In this edition:

Celebrate the Dog Days of Summer!

As we suffer through the hot, humid dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 45 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 24th and is now open statewide. This is also National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting. Speaking of dogs… a new regulation this season allows hunters to use a leashed dog to track a dead or wounded deer or bear - be sure and read the full details in the Regulations referenced throughout this edition of the Outdoor Report.

To properly prepare for hunting season there are dozens of quality sportsmen shows and training events scheduled throughout August and September in every region of the state. These events all feature numerous exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities and seminars - something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new, innovative equipment and learn from the experts about new places and proven techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Detailed information and website links for each of these events is listed in this edition. All the events are unique and offer something different of interest to hunters of all skill levels. They range from one day hands-on workshops to the largest of the sportsman expos in the state The Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show this weekend August 12-14 at the Richmond Raceway Complex with over 300 exhibits and demonstrations. This show has also "gone to the dogs" this year see the details of exciting new attractions in the Hunting News section. Locate several of these events near you and take your family and friends and get ready for a safe and rewarding hunting season. I hope to see you all at the show!

David Coffman, Editor

“Hunt Fish VA”: Hunting & Fishing in Your Pocket

Now Available for iPhone® and iPod touch®

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' new app for iPhone and iPod touch is perfect for:

Best of all, it's absolutely FREE!

Download the Hunt Fish VA app now »

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later. Some features require an active Internet connection and are subject to carrier service availability.

Wildlife Management Area Statewide Management Plan Available For Public Comment Through September 5

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and researchers from Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation are seeking comments on a draft statewide management plan for Virginia's wildlife management areas (WMAs). The policy-level management plan is the culmination of a multi-year process to assess the use of and develop a statewide management plan for Virginia's WMAs. This statewide management plan is available for public comment through Monday, September 5, 2011. Interested citizens may provide input to the draft management plan electronically or you can mail written input to: Amy Carrozzino, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 111 Cheatham Hall (Mail Code 0321), Blacksburg, VA 24061. A copy of the draft plan can be accessed on the VDGIF website. For additional information contact David Norris, Wetland Project Leader at (804) 641-6698.

Prior to development of the draft management plan, VDGIF and Virginia Tech conducted on-site interviews with nearly 4,000 WMA users, conducted a follow-up mail and web survey with a subset of interview participants, and held focus group meetings with key stakeholder groups, as well as open public workshop meetings. VDGIF used public input from all aspects of this process to develop the policy-level land use management plan that identifies goals and policies for all of Virginia's WMAs. This statewide plan will provide broad guidance for site-specific WMA plans to be developed later.

VDGIF currently owns and maintains 39 wildlife management areas totaling over 200,000 acres, as means to provide and enhance wildlife habitat and to provide a variety of wildlife-related outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. These areas were acquired and are maintained using Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Funds derived from excise taxes assessed on hunting and fishing equipment and supplies; hunting, trapping and fishing license revenues; and a variety of other funding sources including grants from partner organizations. To learn more about the Department's wildlife management areas, visit the agency's website.

Sportsman's Comments Needed for George Washington National Forest Plan by September 1

The George Washington National Forest (GWNF) covers nearly 1.1 million acres in 17 Virginia and West Virginia counties along the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Several public meetings have been held in the past few months to address the decline of whitetail deer populations and suitable habitat for other game species in the National Forest, once famous for abundant trophy deer. Robin Clark, President of the Virginia State Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), notes, "One of the most important things that sportsmen in Virginia can do this year is to comment on the GWNF Forest Revision Plan to protect our hunting opportunities and improve habitat. The deadline for comments is September 1st. The NWTF Regional Biologists, Cully McCurdy has been working with USDA Forest Service staff regarding the plan for several months now and wrote a comprehensive article on what's at stake for sportsmen if they do not get active in making their voices heard for scientific wildlife management on these public lands. The full article is posted on the VA-NWTF website. President Clark urges his fellow sportsmen to, " Read the article, get informed, get involved and make your comments in a positive, constructive manner. Your future hunting opportunities on public lands are at stake." Read more on this important issue in the Habitat Tips section of this edition of the Outdoor Report.

New Hunting & Fishing License Fees Go Into Effect July 1

Effective July 1, 2011, some hunting and fishing license fees will be increasing in Virginia. This was the first license fee increase since 2006 and only the second license fee increase for hunting and fishing since 1988.

The basic annual fishing and hunting licenses for adult Virginia residents will increase from $18 to $23 which includes the $1 license agent fee. Annual youth licenses will not increase. Non-resident fees for similar licenses were increased by the same percentage as the resident fees. For a list of fishing and hunting licenses and the fees to purchase them, including the cost for non-residents, visit the Department's website.

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries enacted the fee increase at their May 3, 2011 meeting with an effective date of July 1. At that same time they created a facility use permit for Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) wildlife management areas or public fishing lakes that will go into effect January 1, 2012. Anyone over 16 years old who does not have an annual hunting, fishing, or trapping license or a boat registration will need this new use permit. Users will have the choice of paying $4 for a daily pass or $23 for an annual pass to all VDGIF facilities.

Sportsman's Show Features New Location and Attractions for the Whole Family August 12-14

The 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year plus a new location- The Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 12-14, 2011, you can purchase your new Hunting and Fishing Licenses and 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar from the VDGIF booth and also subscribe to Virginia Wildlife magazine and the Outdoor Report at the Show. Biologists, conservation police officers, Complementary Work Force volunteers, and Hunter Education Instructors will be on hand to answer your questions. The new Wildlife K-9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue. Get your free copy of the new 2011-2012 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience.

Hunting SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY is always foremost when afield. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. The VDGIF Outdoor Report is sponsoring a "Young Hunters Wall of Fame" where young hunters age 15 and under are invited to bring a copy of a hunting photo showing their success to post at the booth near the entrance to the Show. Photos must be no larger than 8x10 size and be in good taste. Photos will not be returned and will be on display throughout the show.

This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Certified judges from the VDHA and VDGIF will be awarding ribbons and trophies in four antler classes. The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. There are cash and prize awards with the first place winners in four Divisions eligible to go to the National Calling Contest. Celebrity guests include Pat Reeves and Nicole Jones hosts of popular TV show "Driven 24/7. Bone Collector, Travis "T Bone" Turner and Nick Mundt are returning this year to talk about what we all love, HUNTING! Also new is a fashion show featuring Haley Vine's Outdoor Collection of clothes for women. The Tidewater Dock Dogs will be set up outside on Saturday and Sunday to thrill you with their jumping, flying, splashing, swimming and leaping ability. This event is open to the public, with no admission fee. This is the third official sanctioned event of the year, open to any dog that likes water and fun—regardless of breed, size, shape, or ability. All dogs are welcome, and those new to the sport can introduce their dogs to this fast-growing sport, and get tips on coaching and encouraging their pooches from Tidewater Dock Dogs members.

Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes with this new location and many new attractions for the Show, he is giving away a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience

The Fishing Spot New Feature in Fishin' Report

In this edition of the Outdoor Report, we introduce a new feature by Chris Dunnavant, the VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator and Director of the Angler Recognition Program. Chris will use the Fishing Spot to provide tips from his travels with the Agency as well as his personal fishing exploits from all over the Commonwealth where he meets some really neat and talented people. This new feature in the Fishin' Report section will provide a variety of fishing information including fishing tips, hotspots, interviews, stories, program news and much more. Chris notes, "I hope to pass along to you some of the wonderful opportunities afforded to me as an angler that may help improve your skills and at the least, provide some enjoyment. After all, Fishing is Fun!" Chris features his conversation with the recent winner of the Bassmaster Open on the James River that earned Williamsburg angler, Kelly Pratt, and automatic berth into the coveted Bassmaster Classic. Kelly I discussed his victory, the techniques he used and the fishing opportunities on the Chickahominy River."

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

The Memories Are Always Bigger Than the Fish
Buy your fishing license today.

Remember the excitement? The rush? A picture is worth a thousand words, but sharing the memory of catching that first fish with your family or friends is priceless. Why wait? Start your memories today and buy your fishing license.

Go to HuntFishVA.com, call 1-866-721-6911, or visit your nearest license agent.

If you have already purchased your 2011 fishing license, we would like to thank you for helping to support Virginia's wildlife and natural resources.

Don't miss out on a great fishing season.
Your License Dollars Support State Conservation Efforts

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.

"Land + Link" Juried Photo Competition Focused on Preserving Our Landscape

The Western Virginia Land Trust, in conjunction with the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke is sponsoring a juried photo competition. Land+Link is accepting submissions through August 12th, and this year's theme is "Preserving Our Landscape." This is the first time the Western Virginia Land Trust has worked with the O. Winston Link Museum and they're happy to provide an opportunity for photographers to document the landscapes of Southwest Virginia. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners, as well as the winner of a special "People's Choice" award. The top three winners and People's Choice award winner will be featured in the Roanoke Star Sentinel, on the websites of the Link Museum and the Land Trust, and in upcoming issues of the land trust's magazine Saving Land and the Link Museum's newsletter, Link News. Approximately 25 finalists will also be displayed at an exhibition at the Link Museum beginning September 7th, 2011 and at the Western Virginia Land Trust's Conservation Celebration on September 18th, 2011. The Western Virginia Land Trust is a community-based, private, non-profit organization formed to help protect local lands important to the quality of life and environmental health of their regions. 2011 marks it 15th anniversary as an organization. WVLT works to preserve our region's unique scenic, historic, agricultural, recreational and natural features. By educating landowners, elected officials, businesses and the general public we encourage respect for the environment and arrange voluntary conservation easements that protect land forever. For information on the Western Virginia Land Trust and the photo contest contact Dave Perry (540) 985-0000 or email: dperry@westernvirginialandtrust.org

Between 1955 and 1960, photographer O. Winston Link created unforgettable black and white images that documented the last days of Norfolk & Western's railroad steam giants and the people and places along its lines. The Link Museum's collection features more than 300 stunning photographs, audio listening stations, a documentary film, artifacts and recreations of Link's photographic settings. The Link Museum is owned and operated by the Historical Society of Western Virginia. To learn more contact: Erin Wommack (540) 982-5465 or email: programs@linkmuseum.org

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.

VA Ruffed Grouse Society State Meeting in Madison August 13

The Virginia State Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is holding their State Meeting on Saturday August 13 at Graves Mountain Lodge in Madison County. Dave Hansroth, Mid Atlantic Regional Director Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) notes that there is a great line up of speakers.  Ken Landgraf, Acting Supervisor of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest is scheduled to discuss the pending GWNF plan.  This is of utmost importance to grouse hunters.  Other notable speakers include three biologists from VDGIF : Gary Norman, covering Grouse Management and Status in VA; Al Bourgeois describing the Staunton Habitat Project and Jerry Simms outlining How RGS can work together with VDGIF to reach our common mission. The entire meeting agenda and registration information can be found on the VA RGS website. MeadWestvaco is a major supporter for the RGS, and has sponsored a portion of the workshop costs. Graves Mountain Lodge is offering special rates for the weekend to RGS members--make sure you tell them that you are part of the RGS group when making reservations.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Area To Meet August 17 and September 25, Work Day September 25

The Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area (WMA) have scheduled meetings on Wednesday, August 17 and Wednesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. The group will meet at the Sumerduck Ruritan Club at 5335 Sumerduck Road, Sumerduck, VA 22742. The Workday will be held at the C.F. Phelps WMA on Sunday, September 25 from 9am-noon. To view what the Friends group has been doing, visit the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA on Facebook at Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area and see photos of our Work Day and Tour of Phelps. For more information on the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA or to be added to the distribution list for meeting reminders and notes, contact Patricia Wood at pwood12@earthlink.net or friendsofcfphelpswma@gmail.com.

Catfishing Workshop on James Set for August 23

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join VDGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. 8 AM - 4 PM. For details and to register visit the Department's website. Cost is $35 per person. Payment instructions for credit card or check will be provided at time of registration. Registration is limited, deadline is August 16.

Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake August 26-28

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the 4th Hunter Skills Weekend August 26th- 28th, 2011. The program is designed to help the novice hunter develop skills beyond the basic Hunter Education course with instruction in survival, shooting, game recovery and hunting techniques for a variety of species but also offers many skills to the seasoned hunter. Quotes from past courses included "Thought I was safe and doing things correct. But I was not and learned so many new proper ways to be safe in the stand" (Tree stand safety class participant) and "Great class. Military service member for 26 years and learned a lot in this class about shooting. Outstanding instruction and amount of range and time with rifles" (Rifle class participant) Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the 4-H Center near Appomattox, Va. For more information, contact the Center website.

Basic Trapper Training Courses Offered August 27 in Monterey

The Virginia Trappers Association is sponsoring a Basic Trapper Training Course Saturday, August 27 from 7:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at Steve Good's Welding Shop 5221 Potomac River Road ( RT. 220 h about 6 miles North of Monterey- shop is on your left. These hands-on classes are free, but pre-registration is required. All youths under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Lunch is provided by the local church. For information, contact Billy Price, tel 540-886-8014. For information on the many services of the Virginia Trappers Association visit their website.

Page Valley Sportsmen Host Youth Shooting Workshop August 27

The Page Valley Sportsman Club and the Skyline Strutters Chapter of the NWTF is hosting a JAKES Youth shooting event in Luray Saturday, August 27, 2011. This is a great opportunity for youth 7 -17 years of age and will offer a variety of live fire range activities including shotgun, .22 rifle and archery. This event is free and lunch is provided. Participants are invited to bring their firearms. Ammunition for 20 gauge shotguns, .22 long rifles, .177 air gun pellets and .50 caliber round ball muzzleloaders will be provided. Centerfire rifles are prohibited. There are non-range activities for youth under 7 years of age. Please contact Art Kasson at 540-622-6103 or email artkasson@yahoo.com to register.

Outdoor Festival in Farmville August 27

The Riverside Community Church will host the 6th annual Outdoor Festival to be held Saturday August 27. The festival will take place at the Five County Fairgrounds off of Business 460 on the West side of Farmville. Festivities go from 10 am till 7 pm. A delicious lunch and supper will be served. This is a family event to celebrate the outdoor heritage of Virginia. Thanks to the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, High Bridge Strutters Chapter NWTF, Buggs Island Archery. Aylor's Guns & Ammo, Hunters for the Hungry, Appomattox River Kennels, Couches Creek Taxidermy and other sponsors this year's event is bigger and better. There will be a kid's fishing pond, BB gun range, hunting simulator, five stand sporting clays shooting, turkey shoot, turkey calling contest and a 3-D archery contest. There will be many taxidermy displays, outdoor vendors, live music and a big buck contest. Riverside Community Church sponsors this event simply to honor the community and welcomes all outdoor enthusiasts. All events are free except for the vendors. This year the organizers are asking for a $5 donation for each person over 10. So come on out and bring the whole family, friends and pets. For questions call Jeff (434) 607-7776, or Frank (434) 547-6770, or go to our website.

September Big Game Contests Promote New Hunting Opportunities

September 9-11, 2011: 72nd Western Regional Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. Registration: Begins Friday September 9 at 9 AM. Trophy Entry Deadline is 2 PM on Saturday September 10.VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org

September 24-25: 72nd Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the hound hunting issue and new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. This year the Eastern Regional is also the State Championship. For Contest rules and information visit: www.vpsa.org

Learn About Bees Role in Our Environment at Huntley Meadows Park September 14

The Friends of Dyke Marsh and the Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter, will sponsor a program on September 14 featuring Alonso Abugattas, Naturalist, Long Branch Nature Center, who will discuss bees, their status and importance.

The talk will explore why, without bees, many plants, including food crops, would die off and how bees are nature's most efficient pollinators. Abugattas will note that there are 4,000 kinds of bees in North America and probably over 450 in the Washington metropolitan area, that 95% of bees are solitary and do not live in colonies and that most bees are ground nesters.

Place: Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center in Alexandria, 7:30 p.m. For information on attending call (703) 768-2525, or visit the Friends of Dyke Marsh website.

Waterfowl Hunting Workshop at Holiday Lake September 30 - October 2

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the Virginia Waterfowl Hunting Workshop the weekend of September 30 - October 2 at the 4-H Camp near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowl Hunting Workshop provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course. The workshop will provide participants of all ages, the opportunity to participate in 22 hands-on classes including:

Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration,  Waterfowl Boating Operation, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management.

Todd Cocker, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association Executive Director, notes that the weekend workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. Instructors are confirmed from program supporters including the VDGIF, Holiday Lake 4-H Center staff, Virginia Hunter Education Association, Tidewater Retriever Club, Webfoot Mafia Waterfowl Guides and Virginia Waterfowlers' Association. This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities." To learn about many of the skills and opportunities taught at the Virginia Waterfowl Hunting Workshop, come to the 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show relocated to the Richmond Raceway Complex August 12-14. For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VAWFA website. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox.

People and Partners in the News

Milan Aschbrenner Earns Lifetime Achievement Award for Hunter Education

On Saturday, July 23, 2011 Milan Aschbrenner, accompanied by his wife, fellow Hunter Education Volunteers and VDGIF personnel, became the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Hunter Education. Mr. Aschbrenner has served the citizens in Bedford County with his dedication, knowledge and love of the sport of hunting for 23 years. He was instrumental in developing the Hunters Trail that is still used today in Hunter Education classes. Milan is described by fellow Volunteer Instructors as a quiet gentleman with a smile on his face and always willing to help. He is a dedicated Instructor, father figure & friend to many and is very deserving of this award.

Mouth Artist Bruce Dellinger Demonstrates Unique Style at Sportsman Show

Bruce Dellinger, a self-taught artist from Timberville in Rockingham County, has been successfully drawing for over 15 years holding a pencil in his teeth. As a result of a farming accident in 1981 that left him a C5-C6 quadriplegic, he discovered that he could draw and write by manipulating pens and pencils with his teeth. This eventually led Bruce to the realization of how creating works of art can be enjoyable and therapeutic. Bruce's prints have been featured in gun shows and craft shows the past two years throughout Virginia through a partnership with Rustic Frames. Come meet Bruce in person at the Richmond Raceway during the 28th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 12-14, where he is the featured artist 2011. Bruce will be demonstrating his unique drawing technique and selling his limited edition prints with custom framing available at the Show.

By using naturalistic scenes. Bruce feels that the finished composition is a reflection of his mood and adaptability to life. Bruce has worked with several types of mediums, but has found that using a no. 2 graphite pencil and working in black and white is representative of his personal character and style. The pencil allows for ease of use and gives the drawing an old-fashioned appearance and quality. An avid outdoorsman, Bruce enjoys hunting and fishing. Bruce has been instrumental in working with the National Wild Turkey Federation's Wheelin' Sportsmen Program to provide outdoor activities for persons with disabilities and participates in many of the volunteer led activities. Visit his website for more information and a gallery view of his drawings.

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. On August 27 the VA Chapter NWTF Wheelin' Sportsmen will hold their Annual Fund Raising and Awards recognition event in the form of a Hawaiian Luau at Best Western Conference Center in, Waynesboro. For information or tickets contact Linda Layser at (540) 886-1761, email rglayser@gmail.com, or Sherry Engle, wheelin4u@yahoo.com.

National Committee For The New River Awards Supporters

Hot steamy weather greeted the more than 100 attendees at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the National Committee for the New River. This year the meeting was held at the Riverside Canoe and Tube Rental in Crumpler, NC, on Saturday July 23. Paddlers on the New River Expedition 2011 also joined the celebration after their morning float. Along with celebrating the river, NCNR gathered to present their annual Wallace and Peggy Carroll Vigilance Awards. The awards honor the spirit, dedication, and perseverance that former publisher and editor, Wallace Carroll and his wife Peggy, brought to the battle to save the New River from a massive dam project in the 1970s. The Wallace and Peggy Carroll Vigilance Awards recognize the efforts of individuals and citizen groups who work to protect and preserve the New River.

This year, the Wallace and Peggy Carroll Vigilance Awards recognized Terry and Suzy Kepple of Riverside Canoe and Tube Rental for their outstanding volunteer efforts for NCNR. They are steadfast supporters, leaders on the Expedition, and essential in our clean-up efforts. NCNR also presented a Wallace and Peggy Carroll Vigilance Award to John MacConeell for Lifetime Achievement. MacConnell has been active with NCNR for more than a decade, serving as a water quality monitor, as Secretary and a member of NCNR's Board of Directors. John has also made a planned gift for the future of NCNR. Most recently he put a conservation easement on his 35-acre property which includes headwaters of Silas Creek, an important New River tributary.

NCNR envisions a permanently protected New River as a treasured natural resource. The mission of NCNR is to advocate for successful protection of the New River, to restore eroding river and stream banks and enhance riparian habitat, and to permanently protect land important to the New River. NCNR works in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia's New River watershed. The organization has protected nearly 7,000 acres of land important to the River's water quality, scenic and natural values, and has restored over 70 miles of river and stream bank.

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 package 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!

Luke Featured on 2012 Lab Calendar

'Luke', writer of the "Off the Leash" column in Virginia Wildlife Magazine has made the cover of the 2012 Black Lab calendar published by Brown Trout Publishers, Inc. Clarke C. Jones from Midlothian, who works with Luke announced the honor and photo credit to photographer Dwight Dyke of Blackhawk Productions in Goochland. Dwight is a frequent contributor to Virginia Wildlife and numerous other VDGIF publications. To get info on how to purchase a "Luke" calendar, log on to www.clarkecjones.com and a link appears to Amazon where you can purchase the calendar: www.clarkecjones.com.

Luke and Clarke will be visiting the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 12-14, at the Richmond Raceway Complex this Saturday only August 13 to meet and visit with fans in the Outdoor Report booth and the VDGIF booth where you can purchase your subscription to Virginia Wildlife magazine, 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, and hunting licenses at the Show.

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.

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:

Partner Organizations Working Together For Wildlife

The VDGIF is pleased and honored to have the support of numerous non-profit conservation organizations that are dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. Through the involvement of thousands of citizen volunteers, as well as a financial commitment to a variety of agency projects, organizations have supported wildlife conservation efforts that benefit all Virginia sportsmen and women. We encourage everyone to support these organizations and to become active participants in one or more of these groups. In this section of the Outdoor Report we spotlight one of these partner organizations, highlighting the groups programs and activities that support us in our Mission "working together for wildlife." In it's 28th Year, The Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show has grown to be the largest outdoor oriented event in the State with the vision, leadership, dedication and hard work by it's founder and manager Hugh Crittenden. Hugh has developed an extraordinary partnership with VDGIF and the Virginia Deer Hunters Association in putting on the Show each year and provides a valuable service and opportunity for sportsman families to get ready for another great hunting season each year.

Hugh Crittenden Founder of Sportsman Show Gives Back to the Sport He Loves

For Hugh Crittenden outdoor sporting is a way of life. Hugh resides in Chesterfield County, Virginia where he has been a taxidermist, owning Hugh's Taxidermy, for the past forty years. His quality workmanship, experience, and knowledge of animal anatomy is nationally acclaimed. Because Hugh is recognized as an expert in his field, creating the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show nearly three decades ago was a natural endeavor for him to pursue.

His lifetime of hunting experiences has brought him knowledge and skills to develop a quality show. Hugh has become a waterfowl expert through his 46 years of hunting, calling, and attracting wildlife. Waterfowl and turkey hunting are challenges he enjoys, as well as muzzle loading for deer. He has enjoyed hunting with clubs, still hunting, and hunting with dogs. Over the years, Hugh's experiences have enabled him to recognize and appreciate the needs and interests of all outdoor sportsmen. Hugh combines his knowledge of hunting and enthusiasm for the sport, to create a professional show that truly has something for everyone.

VDGIF Director Bob Duncan commends Hugh on creating a quality, family oriented show which now attracts over 20,000 participants annually. Director Duncan notes, "This is the largest sportsman show in the state and now in it's 28th year, it gets bigger and better each year. The move this year to the Richmond Raceway Complex provides added room for the many outdoor gear vendors, guides, sportsman organizations, seminars, demonstrations and the awesome display of the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia last season. The extraordinary success of the show is Hugh's strong partnership with VDGIF and the VA Deer Hunters Association who co-sponsor the three day event. Each year Hugh meets with our creative staff early in the planning process to develop themes, demonstrations, celebrity guests and promotions that help the Agency accomplish our mission to promote and showcase the great variety of opportunities in Virginia for hunters of all interests and skill levels."

Visit the Show's website for details on the many exhibits, contests, seminars, demonstrations and fun activities for the whole family. You can read about the many features of the show throughout this edition of the Outdoor Report. We hope to see you at this years Show August 12-14 at the Richmond Raceway. If you get the chance, look up Hugh at the Show- he is usually at the information desk making announcements and keeping things running smoothly... thank him for his 28 years of service to the sportsmen of Virginia, providing a fantastic venue for promoting and protecting our rich hunting heritage and treasured outdoor traditions. See you at the Show!!

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...

4 of 5 Eagles Released at Berkeley Plantation Now Living in the Wild

One Going Back to Wildlife Center to Build Strength

A crowd of more than 1,000 eagle enthusiasts attended the release of five juvenile bald eagles at Berkeley Plantation today. All flew well, but one landed a short distance away, making it over the trees into a nearby field. Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) at the eagle release monitored the flights of all the birds. VDGIF wildlife staff and wildlife veterinarians with The Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) were prepared for this type of situation.

The juvenile female was caught by Dr. David McRuer, wildlife veterinarian with WCV, and returned to a crate to rest. It was determined that the bird would be returned to the Wildlife Center to build her strength in their 100-foot flight cage. The Wildlife Center Cam will broadcast beginning tomorrow, July 28, 2011. The public is encouraged to visit The Wildlife Center of Virginia to follow the eagle's progress.

Overall, it was a great event with great eagle viewing opportunities with both the released birds and other eagles that circled overhead early in the day.

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

VA Sportsman Show is "Going to the Dogs!"

The 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year plus a new location- The Richmond Raceway Complex! Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes that in addition to the new location that offers plenty of parking, more space for the 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- this years Show is just "going to the dogs!" The new VDGIF Wildlife K-9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue. The three specially trained Labs and their Conservation Police Officer handlers will be on hand throughout the Show to meet the participants and demonstrate how they aide officers in a variety of law enforcement activities. There will be a Seminar Saturday August 13th from noon- 1 pm featuring the new three dog K-9 Team.

As a result of recent legislation, one of the new Hunting Regulations for 2011-12 allows for the use of tracking dogs to be used to find wounded or dead deer. The dogs must be maintained and controlled on a lead to find a wounded or dead bear or deer statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm bear or deer hunting season, or within 24 hours of the end of such season, provided that those who are involved in the retrieval effort have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched and do not have any weapons in their possession. CPOs and biologists will be on hand at the Show to answer questions about this and other new regulations and opportunities. Get your free copy of the new 2011-2012 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet and purchase your new Hunting and Fishing Licenses.

"Luke", the black lab that authors the "Off the Leash" feature column in Virginia Wildlife Magazine will be visiting the Show on Saturday and meeting his many fans. Outdoor Writer Clarke Jones and Luke will be visiting us in the Outdoor Report booth and giving tips on training your dog. You can purchase your subscription to Virginia Wildlife magazine and 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar from the VDGIF booth at the Show.

A special new feature event this year at the Show is the Tidewater Dock Dogs, who will be set up outside on Saturday and Sunday to thrill you with their jumping, flying, splashing, swimming and leaping ability. This event is open to the public, with no admission fee. This is the third official sanctioned event of the year, open to any dog that likes water and fun—regardless of breed, size, shape, or ability. All dogs are welcome, and those new to the sport can introduce their dogs to this fast-growing sport, and get tips on coaching and encouraging their pooches from Tidewater Dock Dogs members.

So if you have a dog, are thinking about getting a dog, or have a dog you want to see how far it can leap across water... come see us at the Show! You can also register for a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience.

Information on New Regs and Youth Hunters Photos Featured at Sportsman Show

Be sure and visit the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries booths at the 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show held at a NEW LOCATION this year, The Richmond Raceway Complex August 12-14, featuring 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Conservation police officers, hunter safety instructors and wildlife biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing, and wildlife information questions. It's also a great time to purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar. Get your free copy of the new 2011-2012 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience.

With record deer and bear harvests last year, there are bountiful opportunities for pursuing big game, small game, waterfowl, and trapping. Sportsmen and landowners can get information on habitat improvement and the new quail restoration program. Hunter Education Instructors will have demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, and safety reminders for all hunters. Complementary Work Force volunteers will show opportunities for volunteers to work side by side with professional staff in a variety of projects. The Department and partner organizations will have displays featuring specialized, innovative equipment, and opportunities for persons with disabilities and training in outdoor skills. Visit the Department's website for more information on Department programs and hunting opportunities.

Share your favorite youth hunting photos at the Show... Young hunters age 15 and under are invited to bring a copy of a hunting photo showing their success to post on the wall at the Outdoor Report booth near the entrance to the Show. Photos must be no larger than 8x10 size and be in good taste. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction. For some good basic photo tips see the section below - Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us... Photos will not be returned and will be on display throughout the show. Prizes will be awarded for the Top Ten Photos and will be featured in the Outdoor Report and Whitetail Times, official magazine of the VA Deer Hunters Association.

Top Ten New Hunting Regulations and Opportunities for 2011-2012

  1. License fees for hunting and trapping have increased slightly – only the second increase in 24 years… License fees for youth, crossbow, archery and muzzleloader did not increase
  2. Partially disabled veterans shall pay half of the resident or nonresident hunting license fee, Veterans must have at least 70 percent service-connected disability
  3. Tracking dogs maintained and controlled on a lead may be used to find a wounded or dead bear or deer statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm bear or deer hunting season, the retrieval participants must have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched and cannot have any weapons in their possession.
  4. The Special Muzzleloader Season for bears will be a uniform 1- week statewide season. Firearms Bear Season dates have changed for many areas of the state.
  5. The Youth Deer Hunting Day will be open statewide September 24, 2011.
  6. Urban Archery Season has been expanded to include new areas.
  7. Beginning fall 2011-2012, all deer killed after the first Saturday in January must be checked by the telephone or Internet checking systems.
  8. Changes in the length of the fall turkey season in many counties- most new seasons are longer, some are shorter. Turkeys killed in the fall may be checked using the telephone or Internet.
  9. Turkey hunting in January is provided in many counties for the first time. Turkeys killed in January must be checked using the telephone or Internet.
  10. A Facility Use Permit has been established, effective January 1, 2012. Users with a valid hunting, trapping or fishing license, boat registration, 16 years old or younger, or hiking the Appalachian Trail are exempt and will not have to pay the Use Fee. The fee will provide the means by which outdoor enthusiasts who use the VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas and state fishing lakes can contribute, on either a daily or annual basis, to the stewardship, maintenance and management of these facilities and their natural resources.

Refer to the full description of these new regulations in the Hunting & Trapping in Virginia July 2011 - June 2012 booklet available at license agents, VDGIF Regional Offices and sportsman shows statewide, or view on our website: www.HuntFishVA.com

Apply for 2011 – 2012 Quota Hunts July 1

For the 2011 – 2012 hunting season, there are 35 quota hunt opportunities to take black bear, feral hogs, quail, rabbits, turkeys, waterfowl, and white-tailed deer. Beginning July 1, 2011, hunters may apply by mail, telephone or online. For telephone application call: 1 - 877 - VAHUNTS (1/877-824-8687). For online application go to: www.HuntFishVA.com

Application Deadline for Waterfowl Hunt Lottery at Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve August 12

Applications are being accepted through August 12, 2011 for a managed waterfowl hunt at Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County. Hunters must apply and be chosen in a random drawing. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation manages this hunt. A $5 non-refundable fee must be submitted with all hunt applications. Successful applicants will be notified by mail within two weeks of the drawing and will have the option to purchase up to three permits at $100 each. The non-transferable permit must be in possession while hunting, along with all required state licenses. All hunters must also carry proof of completion of a hunter-safety education course. Hunting hours will be on Fridays from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset for the September early goose/teal season, the October early duck season, and the general duck season from November 2011 through January 2012.

All state and federal migratory bird regulations and laws apply during the hunt. For information on hunting licenses, hunter-safety education classes and hunting regulations, call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at 804-367-1000. Complete hunt rules and an application are available online. For more information, call DCR at 804-371-6204 or 804-225-4856.

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

Kaneesa Davis Proud of First Buck

Kaneesa Davis, a 13 year old hunter from Burr Hill, sent us this story and photo of her first buck she harvested while hunting with her Father, Kirk Davis on private land in Orange County December 14, 2010. Kaneesa tells her story, "My dad and I set up a ground stand over looking the edge of a corn field late afternoon (after school), 2 hours before sunset. Within 30 minutes, we heard foot steps along the trail. I had a 20 gauge with slugs at the "ready". First in our view were two does, followed by this young buck- a spike. My dad pointed him out and I a took a sight on him. He stopped and I shot. His back legs went up high in the air and he took off. My dad and I did a "high five" but it might have been a bit early, the shot was low lung shot and we had to track him for nearly ½ mile before we found him just about sun down. The drag was a long, long half a mile in the cold evening twilight to get back to our truck. Once back at our farm, after we cleaned up, I posed for the photo with my very first buck and my 20 gauge!" Come visit the Outdoor Report booth at the 28th Virginia Outdoor Sportsmans Show August 12-14, this year relocated to the Richmond Raceway Complex. Bring your favorite hunting or fishing photo and enter it in our Kids Wall of Fame contest. See details in article above: "Information on New Regs and Youth Hunters Photos Featured at Sportsman Show".

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.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Safety Team Promotes Proper Treestand Use at Sportsman's Show

The use of tree stands for hunting has increased dramatically in the past few years. Along with the increase in their use comes an increase in the number of serious or fatal injuries. While firearms-related incidents have declined tremendously since mandatory hunter education courses were instituted and blaze orange laws were passed, the number of treestand-related incidents has increased significantly. Among the hundreds of volunteer Hunter Education Instructors, Dick Holdcraft stands out as the "treestand expert," based on over 40 years as a career safety manager and Master Instructor since 1993. Dick is the leader for the Treestand Safety Team, comprised of experienced volunteer Hunter Education Instructors whose mission is to inform hunters on proper use, maintenance and safety practices while hunting from tree stands. Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand, the Team is providing exhibits, demonstrations and training at various sportsmen's events to help hunters properly prepare and stay safe while using treestands. (For treestand safety and use tips see the article in Be Safe... Have Fun section of the Aug 11, 2010 edition of the Outdoor Report.)

The Treestand Safety Team will be in full force at the 28th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show relocated this year to the Richmond Raceway August 12-14. Show goers will be given the opportunity to "take the pledge" to use proper treestand safety practices and enter a drawing for a Summit Ultimate Viper treestand donated by the Virginia Hunter Education Association and a Third-Hand haul line donated by Third-Hand Archery Accessories. Remember to harness up before you climb up.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Owl Dies from Entanglement in Discarded Fishing Line

Mary and Bill Apperson from Williamsburg sent in this tragic story and photos of an owl they encountered on their latest fishing trip on the James River that produced something they never thought they would "catch".  Mary notes, "We encountered this great horned owl with a fish hook in his shoulder, struggling in vain to get loose from his entanglement. We found him exhausted, suspended between two trees. After carefully rescuing him from the trees and fishing line, we contacted the VDGIF Charles City Regional office and they had a Conservation Police Officer call us on our cell to give us permission from VDGIF to transport the badly injured bird back to a Williamsburg vet clinic.  Sadly as we were arriving back at the boat landing the bird expired before we could get him to medical care.  CPO Baxter Bell in confirming the bird had died from the stress and injuries of the fishing line entanglement properly dispatched of the carcass." Note that all migratory birds - including raptors or 'birds of prey' like eagles, hawks, osprey, falcons and owls are protected by Federal and state laws and cannot be harassed, harmed or killed, nor are you allowed to have them alive or dead in your possession without proper permits. It is also illegal to have any parts of these birds such as claws or feathers in your possession.

The Apperson's did the right thing in trying to rescue the bird from danger and contacting the VDGIF for permission to transport the bird to get medical attention. There are licensed wildlife health care professionals and rehabilitators throughout the state. If you find an injured animal, it is best to contact the VDGIF or other law enforcement official to determine the safest course of action for you and the injured animal. "Rescuing" an injured bird or animal can be dangerous, so it is best to call for help from professionals when the circumstances allow. In last July 27th edition of the Outdoor Report in "Green Tips", we featured the Fishing Line Recycling program and described the dangers of fishing tackle left hanging in trees or discarded in the water. Unfortunately this tragic story of this owl bears witness to this problem. The July edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine features an article entitled, "Trashing Wildlife" by Glenda Booth, which describes how trash and litter are not just an eyesore, but can be lethal to wildlife. For information on becoming a wildlife rehabilitator or help with rescuing injured wildlife visit the website for the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro. Be a friend to wildlife and to our environment- don't litter and set a good example when out with children. Take an extra plastic bag with you and take a few minutes to pick up trash that irresponsible people did not dispose of properly. Keep America beautiful and safe for wildlife.

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

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

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest Winners Selected In Celebration of National Fishing Week

"It was hard to pick the winners for the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest as so many great photos were submitted of kids with big smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement taken while fishing!" declared Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator and Angler Recognition Program Director. In celebration of National Fishing Week, this popular contest is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company. The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category receive a variety of fishing-related prizes donated by the sponsors. Winning pictures are now posted on the VDGIF website and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications.

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 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."

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

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

Answers to July 27th edition quiz for nature events for late July...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Sportsman's Comments Needed for George Washington National Forest Plan by September 1

The George Washington National Forest (GWNF) covers nearly 1.1 million acres in 17 Virginia and West Virginia counties along the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Several public meetings have been held in the past few months to address the decline of whitetail deer populations and suitable habitat for other game species in the National Forest once famous for abundant trophy deer. Robin Clark, President of the Virginia State Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), notes, "One of the most important things that sportsmen in Virginia can do this year is to comment on the GWNF Forest Revision Plan to protect our hunting opportunities. The deadline for comments is September 1st. The NWTF Regional Biologists, Cully McCurdy has been working with USDA Forest Service staff regarding the plan for several months now and wrote a comprehensive article on what's at stake for sportsmen if they do not get active in making their voices heard for scientific wildlife management on these public lands. McCurdy describes what's at stake for sportsmen...

"Historically, hunters and sportsmen are not letter writers or driven to comment on various management plans and scoping notices offered up for comment from state and federal agencies.  This is evident from the few comment letters that are received by officials from hunters in comparison to environmental groups that prefer no management on our forested public lands.  Many individuals think it is enough that the conservation organization to which they belong will speak on their behalf.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Even though great effort and time is put into preparing comments by NWTF leadership to express the desire of the membership, nothing beats a personal letter from individuals.  When the NWTF state chapter sends a letter, it is counted as one letter.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, environmental groups are very well organized in their letter writing campaigns from coast to coast.  Not only did wilderness advocates from Virginia comment heavily on the first comment opportunity, but hundreds of letters were received from California alone.  If we want to see active management on the George Washington National Forest to benefit wildlife, now is the time to answer the call by providing comments that promote wildlife habitat management on the national forest."

The full article is posted on the VA-NWTF website. President Clark urges his fellow sportsmen to, "Read the article, get informed, get involved and make your comments in a positive, constructive manner. Your future hunting opportunities on public lands are at stake."

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

Boy and Father Keeping Undersized Flounder... On July 16, 2011 while checking fishermen at Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, Conservation Police Officer Corley received a tip from one of the fisherman that someone was keeping under sized flounder and having his son take them back to their truck so as not to get caught. The fisherman pointed out the boy as he was returning from the truck. CPO Corley intercepted the subject's 9 year old son and asked him if he would show him the fish that his dad caught. CPO Corley and the boy returned to the truck and measured and photographed the fish. Then they carried the cooler with the fish inside back to where the boy's father was fishing. While walking back CPO Corley asked the boy who caught the fish. The boy stated that he caught 2 of the fish and his father caught one of them. Once in the presence of the boy's father CPO Corley pulled the father aside and asked him if he caught the fish. The father confirmed the boy's story that the father caught 1 of the fish and that the boy caught the other 2. When confronted with the fact that all 3 of the fish were under the legal size limit the father blamed the 9 year old saying," Well he measured them". The father was issued a summons for possession of under sized flounder and the fish were returned to the sea unhurt.

Region III - Southwest

K-9 Patrol Increases Public Awareness... On July 23, 2011, Senior Conservation Police Officer James Hale, Officer Richard Howald, and his K-9 partner "Scout" patrolled Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The officers checked several fishing constituents at Laurel Bed and Hidden Valley Lakes. Special emphasis was placed on K-9 searches along the fee fishing areas and camping sections. Constituents immediately noticed Scout and were surprised to see the unit in Southwest Virginia. Officer Howald distributed K-9 cards to kids and provided educational information to the public concerning the agency K-9 program. This interaction increased public relation efforts for the K-9 program. Senior Officer Hale issued one summons during the patrol for public display/consuming alcoholic beverage on Hidden Valley WMA.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Out-of-Season Turkey Violations... On 4/1/11, Conservation Police Officer Eller was contacted in reference to several out-of-season turkey violations occurring in Louisa County. Officer Eller scouted the area in question and located a spot for observation. On April 8th 2011, which was prior to the opening day of spring turkey season, Officer Eller made contact with three individuals exiting the woods after an early morning hunt. The subjects had shotguns, a back pack containing several turkey calls and a decoy, which they claimed to be using to hunt coyotes. Upon running their information through dispatch, Officer Eller was notified that one of the subjects was wanted in Louisa County and was subsequently arrested. When the Louisa County Deputies arrived on scene to take custody of the individual, they advised Officer Eller that they had been looking for this person for a long time and had been unable to locate him. Over the next few months Officer Eller gathered additional information on these individuals that implicated them in the killing of multiple other turkeys prior to April 8th. After conducting multiple interviews with the assistance of his fellow district officers, he was able to obtain multiple confessions. Based on these confessions and other evidence, Officer Eller obtained and served 13 warrants on these three subjects for hunting during closed season, taking game during closed season, unlawful possession, and failure to check and tag game.

Training and Education Unit

Hunter Education Instructors and K-9 Scout Train Youth at Walnut Bend Farm Ranch Camp

Hunter Education Instructors and Conservation Police Officer Chris Weidman taught classes at the 3-day Walnut Bend Farm third annual Ranch Camp held the week of July 20 - 22 in Campbell County. This program which utilized the Laser Shot Hunting and Fishing Simulators in the instructional sessions offered the youth a unique opportunity to develop their fishing skills, and to learn firearms handling and safety. Senior Officer Richard Howald and his K9 "Scout" arrived to offer a demonstration of their search and tracking skills. Despite the heat, they were the hit of the day!

New Wildlife K-9 Team Pilot Program Needs Your Support

VDGIF Law Enforcement has introduced a pilot program K-9 Team with three Labrador retrievers trained in tracking, wildlife detection and evidence recovery. The dogs and their CPO handlers graduated from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' K-9 Academy in April. This was an intense and physically demanding eight week training course that all three handlers completed successfully with their dogs and returned to Virginia to begin their work. These K-9 units have already made an impressive start assisting CPOs and other state and local law enforcement and search and rescue teams with the dogs special skills and abilities. The members of the new K-9 Team are: from Portsmouth in Tidewater region, K-9 Officer Megan Vick and her partner Jake; from Appomattox County in Central Virginia, K-9 Officer Richard Howald and his partner Scout; and from Rockingham County in Western Virginia, K-9 Officer Wayne Billhimer and his partner Justice.

VDGIF Director of Law Enforcement Col Dabney Watts, Jr., has high expectations for this new versitle Team noting, "It is our hope to fund this new agency program through donations made by individuals, businesses and wildlife organizations. In fact all three of our original dogs, as well as the 2 dogs from Kansas, were donated either by individuals or animal shelters. Through the efforts of VDGIF Grants Manager Tom Wilcox and Jenny West, Director of the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, the Wildlife Foundation has agreed to accept and manage monetary donations made to the Department's K-9 program. Information on how to donate is provided on both the Foundation and Department websites. In addition Lee Walker, Director of Outreach, arranged for the printing of trading cards with a picture of each canine unit on the front and a brief introduction of each officer and his or her dog on the back along with information on how to donate to the program. These cards will be handed out at all public events attended by one of our canine units. See the feature on the K-9 Team's introduction at the Richmond Squirrels baseball game in the July 13th editon.

Watch for updates in the Outdoor Report on events where you can meet members of the new K-9 Team and see demonstrations of their remarkable skills used in enforcement of wildlife laws and search and rescue. The Team will be featured at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 12-14, 2011 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

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.

The Fishing Spot

by Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator

Greetings folks! My name is Chris Dunnavant and I am the Angling Education Coordinator and Director of the Angler Recognition Program here at VDGIF. My travels with the Agency as well as my personal fishing exploits have taken me all over the Commonwealth to experience great fishing and meet some really neat and talented people. In this new feature of the Outdoor Report, I will be sharing a variety of fishing information including fishing tips & hotspots, interviews, stories, program news and much more. I hope to pass along to you some of the wonderful opportunities afforded to me as an angler that may help improve your skills and at the least, provide some enjoyment. After all, Fishing is Fun!

Recently I was able to have a conversation with the winner of the Bassmaster Open on the James River that earned Williamsburg angler, Kelly Pratt, and automatic berth into the coveted Bassmaster Classic. Kelly and I discussed his victory, the techniques he used and the fishing opportunities on the Chickahominy River.

VA Angler Kelly Pratt Earns Bassmaster Classic Berth

The Bassmaster Northern Open Series visited Richmond, VA on July 7-9 for a tournament on the James River. Superstar pros and locals alike entered the tournament with aspirations of victory and an opportunity to fish in the Super Bowl of bass tournaments, the Bassmaster Classic. With the new "win and your in" format where the winner receives an automatic entry to the Classic, the stakes are high at each tournament. Kelly Pratt, a local pro and experienced Chickahominy River angler from Williamsburg led the event wire to wire to take home the trophy, over $50,000 in winnings and solidify a spot in the World Championship of bass fishing.

When Kelly saw that the first tournament of the division was on the James River he new he wanted to enter the trail. "Anytime a big tournament comes to the river, I want to be in it." Kelly remarks. He was successful at tournaments at this level 10 years ago and wanted to try them again and what a perfect opportunity with the opener on the James, giving him a chance to fish his favorite place, a tributary of the James, the Chickahominy River.

Kelly did not spend much time on the river pre-fishing or during the official practice time. He felt confident about his fishing strategy, time of year and the conditions. He also did not want anyone to see him fishing his best places! He was surprised to be leading with 16-06 lbs. on the first day and with an abundance of rain and deteriorating river conditions his follow up stringers of 13-13 and 12-03 gave him comfortable victory margin of 5 pounds. When he boated back to back 3 and 4 pounders between 10-11:00 on the last day he felt confident about his chances to win although he didn't let himself "feel it" until it came to his turn at the weigh-in when he knew he only needed 6 pounds to win.

"I never thought I would ever have a chance to go to the Classic in my life and I haven't thought about it too much. It really hasn't hit me yet, if it did, I probably would have a hard time thinking about anything else," says Kelly. He has 2 remaining tournaments in the Northern Division and the Classic is set for February on the Red River in Louisiana. "I would like to go down and pre-fish around Thanksgiving, ride around and learn the river before the official cut-off on December 12th." Certainly Kelly's river fishing experience and skills will pay off at the world championship.

Kelly's primary lure for the tournament was a Zoom Finesse Worm in Green Pumpkin or Junebug colors rigged with a 1/8 oz. Slider jighead. Because of the rain and the cool water conditions he focused on shallow water of about 2 ft. deep. "When the water cools down in the summer, the bigger fish move out of the deeper water and go shallow." Kelly says that understanding the tides, being patient, knowing where the fish would be based on the current weather conditions and that the bigger fish would be feeding on crabs where all keys to his victory.

Kelly says the Chickahominy is the best it has been in over 20 years and encourages folks to get out and enjoy the river, but take care of it. "The fishing is good all year round. Bass fishing is great spring through fall, the wintertime Yellow Perch and Crappie fishing is phenomenal and there are huge Blue Catfish in the river as well."

Kelly offered some tips for those wanting to try there hand at bass fishing on the "Chick" this summer. "Pick one part of the river and learn it. If you like to fish pads and grass fish the upper half of the river, but if you prefer fishing wood – concentrate on the lower part." Kelly recommends using topwater frogs around the pads and a finesse worm on a Slider head or Texas rigged around wood. He also says to rig up a Rebel Pop-R and fish it slow, "pop-it and let it sit, pop-it and let it sit." The topwater bite is good during low light conditions, but it is great at low tide even if it is bright and sunny.

The experience of winning the tournament has been a great one for Kelly. He was getting 40 calls a day from well wishers. "I had no idea that many people were rooting for me. Everyone is congratulating me for the win and wishing me good luck at the Classic and other pros like Chris Daves and Mike Hicks congratulating me at the weigh in – I really appreciate that." The experience was also good for Kelly's co-anglers; they all caught their limit. "My second day partner was from Poland and he blanked the 1st day, when he caught his first fish he was so excited because he could go up on the weigh-in stage and when he caught his limit he was jumping up and down!"

Kelly was quick to recognize Richard Addy and Charlie Reed at Mare's Marine and Rick Pierce of Bass Cat Boats for their support and helping him to get in the tournament. Kelly says all the river baits are available at one of his favorite hangouts; Hookers Bait and Tackle in Williamsburg on route 60. "Call the store before you go fishing to get the latest fishing information for the river."

New Boat Ramp Opened on New River at Ivanhoe

The latest of 216 public boating access sites managed or developed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is now open in Carroll County for hand-launched boats. Located just off Trestle Road near Ivanhoe, the site serves the New River. The facility consists of a gravel parking lot and gravel trail to the water's edge. Located on the north shore of the New River about one mile below Buck Dam and about four miles upstream from the VDGIF's boat landing at Austinville, the Ivanhoe boating access site should be popular with anglers wishing to fish from the shoreline or float to Austinville. The Ivanhoe Public Boating Access site is reached by turning east off of Route 94 south of Ivanhoe onto State Route 658 (Trestle Road). Continue on Route 658 under the New River Trail, and then take an immediate left to the boat landing. For information on fishing the New River, check the reports in the Fishin' Report- Sarah White's Notebook, or Visit the VDGIF website for New River fishing and boating access.

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.

Review the article, "Does Your Lifejacket Really Fit?" in the Be Safe... Have Fun section.

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!

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.
The Memories Are Always Bigger Than the Fish
Buy your fishing license today.

Remember the excitement? The rush? A picture is worth a thousand words, but sharing the memory of catching that first fish with your family or friends is priceless. Why wait? Start your memories today and buy your fishing license.

Go to HuntFishVA.com, call 1-866-721-6911, or visit your nearest license agent.

If you have already purchased your 2011 fishing license, we would like to thank you for helping to support Virginia's wildlife and natural resources.

Don't miss out on a great fishing season.
Your License Dollars Support State Conservation Efforts

Sarah White's Notebook

Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. Lots of small bass are being caught but the larger ones are coming from 15 to 20 ft. Drop shoting is your best bet with green or brown lures working well. The pan fish are biting, and around 8 to10 ft. is the spot to find larger fish. Wigglers caught most of the fish last week, with jigs coming in 2nd. Some very nice cats were caught live gills, cut bait and crawlers. Stripers are responding very well to live herring. You might also try trolling deep running crankbaits. The water temperature is at 90 degrees with a visibility of 18 ft.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107, www.gloucesterva.info. Contributed by Park Supervisor Blair Evans. The Dog Days of summer are upon us and it seems that the heat has slowed the fishing down some. The best fishing is going to be in the cooler deep water. Anglers fishing the deep water can expect to catch bass and catfish. Those fishing the shallow water can expect to catch bluegill and other sunfish. There have been no notable catches in the past week. The water is 86 degrees and at full pool, and slightly stained.

Come take advantage of the cooler temperatures and enjoy prime cat fishing conditions this Friday night August the 12th. The main entrance of the park will be open till midnight. For more information, call the park at (804) 693-2107. Park Hours Now through September 5th: 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim told me that bluefish and Spanish mackerel are at Cape Henry; they are going for spoons. Spot are at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets and will take Fishbite or blood worms. Sheepshead are at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and like fiddler and hermit crabs. Flounder can be found at Buoy 42 and the cell. They will take large minnows or squid, but most that are landed are too small to keep. The water is clear and in the low 80s.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that bass action is good. Try plastic worms at the edge of grassy areas. No word on crappie. The cat bite has really picked up, some big ones are going for eel. No word on bluegill. The water is clear and 89 degrees.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that despite the heat, the bass bite is fine. Top-waters are your best bet early and late. During the day try deep running cranks or soft plastics in a dark color. No word on crappie or cats. White perch are plentiful and will take night crawlers, minnows, sand small jigs and spinners. Some stripers are traveling with the perch and will take the bait intended for the smaller fish. Lots of bluegill are being brought up on red wigglers, crickets or popping bugs. Some 1 lb. lunkers have been fooled. The water is clear and in the mid to high 80s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports good bass action. Top-waters early and late have been successful, as have cranks and plastics during the day. Crappie are not being very cooperative, but some have come in on the traditional minnows and jigs. Lots of cats are going for cut bait. The bluegill bite is "fair", with red wigglers and crickets being the baits of choice. The water is clear and in the mid 80s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. I spent the 4th through the 6th on the Blackwater around Franklin. The water was normal and 83 degrees. I kinda rolled two events into this patrol. I took a bunch of kids from the Paul D. Camp Community College program called "Kids College" on an Eco-Cruise the first day. Even though the wildlife did not cooperate too well, I think they had a decent two hour tour. At least they got to see a couple of really nice red-bellied water snakes, some turtles and few great blue herring. After I did the Eco-Cruise I went on with my usual three day patrol. Fishing was not hitting on much. I caught a big two pound shell cracker and a big speckle really quick. That was enough for catfish bait for the next two nights so I did not fish anymore for sunfish. I guess I should have stayed with the Rebel cricket. I then switched to bass fishing and that was just bad. Though I must admit I did not try very hard as it was so hot. I did not even try different lures, I just stayed with top-water and only caught two little bass. Catfishing those two nights was not great either. I only caught two small cats the first night and NONE the next. That's pretty bad, especially since the first night I really was not all that attentive. At City of Franklin's Barretes Landing they were having their weekly "We Be Jammin'" on the waterfront there and had a great band playing. So I hung around there checking out all the non-indigenes wildlife while kinda catfishing. That's a great place to go by boat to have a great time. The VDGIF boat landing is right there in sight of the place and with such a nice facility it is really easy to put in and take out at night. Anyway, I had a great trip and hopefully we will get some more rain soon to spark up the fish.

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. Captain Mike says that bass in the upper tidal James are going for cranks and soft plastic tubes and worms (chartreuse and watermelon). Crappie are at the major creek heads and will take minnows and jigs, especially in chartreuse or white. Catfishing is okay; try suspending live bream about 12 or 15 deep, as fishing the bottom all too often results in your providing a free buffet for crabs. Local gar are biting well on minnows. The water is fairly clear and 85 degrees in Richmond, 90 degrees at Dutch Gap.

Region 2 - Southside

Nottoway Falls: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Welcome back, Willard! The way I had it figured was if I went to an out of the way lake the doctors would not know anything about it, so Nottoway Falls was in my plans. Headed out to old blue and first thing I noticed was that the last person to drive old blue left the windows down and the seat was wet from the rain. Not the first time my butt has been wet so I backed the truck up to hook up boat and the boat must have tried to go fishing without me, as it had rolled off the pad. I had the tongue jack on and it was 3 inches in the ground and would not come high enough to get the truck under it. I finally got hooked up and headed to the lake at 9:45 to find that the 6 inches of rain had washed lot of the hill onto the ramp, now after everything I had gone through, I was going to go fishing so I had to jerk the trailer from under the boat and was on the water by 11:00 a.m., wondering just how I was going to get the boat back on the trailer later. The water was very warm and brown stained with visibility to about a foot so I thought I would fish in the deeper water between the old RR bridge and the dam. I got one hand size blue gill about 4 ft. down until I cast toward the shore line and an old stump in about 4 feet of water and got into a school of crappie. I caught about the limit of 8 to 10 inch crappie before I thought it was time to go in search of bigger and better fish. I fished up the lake around the channel and toward the shore line catching 9 bass, two 12 in, two 10 in, three 8 in and 2 six inch I also caught 24 more crappie from 8 to 10 inch for a total of 49 and 10 blue gill hand size down to 4 inches. Since I was fishing deeper I switched from my 1/32 oz to 1/16 oz lead head because the crappie wanted a fast retrieve and if you got it too fast you ended up with a bass. The inch and half purple and chartreuse worked the best. The best gift of the day was when DGIF showed up and cleaned all the dirt off the ramp with back hoe and I did not have any trouble loading the boat that evening.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James has gotten low. I'm not sure how these storms are going to affect it. Hopefully it will bump it up a little and bring the water temperature down a few degrees. Fishing continues to be good. Fly anglers are having success with poppers and streamers. Conventional anglers using soft plastics and some type of top water offering (Tiny Torps-Skitter Pops) are seeing quality smallmouth brought to the net. Look for the fish along a shaded bank with good flow and depth. Don't spend too much time in unproductive water. After a couple casts without success move on until you find a fish. Once you find one stick around as we have been catching a few more in the same location.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow says that things have slowed due to the hot weather, but some anglers have fooled a few fish. Bass are going for cranks and Carolina rigs. The night bite is good for crappie, with some up to 3 ¼ lbs. coming in. Jigs are your best bet for these fat slabs. Cat action is "decent" with bream, crappie, goldfish and jumbo shiners being good choices. Some bream can be found around ripraps and bridge pilings, try red wigglers. The water is fairly clear and 85 to 90 degrees.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Ruby Barrett reports that rainbows and browns are going for Shenandoah Blue Poppers. No word on brookies. The water is in the high 70s and clear.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski says that bass action is good. Try top-waters early and late. During the day go deep with Carolina rigged lizards. The crappie bite is slow, with the fish holding at around 8 to 10 feet down; but you may get lucky with a minnow or a jig. Cats are being very cooperative of late and are taking chicken livers, clam snouts and stinkbaits. During the night hours, fish these baits 3 to 8 feet down; fish along the bottom during the day. Bluegill are biting well on red wigglers and small spinners. The water is fairly clear and 86 degrees.

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

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

Bass: Fishing continues to be mixed and this past weekend the night fishing proved to be about as challenging as it has been all summer. The tournaments both Friday and Saturday night each fielded over 20 boats and less than a third of the competitors weighed fish at the conclusion of the events. Large worms, like the 10 inch ribbon and G-tails along with large lizards, are still producing bass in open water during the day and at night. Good fishing areas include steep points, the sides of deep water humps and natural rock bluffs. Colors like green pumpkin and watermelon red, are working in the day. Darker colors like black with blue and black with red flake, junebug and red shad are good choices at night. When fishing submerged brush, straight tail worms tend to hang up less often and are a good choice.

There continue to be largemouth bass caught under deepwater docks, especially those found on steep shorelines and deep-water bluffs. Anglers continue to use shakey head jigs and drop shot rigs to probe docks for these fish. Pig and jigs, jigs with plastic trailers and heavy shakey head jigs with finesse plastics are good choices for bass in deep water, especially those suspended off the sides of submerged, river channels and natural rock bluffs. Wacky rigged plastic worms and Senko's continue to work, but many are fishing them on weighted jigheads, like the ZAPPU and Falcon "K" Wacky hooks, when in deeper water. Deep diving crankbaits are also working in the daytime and at night. Shad and lighter shades are preferred in the day and darker colors at night.

Stripers: Fish continue to be found in large schools near the mouths of major creeks in the middle and lower sections of the lake. Large schools of stripers are also being reported down near the dam and Bull Run. Several 12 to 16 pound stripers were caught last week near Gills Creek on the Blackwater side and near Becky's and Betty's Creek on the Roanoke side. Stripers continue to be found and caught using good electronics anywhere from 15 to 75 feet below the surface. While most of the stripers are being caught on live bait rigged on downlines, there are anglers successfully jigging with spoons and flukes rigged on heavy custom jigheads. Smaller alewives continue to be the live bait of choice. Using downsized fluorocarbon leaders, smaller hooks and target beads will significantly increase the number of stripers caught this time of year when they are keying on the smaller bait.

The last scheduled "Fishing Basics" workshop for 2011 will be held this Thursday evening from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. This workshop is a great refresher for those who may have been away from fishing for a while and a good introductory class for those who want to learn about the fish found in Smith Mountain Lake and the different types of tackle and lures used to catch them. It includes hands on exercises on how to rig and fish with artificial and live bait. The cost is $20, seating is limited and advance reservations are required. For more information go to my website. Tight lines.

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.

Bass: Fishing is getting tougher with each increase in the temperature. There is a decent early morning and late evening top water bite with Lobina Lures Rico popper working well. Once the sun gets up, the fishing gets tougher. The hydrilla is starting to grow and fishing reaction baits like a chatterbait over the hydrilla will produce a bite or two. Drop shotting a 4 ½" Roboworm is the best way to finesse the finicky bass with the top colors being Oxblood Light Red Flake, Martins Madness, and Prizm Krawler. After dark the action picks back up a little with a black/blue chatterbait or a dark colored Jolt spinnerbait being the best lure choices. Last week's Tuesday night tournament was won by Larry & Wayne Armbrister with a 5 fish limit weighing 10.22lbs.Second place went to Dale Reynolds with 7.87lbs. Big Largemouth was 3.53lbs and was a tie between the teams of Larry & Wayne Armbrister and Jason Adams & Chris "Bubba" Lewis. Dale Reynolds had a 1.73lb smallmouth to take the big smallmouth honor. The Rock House Marina has a Tuesday night tournament every Tuesday from 6:30p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Striper: There is a little bit of schooling activity at day break. After the sun gets up, try trolling an umbrella rig in deep water. The key is finding the suspended bait on your depth finder.

Catfish: The cats are starting to turn on. Peak creek is has produced some good size and good numbers lately. Bottom fishing with live shad is the best technique.

Crappie/Yellow Perch: They have moved to their summer hideouts and are hard to find. Haven't heard anything on either species.

Bluegill/Panfish: Bluegill are plentiful in the back of coves around any docks or laydown trees. A night crawler is the best choice.

Water temperature is in the mid 80s and clear.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that action is best early and late or at night. Smallmouths are going for Jolt spinners and Gitzits. Muskies "will hit anything", and are often landed by unwary bass anglers. The water is clear, low and in the high 80s.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that the smallmouth action up there is excellent. Soft plastics in almost any color will get results. Muskie are not as active, but will go for cranks. The water is clear and in the upper 70s.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New has had a little better water conditions as of late. Some days it is almost green again, which is a welcome sight, but on the other hand the brutal heat has made the water temperature soar. Fish are lethargic in these conditions but the smallie bite has been good early and late and at night, we even landed some nice size bronzebacks in the middle of the day last week on top-water lures. Muskie are inactive in this hot water so look for the occasional hit on glide baits or top-water, again early a.m., late evening or night. Catfish reports are good at night on cut bait or live bait for the flatheads but remember to make sure your live bait is legal. Walleye fishing has been slow. Water temperature is 80 degrees so handle all fish carefully and release them as quickly as possible. This year's New River clean up is scheduled for Sat. September 17, at Foster Falls Park so get it on your calendar.

Use common courtesy on the river and at landings... Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner advises 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. Master of all things fly, Harry Murray told me that the smallmouth streams are providing good fishing just now. Water levels are dropping rapidly, thus producing "wary conditions". Translation: the fish can see you too, so try and sneak up on them and approach cautiously. The best areas in the North Fork are from Edinburg to Strausburg. In the South, it's from Luray to Front Royal. Good flies are: Murray's Olive Road Kill Nymph, size 8; Murray's Dry Cicada, size 8; and Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4. The water is low, clear and from 81 to 83 degrees.

The stocked streams in the valley are also giving good action now; with the best being in the stretches below the large springs. Dawn and dusk are the best times to fish. Good flies are: Murray's Olive Caddis Pupa, size 14; Murray's Betsy Streamer, size12; and Murray's Cranefly Larva, size 12. The water is clear, low and 78 to 81 degrees.

The mountain streams are low, but if you are cautions and use a 2 or 3 weight rod with a 7X leader, you can land a brookie. Good flies are: Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 18; Murray's Flying Beetle, size 18; and Murray's Housefly, size 16. The water is low, clear and 65 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local anger Bill Uzzell. There has been a slight uptick for the daytime bass fishing. With air temperatures down a little bit the bass seem to have responded a little bit. Deep structure and drop offs are finally holding some fish willing to take a variety of plastic baits. There is still no solid top water action. A few pickerel are also being landed. The night bite is still consistent for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. There is still no word on a consistent trout bite. The lake level is about 8 in. below normal pool. The lake is dropping consistently with about 59 cfs coming in and about 275 cfs being released. So boaters beware, the area you traveled through last week may be hazardous this week. Take extra care while navigating.

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) The dog days of summer are upon us with the associated slowdown in the middle of the day. While the hard-core amongst us, myself included, refuse to leave the water until forced by hunger, darkness or dirty looks from a spouse, recognize that you must change strategy when the fireball is high in the sky. For those who insist on acting like "mad dogs and Englishmen" and venture into the noon day sun, look for fish in the cool spots in deep holes, particularly deep, shaded holes. The only fish crazy enough to stick to the hot center are the sunfish. The Rapidan and Rappahannock are both running far, far below seasonal norms – even below the 25th percentile. While this forces the fish to the deep water, it means anglers will exert more effort to walk to those locations. Don't put a canoe or kayak on the river unless you plan on doing a significant amount of hiking because you will have to drag your boat across many shallow spots. The mountain trout streams are in bad shape right now as well. Flows are low and the temperature is rising. Don't fish the Blue Ridge until after a significant rain.

Northern Virginia Lakes: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

Rappahannock - South of Fredericksburg: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

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. No report this edition.

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

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

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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

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

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 24th just six weeks away, there will be lots of youngsters hopefully getting a shot at their first deer, with the hopes of sighting a 'monster buck!' Whether it is a big buck, or just a day in the woods hunting with a parent or friends, doesn't really matter. For a teenager who often went deer hunting with his dad, a fall deer hunt turned out to be his most memorable outdoor experience. Scott Rollins was a senior at King George High School, when he entered his article in the 2008-09 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition. His story won Second Place and not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Scott's encounter with a 'monarch buck,' note that he and his dad use good safety practices and just enjoy spending time together in the wild woods. Getting a big buck was only part of his most memorable hunt- the total experience of the hunting trip with his dad was what made this hunt a real memorable day. Scott's article was also chosen as the first VOWA High School Writing Competition entry to be published in "Whitetail Times", the official magazine of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association in 2010.

Monarch of the Pines

By Scott Rollins

For as long as I can remember, I've been in love with hunting. From the time when I was just a little boy standing beside my father hunting deer, to wading out in a waist deep swamp gunning for ducks as a teenager. Even if all I took home that day was a pocketful of dirt and some scratches, I loved being out there in the wild.

Many of my friends enjoy hunting or fishing, but I would say for me it's an obsession. I enjoy spending hours in the woods or out in the fields chasing whatever quarry is in season. But there is one experience that will never fade from my mind. I remember it as if it happened a few hours ago.

I was sitting in a patch of open pines on a drab foggy morning. A dim light was just starting to peek through the treetops. There I sat motionless, quiet as the breeze. My eyes were open wide; constantly scanning the woods around me. My ears were alert to the slightest murmur. It was early black powder season. I was waiting for a decent buck to pass by in hopes of beating my father to the first bag of the season. As the sun attempted to shine through the clouds, the pines around me began to come to life. Birds were fluttering from branch to branch, serenading me in their flights. Squirrels were scurrying along the forest floor and there were hoots from an owl as he settled in for his daytime slumber. The fog rolled through the woods, and it was truly heaven on earth.

As dawn broke, a slight drizzle came down and I vividly remember the branch above my head dripping water directly on my nose. I didn't bother wiping it away for fear my eyes would not be the only eyes scanning for movement. I settled comfortably into my stand. Somewhere deep in the pines I could hear the sharp bark of a fox as he searched for his breakfast. It was at that moment that I heard a branch break on the wooded floor. I searched every inch of the woods around me. I heard another faint snap. I looked high and low, but the pines gave me no help in finding the source. I decided to blow a short note on the grunt call located around my neck. Within a split second, there was a crash. The specter had revealed himself. I could clearly see the buck coming towards me as he trotted down the winding creek. My heart began to race, and my senses became almost superhumanly acute.

I watched as my "decent" buck turned into a wall of tines. His eyes were glaring as he made his way to confront his unseen adversary. His ears were constantly swiveling, hoping to pinpoint this mystery buck's location. He stood there in an opening, his head held high; shoulders locked firm. When he saw there was no real contender, almost in a disappointed fashion, he lowered his head and continued to walk along the creek. Slowly I raised the rifle and trained the crosshairs behind his front shoulder. I eased the hammer back. My palms were sweaty and my heart thudded against my chest. Time seemed to stand still. All of my focus was on him. I slowed my breathing, tightened my grip, and squeezed the trigger. The woods instantly became silent. No birds were singing, no squirrels dancing; just the echo from my shot and the rain pitter pattering on my clothes. The monarch of the woods had fallen where he stood. As the world around me returned to normal, I quickly climbed down from my perch and became as giddy as a boy on his first day of school. I had finally taken that trophy buck that so many hunters wait years for the opportunity to shoot. There he lay at my feet in all his glory. All I could do was smile as I looked over his rack. I ran my fingers through his coarse fur. He was about as mature as they come with his thick, heavy tines and a few broken point tips.

That buck now hangs above my bed. To this day I catch myself staring at it; replaying the scene in my head. I can still hear the breeze whispering in the pines and the rain softly falling and that old king as he strolled along his domain.

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: