In this edition:

It's Hot Out There... Enjoy the Water Safely and Responsibly

This July 11th edition of the Outdoor Report posts just as Many Virginians are still cleaning up from the devastating derecho wind storm that blasted the state 13 days ago toppling trees and cutting off electric power to thousands for several days. This severe, fast moving storm was a stunning reminder of the unpredictable power of nature and the need to be prepared for emergencies both at home and when travelling. It was impressive to see the outpouring of support and neighbor helping neighbor spirit among those affected by the storm and many who did not have damage, volunteer to assist in a variety of ways across the Commonwealth. We hope you have recovered and are getting back to normal.

With the storm clean up done, a lot of us are now planning summer vacations or long weekend outings with family and friends. Fortunately there's a lake, river, or stream within an hour's drive from any location in Virginia, making it easy and economical to get away for a day on the water boating, fishing, relaxing and cooling off! When you purchase a fishing license, you not only buy quality time, but you also are investing in conservation. For less than the cost of a tank of gas, a family of four can fish for a year. The funds generated by boating and fishing are crucial to keeping Virginia's waterways and lands in good condition and managing the state's fisheries.

Remember, as you head for the water with the relentless heat wave and deepening drought, make sure you are well prepared to safely enjoy your travel and outdoor activities. Safety and courtesy are free, use them generously as you share the outdoors with others. Note the message from the Conservation Police Officers and the State Police to not drink and boat or drink and drive. These dedicated officers serve to protect responsible outdoor enthusiasts from those who act irresponsibly and break the law. They are there to protect your freedom to enjoy the outdoors - support them in their important work by setting a good example and seeing that others around you do their share to enjoy the outdoors safely and ethically.

The Outdoor Report is full of fishing and boating tips and information to make your outing more productive, enjoyable, and safe. To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, read on...

David Coffman, Editor

From The Waterways To The Highways, Virginians Are Advised To Play It Safe This Summer

State Law Enforcement Launch New Anti-BUI/DUI Safety PSA

With Virginians seeking out ways to keep cool in the extreme heat during the summer months, drivers are reminded to play it safe both on the waterways and highways across the Commonwealth. To reinforce this critical safety message, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Conservation Police and Virginia State Police (VSP) are launching a new, joint public service announcement on the deadly and illegal consequences of BUI - Boating Under the Influence - and DUI - Driving Under the Influence: DGIFYouTube.

"This public service announcement reminds people of the importance of being safe while having fun on the water. Boating under the influence is not only dangerous to watercraft operators, but endangers everyone who enjoys Virginia's waterways," according to VDGIF Chief of Law Enforcement, Col. Dee Watts.

Nationwide recreational boating is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities, and Virginia is no exception. The number of registered boats in the Commonwealth exceeds 250,000 and Virginia is a prime boating destination for out-of-state visitors. This figure does not include kayaks, canoes or non-motorized sailboats. In 2011, 57 percent of boating fatalities nationwide involved alcohol. To learn more about boating laws and boating education in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Website.

"Virginia's law enforcement have zero tolerance for drunk and drugged drivers because it's their actions that cost lives on our roads and waterways," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, VSP Superintendent. "No matter what you drive - a passenger car, pickup, motorcycle, or boat - if you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested."

"Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out Celebrated at Richmond Flying Squirrels Game July 20

Come join The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, Bass Pro Shops, Responsive Management, Take Me Fishing™ and VDGIF at the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday evening July 20, 2012 at The Diamond. "Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out will celebrate the great outdoors through educational venues, on-the-field games, fan interactions, giveaways for all and more. It is also "sleepover night on the field" for the Scouts so the celebration gets even bigger! You don't want to miss this game with the introduction of the VDGIF's newest Wildlife K9 Units and The Floating Fishing School new pontoon boat sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and featured exhibits from Law Enforcement, Boating Safety, Hunter Education, Outdoor Report free subscription sign up, and much more. Also, Bass Pro Shops is providing 2,000 Kevin Van Dam fishing lures as a giveaway to fans attending the game.

So, "Let's root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, if we don't see you at the game!" Let's show our spirit and support those great American traditions like fishing, hunting and baseball! Visit the Richmond Flying Squirrels website for tickets or contact Tom Wilcox, VDGIF, at 804.367.6892 or Tom.Wilcox@dgif.virginia.gov for event details.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Flying Squirrels Wildlife Foundation of Virginia Bass Pro Shops Responsive Management Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

Get Updates on Elk Released in Buchanan County for Restoration

Virginia history was made on May 18, 2012 when a small herd of 11 elk were released in Buchanan County, by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Another seven elk were relocated to Virginia from Kentucky on May 24th. VDGIF Region 3 Southwest Virginia Wildlife Resources Bureau Manager Allen Boynton reports, "There has been a lot of interest in this historic elk restoration effort from a large constituency of people and organizations from all over the United States. Especially members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, both locally and throughout the nation have called to get updates on the new Virginia transplants and how they are doing and how far have they moved from the release site near Vansant." Because of the volume of inquiries and requests for updates on the new elk herd, the Wildlife Bureau Staff will be preparing bi-weekly updates to be posted exclusively in each edition of the Outdoor Report. VDGIF Outreach Manager Lee Walker and Wildlife Bureau Resources Director David Whitehurst commented that using the Outdoor Report for posting the elk restoration updates is a more effective means to keep our constituents informed and allows for a single source of information that can be accessed through the website. The Outdoor Report also contains companion information on wildlife related subjects of interest to a broad array of readers.

Continue to the Habitat Tips section for this edition's update on the Elk Restoration Program in Buchanan County...

Boating Safety Education Law Requires All PWC Operators, Boaters Age 30 and Younger to Take Safety Courses

Before you head out on the water, take a boating safety course! Virginia's Boating Safety Education Compliance Requirement states boaters must take a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). The requirement has been phased-in by age group and category since 2009 and will continue to be phased-in over the next several years.

Currently, PWC (jet ski) operators age 50 and younger and motorboat operators 20 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater must complete a boating safety education course and have such proof in their possession while operating a boat or PWC.

On July 1, 2012, the law requires all PWC operators, and motorboat operators age 30 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater to have completed a boating safety education course and carry such proof in their possession while operating the vessel.

Boaters can take a classroom course, an internet course, or a challenge exam to meet the requirement. Classroom courses are taught by volunteer instructors throughout the state. There are several internet courses that are accepted by the VDGIF. Once you take a course, carry your course completion certificate or wallet card with you while operating a PWC or motorboat.

For boaters who have taken a boating safety course in the past, our optional Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card is available. This durable, driver's license-styled card is available for a fee of $10.00. You can get an application by visiting our website.

To learn more about boating laws in Virginia, and about boating safety education courses, visit the Department's website. Remember, everyone wants to have a safe, enjoyable day on the water. Do your part by wearing your life jacket and taking a boating safety education course. Be responsible, be safe, and have fun on the water!

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 40 Kids Fishing Days are being planned state wide 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 statewide 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.

Shenandoah River Rodeo July 14 at Bentonville

The Shenandoah River Rodeo is a celebration of the Shenandoah Valley's best resource: the river! This is the 5th year Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble is bringing people together for an afternoon on the river! The Shenandoah River Rodeo is a party with paddling, fishing, live music, and camping...all on the banks of the South Fork! Join us on July 14 for a monster BBQ, door prizes, and a live blue-grass band, Uncle Henry's Favorites! The Rodeo will be at Low Water Bridge Campground, 192 Panhandle Road (Route 613 off Route 340), Bentonville, Va. on Sat, July 14th from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $30 for individuals and $50 for couples. Get more info here.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Host Events in July - August

The Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA have a scheduled meeting on July 18 at 7 pm at the Phelps Work Center for a pizza dinner with Hiking and Orientation Class afterwards. On August 25 a Work Day is planned at Phelps Work Center at 8 am (rain date August 26). 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.

Virginia Trappers Host Annual Sports Show July 13-15 in Orange

The Virginia Trappers Association is hosting their annual Convention and Sportsmen's Show at the Orange County Airport, near the town of Orange July 13-15, 2012. Whether you are an experienced or novice trapper, this event is one that you won't want to miss. There are workshops, exhibits, trapping supplies for sale and lots of experienced trappers to share information with you. The VTA Convention is a great place to meet with other trappers and VDGIF staff to learn about trapping regulations and gain additional trapping skills. For details visit the Virginia Trappers Association website or contact Art Foltz; artfoltz@comcast.net, (540) 630-1756 or Ed Crebbs; edcrebbs@yahoo.com, (540) 832-270.

Land Navigation Workshop at Holiday Lake 4-H Center July 13-15

Learn to navigate the woods of Virginia with a Map & Compass, or GPS at the Land Navigation Workshop at the Holiday Lake 4H Education Center near Appomattox July 13-15, 2012. The event begins with the basics of navigation and progresses rapidly to more advanced electronic GPS. Gain the skills and confidence you need to venture into the wilderness and more importantly return home. All of this plus lodging and GREAT meals for $120.00 per person. To register contact: www.trackingsurvival.com or 877-614-5289.

Tri-County Coon Hunters Host Benefit for Mountain Regional Hospice & Ronald McDonald House in Clifton Forge July 21

The Tri-County Coon Hunters Association will be having a benefit for the Mountain Regional Hospice & Ronald McDonald House beginning at 9:00 AM on Saturday July 21, at their club in Clifton Forge. Proceeds from this event showcasing various field trials for hunting hounds, will be donated to the two local charities providing support for area families with critical medical needs. Sporting dog lovers will find many events in which to participate and cheer on their favorite hound, starting with non-sanctioned bear events beginning at 9:00 AM, with a $5.00 fee per event, to include Bear Treeing, Bear Bay, and Bear Drag. A benefit auction will begin (tentatively) around 11:30 AM. Good home-cooked food will be available. There will be a UKC bench show beginning at 2:30 PM with a $10.00 fee, a UKC field trial beginning at 3:30 PM with a $10.00 fee, and a UKC water race beginning at 4:00 PM with a $10.00 fee. Non-sanctioned events following the bench show include a treeing contest, cage roll, and water race. Each event has a $5.00 entry fee. For more information, contact Richard Nicely at (540) 968-0485. Directions are as follows: From I-64 take exit 29. Take 42 north 1.5 miles. Turn left across RR tracks on Ross Ln. go a few hundred yards and turn left on Blueberry Hill.

There is Still Room for the July 25 and August 8 Flatout Catfish Workshops - Register Today!

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond (8 AM - 4 PM). Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. To register, contact Chris Dunnavant by email, chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov, or by phone, 804-367-6778. Provide participant names, address, email address, phone numbers, and date of birth. Cost is $35 per person. Payment instructions for credit card or check will be provided at time of registration. Registration is limited, deadline is July 11.

Woman's Outdoor Weekend "W.O.W." at Holiday Lake 4-H Center August 3-5

Come enjoy the weekend in a beautiful lakeside setting while learning the outdoor skills you've always wanted to master during the Woman's Outdoor Weekend "W.O.W.", August 3-5, 2012, at the Holiday Lake 4H Education Center near Appomattox. Each participant gets they're choice of 3 courses presented in a 4-hour session. Course options include: Hiking, Wilderness Survival, Outdoor First Aid, Kayaking, Outdoor Cooking, High Ropes, Canning, Canoeing, Rifle, Shotgun, Animal Tracking, Camouflage, Map & Compass, Wild Edibles, Nature Crafts, Archery, Bread Making, Climbing Wall, Stream Ecology and Amphibians & Reptiles. The entire weekend includes meals, lodging and all instruction for only $150.00 per person! This is the "DON'T MISS" event of the year! To register contact : www.trackingsurvival.com or call 877-614-5289.

29th Annual Sportsman Show Returns to Richmond Raceway Complex August 10-12

The 29th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 10-12, 2012, Conservation Police Officers and Wildlife Biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing and wildlife information questions. DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. Pick up your free copy of the new 2012-2013 Hunting Regulations & Information booklet that features descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience this season. The new Wildlife K-9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue.

Hunting SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY is always foremost when afield. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Celebrity guests include Lee & Tiffany, hosts of The Crush on the Outdoor Channel. Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes he is giving away a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

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

Family Forestland Short-course: Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation "NEXT" August 14 & 21 in Staunton

You value your forest and/or farmland for multiple reasons such as wildlife, privacy, recreation, timber, hunting or the scenic qualities. Are you prepared to pass the environmental and heirloom values rooted in your forest to the next generation? Without breaking it up? The cost of not planning is "priceless" and future tax burdens may put your land's ownership in jeopardy. If you don't plan, the Government will plan for you. By researching and planning ahead of time, you can ensure your wishes are met and minimize the financial costs and emotional challenges while securing your woodland legacy!

Join us for a hands-on workshop with free legal guidance from professionals experienced in intergenerational land transfer and landowner testimonials of estate planning steps and strategies they have used. Land may be your biggest asset. Make sure your actions support the family's values. This award winning and nationally recognized program will get you started on the right path. The two-session workshop is being held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center in Staunton, on August 14 and 21, 2012 from 12:30 - 7:00 p.m. Participation in both days is required. Speakers include legal and financial experts experienced in estate planning as well as natural resource professionals who work with landowners to conserve land and plan the future.

Application/Registration: deadline July 31, 2012

For registration and information contact: Northern District Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Program. Tel (540) 948-6881 email: slillard@vt.edu.

Farmville Outdoor Festival August 25th

Are you looking for an opportunity to get outdoors and learn some exciting Outdoor Skills! Riverside Community Church is hosting their Annual Outdoor Festival in Farmville at the Five County Fairgrounds Saturday, August 25, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar with Pro-Staff Jim Burns from Quaker Boy followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! The judging will be conducted by the NWTF High Bridge Strutters. Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest. This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors!

For more information, view flyer Farmville Outdoor Festival (PDF), or contact Riverside Community Church at 434-547-6770.

Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center Now Affiliate of Virginia Museum of Natural History

The Living Off the Land exhibit opens Saturday June 16 at the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center located on Rt 151 near Nellysford in Nelson County Learn how the Indians, early settlers, and present day hunters "live off the land." Meet Rocky, the bear, and his animal friends. Feel animal pelts and other hands on exhibits. Sit in a dugout canoe. See how the Indians and later 21st century hunters used camouflage to hide themselves as they hunted turkey, deer, and other wild game for food. For more information, contact info@rockfishvalley.org or call 434-361-0271.

The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is now an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH), providing both institutions with a variety of partnership benefits and collaborative opportunities. The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is located in Nellysford, Nelson County, Virginia. As the state museum of natural history for Virginia, VMNH serves all citizens of the Commonwealth through exhibits, education programs, scientific research and collections, and partnerships with other institutions. The VMNH affiliation program further advances the museum's statewide mission. "This agreement allows VMNH to reach audiences with our exhibits and programs much more efficiently," said Dr. Joe B. Keiper, executive director of VMNH. "We can also bring to bear the state's natural history collections to support the missions of both organizations."

People and Partners in the News

Newly Released 2012-2013 Federal and Junior Duck Stamps Offer Everyone An Easy Way to Help Protect Wetland Habitat Across the Nation

The 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp went on sale July 1, 2012, across the United States, giving hunters, stamp collectors and anyone who cares about migratory birds and other wildlife an easy way to help conserve their habitat. Ninety-eight percent of proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to acquire and protect vital wetlands supports hundreds of species of migratory birds, wildlife and plants.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and VDGIF Director Bob Duncan joined representatives of the U.S. Postal Service, Bass Pro Shops and other conservation partners at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World retail store in Hampton, VA, on June 29, to celebrate the first day of sale of both the $15 Federal Duck Stamp and $5 Junior Duck Stamp. The new stamps are now available at thousands of post offices, Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods stores and retail locations across the country, and can also be purchased online.

Since the program's inception in 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $750 million to acquire and protect more than 5.3 million acres of habitat for hundreds of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System in all 50 states and U.S. territories. These refuges benefit the public by providing access to outdoor recreational activities including hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.

All migratory bird hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a valid Federal Duck Stamp while hunting, but conservationists, birders, and others also buy the stamp to support habitat conservation. Anyone who holds a current Federal Duck Stamp may also obtain free admission to any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that charges admission fees.

Stamp collectors, in particular, prize Federal Duck Stamps as miniature works of art. This year's Federal Duck Stamp features a single wood duck painted by Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn. The Junior Duck Stamp features a northern pintail painted by Christine Clayton, a 17 year old from Sidney, Ohio.

Federal and Junior Duck Stamps can be purchased at U.S. Postal Service locations nationwide, as well as through the Postal Service's online catalogue. Stamps may also be purchased at Bass Pro Shops locations and hundreds of other sporting goods stores and retailers. Electronic Duck Stamps may be purchased online at www.duckstamp.com. The electronic validation may be used to hunt or obtain free admission to a refuge immediately, while a physical stamp is mailed to each customer.

Learn more about the Federal Duck Stamp Program online, or on Facebook at USFWS_Federal Duck Stamp. Learn more about the Junior Duck Stamp, or on Facebook at Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

Remember as of July 1, that a Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is required of all persons (unless license exempt) 16 years of age and older hunting or taking any migratory waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant and swans) within the Commonwealth. This is in addition to the Federal stamp. The annual Stamp can be purchased for a fee of $10.00 (resident or non-resident) at license agents or clerks that sell Virginia hunting licenses or from the Department's website. For more details read the feature article in the Green Tips section of this edition of the Outdoor Report.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Developing Wild Turkey Management Plan

Public attitudes toward wild turkeys and turkey management are diverse. Successful management strategies for turkeys must strike a balance between public attitudes and turkey population conservation needs. Now that turkeys have been restored and are thriving throughout Virginia, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has begun to develop a formal Wild Turkey Management Plan. The Wild Turkey Management Plan will provide guidance on how to address the complex management challenges and issues related to desirable population levels, recreation (including hunting), human-turkey conflicts, and habitat conservation.

To effectively manage wild turkeys over the next decade, VDGIF is using a process that affords multiple opportunities for public input as means to incorporate the diverse values of different stakeholders. Technical guidance from wildlife professionals also will be incorporated to develop planning goals, objectives, and strategies.

To facilitate the Wild Turkey Management Plan development process, VDGIF has partnered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. The Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation has a long history of providing VDGIF with expertise in conservation planning and public involvement.

The first phase of plan development used focus group meetings and questionnaires to identify prominent issues and gain better understanding of the views Virginians have toward wild turkeys. Attention then shifts to developing the comprehensive turkey management plan based on stakeholder values, survey results, and other scientific data.

Phase I: Identifying stakeholders' values and issues. Focus group meetings and questionnaires began the process of identifying values and issues important to stakeholders. Focus group participants were selected from outreach to known interest groups (e.g., hunters, agricultural producers, non-consumptive interests), suggestions from VDGIF staff, a subset of Spring Gobbler Survey participants, and open solicitation through a press release.

Phase II: Management Plan Development. A Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), composed of 10-12 representatives from key stakeholder groups (including public landowners, sporting interests, non-consumptive interests, and agricultural producers), will develop draft goals that reflect public values to guide wild turkey management. Goal areas will include topics related to populations, habitat conservation, recreation, and human-turkey problems. A Technical Committee, composed of VDGIF biologists with expertise on wild turkey management, will provide scientific information and technical feedback to the SAC. General steps in the planning process will include:

Representing a cross section of all Virginians, the 10-12-member SAC will meet in a series of facilitated meetings to draft a plan that includes proposed goals, objectives, and strategy options for wild turkey management over the next 10 years.

With public values as its foundation, the Wild Turkey Management Plan will establish the framework (i.e., goals and objectives) for addressing turkey management issues in the future.

Do you have questions or suggestions regarding the project? Please contact Gary Norman, VDGIF Wild Turkey Project Leader, at gary.norman@dgif.virginia.gov, or Holly Morris, Virginia Tech Graduate Student, at hnmorris@vt.edu.

Wheelin' Sportsmen Hosting Dove Hunt September 7th in Warsaw

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen will be hosting their Warsaw Ultimate Dove Hunt on Friday, September 7th just outside of Warsaw, VA. This first-time hunt will be held on a 2,000 acre plantation along the Rappahannock River. The owner has planted long strips of land with corn, sunflowers and millet specifically for dove hunting, and doves are plentiful. Each participant is allowed to bring one person with them and that person may also hunt. We can accommodate 50 disabled participants, up to 100 shooters total! Water, soda and snacks will be provided throughout the day. Please wear camo and bring your shotgun, dove ammo of choice, Virginia hunting license, and HIP number from VDGIF. If you have a disability and are interested in joining us for this hunt, please visit our website for more details and the application. The deadline for applying is August 25th. First-come, first-serve to the first 50 applicants so get yours in now!

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."

Editors note: With the power outages and interrupted internet service the past week, the regular partner feature we had planned did not get completed so we will work schedule it for a future edition. One very important "partner" we acknowledge in determining the conservation and management of our wildlife and natural resources is "the public"... yes, YOU! Whether you fish, boat , hunt, trap, hike, camp, observe, photograph, or participate in outdoor activities, or not- your voice is important as wildlife belongs to all of us. There are currently four management plans and regulation proposals open for public comment. This is your opportunity for input into the management of our wildlife and habitat resources and the regulations that guide our efforts. Click on the live links below for details on how you can participate in the Public Comment process and let your views be heard. DC

Opportunities for Public Comment

Fishing, Wildlife Diversity (Nongame), and Boating Regulation Proposals

A public comment period is open, May 1–August 4, 2012, regarding proposed amendments to fishing, wildlife diversity (nongame), boating, and ADA-related land access regulations. Learn more & comment »

Draft Black Bear Management Plan, 2012–2021

A public comment period is open, June 11–August 1, 2012, on the Draft Black Bear Management Plan. The revised plan will guide bear management across the Commonwealth through 2021. Learn more & comment »

Frameworks & Staff Recommendations: Webless Migratory Gamebirds, Falconry, September Canada Goose, and September Teal

Your comments are solicited on the 2012-2013 federal frameworks and staff recommendations, to be presented to the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at its July 10, 2012 meeting.

Hunting & Trapping Public Input Period

Through November 1, 2012, during the Hunting and Trapping Public Input.

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

Editor's note: In this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild - appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with family and friends, it is great to get pictures from our readers take the time to plan and get together for a fun day afield hunting and enjoying the great outdoors. It is important that hunters and anglers set priorities and take time off from other routine " Saturday activities" to give youngsters a memorable day afield and create new traditions. When the Apprentice License was introduced four years ago, it was meant to allow persons, both youth and adult, who may be interested in hunting to "test drive" the sport by being mentored by an experienced hunter before investing the time in taking the required Hunter Education Course prior to actually hunting. The program has been very successful with nearly 20,000 Apprentice Licenses sold and new hunters added to our sport. Even prior to the age of 12 when children are required to purchase a license, surveys and experience shows that it is important – no-- critical for the future of our hunting heritage and traditions to continue to the next generation to take youngsters out with you. Even if you don't carry a gun or bow, just sharing the experience with these eager young hunters provides opportunities for great memories and teaching life lessons and values that cannot be experienced in other activities. Greg Cain sent us this story of a spring gobbler hunt with his six year old granddaughter that answers the question... Why do you hunt?

More Than Just A Turkey Hunt With My Granddaughter...

My Granddaughter Adayah is my turkey hunting partner; she's only six years old and has the same love of the outdoors as her Paw-Paw. I've taken her out turkey hunting only three times over the last two years, even though she's very young and her level of patience is short, we still manage to have a great time.

On this morning I woke Adayah up at 4 am, there was no delay, she was dressed before me and the excitement of this hunt was evident. We were in the truck and on our way to the property when the questions started, typical six year old, if you have a young one you know what I'm talking about, just random questions, this continued until we arrived on the property 45 minutes later.

We put our gear on and began our walk to the blind, we were about half way there when she stopped me and asked, "Paw- Paw where is your gun?" She had bombarded me with so many questions I had lost focus and left the shot gun in the truck!

We made it to the blind, put out the decoys and set up just inside the woods, as she snuggled up to me and put her head on my shoulder we heard a Tom gobble, this bird was only about 75 yards away and still on the roost. Adayah perked up and was in the ready position before the bird completed his gobble.

The time had passed and my calling went unnoticed by the gobbler we heard on the roost earlier, I decided to crawl out to the edge of the field and check for any birds. Then I heard from the back ground " I wana go home, I miss grandma". I gave her the hand signal to come to me slowly so she could see what I was seeing. Turkeys, several of them about 400 yards out, again the excitement was evident and the hunt was back on.

Earlier I taught her how to call with a friction call and to my surprise she caught on to the yelps, a little squeaky, but she will improve with more practice. We set up again. I gave her the slate and striker and said to her call when I nod my head 'yes' and stop calling when I nod 'no'. This went on for fifteen to twenty minutes when we saw the three jakes quickly closing the gap between us. I had moved Adayah beside me so she could get a good view of the birds if they came in to shooting range, before we knew it they were 40 yards out and about 2 feet apart. I felt her poke me in the side and she said with conviction, and to this day I don't know why, "Paw-Paw shoot the middle one!" I think she was testing my ability to shoot only one of the birds, they were so close together there was no way I could take the shot without hitting two of them. It seemed like eternity but the two outer birds finally put their heads down to feed at the same time and I took the shot. I got up and quickly ran to the downed bird to be sure he was dispatched when I heard "Paw Paw did you shoot the turkey?" I turned to look and she was on my heals getting ready to pass me as we approached the bird. She wanted to carry the turkey to the truck, but could only manage less than 5 feet, the bird was as big as she was. Although she was determined, she was disappointed she couldn't carry out the task. But the thrill of the hunt and spending time together in the woods quickly replaced the disappointment and as we headed for the truck with the gobbler, I knelt down to her level and she hugged me with excitement and said, "Paw Paw you're the best and this is the best day!"

Hunting News You Can Use

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

New 2012-13 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations Available

VDGIF is distributing the new 2012-13 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest. This year's hunting seasons will be very similar to last year. One new change that is sure to be popular with sportsmen is multi-year resident hunting and trapping licenses for two, three and four year periods are now available at reduced prices (see pages 13-14). Another noteworthy change this year is the addition of Service –connected totally and permanently disabled resident veteran lifetimee license is now available at no cost. This also includes the freshwater fishing license.

The 70-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices and the Richmond Headquarters office. You can access the new regulations booklet on the VDGIF website. Also you can download the Regulations through the new HuntFishVA app. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements with valuable money saving coupons have been included again this year.

Stationary Waterfowl Blind Sales for Nonriparian Previously Held Begin July 1

The nonriparian license sales period for a stationary waterfowl blind previously licensed during the year before is July 1 through August 15. As this session is limited to last year's licensed locations, the previous year's license number will be required to purchase this year's license. The license will be issued to the same licensee as the previous year. Although the license will be issued to the same licensee, the licensee's address may be updated. If location coordinates are incorrect or missing, they will be required before the license can be issued.

Licensees will have a choice of providing missing or incorrect location coordinates in decimal degrees, degrees and decimal minutes, or degrees, minutes, and seconds.

License decals will be mailed separately and must be affixed to a stake or blind within 15 days after the end of each sales period. Please confirm that licensees have provided a current mailing address.

Nonriparians who have not purchased a license previously may obtain licenses between September 1 and October 15. Nonriparians are limited to two Stationary Waterfowl Blind licenses in any one season.

More information on waterfowl blinds can be found on our website.

If you have any questions regarding licenses, contact DGIF License Accounting at 800-282-0757 or via email at LicenseSales@dgif.virginia.gov.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

"It Takes a Hunter to Make a Hunter"

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

Hunter Back Gets First Gobbler

Hunter M. Back age 11 of Swoope, killed his first Spring Gobbler while hunting with his father Dennis M. Back on April 14th on Little North Mountain. Hunter used his 20 gauge and as you can see in the photo, the Gobbler was something else. Hunter's Dad proudly commented, "He has been trying to kill one for the past 3 years and like I told him everything has to come together. Both of us will never forget that spring morning and hope we will share many more. Thanks for all your Department does to make these opportunities for us to hunt with our kids."

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!

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Planning and Preparation Needed for Safe Summer Adventures

Skeeters, ticks, and snakes, oh my! If you stop to think about all the critters and conditions that can possibly make your summer outdoor activities miserable, you may make a big mistake and stay home. With a little planning, preparation, and the proper gear, you can minimize the discomforts that come with any outdoor adventure. The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," relates directly to you and your outdoor plans. There are some basic safety precautions directly related to summer heat and critter activity that warrant your attention. This article is based on my experiences, including mistakes, the past 30 years camping, canoeing, fishing, and exploring our wonderful wild places.

David Coffman, Editor

Clothing: dress for the conditions you plan to encounter, then take additional items in case conditions change. Consider wearing pants that have the zip-off legs to give some protection in case you encounter brush, poison ivy (leaflets three, let it be!), or ticks. Same advice for shirts - take a long sleeve - it may get cooler if out after sunset. Wear light colors, they are cooler and do not attract mosquitoes like dark shades. Carry a small folding poncho for sudden downpours. Wear a hat to provide shade. Use sunscreen, even if you already have your tan.

Water: have plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. As an Eagle Scout, the motto "Be Prepared" has helped me and my companions out of unforeseen circumstances on many occasions. I offer a personal tip for long drives. Always take a cooler with ice and a variety of liquid refreshments in your vehicle on any trip 5 miles or 500. With heavy traffic just about anywhere you go these days, a traffic stopping incident, or breakdown may strand you for hours, miles away from any refreshment. Keep a couple of bottles of water, or sports drink, and some packaged snacks in your vehicle just in case. You may just make someone's day, including your own. Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion - these conditions can kill. Keep hydrated and do not over do it. Know your physical limits. Rest or get in shade to prevent heat stress.

Critters: wear insect repellant. There are many kinds on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Note the proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. If you happen to encounter a snake, it's best to leave it alone. Many species of snakes, including venomous ones, are very beneficial to humans. Snakes are not aggressive and only bite in self defense, or if provoked. If bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm and seek medical attention immediately. Most venomous snake bites in Virginia only result in some swelling and discomfort. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings pose a greater risk, especially if you are allergic to them. If you are allergic, keep the proper medications with you, and tell your companions in case you need medical assistance. Rabies gets a lot of attention in the summer. If during the daytime, you see a fox, raccoon, or other mammal that is normally nocturnal and elusive acting aggressively or strangely, keep away. Contact local animal control authorities or the police immediately with the location of the animal.

Finally, always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. These days with cell phones, SUVs, and GPS, we have gotten somewhat complacent on this basic safety rule. Murphy's Law is lurking out there - no cellular signal, dead batteries, twisted an ankle - insert your own excuse here. No wildland adventure is without some risk - it's why we call it "wild" and part of the appeal of venturing outdoors! If you take simple steps to be prepared, have the proper gear for the conditions and take basic safety precautions, you optimize your chances for a great wildland experience. Now go out there and have fun, seek adventure, respect and enjoy our great wild places.

Some Common Sense Comfort & Safety Tips To Make Your Outing More Enjoyable... Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner provided some good, common sense safety tips in his Fishin' Report to use while canoeing and wading to make you outing more comfortable. Jeff advises, "Be sure to take plenty of bug spray and suntan lotion, you don't want to end up like me with melanoma popping up every now and then. That's a by-product of me running up and down the river in my youth with nothing on but cut-offs. Make sure everybody wears flip-flops or old tennis shoes or something. There are so many things out there on the bottom that can ruin your trip it just makes sense to sacrifice the Nikes. You can go to Wal-Mart and get a pair of slip on water shoes for $10, that is unless you have 5-E wide feet like I do. It's why I swim a lot better than I walk! A small first aid kit is also a good idea. All you need is a zip-lock. Toss some band-aids and Neosporin in there along with your cell phone and fishing license and you are done. And last but not least, especially if you're leaving a vehicle at one ramp and putting in upriver of that, be sure someone knows where you're going and when you're expecting to be back. By taking a few precautions and following these tips you can expect a wonderful family adventure on the river."

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

This summer boating season VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:

Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!

"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.

Critter Corner

by Marlene A. Condon

Introduction

Many people are afraid of the natural world because they are not very familiar with the critters that inhabit it. Even those folks who don't fear wildlife may not know much about the many animals sharing their world.

For example, most people know what a walkingstick is, but very few have any idea what it eats (leaves) or what it does all day (not much—these insects are active mostly at night).

"Critter Corner" will introduce you to all kinds of animals that are common in Virginia and that may even be in your own back yard.

You'll learn about the lives of these critters: what they eat and what eats them, the time of year you are most likely to see them out and about, and what roles they play in the environment.

I'll also tell you about some of my personal experiences with these animals and I'll provide habitat tips that will make your yard more nature-friendly and a wonderfully enjoyable place to be!

For as long as I can remember, I have been thoroughly enthralled with the natural world. I have paid attention to it, thought about it, and documented my observations in writing and photographs for decades. I look forward to sharing with you what I have learned.

Isopods (also known as Wood Lice)

The group of animals called isopods (Greek for "same foot") includes the commonly seen sowbugs and pillbugs, collectively known as wood lice. These critters have seven pairs of legs that are all about the same in length and structure.

Although commonly mistaken for insects, isopods are actually land crustaceans closely related to lobsters and shrimp. Like their water-dwelling relatives, wood lice live in damp areas because they breathe through gills.

Another common name for the pillbug is "roly-poly". It has a jointed coat of armor just like an armadillo, which gives both kinds of animals the ability to roll up into a ball. They do this to protect their soft bellies from predators.

Time of year to see them and where: As soon as the weather warms up in the spring, these invertebrates come out from the cracks and crannies where they hibernated. They remain active all during the growing season under rotting wood and plant debris. Several can usually be found underneath outdoor potted plants.

Food: Sowbugs and pillbugs feed on decaying plant and animal material.

Environmental function: Wood lice are recyclers of organic matter, breaking it down into smaller bits that tiny animals in the soil can feed upon, ultimately returning nutrients back into the soil for the benefit of growing plants. They also serve as food for other animals, such as birds and spiders.

Personal observation: Carolina Wrens around my house feed their chicks almost nothing but wood lice for several days after the eggs hatch.

Nature-friendly garden tip: Keep plant debris in your flower beds so wood lice can break it down and thus help to fertilize your plants for you! Don't remove wood lice from underneath your potted plants as they are cleaning up organic matter that has fallen through the drainage holes.

Naturalist Marlene A. Condon is the author/photographer of The Nature-friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People (Stackpole Books; information at www.marlenecondon.com). If you have a question about plants or animals, or gardening in a nature-friendly manner, send it to NTRLDY@aol.com and please watch for an answer in this publication.

VA State Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Provides Funds for Conservation -- Stamp Available July 1

On July 1, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) began selling the 2012 Virginia State Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The artwork for the stamp, painted by John Obolewicz, is entitled "Buffleheads at Cape Henry Light" and depicts a pair of bufflehead ducks arching up with outspread wings on the water, with the lighthouses at Cape Henry in the background.

Obolewicz's painting was selected by a judging panel made up of VDGIF staff and representatives from the Northern Virginia Chapter of Delta Waterfowl; Waterfowl USA; Virginia Ducks Unlimited; and Virginia Waterfowlers Association. All submitted entries were produced by Virginia artists.

A Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is required of all persons (unless license exempt) 16 years of age and older hunting or taking any migratory waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant and swans) within the Commonwealth.

The annual Stamp can be purchased for a fee of $10.00 (resident or non-resident) at license agents or clerks that sell Virginia hunting licenses or from the Department's website. Stamp collectors who would like the 2012 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Collectors Stamp and/or print with artwork by John Obolewicz can request it by contacting Mike Hinton at du@hintons.org.

The funds generated from sales of the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp are placed in the Department's Game Protection Fund and are accounted for under a separate fund designated as the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Fund. These funds are used for three specific purposes which include; to contract with appropriate nonprofit organizations for cooperative waterfowl habitat improvement projects; to protect, preserve, restore, enhance and develop waterfowl habitat in Virginia through the department's waterfowl program; and to offset the administrative costs associated with production, issuance of, and accounting for the Stamp. Last year, 22,464 duck stamps were sold bringing in $224,640.

Remember as of July 1, all migratory bird hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a valid Federal Duck Stamp while hunting, but conservationists, birders, and others also buy the stamp to support habitat conservation. Anyone who holds a current Federal Duck Stamp may also obtain free admission to any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that charges admission fees. For details read the feature article in the People & Partners section of this edition of the Outdoor Report.

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.

Snakes Alive! Leave Snakes Alone

Snakes have been the focal point of folklore for centuries. The word "snake" itself often yields a strong emotional response ranging from awe and wonder to shock or fear. These individual responses originate from the diverse values people associate with snakes. While some people find them fascinating, others are not very fond of snakes because they do not appear and behave like any other animals we know. Additionally, there are numerous deeply rooted tales and myths about the extraordinary powers and abilities of snakes. Regardless of the source of our response, misconceptions about snakes have made them among the most feared and misunderstood of all animals. Once we begin to learn more about snakes, our misconceptions usually fade with the facts and our fears give way to curiosity.

There are many different control strategies for dealing with snakes, whether in a residence, a business setting or other occupied space. Regardless of why a snake may have entered a residence or work area, most people just want to know how to remove it. How-to information and literature on dealing with snakes is available from different sources. Under Virginia law, snakes are classified as a non-game species and are afforded protection under non-game regulations. While killing snakes is not a permitted activity, they can be taken (along with certain other species of wildlife) when classified as a "Nuisance species" (29.1-100); when found committing or about to commit depredation upon agricultural or property damage, or when concentrated in numbers and manners to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance. For example, if a blacksnake is found in your chicken coop, you have the legal right to kill it; or if a copperhead is found in your garage, you have the legal right to kill it. Basically what this means is that, for example, if a snake crawls into a chicken coop or into someone's house, the individual is allowed to take some action to protect livestock or family.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), along with many other governmental, nongovernmental agencies and private citizens, has worked diligently to dispel the belief that "the only good snake is a dead snake." Snakes play a valuable role in nature and help control insects and rodents that damage crops and carry diseases harmful to humans. Millions of dollars in crop damage is avoided every year as a result of the free pest control service that many snakes provide. In order to help citizens better understand the ecological value of snakes and identify snakes in their areas, the Department has developed "A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia". This publication covers many interesting facts regarding Virginia's snakes including their contributions to the ecosystem. This publication is available for purchase at www.HuntFishVA.com.

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

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

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for early July:

Answers to June 13th edition quiz for nature events for late June...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

**Don't forget that June 16, 2012 is the deadline for submitting photos to the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest

Habitat Improvement Tips

Elk Restoration Update for June 2012

Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) biologists brought 11 elk to Virginia from southeastern Kentucky on May 18, 2012. They returned to Kentucky and brought another 7 elk to Virginia on May 24th. Sixteen of these elk had been in quarantine for disease testing since February 7th and two were calves born in quarantine. All received a clean bill of health before coming to the release area near Vansant in Buchanan County. Once in Virginia, the elk were placed in an acclimation corral to calm down before release. All adult elk wore new GPS telemetry collars so that biologists could monitor their movements following release.

Biologists released the first 11 elk on the night of May 23rd. They released elk in the second group on three different nights due to the birth of two additional calves in the acclimation corral. Two pregnant cows were released on May 29th, a pregnant cow and two cows with calves were released on May 31st, and the last cow and calf were released on June 7th.

The telemetry equipment performed well in the rough terrain, providing three locations per elk each day. Following release, all elk remained within a mile of the acclimation corral for several weeks. Elk found plentiful forage due to the reclamation work completed by the mine operators and the abundant rainfall this spring. Cows with calves had the smallest activity areas, ranging from 90 to 364-acres. Yearlings and cows without calves had larger activity areas, ranging from 556 to 1,313-acres. The two 2-year old bulls had the largest activity areas, ranging from 7,255 to 9,133-acres.

While we have seen only one calf that was born outside the acclimation corral, the telemetry data suggests that several other calves have been born. It will be later in the summer when these calves are moving more that we get an idea of how many were born. At this time we have seen five different calves, four of which were born in captivity.

Look for exclusive updates in this section of future editions of the Outdoor Report.

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

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

Boating Safety Checkpoint gets unsafe boaters off the James... As part of Operation Dry Water, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries established a boating safety checkpoint on the James River in Henrico County on June 23, 2012. Assisting in the operation were officers from District 17, officers from District 14 and officers from the Henrico PD Marine Unit. When the operation concluded, a total of 23 boats were inspected as they passed through the checkpoint with several summons for boating violations issued. In addition, there were arrests for boating under the influence, refusal to submit to a breath test, possession of marijuana, and the apprehension of a fugitive from justice.

Region II – Southside

Heroes on the Water Outreach Program benefits veterans... On Saturday June 16, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Jessica Whirley attended an event held at the Sandy River Reservoir for wounded veterans. The 'Heroes on the Water' program had the wounded warriors and out-patients from McGuire's VA Hospital on the water paddling in kayaks. Volunteers of the program take the service members out on the water for about three hours of exercise. For more information on this program to benefit wounded veterans and provide them opportunities to fish and boat from kayaks, visit their website.

BUI leads to ejected passenger... On Saturday, June 23, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Matthew Silicki and Sergeant Karl Martin arrested a Roanoke man for OUI on Smith Mountain Lake after ejecting his wife from a bass boat. He traveled almost a mile before realizing that his wife was missing and called 911 reporting that she had probably drowned. He was jailed in Franklin County with a BAC of .27. His wife was pulled to safety by another boater that observed the mishap.

CPOs patrol dangerous dam spillway in public boating safety effort... District 21 Conservation Police Officers were requested to patrol the area behind Smith Mountain Dam on Saturday, June 30, 2012. The safety barrier that keeps boats out and away from the dam and that also serves as a security barrier, was breached and as a result allowed boats to navigate to the face of the dam and spillway. Power generation at the dam creates a significant force and any boats or people within the parameters of the safety barrier would be in jeopardy of serious injury or worse. Officers were on scene for most of the day while the control cables were spliced to secure the floating barrier that prevented boaters from accessing these turbulent waters.

Region III - Southwest

Reckless Jet Skiers caught when victims note boat number... On June 14th, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips conducted a boat patrol on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County. During his patrol, Officer Phillips checked two gentlemen fishing on a jon boat that complained about a jet ski that had sprayed them, circled their boat, and cursed them before taking off down the lake. Officer Phillips noticed that both men were wet from being sprayed with water. Officer Phillips attempted to find the jet ski, but was unsuccessful. Then, on June 21, 2012, Officer Phillips received another complaint from a couple that had been out on the 14th that described the same thing happening to them about a mile upstream. The second complainant was able to write down the PWC's boat number. Officer Phillips ran the number and called the owner of the PWC. The owner confirmed that his son and his friend were out on the water that day. Officers Phillips and Wensel located the two suspects and interviewed them both. After a short interview, both suspects admitted to the reckless operation and submitted written statements. Charges are pending on both men for reckless operation of a motorboat.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

Officers Share Boating Safety with 200 Boy Scouts... On Thursday, June 21st, Virginia Conservation Police Master Officer Grauer and Senior Officer Landers participated in a Boy Scout Day Camp at Leesylvania State Park. The officers brought the 23 ft. Maritime Skiff over to the state park marina along with Fairfax Marine Patrol and the US Coast Guard patrol boats. The Scouts ages were 7 to 10 years old and numbered around 200. The kids were allowed to climb aboard the patrol boats while the officers gave a brief talk about boating safety and law enforcement on the water. The kids really enjoyed the opportunity as well as the parents.

K9 Team Update

Two New K9 Teams Added to VDGIF Law Enforcement

To address the demands of the public in providing a comprehensive list of services, VDGIF developed a K9 investigative team within the Law Enforcement Division over a year ago. In partnership with the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, three K9 units were placed into service in May 2011. The program was so successful in its first year of operation, with numerous arrests and lost/missing persons found, that two more K9 units were added this past May. The Department's K9 program officially grew by two units with a graduation ceremony on May 1, 2012 at VDGIF Headquarters in Richmond. Senior Conservation Police Officer Frank Spuchesi with his partner "Comet" and Senior Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings and partner "Josie" received their Certificates of Completion in Wildlife Detection, Tracking, and Evidence Recovery from Agency Director Bob Duncan. The two new K9 Teams will be assigned to Region 3 in Southwest Virginia and northeastern portion of Region 4 in Frederickksburg. With the addition of the two teams all geographical and administrative regions are covered more effectively thus reducing response time to incidents – time being a critical factor in many instances.

The first three K9 Team members introduced over a year ago included: from Portsmouth in Tidewater region, Conservation Officer Megan Vick and her partner Jake; from Appomattox County in Central Virginia, Senior Officer Richard Howald and his partner Scout; and from Rockingham County in Western Virginia, Senior Officer Wayne Billhimer and his partner Justice. All of the dogs are Labrador Retrievers, and underwent intensive training before joining their handlers working the woods and waters of Virginia. The K9 teams all 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. Make a Donation to the K9 Team at: www.vawildlife.org/k-9.html.

For more information visit the Law Enforcement section on our website. There is also a feature article in the June 2012 edition of Virginia Wildlife Magazine, "Canines On A Mission", by Clarke C. Jones. 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. Their activities are featured in the K9 Team Update in the Virginia Conservation Police Notebook section of each Outdoor Report.

Come meet all five VDGIF Wildlife K-9 Teams as they join The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, Bass Pro Shops, Responsive Management, Take Me Fishing™ and VDGIF as they sponsor the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday evening July 20, 2012 at The Diamond. "Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out will celebrate the great outdoors through educational venues, on-the-field games, fan interactions, giveaways for all and more. For details on the event and how to get your tickets read the feature article in the Headline Section of this edition of the Outdoor Report

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.

Grants Available to Localities for Public Boating Access Facilities

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announces the availability of boating access grants beginning July 1, 2012 and is currently accepting applications. Eligible to receive grants are Virginia localities (counties, cities, and towns). The purpose of the grants is to assist localities in providing public opportunities for boating through new facilities development and/or renovations and improvements to existing public boating access facilities. For more details, go online to to download the following information:

Recreational boating is a popular activity and there are approximately 250,000 registered boats in Virginia. Many more boats—canoes and kayaks—that are not registered use existing facilities and are in need of additional sites. This grant program provides up to 75% of the approved project costs to construct or renovate boating access facilities for both trailered and smaller, hand-launched boats. Applications are due no later than October 1, 2012; grants will be awarded by January 1, 2013. Funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis.

For more information, contact Steve Kesler at steve.kesler@dgif.virginia.gov, office phone (804) 561-1447, or cell phone (804) 840-9493

"Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out Celebrated at Richmond Flying Squirrels Game July 20

Come join The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, Bass Pro Shops, Responsive Management, Take Me Fishing™ and VDGIF at the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday evening July 20, 2012 at The Diamond. "Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out will celebrate the great outdoors through educational venues, on-the-field games, fan interactions, giveaways for all and more. It is also "sleepover night on the field" for the Scouts so the celebration gets even bigger! You don't want to miss this game with the introduction of the VDGIF's newest Wildlife K9 Units and The Floating Fishing School new pontoon boat sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and featured exhibits from Law Enforcement, Boating Safety, Hunter Education, Outdoor Report free subscription sign up, and much more. Also, Bass Pro Shops is providing 2,000 Kevin Van Dam fishing lures as a giveaway to fans attending the game.

So, "Let's root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, if we don't see you at the game!" Let's show our spirit and support those great American traditions like fishing, hunting and baseball! Visit the Richmond Flying Squirrels website for tickets or contact Tom Wilcox, VDGIF, at 804.367.6892 or Tom.Wilcox@dgif.virginia.gov for event details.

VDGIF Conservation Police Officers will be on hand to meet the fans and promote great fishing and boating opportunities with The Floating Fishing School, the new pontoon boat sponsored by Bass Pro Shops at the Flying Squirrels vs. Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday evening July 20, 2012 at The Diamond. There will be featured exhibits from Law Enforcement, Boating Safety, Hunter Education, Outdoor Report free subscription sign up, and much more. Also, Bass Pro Shops is providing 2,000 Kevin Van Dam fishing lures as a giveaway to fans attending the game.

The Outdoors Unlimited Online Magazine Video Library: It's finally here!

Anglers now (and very soon hunters) will be able to go to the ODUMagazine™ website click on the "Video Library" tab choose a species of fish, choose a fishing technique and watch an ODUMagazine™ recommended video, on how to improve your time and success on the water. Larry Thornhill, Editor and Chief of the on-line magazine notes, "The " Video Library " is an easy way for anglers to find the video(s) that will hopefully impact their knowledge and fishing abilities. We have streamlined the process for you. You no longer have to search through hundreds if not thousands of videos that may or may not apply to the topic you are looking for. Wasting all your time and effort just to find out that it wasn't even close to what you were looking for. We have spent countless hours viewing and categorizing each video in an effort to make your search easier, by creating this easy to use library. For example; click on the "Video Library" tab, select Bass Fishing, a drop-down screen appears, select, " Carolina Rigs " click on the link and a list of per-selected videos will appear covering "Carolina Rigs". Then all you have to do is click on the video that you want to watch. It's just that simple."

Various manufacturer videos will be included in the library, so anglers can dive directly into how a specific bait is to be presented and fished. Our "Video Library" will be growing weekly with newly recommended videos.

Check back often to see what has been added. We will also be making announcements on ODU Fishing News when new sections are added. We are working in the library as we speak, finding the videos (see below) that help anglers improve their time on the water.

For further information, sponsoring a section, or possibly have your video added, contact Bill Schwarz, Assistant Editor at schwarzw@odumagazine.com.

Here's some links for bass and crappie...

Bass Fishing: Jigs, Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs and Alabama Rigs.

Crappie Fishing: Bobber and Float Fishing, Crappie Rigs, Minnow Rigging, Cranking Crappie and Trolling For Crappie.

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 Middlesex 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.

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!

Hot Summertime Fishing

The hot months of summer can present some challenging fishing days. Not only is the heat difficult to bear, but the fish are not cooperating as well as they did so recently when it was cooler in the spring. Don't give up; there can be some hot fishing action in the summer.

Summer is a time of extremes which can be a great advantage to anglers. The hot temperatures can narrow your focus and eliminate 80% of the water before you begin fishing. Fish are motivated by survival instincts and they will be looking for optimal water conditions that present the best opportunity to live and feed. Look for the coolest, most oxygenated water, shade and the windiest areas. Follow these tips to help narrow your focus while fishing in the heat.

Fishing Early: Beat the heat, by setting the alarm early and getting on the water before sun-up and fishing until mid-morning. Fish are tuned into the time of day and night and they know the sun is coming up soon. Sunrise is a time of high activity as the environment changes from darkness to light. Fish during the pre-dawn hour are ready to feed and they just might be at their most aggressive state of the day in the morning period. Come off the water by 11:00 in time for a siesta!

Night Fishing: One way to escape the heat of the hot summer sun is to avoid it all together. Time your trip to take advantage of the activity before sunset and/or the "magic sunrise hour."

Go Deep: Deeper water is cooler and can provide comfort for fragile baitfish and larger predators will follow. A depthfinder/GPS is a helpful tool to find deeper hotspots and schools of fish and baitfish. Fish will typically be found at unique places in the topography near a creek or river channel.

Current: Moving water is like a fresh breeze to fish. On a lake this might be in the form of run-off from a recent rain, wind, hydropower generation from the dam or the current in the headwater/river section that feeds the lake. It might be a good idea to leave the lake and fish a river. Wade or kayak fish a river above the fall line; the smallmouth will be right in the riffles during the hot months and wading helps keep you cool.

Shade: Capitalize on the shade at every opportunity. Fish the shady side of the body of water or target large over hanging trees, bridges or docks.

Stay Hydrated: Regardless of what approach you take to summertime fishing; taking care of your body is paramount. The greatest threat is overheating and becoming dehydrated. It is important to consume plenty of fluids, especially water. Maintaining proper hydration begins before the trip; begin drinking fluids an hour before you get on the water to stay ahead of dehydration. Drink water and sports drinks during the heat and stay away from the soda.

There is a silver lining to the dog days of summer: many anglers will choose to stay at home and watch TV in the A/C which means less competition on the water for you. Staying at home seems like a nice option, but fish feed frequently in the summer and there are great opportunities to take advantage of some hot summertime fishing!

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.

The following is one of my Mom's favorite memories of fishing with her Dad, John Gartner, outdoor writer and conservationist.

You catch them, you clean them. One of my Dad's Mantras. In my memory all those cleaning tables blend together into one satisfying blur. It is hot, but a breeze is blowing in from somewhere cool. Conversations cheerful. Lots of laughing, lots of scales flying, rainbows in each separate one if you looked close enough. Exhilaratingly smelly, slimy fish guts running through my fingers as we rinse the filets, all ready to bring back to Mom. Looking forward to dinner. Perfect. Thanks, Daddy.

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. In spite of the HOT!! weather the water at Little Creek is in good shape. The temperature is at 90 degrees and a visibility of 15 ft. and at full pool; that is unusual for the creek. The fish that are being caught are mostly on points or ledges holding in 20 ft. of water. A vertical presentation works well, jigs, lipless cranks, or blade baits, to name a few. Look for fish where you found them in the winter. Bass to 4 lbs. fell to finesse wormers. Shakey head and drop shot, down size your bait. Striper were on last week, look for them on main lake points near the channels where multiple points come together. Trolling along these points may produce fish of many kinds. Yellow perch, gills, and a couple crappie came in also. Medium minnows, inline spinners, and red worms deep will catch them. Cats are fun, but not easy on the creek. However, you may try chicken franks or shrimp, that way if they aren't biting you can have a picnic. Have fun and take a kid fishing.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester. The high temperatures this week has most anglers staying home. The fishermen that are catching bass are getting here when we open at 6:00 a.m. and getting on them early. I have been sworn to secrecy, but a couple of bass anglers have caught plenty of nice bass this weekend with some of the bass going up to 5 lbs. The key is fish early and deep. The sunfish are plentiful and can be caught on worms or crickets. I have no reports of channel catfish being caught, but again not much pressure put on them this week due to the heat. The water is fairly clear, down about 6 inches and 91 degrees. Beaverdam will host the next Big Bash series tournament September 15th. For more Information, visit our website or call the Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. Wow, it has been a strange year, the shad and herring were way up the river earlier than in any recent years due to an extremely mild weather this winter. The warm weather has continued (actually I believe I have to call it "hot weather"). This warm weather has the gar in Cat Point Creek (a tributary of the Rappahannock River) acting like it is August already. They are schooling up and doing their antics on the surface while they swim about and gulping air putting on quite a good show. The fishing action is also HOT. Lots of big gar eager to take a minnow and put on a great fight and aerial show.

I had the pleasure of having some Hanover School System students out with me on Monday, June 25th. This was the day of the first in a series of Big Storms with "straight line wind" that did so much damage thru central Virginia. We tracked the storm by 2 different radar systems and decided to run up into the creek and take a shot at catching some gar. On the first bait put into the water Ryan Burkett hooked up with a 44 inch Gar. After a great battle with lots of excitement getting the other rods in and out of the way, we managed to get the fish into the boat. I looked over to the west and the sky was starting to get real ugly and wind was picking up a bit so we pulled anchor and ran back to my dock and took some pictures there, the fish was shown off in style and then released to fight again. Sometimes I wonder if these fish enjoy being caught. It is sort of like a ride at an amusement park. Lots of excitement, some element of danger, then you get your picture taken and are allowed to go about your business.

After the storm passed and cleared the area, we decided to go back out and try again. By this time the current had started to move swiftly and getting fish to buy a ticket for the ride was a bit harder to do. We had several promising runs but they were spooked away and gave up the bait. Finally, we had another great hook up. This time Tyler Bailey was the angler and he managed to get a 42 inch gar to the boat. The fish was still quite energetic and made several good runs after seeing the net. After netting and wrapping up those teeth in a towel, we got a few good pictures, shared a few high fives and sent the fish back to share his story with the other gar in the creek.

I expect the action to continue to be very good for the next few months. See you on the water.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim says that the fishing is good. Croaker can be found at the Oceanview Pier and at the mouths of the York and James. They are going for bloodworms, squid and Fishbite. Spot are biting bloodworms and Fishbite at Lynnhaven Inlet. The Flounder bite is good at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel; try small live spot, squid and minnows. Both Spanish mackerel and bluefish can be found at Cape Henry and are taking fast (around 5 knots) trolling spoons.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. According to Alton Williams, the bass bite is "so-so", and seems to vary from day to day. Top-waters have proved effective. No word on crappie, perch or bluegill. Cats are taking cut bait and live eels. The water is fairly clear and very hot.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day main lake water temperatures ranged from the high 80s to mid 90s last weekend. The lake level was slightly above the top of the dam. The water was dark, green, and moderately murky in the lower lake and up the major creeks. Larger crappie and a few nice white perch were in mid depths around the creek mouths and on mid depth wood cover in the main lake. Small to medium crappie with a few large crappie were widely scattered on flats in the lower parts of creeks and 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. Small to medium bluegill were scattered in the creeks and were moderately numerous around shorelines in the main lake. Most larger bluegill had moved off shorelines and were on shallow or mid depth flats near shorelines. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, small Wright Bait Co. curlytail jigs, small swimbaits, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small spoons. Bass and bowfin were scattered, with some next to the shoreline vegetation and in channels in the creeks and others along the shorelines and mid depths in the main lake. Bass were most active at sunrise and were hitting live minnows, creature baits, soft plastic stick baits, crankbaits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Hollis Pruitt had 35 bluegill, 2 white perch, 3 crappie, 1 warmouth, and 1 bass. Scott Agner had 49 bluegill, 1 shellcracker, 1 crappie, 1 warmouth, and 1 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports that lots of bass are being brought to boat early and late. Try top-waters, cranks and spinners. No word on crappie, but they are out there. Lots of cats are coming in, both blues and channels. They like cut bait. The white perch bite is good with spinners, small jigs and night crawlers. Bluegill up to a little over a pounds are going for small worms, crickets and top water poppers. The water is clear, low and in the low 90s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. According to Drew Dixon, the bass bite is good early and late, with top-waters being the lure of choice. Crappie have gone deep, but will take the traditional minnows and jigs. Cats are hitting on cut bait and stink bait. Perch action is slow. Bluegill are slow to bite as well, but may take crickets or red wigglers. The water is clear and 83 degrees.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Well, it looks like the hot weather is upon us in good fashion now. It's so hot the river water has warmed all the way up to 83 degrees...and climbing. The result is a sluggish bite and just poor fishing at least on the lower rivers. I have heard some good fishing could still be had upriver on the Nottoway, but you're going to have to leave the bass boat behind and get out the canoe. Actually it's a great way to fish this time of year. When you get too hot you just step out in the knee-deep water and take a dip. Helps wash off all those smashed deer flies also. You might have to do some portaging on the upper river right now, but usually every one of those you make it over the fishing gets better. People are lazy, so the more log-jams you can get behind you the more fishing pressure you leave behind also. It's a great time to take the kids, the dog and the wife also because if they get bored they can wade around in the water and find mussels and let the minnows nibble on their feet. Moonpie loves it on that part of the river. Oh, sorry wife came after everybody else! Unintentional. Take a picnic lunch, as there are plenty of nice sand bars and little secluded islands to lunch on.

Some comfort /safety tips to make your outing more enjoyable... Be sure to take plenty of bug spray and suntan lotion, you don't want to end up like me with melanoma popping up every now and then. That's a by-product of me running up and down the river in my youth with nothing on but cut-offs. Make sure everybody wears flip-flops or old tennis shoes or something. There are so many things out there on the bottom that can ruin your trip it just makes sense to sacrifice the Nikes. You can go to Wal-Mart and get a pair of slip on water shoes for $10, that is unless you have 5-E wide feet like I do. It's why I swim a lot better than I walk! A small first aid kit is also a good idea. All you need is a zip-lock. Toss some band-aids and Neosporin in there along with your cell phone and fishing license and you are done. And last but not least, especially if you're leaving a vehicle at one ramp and putting in upriver of that, be sure someone knows where you're going and when you're expecting to be back. By taking a few precautions and following these tips you can expect a wonderful family adventure on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. Fishin' is still HOT on both the James and Maury. A little finicky on the bite, but slow it down every once in a while on your retrieves with crankbaits and spinners. Jerk it quick several times and let it sit for a 2 second count. Those fish following it will run into it and you got 'em., or just fish soft plastics slowly along the bottom. Both options are bringing fish to the boat consistently. We continue to have high numbers of fish coming into the boat. If you want quality not quantity remember, bigger, deeper, and slower. Hit those deeper pools just below a rapid and don't be afraid to drop anchor!

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike told me that the intense heat is keeping most anglers away. Those that do go fishing for cats are finding success with cut shad and eel and live eel. The water is clear and in the low 90s.

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

Note: Our man in the boat, Willard Mayes, has been injured in a farming accident and couldn't go fishing. We are sure that you join us in wishing him a speedy recovery.

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. What a June we had. As I sit here on the 4th of July with stitches in my arm, I can't help but think back on what I went through in June. I've spent nights in motels,had my leaf springs break on the boat trailer, tires had to be replaced on the trailer, got hooked in the nose, sat through some heavy storms, and endured the 105 degree heat, but we continued on and caught fish. Which is the purpose of what I love to do, share my love of the rivers and the fish that call them home. Fishing was great this past month. We continued to find fish up to and over the magical 20 inch mark. Fly anglers started to see the top water action get heated up along with baitfish patterns bringing quality smallmouth to the net. Conventional anglers throwing soft plastics and crayfish crankbaits saw their catch rates climbing in numbers also. We have been getting on the river a little earlier because of the heat and threat of afternoon storms. Don't let the heat keep you from fishing. This heat will make the fish feed more as their metabolism speeds up and it takes more to keep them going. Look for fish whereever there is a current stream. Both the James and Shenandoah are low and clear. Fly anglers should start going with 12 foot leaders and fish your way into the bank structure. Don't cast deep first as you may spook a nice fish that is sitting at the shade line just waiting for a meal to drop from overhanging limbs. The damsels and dragon flies are out by the thousands and the dog day cicadas are starting to sing. Contrary to old myths I find and catch the best smallmouth between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the heat of the day. Again the cicadas and other aquatic foods are more abundant at this time. Conventional anglers see top water action by using Zorra Pups, Tiny Torps and Pop- R's. Cast a Tiny Torp tight to bank structure and hold on! Please take care of yourself while out in the heat by keeping yourself hydrated well. Also protect yourself from the sun's harmfull rays. I wish I had taken more care as I may not be sitting here with stitches in my arm from having some cancer removed (again).

Looking for some new water to fish? I highly recommend a family fun day floating the Shenandoah participating in this years Shenandoah Riverkeepers Rodeo this Saturday July 14th on the South Fork near Bentonville. Its a family filled fun day. Come float and/or fish the river and return back for some mighty fine eats and music. Jeff Kelble has done a super job and deserves all of our support for what he has been able to get accomplished for protecting the Shenandoah. See details in Region 4 section.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow told me that the bass have gone deep, try plastics in Green Pumpkin or cranks. The fish should be hanging out 15 to 20 ft. down. Crappie are about 15 to 30 ft. down near brush and bridge pilings. Not many crappie have been landed lately, but those that have been were good sized. The slabs will take minnows and jigs. Cat action is fair, with cut bait and live shad and bream proving effective. No word on bluegill. White perch can be had off points with minnows and jigging spoons. The water is clear and in the upper 80s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf says that the smallmouth bite is "not bad" with top-water popping bugs. Rainbow and brown action in the Jackson is good with ants. The water level in the mountain streams are too low to allow for fishing. The water is clear and warming.

James near Lynchburg: Contributed by Jared Harker, owner of Confluence Outfitters, (434) 941-9550. No report this edition.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that the bass bite is "so-so". Go deep with a suspended jerkbait. Crappie fishing has "tapered off", but try a minnow or jig about 7 or 8 feet down. Cat fishing is good with clam snouts and chicken livers. Yellow perch are in cover and will take small minnows and small spinners. Bluegill anglers are in luck; the little guys are going for anything from crickets to hot dogs. Craig says that fisher folk are almost guaranteed success. The water is in the mid 80s and clear.

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.

Stripers: Most striper anglers are having the most success using live bait on downlines. Others who prefer to use artificial lures are catching stripers by either casting, counting down and retrieving or vertically jigging with flukes, spoons and bucktails. Some anglers prefer to set up and let the striper schools find them. A favorite tactic is to anchor a boat on a steep sided deep water point and then fan cast cut or live bait on bottom rigs so the bait is located on the bottom off the sides of the point. These anglers report success catching both stripers and catfish. Stripers are also being caught by anglers trolling umbrella rigs by Captain Mack, three-way rigs, Alabama rigs, diving crankbaits and deep diving jerkbaits. This time of year when the stripers are schooled up, many anglers will ride around slowly looking for striper schools on their electronics and once schooled stripers are located they quickly set up above them with live shad, large/jumbo shiners rigged on downlines or standard jigging tackle.

If you want to learn how to fish for stripers this time of year I suggest you consider booking a trip with one of the many professional guides around the lake who will provide instruction as well as a great charter. One I have personal experience with is Captain Kenny Short at Kenny's Guide Service. Kenny can also be contacted through Facebook, along with a chance to see some really great pictures of nice stripers.

Bass: Fishing continues to be good. Tournament and casual anglers continue to catch both good numbers of bass including some good quality fish. Most reports are that the bass have pulled back and are now found in deeper water, off the sides of steep bluffs, near deep structure and in the shade under deep water docks. Anglers report catching bass on a variety of lures including shakey head jigs, Pig & Jigs, Texas and Carolina rigged plastic worms, lizards and creature baits. Wacky rigged Yamasenko worms continue to be productive as well when cast and allowed to sink along deep water dock pilings and along the sides of rock bluffs and ledges. Some anglers suggest inserting finishing nails, specialized tungsten weights into the ends of sinking worms (Senko's) or using specialized jigs (Zappu Inchi Wacky) to get them to sink quickly and fish deep.

Deep diving crankbaits and slow rolled spinnerbaits also good choices off the front and sides of deep water docks and submerged structure near or in deep water. Those that have good electronics, can read them well and are comfortable finesse fishing with light-weight line and terminal tackle have found the drop shot rig to be a good choice for bass. Straight tail Roboworms are excellent drop shot lures and Aarons Magic, Aarons Magic Red Flake, Kerrlicious and Morning Dawn are all good colors. While some anglers still use a full spool of fluorocarbon line for their drop shot rig, increasingly anglers are tying one side of a very small, high quality, ball bearing swivel to the end of their main line and attaching a five to six foot section of fluorocarbon line (8-14 lb.) to the other. They are attaching a hook (Drop Shot, Octopus. Small EWG) using the Palomar knot about two feet below the swivel and threading the tag end back through the eye of the hook so it remains point up on the line. They then attach a drop shot sinker, bell sinker or bead, swivel and bullet sinker to the tag end at a length below the hook that is the distance off the bottom they wish to present their lure. This rig is then lowered to marked fish or cast and retrieved very slowly. When a bite occurs, simply lift your rod and reel keeping tension on the line. Some anglers attach a jig to the end of the tag end instead or a sinker so they effectively have a jig on the bottom and a drop shot worm suspended one to two feet above it.

Panfish: Fishing for small panfish has slowed now that the water has warmed to well over 80 degrees. Small warmouth are still holding in the shallows of some rip-rap and can be caught within a foot or two of the rocky shoreline. Most other panfish have moved into shaded areas or deeper in the water column. Red wiggler worms and small shiners rigged on a number 6 gold thin wire hooks are producing some white perch, crappies and panfish. Catfish continue to be caught on night crawlers presented on bottom rigs, especially at night. Crappie and white perch continue to take small minnows deep and to hit small grubs on lead headed jigs around deep-water docks.

The water is clear with temperatures are ranging from 80 to 86 degrees. Tight lines and enjoy the wonderful weather over the next couple of weeks.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Mike Burchett says that the best bass fishing is to be had at night using dark colored Jolt spinners. During the day, try top-water Ricos in a natural shad pattern or, off the dock, a Senko in Green Pumpkin. No word on crappie. Cat action is good at night at Peak Creek with live shad. Stripers can be had during the day by slow trolling an umbrella rig at 30 ft. of line. The water is clear and in the low to mid 80s.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the smallmouth bite is best early and late with flukes and tubes. Muskie action is slowing down, but try anything you would use to get a bass. The water is clear and "very, very warm".

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The water temperature on the Upper New is an unheard of 84 degrees thanks to this oppressive heat wave. The water level is dropping drastically due to no rain and the evaporation factor adds up to a very sluggish bite for the fish. They simply don't have to feed very often in these conditions. A cooling trend is forecasted by the time this report reaches you and there should be some much needed rain with it so hopefully this will all come together and get the fishing back up to standards. We are still catching muskie and smallmouth but it is an early morning and late evening bite. If you want to battle the mid day heat, try small plastics with a slow presentation for the smallies. Fish need to be landed quickly and released FAST in these conditions to help their survival rate. Stay hydrated out there and don't forget your sunscreen. New River Charter may also be found on Facebook.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says that the smallmouth bite is "awesome". Try soft plastics in just about any color, cranks, top-waters and jerkbaits. For muskies, use an inline spinner. The water is clear, low and in the 70s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Record high warmth on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries) has brought the water temps up into the 80s. A cooling trend this week will be welcome. Fishing is still good as water clarity is about 6 feet. Try top-waters and soft plastics for spin fishers; poppers, baitfish and crawfish flies for long rodders.

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

Shenandoah River Rodeo July 14 at Bentonville

James River Guide L.E. Rhodes, www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com posted a recommendation in his report on this years Shenandoah Riverkeepers Rodeo. Its a family filled fun day. Come float and/or fish the river and return back for some mighty fine eats and music. Jeff Kelble has done a super job and deserves all of our support for what he has been able to get accomplished for protecting the Shenandoah.

The Shenandoah River Rodeo is a celebration of the Shenandoah Valley's best resource: the river! This is the 5th year Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble is bringing people together for an afternoon on the river! The Shenandoah River Rodeo is a party with paddling, fishing, live music, and camping...all on the banks of the South Fork! Join us on July 14 for a monster BBQ, door prizes, and a live blue-grass band, Uncle Henry's Favorites! The Rodeo will be at Low Water Bridge Campground, 192 Panhandle Road (Route 613 off Route 340), Bentonville, Va. on Sat, July 14th from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $30 for individuals and $50 for couples. Get more info here.

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry, The smallmouth streams in both the North and South forks of the river are clear, 79 degrees and at a perfect level for floating or wading. Good flies are: Murray's Floating Chub Minnow, sizes 4 and 6; the Shenandoah Damsel Popper, size 4; and the Shenandoah Sunfish Slider, size 4.

The large stocked streams in the Valley are low, clear and 78 degrees. At these high temperatures, it is best to fish at dawn or dusk in heavily shaded areas. Good flies are: Murray's Dark Stonefly Nymph, size 12; Murray's Yellow Stonefly; and Casual Dress, size 12.

To land a brookie, it's best to go to the upper reaches of the river. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 16 and 18; the Mr. Rapidan Ant, sizes 16 and 18; and the Spirit of Pittsford Mills, size 18. The water is 59 degrees, clear and low.

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 edition.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Visit Puff's website for latest news on fishing conditions.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: CatchGuide.com) Way too hot to fish! I've been hunkered down just trying to survive!

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures in the upper 80s due to the extremely hot air temperatures the past week. Largemouth bass are schooling and chasing bait fish all over the lake. Numbers of largemouth bass have been caught this week on shad like imitating lures. Noteworthy: Kenny Powell of Orange County caught a behemoth 25.5 inch largemouth bass weighing in at 8 ½ lbs. Crappie can be found in large numbers around the fish attractors and standing timber in 12 ft. of water. The key is to use your electronics to locate the fish and set your lure at a depth a foot above where the fish are suspending using live bait. Catfishing is excellent throughout the lake with the upper end of the lake being most productive, numbers of 4 and 5 pounders being caught with chicken liver the bait of choice, but some fish are also being taken on live bait, such as minnows and night crawlers.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. No report this edition.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. No report this edition.

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

Stripers: HOT! Although the weather may be hot this month fishing for stripers will be even hotter. The water temperatures in July range between 85 degrees up to 92 but the incredible live bait bite that we experienced in June will continue through July. Last month we were averaging 30 to 50 stripers a morning with catches getting increasingly larger toward the end of the month. (View our catches online at www.JimHemby.com) Stripers are schooling chasing baits to the surface early in the morning and on cloudy days then sounding to depths of 25 to 40 feet deep, making live bait fishing and trolling very effective. Schools can be found from the Splits down to the dam in the main lake regions of the lake. By far the most productive way to catch stripers this month will be to use herring rigged on downlines presenting the baits at the exact depth that you see them on your depth finder. When using this method it is difficult to keep up with the constant and frantic action and this method usually produces the larger fish. When fishing with live bait it is common to take 250 hits a morning providing plenty of action for everyone. Lake Anna stripers are excellent table fare with the creel limits being 4 fish per angler over 20 inches per day.

Bass: The Bass are in their summer patterns and are predictable in their feeding habits. Early in the morning it is hard to beat working primary points nearby deep water with top-water baits such as Spooks, Chuggars, Prop Baits, etc. Many bass will school in the mouths of creeks on structures especially humps and ledges where baitfish are present. Once the sun gets bright, bass will retreat back to the depths using stumps, rock and brush piles, bridge pilings and ledges as cover. Use deep diving crankbaits, Carolina, Texas and drop shot rigs to catch these bass. Throw a huge 9 to 13 inch Texas rigged worm into deep cover to catch fish that are pressured with conventional baits. Later in the month, if we get rain, bass will turn on in the backs of creeks on ledges of the channels in water depths ranging from 2 to 10 feet deep.

Crappie: Most crappie have moved to deeper water and are feeding heavily on 2 inch bait fry. Structures in 15 to 30 feet can hold schools and should be fished vertically using your depth finder to keep you on your target. Night fishing can be excellent for crappie, find deep dock with lights on them for some summertime action.

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

Whether fishing, boating, hunting, camping hiking, or a trip to the beach, outdoor adventure shared with family members can create lasting memories. For 18 year old Rebecca Patton, a Senior at Lancaster High School in Lancaster, her most memorable outdoor experience was a weekend trip to Virginia Beach. The interaction with people and nature made for a lasting impression and inspiration to seek new adventures in the outdoors. Rebecca submitted her story in the 2010-11 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and placed in the Top 15.

The Trip to Virginia Beach

By Rebecca Patton

"Wake up girls! We're going to Virginia Beach today!" my Dad shouts through the door. I immediately jump out of bed with joy, thanking the Lord for this blessing. This was a much-anticipated event in my house because my brother Adam is home with his fiancée Brittany for two weeks, and they wanted to be part of our family tradition this year. Going to the beach has been a family activity long before Adam was even born. The only reason we had not gone yet was because we were waiting for the perfect weather conditions. Now that the weather is perfect, my oldest brother Curtis and his wife Vivian and their three kids decided they wanted to come too. I love these traditional trips to Virginia Beach with my family.

After breakfast, I dress in my bathing suit and pack up all the necessities needed for the day. When we are ready to go, which is about 10:30, we get into the car and start with a prayer for safety before we begin our three-hour drive. Since I am squished in the back with Adam, Brittany, and Erica, we make a stop to Curtis and Vivian's house to drop me off so I can ride with them.

We arrive at Virginia Beach at 1:30. We find the perfect place to set up the beach chairs and the blue beach umbrella. I immediately run into the water, since I already put on my sunscreen in the public bathroom.

As I hit the first wave, I am surprised because the water is quite pleasant when it is usually cold. I go in and out several times, sometimes with my boogie board. I carry my niece five year-old Stella a few times at the edge of the water when she asks me; "Can you hold me?" I teach all the kids to dig for sand crabs, little grayish creatures that live in the wet sand at the edge of the ocean. I say that if they feel any movement when they're digging, grab hold of it and pick up the crab in the handful of sand. They love the creatures and I help them catch more to put in their bucket. To keep the crabs alive, we kept the bucket full of sand and water. Brittany and Stella's seven year-old brother Ian bury Adam in the sand and are careful not get any sand in his hair or eyes. I build a sand castle, but two-and-a-half year old Joel sees it and charges up to it and destroys it.

At 5:45, we leave for the Golden Corral in Norfolk and arrive forty-five minutes later, probably at 6:30. After we eat a wonderful dinner, we all leave for home. When I arrive at Curtis and Vivian's house, I only have to wait for a few minutes before Mom, Dad, and the gang arrives to pick me up. We all went to bed at 10:30 because it was late and we were tired from our day at Virginia Beach.

As I look back to that day at the beach, I am amazed at how many little details, memories, and events I remember. I also compare it to other days at the beach, when I was a little kid swimming, digging for sand crabs, and building sand castles, all of which I did with my big brothers and sisters. I smiled at the thought of how I am a big kid now and that my niece and nephews are the little ones and, that I still take the time to do various activities with them. I suddenly realize that it is the little details that make up our lives, not the big ones. We remember the little memories the most, which makes them very important in our lives. If little events have this effect on life, then it should have the same effect on a single day. This is why my day at Virginia Beach is important to me, because it reminds me that even the tiniest memories from my past can link up with memories from the present.

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: