In this edition:

May Full of Outdoor Adventure Opportunities

This May 9th edition has signs that summer is fast approaching with reports of fishing heating up in lakes and rivers and Safe Boating Week May 21-27 just prior to the Memorial Day Holiday. Free Fishing Days follow June 1-3. Seasonal reminders to "wear your life jacket" while on the water and "don't feed the bears" are simple ways to stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors. We've posted the Kids Fishing Day calendar, so look for an event near you and plan for some family fun. The turkeys are still gobblin' for another week and with schools out for summer vacation, what a super opportunity to take a youngster on a squirrel hunt during the Spring Squirrel season June 2-16. The warming weather is good for planting wildlife food patches as we have had ample "April showers." Lot's to do in the great outdoors... Be sure to pause and smell the May flowers!

David Coffman, Editor

Stocking Efforts in Back Bay to Restore Largemouth Bass Fishery

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) initiated a three-year largemouth bass stocking project in Back Bay with an experimental stocking of approximately 75,000 surplus largemouth bass fingerlings in 2009. It is through the post-stocking sampling, results, and ultimate success of that project that DGIF was able to justify a large-scale stocking that will attempt to improve, and ultimately aid in restoration of, the largemouth bass fishery Back Bay.

An official stocking request was made to American Sportfish Hatchery (ASH) in Alabama for approximately 125,000 fingerling (1-2 inches long) largemouth bass that were stocked in Back Bay on May 8th. These bass will be F-1 hybrids, a cross between the northern strain largemouth bass and the Florida strain largemouth bass. Both strains are the same genus and species of largemouth bass, with just a slight variation due to temperature and climate.

DGIF does not have any concerns with stocking these bass in Back Bay, primarily due to the fact that nearly 100% of the bass in the mid-Atlantic are hybrids to some degree. Pure strains of largemouth bass simply do not exist in the mid-Atlantic, east of the Mississippi River, as largemouth bass are not native fish to the mid-Atlantic or even east of the Mississippi, excluding some regions of Florida. As with the previous stockings, these fingerlings will be chemically marked to allow DGIF staff to track their movement, survival, and distribution within the bay.

Back Bay was noted in the late 1970s as one of the top trophy bass fisheries in the nation. This outstanding bass fishery peaked in 1980, when 240 citation-sized largemouth bass (bass that weighed at least eight pounds) were reported to be caught in the bay. In recent years, Back Bay has undergone a tremendous recovery in terms of water quality and the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). The growth and coverage of SAV is near levels not seen since the early 1980's, and the fisheries populations have shown a positive response to this increased and improved habitat. The Back Bay Restoration Foundation whose mission is to preserve, protect, and improve Back Bay and its watershed through education, stewardship, and outreach was instrumental in assisting with the purchase of a portion of the fish that were stocked on May 8th. In the near future, DGIF staff will be sending out additional updates on the actual stocking timeline.

Public Comment Period May 1 - August 4, 2012 on Proposed Regulation Amendments

Proposed Regulation Amendments

The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, pursuant to §§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, 29.1-502, and 29.1-701 of the Code of Virginia, proposed the below amendments to the Commonwealth's fisheries, wildlife diversity (nongame), boating, and ADA-related land access regulations.

A public comment period on the regulatory proposals opened May 1, 2012 and closes at 5:00 PM on August 4, 2012. The Board will consider the proposals for possible adoption as final regulation amendments at its August 14, 2012 meeting. Written comments on the proposed regulation amendments should be submitted online at www.dgif.virginia.gov, or may be emailed to regcomments@dgif.virginia.gov or postal mailed to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn. Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230, and received no later than August 4, 2012.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 40 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.

Friends of Dyke Marsh to Host Nature Awareness Events May

Dragonflies and Damselflies: Learn all about the dragonflies and damselflies of the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve at the May 16 Friends of Dyke Marsh meeting, 7:30 p.m., Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306; 703-768-2525. Speaker, Chris Hobson, Virginia Natural Heritage Program.

Waterfowlers Team with Forestry Dept. To Host Wood Duck Box Workshop May 19

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association and VA Department of Forestry will host a public Wood Duck Nesting Box Workshop on Saturday, May 19, 2012, 1pm – 4pm at the New Kent Forestry Center - 11301 Pocahontas Trail – Providence Forge, VA 23140. The workshop is a great Free educational component workshop for adults and children! It is a Hands-On workshop for 15 participants. The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association will provide an educational presentation, Instructors, WoodDuck box kits and nails for participants. Participants will be required to their own hammers. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE. The boxes will be given out to those who partake in the workshop. To register or for more information about the workshop, email: Todd Cocker at Todd.Cocker@yahoo.com.

For more information about the New Kent Forestry Center contact Lisa Deaton at (804) 804-966-2201, ext. 115 or email: Lisa.Deaton@dof.virginia.gov.

Appalachian Highlands Ruffed Grouse Chapter Sponsors Sporting Clays Shoot May 12

The Appalachian Highlands Chapter of The Ruffed Grouse Society is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Sporting Clays Shoot on Saturday May 12, 2012 (rain or shine) at the Kettlefoot Rod and Gun Club in Bristol, VA. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the shoot will start at 9:00 a.m. Trophies will be presented to winners along with prizes and lunch for all participants. Also, Alpha Natural Resources is sponsoring a free competitive pellet gun shoot with a focus on firearms safety for kids of all ages.

Established in 1961 the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage. Proceeds from this event will be used to promote forest wildlife habitat in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

For additional information please contact Chris White at 276-494-1364, email at: clwhite@bvunet or Mike Giles at 276-219-7302 email at: michael.a.giles@comcast.net.

Waterfowl Predator Management Workshops Scheduled Statewide May- June

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association (VAWFA), Virginia National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and Virginia Trapper's Association (VTA) in partnership with VDGIF will be hosting four Predator Management Workshops throughout the state this May-June. These educational component workshops are developed for the general public and will be conducted free at both Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain stores. These workshops will benefit sportsmen and landowners who want to know more about managing wildlife and reducing predator numbers. There will also be opportunities for HANDS-ON educational workshops with trapping equipment provided by the Virginia Trappers Association. Workshops are scheduled as follows:

For scheduled times and additional information visit the Virginia Trapper's Association website, or the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association website.

Todd Cocker, Executive Director for the VAWFA notes this is the third year for these unique, hands –on predator management workshops with over 320 participants thus far. Steve Colvin, President for VTA advises that one of the benefits of the workshops is that it gives non-hunting participants an opportunity to address their issues and concerns and gain education and training from professionals on the purpose/benefits of predator management. VDGIF Furbearer Biologist Mike Fies commented that these workshops provide a unique partnership among the four organizations to combine resources and reach new constituents and address concerns by trappers, landowners and concerned citizens. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Workforce will be on hand at the workshops to distribute educational and training materials.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Area To Meet May 16 and June 20

The Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area (WMA) have scheduled meetings on Wednesday, May 16 and Wednesday, June 20 at 7 p.m. The group will meet at the Sumerduck Ruritan Club at 5335 Sumerduck Road, Sumerduck, VA 22742. On Saturday June 2 from 9 a.m. to noon, the Friends will host a Kids Fishing Event at the Phelps Pond on Summerduck road in Remington. Lunch will be provided as well as bait and loaner rods & reels.

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.

Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake May 18-20

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in cooperation with VDGIF will sponsor the Hunter Skills Weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox, May 18-20, 2012. Designed to help the beginning hunter develop skills beyond the basic Hunter Education course, the program offers instruction in shooting, woodsmanship, and hunting techniques for a variety of species. Registration deadline has been extended to Friday, May 11, 2012. For more information, visit the 4-H Center website using the link above, or call Holiday Lake 4-H Center at (434) 248-5444 or bbranch@vt.edu.

Spring Fling Shotgun Clinic May 19 in Fluvanna

Get ready for a Spring Fling Shotgun Clinic which will be held from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, on May 19, at Central Virginia Sporting Clays range located near Palmyra, in Fluvanna County. This shotgun clinic is for individuals 12 years of age and above,. This educational workshop is presented in partnership with Central Virginia Sporting Clays, Learnt It Outdoors, LLC and the VDGIF Outdoor Education Program. This clinic provides participants the opportunity to learn how to select a shotgun that suits hunting and target shooting, eight steps to shotgun success and live fire course instruction in five stand and sporting clays. Come join us at this educational workshop for 1:1 coaching with certified coaches and instructors. Registration fee is $65, which includes the use of materials and supplies for this educational opportunity. Space is limited! Pre-registration is required. Click on link below for more details or to register.

For more information, contact Learntitoutdoors@earthlink.net

To register: http://www.learntitoutdoors.com/Events.html

Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) to Hold Annual Survey at Shenandoah River State Park, May 18-20

The VHS will hold its Annual Spring Survey & Meeting at Shenandoah River State Park, in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. The park is 1,604 acres with 5.6 miles of river frontage along the South Fork Shenandoah River, in Warren County. The land is rolling and mountainous with steep slopes and mostly forest habitat. The park also includes scenic vistas overlooking Massanutten Mountain to the west and Shenandoah National Park to the east. All VHS surveys aim to find and document as many different herpetofaunal species as possible during each event. This data will be entered into VDGIF's databases, helping to keep these resources of data as up to date as possible. Anyone is invited to come join us and participate in survey events, as these events encourage educating as many as possible about Virginia's herpetofauna. Membership in VHS is encouraged, but not required. Please keep checking the events section of the VHS website for further details about the event as we get closer to the date. The park is 8 miles south of Front Royal and 15 miles north of Luray, located off Rt. 340 in Bentonville. The park has cabins and campgrounds, or there are hotels in nearby Front Royal. Please contact the event leader to RSVP: Larry Mendoza at president@vaherpsociety.com.

Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) to Hold Annual "HerpBlitz" at Mattaponi Wildlife Management Area (WMA), June 23-24

The VHS will hold its Annual 'HerpBlitz '(survey) at the new Mattaponi WMA, owned by VDGIF, in Caroline County along the beautiful Mattaponi River. This property is 2,542 acres and includes mature upland hardwood and mixed forest, managed loblolly pine stands, wetlands, and rivers. The WMA contains and borders 5 miles of the scenic Mattaponi River and another 1.5 miles of the South River, which include opportunities for canoeing or kayaking. There are also clearcuts, thinned pine stands, and log decks. Old oxbows lakes from the old channels of the Mattaponi River provide excellent aquatic habitat. Wetland habitats are abundant, too. All VHS surveys aim to find and document as many different herpetofaunal species as possible during each event. This data will be entered into VDGIF's databases, helping to keep these resources of data as up to date as possible. Anyone is invited to come join us and participate in survey events, as these events encourage educating as many as possible about Virginia's herpetofauna. Membership in VHS is encouraged, but not required. Please keep checking the events section of the VHS website for further details about the event as we get closer to the date. The WMA is on Paige Road, State Rt. 605, near the town of Bowling Green. Only primitive camping is allowed on the WMA, while there are 2 private campgrounds nearby: Hidden Acres and R&D Family Hidden Acres and R&D Family Campground. Hotels may be found in the Bowling Green and Fredericksburg areas. Please contact the event leader to RSVP: Jason Gibson at frogman31@gmail.com.

Ft. Lee Dusters Hosting Sporting Clays Fundraising Shoot June 23

The Ft Lee Dusters are asking for your support to represent Virginia AGAIN at the SCTP Nationals in Sparta, Illinois in July. The Dusters won the Nationals last year in Sporting Clays and are well on their way to do it again. On Saturday June 23 , beginning at 10 AM a Sporting Clays Fundraising Shoot will be held at Central Virigina Sporting Clays in Palmyra in Fluvanna County. This will be a 100 Target shoot with a registration of $65.00. The format is 3 Lewis Classes 1st, 2nd, 3rd each class- $50/$30/$20 payout. BBQ Lunch will available to purchase. For more Info or directions call Brad @ 703-405-2110.

Ducks Unlimited To Host Greenwing Day for Kids in NOVA June 23

Parents! Looking for some outdoor fun for your kids? Consider Virginia Ducks Unlimited's District 1 Greenwing Day. Virginia DU District 1 is hosting its annual Greenwing Day for kids up to 17 years old from 8 am to 3 pm on June 23, 2012 at the Izaak Walton League Facility, 14708 Mount Olive Road, Centreville, Virginia 20122-0366. For $20 per kid, you get access to all kinds of outdoor activities such as Fishing; a Working Dog Retrieving and Training Demonstration; Duck Calling Contest and Demonstration; Building Blue Bird and Duck Nesting Boxes; Decoy Carving Demonstration by Charles Jobes, a renowned carver from MD; archery instruction; air rifle and/or .22 rifle instruction and target shooting; lunch and more. In addition the child will receive a Greenwing membership in Ducks Unlimited, the world's leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Lunch for adults attending with their Greenwing(s) is by donation. Ducks Unlimited, Inc. is tax exempt under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit www.ducks.org/virginia/events or contact Sarah Mullins at novadu031@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

People and Partners in the News

Two Virginia Schools Win National Green Ribbon Awards

On April 23, 2012, USED Education Secretary Arne Duncan, alongside White House Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairwoman Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, announced the winners of the inaugural U.S. Green Ribbon School Awards.

Ten schools from across the state applied to the Virginia Dept of Education's Green Ribbon School committee. The committee, consisting of representatives from the Dept of Education, VA's Natural Resource agencies, and businesses reviewed the ten applicants and chose 3 to present for the national competition. Fishburn Park Elementary School in the City of Roanoke and the Gereau Center in Franklin County received the national award, along with 76 other schools across the country.

The schools competed in three different areas: their environmental footprint and efforts to reduce their impact; education about the environment and promoting a healthy environment. The two national winners and the other eight Virginia schools will be recognized at the Virginia Resource Use Education Council meeting the end of May.

VDGIF Launches Wildlife Internship Network (WIN)

If you are interested in a career in wildlife conservation, public education, marketing or information technology and many more career areas, we may have the WIN-WIN place for you. As Virginia's wildlife agency, we are always looking for future talent to assist us in field sampling, conducting public workshops or promoting wildlife conservation efforts across the Commonwealth. Come join our team for a semester, a summer or a year-long assignment. We'll show you a WINning future!

Our Wildlife Internship Network (WIN) student internship program "pays" students in the form of academic credit (if applicable), real-world experience and professional networking opportunities. It is designed to provide college students challenging opportunities to:

The program is designed to inspire college students to broaden their education in a manner that complements the agency's professional staffing needs. The WIN will work hard to provide internship opportunities closely tailored to the students' interests to maximize their opportunities for future career success.

Wheelin' Sportsmen Schedule Spring Fishing Events

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen currently have planned four Trout Fishing Events. There is also a new West Augusta Outdoor Day with skeet, crossbow, and catfishing planned for July 14th. If you have a disability and would like to participate, please find all of the Applications available on the VA NWTF website. If the application deadline has passed, contact the Event Coordinator to see if spaces are still available. Also, check out Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Facebook page!

Contact Rick Layser 540-886-1761 rglayser@gmail.com or Mike Deane 434-996-8508 Wheelin4u@yahoo.com for tickets or information.

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 and skill building workshops throughout the year. 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

In recognition of the yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), we are featuring the VDGIF partner organizations that support our Mission. WSFR is one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history. The "WSFR 75 – It's Your Nature" celebration brings together federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups to mark a milestone of partnership success that has led quality wildlife-related outdoor opportunities. This also marks the beginning of a new era in wildlife conservation, during which the partners will establish new goals for fostering and maintaining partnerships to continue conservation and outdoor recreation into the next 75 years and beyond.

The VDGIF is pleased and honored to have the support of numerous non-profit conservation organizations, outdoor industries and local businesses 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, outdoor 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."

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing 2-Fly Tournament Surpasses Goals for 2012

The Sixth Annual Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament, held April 28 and 29 at the Rose River Farm in Madison County at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was a resounding success with a close competition, special guest speakers, and a dinner and silent auction that far exceeded the organization's fundraising goal.

Individual and corporate donors joined forces to not only meet Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing's (PHWFF) fundraising goal but surpass it, bringing in $230,000 to fund Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing's 127 programs in 45 states. Keynote speakers Gen. James T. Conway, USMC (ret.), 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps and US Army LTG Michael D. Barbero, Director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization, inspired all in attendance at the Saturday evening dinner.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing presented its most prestigious honor, the Patriot Award, to Jim Lepage, The Orvis Company of Sunderland, Vermont's VP of Rod and Tackle/Sporting Traditions, and Richard Ray, President and CEO of S&K Sales Co. of Virginia Beach, VA. Two PHWFF alumni, Josh Williams and Dave Walker, were also recognized at the Saturday dinner for designing flies that are now available from the Orvis catalog.

Sunday's fishing tournament paired two PHWFF participants, either an injured service member or disabled veteran, with professional guides to form six teams. Each team had a morning and an afternoon fishing session. In the end, with many large trout brought to hand, the winners were determined by fractions of inches.

The first place team: MSG John Paramore, US Army (ret.) from Hunter McGuire VAMC in Richmond, Virginia and Sgt Marc Bilodeau, US Air Force (ret.) from Togus VAMC, Maine VA Healthcare System in Augusta, ME.

Second place: SSG George Draper, US Army (ret.) from Togus VAMC, Maine VA Healthcare System, Augusta, ME and SSgt Travis Green, US Marine Corps from Walter Reed NMMC, Bethesda, MD.

Third place: SGT Larry Fivecoats, US Army (ret.) from the Denver VAMC, Colorado and Cpl. Ted Fawcett, US Marine Corps (ret.) from the Grand Junction VAMC, Colorado.

US Army MAJ Valerie Takesue from Fort Meade, MD won the award for the largest recorded fish and SSgt Travis Green was awarded a reconditioned bamboo fly rod for the smallest recorded fish in the tournament.

In between fishing sessions participants were treated to casting lessons by Ed Jaworowski and casting and knot tying demonstrations by fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh. There was also plenty of socializing with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing alumni.

Since Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing was first established at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005, thousands of service members and veterans have found PHWFF programs provide both a beneficial addition to their therapy and a much needed peaceful solace on the stream, away from the hospital environment.

For more information on Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing visit www.projecthealingwaters.org. For more information on participants contact the appropriate regional coordinator. That information can be found here.

Douglas Dear, PHWFF Board of Directors and owner of Rose River Farm expressed appreciation to everyone who helped to make this memorable weekend a success. Our special guests, our corporate sponsors and the generous donors of silent auction items have all been mentioned during the event and are listed on our website. We would like to add an additional thank you to our individual supporters, both at the event and from across the country, as well as the army of volunteers who carried this event through to the end. The VDGIF provided 2012 Virginia Wildlife calendars and magazines and other useful outdoor gear items for the participants and provided a souvenir CD of over 100 photos of the fishing action during the fishing tournament.

A special thanks to Martha W. Kleder, Director of Donor Relations at Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for this article and program information. The photos in this partnership feature are by David Coffman, Outdoor Report Editor and PHW volunteer. All of David's photos from the 2-Fly Tournament are available for PHW participants on CD via request to david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov, and will be posted on the PHW website for viewing. In addition, larger formats of these and other photos can be viewed at the PHW photo gallery. Matt Romano also did an outstanding job documenting this year's event. You can view his 6th Annual 2-Fly Tournament gallery.

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...

Scholastic Clay Target Program Excels In Virginia

There's a new youth shooting program that is up and coming in Virginia. Jeff Atkins, Coach and State Sporting Clays Director notes that the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) is the elite of youth shooting programs in the United States. The Virginia "Dusters" Team won the Nationals last year in Sporting Clays and well on their way to do it again. The road to the Nationals begins on May 12, 2012 when the Virginia State S.C.T.P. Sporting Clays Shoot will be held at Central Virginia Sporting Clays facility in Palmyra, in Fluvanna County. There will be approximately 9 teams from Virginia attending to claim the honors of Virginia State Champions. Then on June 3, 2012 the Virginia State S.C.T.P. Skeet and Trap Championship will be held at Ft. Lee, Virginia. There will be approximately 9 to 12 teams competing for the honors of Virginia State Champions. Jeff is also the head coach of the Ft Lee Dusters SCTP team. VDGIF Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor Mike Holson serves as an Assistant Coach.

From the top Virginia teams, shooters will be selected to compete and represent Virginia at the S.C.T.P. National Shoot in Sparta, Illinois at the World Shooting Complex. The Nationals will be held July 16 – 21, 2012. There will be approximately 46 states with over 2000 youth participating in this event.

The Scholastic Clay Target Program is an educational-athletic organization that exists to introduce school-age youths to the clay target sports and to facilitate their continued involvement by providing, promoting, and perpetuating opportunities to safely and enjoyably participate and compete in a high quality, team-based sport led by trained adult coaches focused on enhancing the personal growth and development of their athletes.

The program goal is to teach the safe and responsible handling and use of firearms. In addition, the sport provides a supportive team-based environment, using clay target sports as the catalyst, for teaching life lessons and skills that emphasize positive character traits and citizenship values. Introduce young shooters to a sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, one that offers a level playing field and that offers all family members an opportunity to participate.

The youth must be enrolled in primary/elementary, middle, junior or senior high school or an equivalent home -school program to be eligible to participate. College athletes must be enrolled and attending an accredited college, or university. All athletes must be academically eligible to participate in their school's extra-curricular sports programs. High school athletes that have not graduated or have not reached their 19th birthday by October 1st of the current shooting year are eligible to participate.

For more information on this youth shooting program and how you can get involved contact Jeff Atkins, Coach and State Sporting Clays Director of the SCTP here in Virginia. email: claybuster05@yahoo.com or call: (434) 607-7776.

Hunting News You Can Use

The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in getting ready for hunting season, or reports of interest compiled from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

June Squirrel Season Opens on Private Lands and Selected WMAs June 2-16

For the sixth year a statewide squirrel season will be available for sportsmen June 2-16, 2012, on specific VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as listed on the VDGIF website and on all private lands. Fox squirrels may only be harvested on all private lands in counties with an open fox squirrel season and on the following WMAs: Big Survey, Goshen, Havens, Little North Mountain, Merrimac Farm, Phelps, Rapidan, and Thompson WMAs. Hunting squirrels with dogs is now allowed during the June season.

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

"It Takes a Hunter to Make a Hunter"

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 email.

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

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!

Teaching Boating Safety at the Workplace

Mary Loose DeViney, VDGIF Region 4 Coordinator for Boating Safety Education is promoting the opportunity for teaching the BoatVirgina Basics Course for businesses that sell trailers, boats, marine equipment, fishing supplies, and all who sell anything related to boating. These businesses can be large or small business, but all of their employees are in need of the mandatory boating education if they operate a boat or personal watercraft.

As an example, John DeViney, a VDGIF Volunteer Boating Safety Instructor, taught a class for Dickinson Equipment in Fredericksburg. The employees sell trailers, so the trailering section is very pertinent, but also these employees use the waters of Virginia for fishing and boating. Having completed the course conveniently at their workplace, makes the employees more knowledgeable when they are talking to their customers about boating safety.

Mary encourages other instructors and business managers to not overlook the business community as potential students for our BoatVirginia Basics Classes, and let's take the classes to them. Most have space and equipment for us to use to teach the class right on site. To schedule a class visit the Boating Education Section in the sidebar for more information on Boating Education classes statewide.

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

The VDGIF would like boaters to be aware of a problem at Mill Creek Landing in the community of Wake in Gloucester County. The landing has become sanded-in to the extent that only small johnboats, canoes, and kayaks can safely launch. Signs warning boaters have been posted at the landing to alert them of the problem, as well as a notice on the VDGIF website. John Kirk, the Region I Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for VDGIF, wants boaters to know that the Department will be working to fix the ramp as quickly as possible, but says capital project monies will need to be budgeted for and approved before doing so, and boaters will unfortunately have to use other landings in the interim.

"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.

Spring Wildflowers: Now is the Time!

By Marie Majarov, Majarov Photography www.majarov.com

Editors note: This spring wildflower article by Marie Majarov was set to run in the April 25th edition, but due to a technical problem we were unable to run on schedule. With the cold snap last week, blooming slowed a little and even with the early warm weather start, the spring bloom is still on-going. But don't delay much longer getting out to view the wildflowers Marie has so beautifully photographed here.

This is the time of the year when our early American pioneers and Indians would be out looking for wildflowers and spring plants. Wildflowers, their leaves, blossoms, and/or roots were important sources for medicine, flavorings used in cooking, dyes for clothing, and even "war paint!"

Wildflowers are critical elements in the food chain for many wildlife species. The April 2012 Virginia Wildlife Magazine features an article entitled "Protecting the Wild" which talks about one of the best places in Virginia, and perhaps in all of North America, to see spring wildflowers: VDGIF's G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area.

Bloodroot (this one provided pigment for war paint!), mayapples, spring beauties, trillium, and lady's slippers, are just some of what you will find as you walk in any nearby woodland, or enjoy a trip to Thompson's with your family. Peak bloom of the magnificent trillium is NOW! Earlier blooming bloodroot leaves are growing tall. A good wildflower guide for flowers in our area, ex. Ann & Rob Simpson's Wildflowers of Shenandoah National Park is very helpful. Stay on the path and don't pick or dig the plants, these are treasures that need to stay undisturbed where they are in order to flourish.

Marie Majarov and her husband Milan are nature enthusiasts and members of both the Virginia and Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Associations. Inspiring children, both young and old, about the wonders of nature and encouraging the preservation of our precious natural resources is their dream for Majarov Photography. Marie is also a Virginia Master Naturalist. More about their work can be seen at www.majarov.com.

If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone

It's that time of year again when white-tailed deer fawns are showing up in yards and hayfields and concerned citizens want to know how to help. In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space and leave it alone. Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned. Most such "orphans" that good-intentioned citizens "rescue" every spring should have been left alone. Most wild animals will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time while looking for food. Fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer, called does, stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators such as dogs or coyotes to their location. The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation.

By giving it a wide berth, you also reduce the risk of inadvertently leading predators to the hidden fawn. Does will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young. You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a very few minutes before leaving it alone again. If a fawn or a rabbit has been "rescued" when it shouldn't have been, it can often be released at the same location. Parents tend to remain in the area for at least a day, looking for the lost youngster.

If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. You may locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) dispatch at 804-367-1258 (24 hours, 7 days a week). You may also visit the VDGIF website for that same information. Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a state permit. Each animal's nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival. Feeding the wrong food to a fawn can make it very sick and possibly lead to its death. For example, cow's milk will induce very severe diarrhea in fawns. Another caution: do not chase fawns. If a fawn cannot be captured easily and quickly then it should be left alone. A prolonged chase will stress the animal and can lead to capture myopathy, a fatal condition due to severe muscle and kidney damage.

With even the best professional care possible, the survival rate of rehabilitated fawns and many other animals is very low. More than 50% of fawns brought to rehabilitation facilities die before being released due to injuries they come in with and unavoidable physical stress during the rehabilitation process. Of those fawns that are released, a very small percentage survives the first year in the wild. Furthermore, many rehabilitation facilities have to turn fawns away due to limited housing and staff. Treating fawns takes resources away from treating animals that are rare or endangered.

Wildlife managers have additional concerns about fawn rehabilitation. The process requires deer to be moved, treated (often in contact with other deer), and then released back into the wild. Often, rehabilitated deer must be released into areas with already high deer populations. Movement and commingling of deer increase the risks that contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease (CWD), will be introduced into Virginia's wild deer. In fact, the recent discovery of CWD in western Frederick County has prompted the prohibition of deer rehabilitation in most of Frederick County and part of Shenandoah County (see http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/).

The best advice for someone who wants to help wildlife is to keep it wild. Once people interfere, we reduce the opportunity for animals to be cared for by their natural mothers and we increase the risk of harming our wildlife heritage. More information can be obtained on the agency's website. Among the useful resources is a revised brochure entitled 'Keeping Deer Wild in Virginia.'

Be a Sweetheart to Wildlife

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

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

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

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

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

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for late May:

Answers to April 25th edition quiz for nature events for April...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

NRCS Awards 2012 Funding for Quail Habitat Restoration

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has awarded $85,000 to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for ongoing partnership activities to create or improve quail habitat in Sussex, Halifax, Wythe, Culpeper, King and Queen, and Augusta counties. Although program signup is continuous, the deadline for the upcoming ranking period is May 31. Assistance is available to help farmers install conservation practices to:

"The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is a key partner in our efforts to help landowners improve wildlife habitat on their land," says NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker. "Working through shared Private Lands Wildlife Biologists, we are continuing to piece together 'quail quilts' of habitat to help the species recover."

This is the third year NRCS has provided funding through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) to support Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative, a cooperative effort between several agencies, groups, and individuals. These landscape-scale quail recovery projects are beginning to yield positive results with surveys in one rural Virginia county recording one quail per three acres.

States Marc Puckett of VDGIF, "NRCS continues to be a 'diamond' partner in Virginia's quail recovery efforts. Their support is playing a key role in helping Virginia's landowners strive to reach habitat goals outlined in the Quail Recovery Initiative. While dubbed 'quail habitat,' these projects help dozens of wildlife species, including pollinating insects."

Visit your local NRCS Office in Emporia, Tappahannock, Halifax, Culpeper, Verona, or Wytheville to learn more about signing up for this CCPI funding for quail recovery activities. Contact: Marc Puckett, VDGIF, (434) 392-8328, or Galon Hall, NRCS, (804) 287-1669 for habitat program information.

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, and activities and accomplishments of the Quail Recovery Team read the latest edition of The Bobwhite Bulletin (PDF). Also view the video, "Answering the Call: Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative."

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.

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Region I - Tidewater

Officer Williams Assists in Special Olympics... On Saturday, April 21, 2012, Officer Ken Williams assisted with the Special Olympics Area 28 Track & Field event held at the Northumberland County High School. Officer Williams was asked to participate to show the athletes that law enforcement officers are responsive and there to help the community. There were approximately 70 athletes competing from various parts of the region. Officer Williams acted as an announcer for the games and a presenter at the awards ceremony.

Region II – Southside

Too Much Alcohol... On April 15, 2012, Senior Officer John Koloda was on boat patrol in the Crystal Shores area of Smith Mountain Lake when he noticed a boat with visible registration issues. Senior Officer Koloda stopped the boat and spoke with the male operator. While speaking with the operator, Koloda noticed an open beer can at the driver's seat. Koloda spoke with the operator about his alcohol consumption and subsequently asked the man to perform a few field sobriety tests. Koloda's observations indicated the operator was under the influence of alcohol. Koloda arrested the operator and transported him to the Bedford County magistrate's office where the man submitted to an evidential breath test. The operator was subsequently charged with Operating a Motorboat Under the Influence.

Region III - Southwest

Hunting Over Bait... On April 16, 2012 Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris checked an area in Grayson County where complaints had been received concerning hunting over bait. Officer Harris had checked this location on the opening morning of turkey season and had observed a subject baiting areas that morning but had not engaged in hunting. The Monday morning check resulted in locating two hunters from out of state hunting over a fairly large area where cracked corn had been spread. Both hunters admitted to knowing that it was there and deciding to hunt the area anyway. Two summonses were issued for hunting over bait and concluded an investigation that had been ongoing for six years.

K9 Teams Add Unique Capabilities to VDGIF Law Enforcement Efforts

In May 2011, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries launched a K9 Team. The members of the new K9 Team are: from Portsmouth in Tidewater region, K9 Officer Megan Vick and her partner Jake; from Appomattox County in Central Virginia, K9 Officer Richard Howald and his partner Scout; and from Rockingham County in Western Virginia, K9 Officer Wayne Billhimer and his partner Justice.

The three dogs, all Labrador Retrievers, underwent intensive training in Indiana, and they, and their handlers, are now working the woods and waters of Virginia. Justice, Scout and Jake focus on wildlife-related activity, including wildlife detection, tracking, and article recovery. They have had much success already, and will be invaluable to the law enforcement and educational efforts of VDGIF.

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia has partnered with VDGIF on this special initiative. Your tax-deductible donation to the Wildlife K9 Team will help provide food and veterinary care for these great dogs.

Help support the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Wildlife K9 Team, by making a donation through the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia.

Make a Donation to the K9 Team at: www.vawildlife.org/k-9.html

Watch for updates in the Outdoor Report on events where you can meet members of the new K9 Team and see demonstrations of their remarkable skills used in enforcement of wildlife laws and search and rescue.

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.

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 2012 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 2012.

Triploid Trout Stocking Set for Clinch Mountain WMA May 15th

On May 15th, VDGIF Wildlife Bureau staff will be stocking triploid brook trout into Little Tumbling Creek on the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Region 3. This is part of a major restoration effort of approximately 4 miles of Little Tumbling Creek which was once a pristine brook trout stream. In recent decades, acidic precipitation and poor buffering capacity in the watershed have resulted in degraded water quality which prevents fish from surviving. VDGIF in partnership with Dr. Dan Downey at James Madison University have developed a liming program which should mitigate the impacts of the acid deposition and help restore the stream to a suitable condition to support aquatic life. Appalachian Power (AP) agreed to construct a "spur" road to access the stream in conjunction with a transmission line maintenance road that was constructed in the watershed. This road was completed last fall, and it provided suitable access to apply lime which had been stockpiled in the vicinity. Due to the warm temperatures and very little snowfall, Bureau staff was able to apply lime in the stream during the winter.

VDGIF Regional Aquatic Resources Manager William B. Kittrell, Jr. noted , "Other partners include Trout Unlimited who is providing approximately $20,000 (a grant from AP) for water quality analysis, additional lime and signage. DEQ is also assisting in this effort by providing expertise with aquatic insect surveys. This project was originally developed over 10 years ago, and with the help of many Bureau staff members and all our partners, it is finally moving along. The stocking of triploid brook trout is an attempt to develop a non-reproducing fishery as a "place holder" until we can eventually get a reproducing population of southern strain brook trout established. This is something that TU is really interested in doing with us. I recently gave a tour to some Appalachian Power and TU officials. The AP public relations staff will be working with us to attend the May 15th stocking and do a press event. We'll keep you posted on our website."

Attention Trout Anglers - Special Regulation Permit Cards Available Online

VDGIF is pleased to announce that special regulation written landowner permit cards to fish Mossy Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Upper South River are now available online. A link to maps of each of these areas is also new function on the agency website.

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

The VDGIF would like boaters to be aware of a problem at Mill Creek Landing in the community of Wake in Gloucester County. The landing has become sanded-in to the extent that only small johnboats, canoes, and kayaks can safely launch. Signs warning boaters have been posted at the landing to alert them of the problem, as well as a notice on the VDGIF website. John Kirk, the Region I Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for VDGIF, wants boaters to know that the Department will be working to fix the ramp as quickly as possible, but says capital project monies will need to be budgeted for and approved before doing so, and boaters will unfortunately have to use other landings in the interim.

Moratorium on River Herring Fishing Now in Effect

On January 1, 2012, a moratorium on River Herring fishing went into effect. The VA Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) states that the purposes of the moratorium are to rebuild the Virginia stocks of River Herring and to comply with the requirements of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Shad and River Herring. It is unlawful for any person to possess any river herring in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fishermen that traditionally fish for river herring with hook and line, dip nets, cast nets, gill nets or any other gear should be aware of this fishing closure and not purchase a gear license if they were only interested in fishing for river herring.

For more info on the regulation establishing the moratorium visit the VMRC website.

FAQs Updated on VDGIF Website for New Access Permit

Effective January 1, 2012, an Access Permit is required when using any VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) owned Wildlife Management Area or Fishing Lake . Such permit shall not be required for any person holding a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license or a current certificate of boat registration issued by VDGIF or persons 16 years of age or younger. The Access Permit requirement does not apply to Department- owned boat ramps and segments of the Appalachian Trail on Department- owned land. The Access Permit fee is $4 for a daily permit or $23 for an annual permit. The Access Permit may be purchased online, over the phone, or at any license agent.

VDGIF is committed to an excellent customer experience as this new permit is introduced. We know that many people may be unaware of the requirement for the permit until they reach our property. That is why all of our properties have new signs explaining the permit and including a phone number and QR code to allow people with cell phones or smartphones to easily comply before enjoying the property. During 2012, our Conservation Police Officers will focus on educating any visitors not in compliance with this new rule and ask them to please purchase a permit before they return. We believe this is a respectful approach and we appreciate your compliance on your very first visit.

Due to the number of questions coming in from many individual constituents and groups regarding special circumstances for possible waivers and discounted Daily Group Permit rates and other questions and suggestions, the online information has been updated and supplemented. For more information, visit the Access Permit section on our webpage and the following applicable links:

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!

David Dudley; Virginia's Top Angler (Part 1)

If you are involved in tournament bass fishing, you are aware of the name David Dudley. David is one of the most dominant anglers on the FLW Tour. The Lynchburg, Virginia native and resident has a bass fishing resume that places him as the one of the top bass anglers of all time. I met and got to know David when I fished the circuit back in the late 90's. I remember David as an incredibly fierce competitor and a gifted and instinctive angler and these traits have only improved with experience. This was proven once again, when David held the winner's trophy at the end of the recent FLW Tour event on Beaver lake in Arkansas. Earlier this year, I was able to re-unite with David at the Fishing Expo and talk about what makes him tick as an angler. Whether you fish tournaments or for recreation, David's insights will benefit you as an angler.

David won the most recent FLW tour event on Beaver Lake in dramatic fashion. His practice time was unproductive and halfway through the first day of competition, with a small limit in the live well, he decided to change gears and continue his practice. David won by practicing for four days during the tournament. In fact, with only two hours remaining in the tournament, he switched tactics and went on a flurry the David described as, "the best of his career – it felt like hitting two grand slams in the 9th inning." Four out of his five weigh-in fish came in that last two hours on a run that propelled him to victory. The win adds to a relatively young and impressive career that already includes two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles (2008, 2012), 2003 FLW Forest Wood Cup Championship, 2002 Ranger M1 Championship, 2009 Ultimate Match Fishing Championship and the all-time money leader on the FLW Tour.

David first began fishing bass tournaments with his dad when he was about 10 years old. His father, James, a successful tournament angler himself, guided and instructed his son on how to be a successful tournament fisherman. Fishing wasn't just play time; he was learning about bass behavior and angling techniques to prepare for a fishing career. David also played football, baseball and basketball through high school and had an opportunity to play college football, but elected to join the Bassmaster Trail after graduation. He won the Bassmaster Invitational points race his first season at 18 years of age, qualifying him for the Bassmasters Classic. He scored his first professional win at the Bassmaster Top 100 on the James River at the age of 20. David has since made his primary home fishing the FLW tour with an occasional appearance at a B.A.S.S. Open event.

Consistent champions like David are a unique breed. His winning ways are born out of an ultra competitive personality, an insatiable desire to win, diligent study of the sport, and mental discipline on the water. He believes success on the water will be found by anglers who focus on the mental game over lures, bait colors and techniques. "Pay attention to details and just don't go through the motions. You should be able to write a one page report on each bite." Dudley says. Consider factors such as time of day, how hard did the fish strike, depth, speed of retrieve, was the fish suspended, around cover, shade, etc. "Fishing is a puzzle; put the pieces together to get a picture of what is happening."

That is exactly how David won his most recent tournament. He practiced every day, staying tuned into what the fish were doing, paying attention to each bite. He read the conditions and changed tactics with two hours to go in the tournament. He was so dialed in to what the fish were doing that he could call his shot. He rode around the lake and would see a place where he knew the fish would be, stop, cast and catch fish.

Want more? Check the Fishing Spot in the next ODR for Part 2 and in the meantime, listen to last week's radio interview with David Dudley by clicking the link below to "The Weekly Wildlife Segment."

Listen for "The Weekly Wildlife Segment" with Chris Dunnavant, Saturdays, 9-11 am during the "The Weekend" with Anthony Oppermann on Richmond Sports Radio 910 – WRNL –AM. Listen to the latest or past segments on the YouTube channel, theopps83.

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 2012 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

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

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

The VDGIF would like boaters to be aware of a problem at Mill Creek Landing in the community of Wake in Gloucester County. The landing has become sanded-in to the extent that only small johnboats, canoes, and kayaks can safely launch. Signs warning boaters have been posted at the landing to alert them of the problem, as well as a notice on the VDGIF website. John Kirk, the Region I Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for VDGIF, wants boaters to know that the Department will be working to fix the ramp as quickly as possible, but says capital project monies will need to be budgeted for and approved before doing so, and boaters will unfortunately have to use other landings in the interim.

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temp is down below 70 degrees after a cool weekend. The visibility is at 14 ft. mid lake. Bass were active last week with several fish over 5 lb. caught; worms out fished crankbaits just slightly, spinner baits worked also. Striper fell to live herring for a couple of days then the bait disappeared but a couple came in on an Alabama rig pulled off the flats. Some very nice cats showed up along with the ever present pickerel. That thing you have been waiting for has happened! The shell crackers are in the shallows. We saw some at 11 1/2 in. 3/4 lb. NOT BAD! Red worms are the bait of choice. Some walleye were caught off the points at the mouth of creeks. Yellow perch were caught on medium minnows and small crankbaits. Fishing was good and, if the weather holds, will get better.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. The bass fishing is about average for this time of year at Beaverdam. Most of the bass that are being caught are 1 lb. to 3 lbs. Zach Zervakis of Midlothian, VA, did catch a nice bass that weighed 5 lbs. and had three chain pickerel. Chain pickerel are abundant and can be caught on minnows or lures. The sunfish are hitting night crawlers and crickets. The catfish can be had using chicken liver or peeler crab. We are still seeing nice size yellow perch in good numbers being caught.

Beaverdam will host the next Big Bash series tournament May 19. For more information, visit our website or call the Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by our new reporter Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. No report this edition.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim says that croakers and spot are being landed at the Ocean View Fishing Pier. They like blood worms and Fishbite. Red and black drum can be found on the Barrier Islands and Fisherman's Island; they are taking crab and cut bait. Look for bluefish at Rudee Inlet, and try spoons and cut bait. Flounder are biting at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, try minnows and squid. The water is 61 degrees and fairly clear.

Back Bay: Local angler Tom Deans. No report this edition.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that the bass bite is good on shakey heads, cranks and top-waters. Crappie action is slow, but minnows and jigs still prove effective. Cats are devouring live eel and shad. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is clear and in the upper 60s.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by our new reporter, Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475 out of Ed Allen's Boats and Bait. Chickahominy Lake mid day main lake water temperatures were in the mid 70s on Monday. The lake level was about 6 inches above the top of the dam. The water was dark but not muddy. A few crappies were scattered up the major creeks, but most crappie and a few white perch were around the creek mouths and on mid depth wood cover in the main lake. Crappie and white perch were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs and tubes, small swimbaits, and Kalin crappie scrubs. Some bluegill were in the creeks, but many bluegill were around shorelines and wood cover in mid depths in the main lake. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, curlytail jigs, small swimbaits, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small spoons. A few pickerel were around the pad beds at the upper ends of the major creeks, scattered in creek channels down to the creek mouths, and on main lake flats. Pickerel were primarily hitting spoons and live minnows. Bass were scattered, with some next to the shoreline vegetation up the side creeks and others along the shorelines and mid depths in the main lake. Bass were hitting live minnows, creature baits, soft plastic stick baits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Paul, Gary, and David Costello had 21 crappie, 4 bluegill, 3 white perch, and 1 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that lots of bass are coming in on spinners, chatter baits, cranks and top-waters. Crappie action has slowed down considerably. Many smaller sized cats are being brought up on cut bait, minnows and night crawlers. White perch are attacking small spinners, night crawlers and jigs. For bluegill try small top water poppers and small worms, you should get lucky. As Dewey put it, the fishing is great so "come and get 'em!". The water is dingy and in the low to mid 60s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. According to Drew Dixon, bass are readily taking soft plastics and cranks. Plenty of good crappie are taking minnows and jigs. The lakes hold "a pile of catfish" and anglers are hitting big with cut bait and red wigglers. Perch action has slowed down, but minnows and jigs may still prove successful. Bluegill are starting to respond to crickets and small worms. The water is clear and in the high 50s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. No report this edition.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. No report this edition.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. No report this edition.

Swift Creek Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Archie Spencer. No report this edition.

Region 2 - Southside

Holliday Lake: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Eyes open at 6:09 but the temperature was 38.9 outside and 61 inside and the bed was still warm so I did the right thing and climbed back in. It was 8:30 before I was right with the world again but I still got ready to make that almost 80 mile ride to Holliday Lake to check on those 10 inch bluegill. Almost 11:30 by the time I got the boat in the brownish stained kinda cold water. Visibility was only about 4 ft. so I started out with a size 12 popping bug fishing the shore line as I moved around the lake. After about an hour of fishing I finally caught two bluegill, one 7 and one 9 inch. Those 5 to 10 mile per hr. winds changed to about 15 to 20 but I put on a size 10 popping bug and still tried to fish. I gave it another hour before laying the fly rod down and picking up the spinning rod. Fished all over the place with chartreuse, popsicle and my favorite purple and caught two chain pickerel, one 15 inch and one 14 inch, three yellow perch and three bass the largest being 13 inches and the smallest being all of 5 inches. Boat on the trailer and headed home by 5:00.

Brunswick Lake: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes Since taking that long ride for almost nothing I decided it was time to fish close to home and headed to the county pond, Brunswick Lake. The water is stained but a lot warmer than Holliday Lake, I could only see about 3 ft. down but the bluegill there have much better eyesight than those at Holliday lake. I fished under the bridge for a little while before moving under it to fish the shore line with the fly rod and a size 10 popping bug in 5 to 10 mph wind. I caught a bunch of bluegill around the shore line but none that I saw were on the bed. I did hit one spot back in the flats that I would say was almost a bed, caught about 10 and one had his tail fins worn off where he had been cleaning the beds. After catching my limit I spent the last few hours throwing back everything except the crappie, threw back 36 bluegill, three bass , 10, 12 and a 14 inch and 13 crappie, the largest being only 10 inches. The bluegill there are around 6 to 9 inches or large enough to almost fill the 5 gallon bucket of a man that was fishing on the bank.

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 is in great shape. It is running around five feet and has a little color to it. Fly anglers using "big" crayfish patterns have boated some very nice fish. Smallmouth up to 22 inches have crushed the Clawdad pattern in Black and Blue in the off color water. Conventional anglers have had super success boating 18 to 22 inch fish using crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Senkos.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow Jr. reports that bass action is good with top-waters, spinners and plastics, particularly green pumpkin and watermelon. Crappie are scarce, but some can be found off docks and in brush piles. Cats are going for live bream. No word on perch. For a good bluegill, fish the bank with a cord and a worm. The water is clear and warming.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane says that smallmouth are biting well on C.K. Baitfish and Clawdads. Rainbows and browns in the Jackson are good with streamers and caddis imitators. Brookie are really going wild for caddis, little yellow stoneflies and mayflies. The water is clear and in the high 50s.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski told me that lots of bass are coming in. They are going for worms, jigs and light colored spinners. Crappie action is "decent" off points with minnows and jigs. Big cats are biting, they had a citation one just the other day. Try minnows and cut bait to get your lunker. Perch are attacking small worms. Bluegill are scarce, but try minnows and worms. The water is stained and 72 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. No report this edition.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. According to Mike Burchett, bass are in the latter 2 stages of spawning, with some still actively spawning and some guarding the fry. To get these fry guarders throw a Zoom Superfluke, in white or pearl. Lots of these tiny bass are around docks. Crappie action is slowing, but still good with the traditional minnows and jigs. Cats are giving a good night bite on live shad. No word on perch. Lots of bluegill can be found around docks and coves so "get at can of worms and have a ball". To land a striper in the daytime, try slow trolling an umbrella rig about 30 or more feet down. At night try top-waters. The water is clear and in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that the smallmouth bite has finally picked up. The ones coming in are not huge, but decent sized quality fish. They are going for tubes, worms and crawfish imitators. Muskie action has slowed down, but try big jerks and big spinners. The water is clearing and in the low 60s.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New is in great shape with normal water flows and turbidity for this time of year. Walleye fishing is at the back of everyone's list right now, but they can be caught at night on jerkbaits or jigging deeper holes during the day. Smallmouth are on fire and the spawn is in full swing. This will go on for a couple of weeks so don't just look for bass on the beds, big females may be holding in 4 to 6 ft. deep water near the spawning grounds. Forget the live bait and target them with artificials and get a quick release to protect these fish. Muskie are firing up as well at this time of year so don't be surprised to have one hit while smallie fishing, be prepared with a Boga grip and long pliers so you can handle these rare giants and handle them safely for a quick release. Keep our fingers crossed we keep this great water for a good smallie spawn and don't get flooded out. Please practice CPR and don't forget no boat wakes around ramps on the river. Have a great spring fishing trip! New River Charter, as always, is on Facebook.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that the bass bite is phenomenal just now. They will take "everything"; Senkos, tubes and cranks are all good bets. Muskie action is slowing down, but big slider baits or big inline spinners may do the trick. The water is in the 60s and clear.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Had a great week of fishing in the vicinity of the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). Trout fishing in the creeks is quite good and the smallies in the New are hitting all sorts of lures as the water clears from recent rains. Top-waters are starting to work, so you can about throw the whole tackle box at them [Editor's note – this seems excessively violent.] We caught numerous smallies in the19 inch range this week, but couldn't quite manage a citation. A 35 inch muskie was also to be had. Prime season is here.

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. Harry told me that both the North and South Forks are giving good smallmouth fishing, and are in excellent condition for wading or floating. The best fishing is to be had during heavily overcast days. Good flies are: Shenk's White Streamer, size 4; Olive Marauder, size 6; Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4. The water is 68 degrees, at an excellent color and normal level.

The stocked and delayed harvest streams in the Valley are producing well. Fish below the riffles and in deep pools with a very slow stripping action. Good files are Casual Dress Nymph, size 12; Mr. Rapidan Emerger, size 10; and the Red Squirrel Nymph, size 12. The water is 68 degrees and clear.

Brookie action in the mountain streams is so good, some spots are getting very crowded. To avoid the completion, Harry advises you to hike up to the trail head in the mountains. There is currently a good hatching of little yellow stoneflies, cahills and several types of small caddis. Good flies are: Spirit of Pittsford Mills, size 18; Murray's Little Yellow Stonefly, size 18; Light Cahill, size 16. The water is clear and 57 degrees.

Attention Trout Anglers - Special Regulation Permit Cards Available Online

VDGIF is pleased to announce that special regulation written landowner permit cards to fish Mossy Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Upper South River are now available online. A link to maps of each of these areas is also new function on the agency website.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. No Report this week, check Woods & Waters website for Lake Moomaw update.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. With the rain storms the past few days things are alittle unsettled on the Lake. With the warm up as we head into mid-May, the fishing will pick up too. Check our website for updates and availability to reserve a fishing date.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: CatchGuide.com) Surprisingly, the shad are still running in Fredericksburg. With the sand having moved downstream from the old Embry Dam, the good spots underneath the US 1 bridge have pretty much been wiped out. The deep hole next to the rock ledge that sticks out from the upper end of the park remains a productive holding position - take long casts to reach across the river. The local denizens tell me that instead of being an event that can last several hours, the good fishing coincides , even more than normal, with high tide. If you're not there at high tide, forget about it. But who cares about shad when you can fish for smallies? With the low water and warm conditions, the smallie fishing has turned on! The Rappahannock, Rapidan and Upper Potomac are all producing well. In addition to being unseasonably low, the water is crystal clear. This demands long casts to get the best results. The consensus is to use small crank baits, plastic grubs and small tubes. Fly anglers are doing well with big woolly bugger or Clouser minnow patterns. The mountain trout streams are in superb condition right now. In fact, you should put off fishing for smallies for another week or so to take advantage of the mountain conditions before the water warms up and the fishing slows down.

Occoquan Reservoir and Lunga Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I've only been able to get out a couple of times in the past two weeks...both times to the Occoquan Reservoir. I put my jon boat in at the Bull Run Marina Ramp and headed just north to a portion of the reservoir that has both a deep channel and shallow flat bay. I can report that the higher temperatures over the last week have resulted in the surface water temperatures rising from the high 50s to the high 60s, but that the recent rains have also helped muddy up the water creating murky, cloudy water with minimum visibility. I hoped to target largemouth bass heading for shallower water. I found a few LMB interested in hitting top-water plugs in light, sexy shad colors, while others were still in deeper water (8 to12 feet) and willing to hit natural crawdad colored cranks. I also caught some nice crappie trolling small lipless crank baits in brighter chartreuse shad color combinations. I'm hoping the LMB fishing will pick up in the coming weeks...and more importantly that Quantico Marine Corps Base will open Lunga Reservoir access back up in early June as they've predicted. Good luck out there folks, happy angling!

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures staying in the mid to upper 60s. Largemouth bass are coming off the spawn. Bass are mostly in a post spawn feeding pattern hanging out in 5 to10 ft. depths with soft plastics being the bait of choice. Catfish are feeding well throughout the lake on live bait and chicken liver. Crappie have pulled off the bank also in a post spawn mode in 10 to 15 ft. range around the fishing pier and fish attractors. Crappie are biting well on live minnows. We still have some bluegills and shell crackers spawning in good populations up shallow on red wigglers and night crawlers.

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.

Stripers: Fishing has been excellent this year and certainly will only get better in the month of May. My clients have been catching nice limits of fish topped off with Craig Rasmusson's 21 pound citation striper which he caught on a gizzard shad. Fresh live bait has been the key to success, with most artificial fisherman catching primarily smaller fish. May is a transition month for the stripers; the fish will be converting from feeding in the upper water column early in the month and in low light conditions of the day to feeding over deeper 25 to 30 foot flats later in the month as the water temperature rises into the 70s. Fish are still scattered all over the lake and we have been having our best success fishing where there is little fishing pressure away from boat traffic. We are pulling planner boards rigged with the largest gizzard shad we can find over flats, points and humps in water less than 20 feet. When a big striper blows a 12 inch gizzard out of the water, you better be ready to wrestle a hog to the boat. As the water warms to above 75 degrees the fish will convert to smaller baits and also retreat to deeper flats where they will school in large numbers. We will use down-lines and put them in the exact depth we see the schools on our Lowrance to catch up to 40 fish a day. May is a good month to catch fish on top water on lures like pencil poppers, redfins, spooks and chuggars. Hit main lake points early and late in the day for explosive strikes. Trollers will start to catch more fish as the water warms later in the month. Swimbaits will also catch stripers this month when fished nearby schools of bait. To view our catches check out my journal at www.JimHemby.com.

Bass: Bass fishing has also been off the charts this year with some of the largest stringers of bass being weighed in at tournaments, almost 28 pounds for 5 fish! The warmer than normal winter has been responsible for the excellent fishing this year and consequently early spawns. Spawn and post spawn patterns will work early in the month before the bass retreat to deeper waters later in the month. Better fishing will be early in May and slow down as the month progresses. It is hard to beat top water action this month using your favorite top water lures. Early in the month sight fishing will still be very good in the clear water. Grass beds at the Splits and up lake in the North Anna have been producing some great catches.

Crappie: Crappie have spawned and are headed for deeper waters (10 to 20 feet). Rock ledges, brush piles and bridge pilings will hold catchable fish. Crappie may not be as easy to catch as when they were shallow but once you locate them they will be schooled in larger numbers. Traditional small jigs tipped with small tubes and grubs along with small and medium minnows work well. The back of Christopher Run is holding some nice slabs.

Catfish: Catfish have feeding all over the lake as well and are being caught at depths ranging from 8 to 20 feet deep, primarily on live bait. A couple fish in excess of 30 pounds have already been caught on Shad. The third Dike area is a great place to catch a HUGE kitty this month.

Carp: The Carp are rolling in all the grass beds now and bow hunters are enjoying keeping their skills sharp shooting the big fish. Up lake, in both arms, and in any one of the large grass beds, fishing will be productive. If we get some good rains and the lake rises fishing will just get better.

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

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the warming of spring, thoughts of summer vacation and days with no school make it easy to find an excuse to go out and enjoy the outdoors. For 17 year old Whitney Symons, a Senior at Lancaster High School near Whitestone, a week long summer vacation visit to Whidbey Island, Washington at her Aunt and Uncle's was an eye-opening adventure to the wonders of nature. The respite created memories of the serenity of nature and thrill of exploring wild places and having fun. What outdoor adventure during your summer vacation may inspire you to become more aware of the wonders of nature and make efforts to conserve them for future generations? Whitney entered her article in the 2010-11 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and placed in the Top 10.

Whitney's Whidbey

By Whitney Symons

Ribbons of color paint the sky as I walk down the solemn road. The crisp salty air tickles my nose and the rhythm of crashing waves below me calm my nerves. Having traveled from the thriving metropolis of the District of Columbia area to the serene environment of Whidbey Island, Washington. I watch as the setting sun covers the sky with multiple colors fitting my ever changing moods of a long day of travels. I wander in what seems like a new world, yet it feels like a home away from home. I walk along the side edge of a bluff that drops to a rocky shore and next to a barley field swishing in the wind. I think to myself, "I can get used to this."

In the summer time, even for an island, the temperature never exceeds 80 degrees and the sun never hides behind the clouds. In the week I spend with my aunt and uncle, I truly fall in love with Mother Nature. Every day I go for a long walk and every day a new animal crosses my path. I constantly see a varying array of wildlife; whether it is rabbits munching on lettuce while I pick some for dinner, eagles stalking their prey in the fields across the way, or ducks waddling along; what magnificent sights. It is an amazing opportunity to get away from the buzzing noise of a city that never sleeps, to the soothing sound of the sea and calm winds.

The sights are not only astonishing and breathtaking from the ground, but also from the air. My brother and I have the chance to fly in a Cessna around the island with a retired Navy pilot. During takeoff, I see the numerous horses turn into ants and the massive, pristine lake by the house turn into a puddle. Until the flight, I never before acknowledged the vast amount of rich, towering evergreens flourishing the land. While flying, a flock of geese escort us across the rippling wonder known as the Saratoga Passage. While I watch the gaggle of geese, I feel as if I have discovered the eighth wonder of the world. What elegance they flew with! They were in such wondrous synchrony and uniform, like drill teams soaring above the fertile land. The clouds are scarce, allowing the bright blue sky to guide our adventure for miles ahead. The mountains are silent, majestic giants, adding to the glorious scene in front of my eyes, as they marched right into the deep blue Pacific. I believe they are centuries old volcanoes, where the harsh altitudes silenced their furious eruptions and covered their worn peaks with ice. These are the things I live for.

The week I spent with my aunt and uncle in Whidbey Island was just what the doctor ordered. After the separation of my parents, the serenity of lush mountain sides colliding with the calming ocean front created a powerful drug that soothed me. Mother Nature nurtured me with its impeccable, irreplaceable and flawless beauty.

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 are opened in the fall and typically close in February. We encourage you to write your most memorable hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventure story and enter the 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: