verbal warnings were given related to lights, equipment and operation.

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.

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.

Does Your Life Jacket Really Fit?

How do you know if a life jacket really fits you? First, check the label to make sure the life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable. Life jackets (or PFDs) come in a couple of basic sizes: infant, child, and adult. Within those basic sizes, there will be a range (Small, Medium, Large, etc.). The label will indicate the basic size and the size range, which will include a weight range and usually also a chest size range. After you check the label, make sure you move on to the second step, try it on!

Before every boating season, try on your life jacket. Make sure that it fits correctly. What does a correct fit mean? It should be snug, but not tight. Lift your arms over your head, can you turn your head left, right, and over your shoulder or has the life jacket ridden up and in the way of moving your head? For a child, have them stand with their arms to their sides. Lift the life jacket up by the shoulders. The life jacket should not move more than 3 inches, no higher that the child's ears. If the life jacket does move up more than 3 inches, it is too big and the child can slip right out – get a smaller life jacket! A younger child's life jacket should also include a crotch strap – this will help insure the life jacket stays on. Finally, practice using the life jacket in shallow water. Make sure it is snug enough to stay put and not ride up over the chin and ears when in shallow water. Have children practice in shallow water with their life jacket so they don't panic in case of emergency. Check out this informational video about properly fitting a child's life jacket.

For more information about life jackets, check out the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety website.

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.

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

Photos must be postmarked on or before June 18, 2011

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.

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

We were all glad to hear that Willard Mayes, better known around here as "Our Man in The Boat", fishing reporter for the southside region, is recovering and ready to go back fishing after suffering a heart attack two weeks ago. Willard noted that his doctor "ordered him" to get back fishing as it was the best therapy... and it gives Mrs. Mayes a break!

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. The fish have been hanging out on drop off areas preparing to spend the summer months in the deeper water. I am thinking that last week's high temps have moved the bass and crappie to deeper water. Catfish and brim fishing should begin to pick up. Mike Campbell of Newport News weighed in a nice crappie weighing 1 lb. 15 oz. that was caught from the floating dock. The water is 80 degrees, 3 inches below full pool and slightly stained.

Moonlight fishing will be held this Friday, June 10th. The park will be open till 12:00 a.m. and there is a fee of $5 per person 18 years of age or older. The next Beaverdam Big Bash fishing tournament will be held on June 18th.

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The bass are moving to deeper water, so you may have to change the way you fish. Try drop shoting Carolina rigs and shakey heads. Greens, red/black. browns and blues may be good color choices. Last week fish were on points holding in 10 to 12 ft. of water. Richard Insley from Richmond caught a 16 ¼ in. crappie. So crappie are still on the catch list in 12 to 15 ft., mainly around offshore humps. Lots of Brim were taken on wigglers and jigs. Some nice catfish came in caught on small bluegill. The park hours of operation are: Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday to Sunday 6 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Water temperature is at 80 degrees, with a visibility of 12 ft .

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, croakers can be found at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and at the mouths of the York and James. Try squid or Fishbite. Flounder are at the Bridge Tunnel and are still mostly too small to keep, but you may get lucky with bull minnows or cut fish. Bluefish at Cape Henry are going for spoons and cut bait. Black drum are being landed at Cape Charles on crabs. Cobia are at the Bridge Tunnel and will take crabs or cut fish. The water is fairly clear and 71 degrees.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams told me that fishing in general is good. Bass are being landed, but he had no reports on what fools them. Some big cats have been fooled by eels and cut bait. No word on crappie, perch or bluegill. The water is stained and warming.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports that local bass are off their beds and biting. Spinners, cranks and top-waters may get you a bass. Crappie are starting to school up, and will attack a small spinner, minnows and jigs. No word on cats. Plenty of white perch are being brought to boat with night crawlers and small spinners. Bluegill are going for crickets and worms, or, if you are a fly fisherman, top water poppers. The water level is low, down 18 ft. to 20 ft. from its typical level this time of year, and in the mid to high 60s and clear.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that lots of bass are going for plastics and cranks. Plenty of crappie are coming in, but not many big ones. Try minnows and jigs. Cats are biting well on cut bait. No word on perch or brim. Some big shellcrackers have been landed lately on red wigglers and crickets. The water is clear and in the low to mid 70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. The water levels on the upper rivers are continuing to drop daily. The Blackwater at Burdette was at 2.10. That is so low the City of Norfolk pipeline across the river looks like a huge dam and one cannot get across it in a larger boat. Dissolved oxygen levels at the surface are hovering around the 2 ppm number in the Blackwater and that is bad. Believe it or not a striped mullet was reportedly caught this past week in the Nottoway. Yes, a salt water fish. Usually we start seeing salt and brackish water fish move up these two rivers when there is low flow and low water levels associated with lack of rain. The water from the Albemarle Sound starts back-filling up river when the conditions are like they are now. This brackish (or slightly higher salinity) wedge as it moves upriver can bring these different species into our rivers. I remember people catching flounder in the Blackwater in 1982 when we had similar conditions. A few years ago I saw a picture of a dolphin or porpoise that someone snapped a picture of just downriver from Dockside on the Nottoway. I just hope no sharks come upriver! Yikes, I swim in these rivers! So the fishing is a little off right now for some species. We need rain badly.

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. The James continues to run higher than usual and more than I have seen in the last few years for early June. The river levels are still above 5 ft, but that is the lowest level since early April. The flathead catfish are starting to bite and should be finished spawning. Fish over 30 pounds are being caught throughout the river system above and below the fall line in Richmond. Most are being caught on live bait like bluegill, minnows and worms. The blue catfish should be starting to finish up spawning and night time fishing should start producing some brutes in the next couple weeks. Eels will work best during the day as well as live bait like bluegill, shad, minnows etc., but as the light fades you should switch to cut shad and also include some live bait and cut eel in your spread. The bass have finished up spawning and the lower tidal creeks and main river channel should be on fire. Fishing in the evenings and morning will produce the best results with the heat like it is now. I prefer top-water lures, spinners and plastic worms but live bait is always best, try large minnows. There are plenty of bluegill and crappie up in the creeks also and worms and minnows will be your best bet. The water is around 81 degrees and still stained. Good fishing!

Region 2 - Southside

Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. The fish have been biting very well. Nice brim are being caught on small grubs and worms. Crappie are biting on the deeper brush piles on small grubs and small minnows. Bass are being caught on top-water in the morning, and then moving out a little and being caught on medium and deep diving crankbaits along with Carolina rigs and shakey head worms.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James is finally in shape for some quality smallmouth fishing. Fish up 18.5 inches have been boated the past couple weeks. Look for the fish to be moving towards the summer grounds. Current breaks and the undercut banks have been the hot spots. Jigs with a trailer have been what the bigger fish have wanted. Fly anglers have had the best success with bait fish patterns. Give the fly some movement so it looks alive and wounded for best results. Don't be shy of trying some top-water patterns as the fish are looking up and feeding on the dragon flies. The Albemarle County Lakes continue to fish well. Average size largemouth 12 to16 inches are feeding all day. Top-water has been very productive in the morning hours .

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow told me that the bass are done spawning and going for top-waters in the early hours and later in the day can be found in 8 ft. to 15 ft. of water, where they will go for a Carolina rigged worm. Crappie action is very good, especially in brush around 15 ft. to 25 ft. They also like bridge pilings. Try the traditional minnows and jigs. Cat anglers are finding things on or off, but when on, will take cut bait, stink bait, chicken livers and live shad and brim. Bluegill can be found in the shallows around riprap, near docks and near brush. Red worms are a good bet. The water is clear and in the upper 70s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf says that fishing in his area is "great". Smallmouths are biting well on crayfish and minnow imitations. Browns, rainbows and brookies are attacking caddis, sulfurs and ant patterns. The water is clear and in the mid to high 50s.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that bass fishing is very good. Try top-waters, jerk baits and lizards in green pumpkin. Crappie action has tapered off, but try small spinners, minnows and jigs near drop offs in 5 ft. to 7 ft. of water. Cats are really being cooperative at night and like stink baits and cut bait around 3 ft. to 5 ft. down. Bluegills are to be found in shallow water also and will go for a small worm or spinner. The same is true of perch. The water is clear, in the 80s in the coves and in the high 70s to low 80s in the main lake.

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

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com.

Bass: The bass fishing continues to be good with good numbers of fish being caught both day and night. We continue to have bass in various post spawn patterns. Early in the day some anglers are having success catching bass on shad colored spinner baits, and top-waters. Others are finding fish suspended in deeper water where plastic worms presented "shakey wacky" are proving good choices. Once the sun moves overhead, many of the largemouth are moving to the shade provided by brush and docks. Some of the bass suspending near the surface under large floating docks can be caught on surface poppers and spinner baits. Those bass found under docks, along pilings and near other vertical structure can be caught on wacky rigged Yamasenko worms in select colors and sizes. Tubes presented on lightweight, Eakin's weedless jigheads, small paddle tail, line-through swimbaits and flukes rigged on belly weighted hooks are also good lures to use for bass around docks and shoreline structure. If you have one or more bass follow any of these lures out from a dock or other structure, try tossing a different lure with a different profile (small crankbait or Senko) back to the area where the bass was last seen, offering the fish something a little different. Often they will take the second lure. The top-water "night bite" continues to be good for bass and stripers. Alewives continue to come to the banks to spawn at night and black bass, striped bass and catfish move up near the shoreline to feed on them. The bass are usually found close to the shoreline and the stripers a little further out. All you need to fish this pattern is a boat, a medium heavy rod and reel and a couple of good floating jerkbaits or chugger style lures with quality hooks.

Stripers: These fish are forming into good-sized schools. Some of them found down near the dam this spring appear to have moved up the lake. Striper fishing continues to be good in most sections of the lake. Anglers continue to catch breaking fish using lures like the Spook, Gunfish, Sammy and large poppers, especially early and late. Those fishing with live bait are also catching good numbers of fish as well. Stripers are being caught on live bait presented on downlines, shotlines as well as on freelines behind Redi-rig floats and planer boards.

Crappie: Fishing is good although the fish have moved a little deeper. While small live minnows continue to work, many report good success shooting docks with small hair jigs and assorted plastics.

Brim: There are incredible numbers of bluegill and warmouth along the shoreline and under the edges of docks around the lake. If you have young children coming to the lake this summer, they will be entertained for hours catching these plentiful fish using a variety of small crankbaits, jigheads or red wiggler worm rigged below a small bobber. Just cast them out and retrieve them slowly along the shady sides of floating docks and the edges of riprap banks.

Water temperatures range from 78 to 82 degrees and the water is clear. It looks like we are going to have another beautiful, but warm week, so let's all get out and enjoy everything this area has to offer. Tight lines and stay safe when out on the water.

For more information about fishing techniques, just stop by Virginia Outdoorsman Sporting Goods or consider attending one or more of the evening Fishing Workshops being held this summer. The next workshop, "Fishing Basics and SML Summer Patterns", will provide information about the fish found in Smith Mountain Lake and the techniques and tackle that can be used to catch them. It is a great refresher for those who have been away from fishing for a while, a good class for those new to fishing or anyone just interested in being able to help visitors or grandchildren catch fish when visiting this summer. Seating in these workshops is limited and advance reservations are required, so if you are interested I suggest you call or stop by the shop to sign up early

Remember with these nice sunny days comes a hidden killer, SUNBURN, and all the bad stuff that comes with it. Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner cautions, "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. No report this edition.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the bass bite has picked up nicely, with some big ones being brought in. Tubes in the darker green and brown colors are your best bet. Muskies are also biting well, and are "not picky". They will take just about anything you care to throw at them, with some bass fishermen being surprised to see a big muskie on the end of their line. The water is at a good level, is 64 to 67 degrees and clearing.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that the smallmouth action is very good if you use soft plastics. All colors seem to be producing. The muskie bite has slowed down, but try cranks. The water is clearing and in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Scott Torgerson from Montclair sent in this report, "Had another wonderful float trip on the New River in Giles County on 1 May with my good friends at the New River Outdoor Company.  The water was still a little high, somewhat stained and fast, but my fishing partner Mike Chevlin and I both caught several smallies each.  I was able to pull in this nice 20", 4-½ lb. citation smallmouth bass on a  red/gold jerkbait, while Mike pulled in a very decent 17" smallie and also had the chance for a couple of tugs with his first muskellunge before losing it in fast water.  All in all it was a fun and memorable day!

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Broken record here, every report I have sent in the Upper New River Fishing Report since early March says we have muddy water. I say it is clearing and by the time this report comes out BAM, another huge rain. Maybe this time it will be different. Today the river is turning green and the water temp is 70 degrees thanks to this hot spell of 90 degree weather. The smallmouth spawn is over and the brood fish are lazy so slow down your presentation, top-water early a.m. and late evening, then look to your plastics in the middle of the day. The muskie fishing has been on fire those days, water conditions aren't muddy and time of day doesn't seem to matter; you just have to be there when they are on the bite. The walleye bite should be good at night or early/late daytime with jerkbaits or Salty Shads. Although I haven't been after the catfish they should be on the bite at night especially with these hot sunny days. Be careful out there and mind the regulations please, it helps preserve the fishing for your friends, neighbors, family and future generations.

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. Fly guru Harry Murray says that the fishing in the smallmouth streams is good. The best places to try are upstream from Woodstock in the North Fork and from Luray downstream to Bentonville in the South Fork. Good flies are: Murray's Magnum Darter, size 4; Murray's Magnum Hog Sucker, size 4; and Shenk's White Streamer, size 4. The water is at a good level, clear and 71 degrees.

The stocked streams in the Valley are also providing good fishing. Best flies are: Mr. Rapidan Streamer, size 8; Betsy Streamer, size 10; and Murray's Tan Caddis Pupa, size 12. The water is at a good level, clear and 68 degrees.

The mountain streams are higher than usual for this time of year and provide excellent conditions for dry fly fishing. Best fishing can be had by going to the stream heads off the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway, National Forest Roads or Skyline Drive. Good flies are: Murray's Sulfur Dry Fly, size 16; Murray's Inchworm, size 14; and Murray's Little Yellow Stonefly, size 16. The water is at a full level, clear and 56 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff is busy fishing, check his website for the latest news on fishing conditions and whats biting.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: SwitchFisher.com) Fish on! The flow on the Rapidan and Rappahannock is finally back to seasonal norms. The water is running clean, clear and at the upper end of wadeable levels while still providing a great opportunity for canoeists and kayakers. As always, be cautious and wear a PFD. The entire section of the Rappahannock from the I-95 bridge up through the confluence is fishing well. Anglers report catching good numbers of medium size smallmouth and seeing the big boys skittering out of the way. If you fish the confluence, be very careful since the rocks are slicker than normal - almost at the same levels one would encounter on the North Branch for Savage river in western Maryland; two rivers notorious for treacherous wading. Smallies are hitting powerbait grubs, streamers and big, nasty looking nymphs (bitch creek hellgrammite) drifted through the tight runs. Most fish are being caught in the small pools immediately downstream of the channels cut between the grass beds. There hasn't been much top water action yet, but it will probably be prime time for that next weekend. The mountain trout streams are in perfect condition right now with the best fishing earned through sweat associated with a hike upstream. Small spinners continue to work well and, for fly anglers, attractor patterns, nymphs and even size 8 streamers in the deeper pools. With the spring stocking program wrapping up, get out to the local rivers before the temperature increases to the point of trout mortality. Take a few last whacks trout and then change focus to the summer long smallmouth action.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. No report this edition.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. Chris is busy fishing, check his website for the latest news on fishing conditions and whats biting.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.

Stripers: HOT!!! Not only has the weather been hotter this summer with water temperatures on June 1st being 87 degrees, but the striper fishing has been hotter than previous years. My clients are averaging 50 to 80 stripers a morning and the bite is getting progressively better. Stripers have migrated to the mid lake regions and are aggressively feeding on 25 to 40 foot flats, gorging themselves on blue back herring. There are literally hundreds of schools of stripers roaming the lake now and good electronics are crucial in locating and staying on the schools. Some good techniques to try this month are as follows: Top-water action can be excellent this month. In the low light times of the day the stripers will bust Spooks, Pencil Poppers and Redfins worked near the deeper banks and over humps. When the stripers back off to deeper flats Sea Shads, Sassy Shads and swimbaits will work well. Once the fish congregate nearby the bottom, jigging spoons and Super Flukes will also catch fish. Trolling is a good option this time of year. Deep diving Redfins with a bucktail or Sea Shad trailer are hard to beat when the fish are 25 to 30 feet deep. Once the fish go deeper, umbrella and drop rigs work best fished on lead core line. The absolute best way to catch stripers this month is to use herring or minnows rigged on downlines putting the baits in the stripers' face. It is important to get the bait to the exact depth to maximize your catches. Concentrate your efforts this month in the first and last 3 hours of the day.

Bass: The bass are post spawn now and have retreated to deeper water to replenish their energy. They will still feed in low light conditions and will hit top water baits with vengeance, a Pop R being a great example. Work these baits with slow rhythmic chuggs giving the bass time to locate and blow up on the bait. June is a great month to work the old Carolina rig with lizards or your favorite rubber bait, a lot of water can be covered quickly to locate bass. Swimbaits will also catch very nice bass this month.

Crappie: The slabs have pulled out and are being caught on deeper points with brush piles and on the deeper bridge pilings in the 10 to 20 foot ranges. They continue to hit small minnows and jigs. The fish are also stacking up on ledges in the rivers in the 8 to 15 foot depths. If you fish the "Hot Side" the fish will congregate much deeper under the bridges in 20 to 30 foot depths. Crappie rigs [two hook rigs] tipped with minnows are deadly this month. Simply lower your offerings to the depth of the fish and once you start catching doubles mark your line at that depth and fill your cooler up.

Catfish: These fish are plentiful and are feeding everywhere on the lake, usually just behind and below the schools of stripers. They can be located on a good depth finder showing up as arches on or very near the bottom.

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

Take an old boat, a warm, sunny day, with family and friends and chances are you can create a memorable outdoor experience. For 16 year old Genevieve Campagnola, a Senior at Lancaster High School in White Stone , her most memorable outdoor experience was a day spent on the Chesapeake Bay with her dad who had fixed up an old boat. Sharing time with family on a boating adventure after a lot of hard work to get the vessel 'ship-shape' has many rewards. Genevieve entered her article in the 2009-10 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and was awarded Fourth Place.

One Day With My Dad

By Genevieve Campagnola

I have never been an outdoorsy girl. I like the outside but I definitely love my couch, too. The best memory I have of the outside is with my dad and our summertime boat. The Sea-Doo speedster is its name. My dad bought this boat when it was still a huge hunk of junk. After dad fixed it up, there was nothing on that boat that was not new or renovated. One day in the summer before my junior year of high school, my dad and I went out on the boat. My mother, my little sister, and my best friend Danielle went with us. All piled up in our family SUV, we went to the closest dock. My family and I spent about two hours just wandering around Carter's creek, a wide, popular creek that connects to the Rappahannock River. The day was scorching and it felt like every ray of sun shine was aimed right at our faces. My mom and my little sister started to get tired and sun burnt after awhile and decided they wanted to be brought back to the dock. We sped to the dock and dropped mom and Mackenzie off, but Danielle, Dad and I decided to continue our day. I remember sitting close to the back of the boat and feeling the hot air crash against my cheeks as we flew over the water. I remember Danielle and I smiling at each other as Dad did donuts in the middle of the creeks.

Dad had brought this over-sized purple tube with AIRHEAD plastered on it with us. When we reached the Rappahannock River, we all tied the tube to the back of the Speedster and took turns riding. Dad even let me drive the boat so he could go once or twice. I remember later we parked under the White Stone bridge to take a break from all the action. Dad tied a rope to one of the nails sticking out from the huge concrete pillar that held the mile long bridge in place. Danielle and I took turns hurdling off the side of the Speedster into the waves of the river. I remember the ride home to the dock. It was late, probably around 4 or 5 and we were all tired. By then, my normally blonde, straight hair was in a nasty, brown knot on the top of my head. Danielle had been stung by jelly fish several times and Dad had a pretty awesome lifejacket tan.

As we drove up to the dock, I, the self proclaimed first mate, helped Dad put our beloved Speedster on the trailer. Despite never having been an outdoorsy girl, that summer day with my dad and the Speedster was the day I started to look at nature in a whole different way. I started to see that Carter's Creek was not a large, wet mass of mud (my previous conclusion) but instead a world of possibilities. Now, I live for summer days with my family. My mind was completely changed by the Speedster. It only took one day with my dad.

•     •     •

Genevieve Campagnola was a Senior at Lancaster High School ( Class of 2010) in White Stone and played in the Red Devil marching band for four years and was a member of the Key Club, National Honor Society and participated two years in both Model General Assembly and Visual Arts. She spends her free time with her family that includes her mom, dad, two sisters, a dog and a mean cat. She is proud to say , "That my best times are spent on the boat with my dad." Hence the inspiration for her touching article.

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: