In this edition:

The Turkeys are Gobblin' and the Fishing is Heating Up!

This April 24th edition has spring in full bloom and with warm sunny days and ample April showers, gardens and food plots are being tilled and seeded to renew the cycle of planting and harvest. This is the traditional season when freshwater fishing action really heats up in lakes and rivers across the state. We've posted the Kids Fishing Day calendar, so look for an event near you and plan for some family fun. The turkeys are gobblin' and the fishing is getting better by the day.

Spring turkey hunting is a fantastic way for families to experience the excitement and natural beauty of the forest. From all the emails and phone calls that have been coming in from around the state it looks like the families are having some great success pursuing thundering gobblers. This edition has some great photos and stories of success and excitement by young hunters during the special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Day April 6.

Read about these hunting adventures and of other successful young turkey hunters in Hunting News You Can Use section. Trout stocking has begun and the streams are beckoning. Be safe and have fun enjoying the blossoming of Spring.

David Coffman, Editor

Lapsed Anglers... We Want You Back!

Have you not fished, or purchased your fishing license the past few years? VDGIF Outreach Manager Lee Walker announced that the VDGIF is once again participating with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) to implement an Angler Retention and Fishing License Marketing Program. This marks the 5th year of partnering with RBFF to increase fishing license sales and angling participation.

Beginning April 1, 2013, approximately 72,000 postcards will be mailed to lapsed anglers throughout the state. At the same time, we will be launching a new effort involving a direct-mail marketing campaign aimed at 17,504 boaters who have not renewed their boat registration for at least one boating season. This is a 100% RBFF-funded direct-mail program.

Virginia Program At-A-Glance

VDGIF Outreach Manager Lee Walker advised, "If you have already received a postcard, or heard from various family members or friends from this first mailing, we hope that this gentle reminder will help generate some interest on your behalf, and that of other Virginians to purchase your license and get back on the water. This simple, and inexpensive effort not only shows your support for the important work being done by VDGIF, but also instills a sense of responsibility and stewardship for our wildlife and natural resources." Licenses can be purchased online, or at hundreds of license agents throughout the Commonwealth.

Proposed Regulatory Amendments Pertaining to Hunting and Trapping, Foxhound Training Preserves, and Other Regulations of the Board READY for Public Comment April 2, 2013

Public Comment Period April 2-May 31

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries has proposed amendments to the regulations to govern hunting and trapping during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons, foxhound training preserves, and other matters regulated by the Board. The regulation amendments proposed by the Board on March 20-21, 2013 will be published on the DGIF website at the start of a 60-day proposed regulation public comment period that opens on April 2 and closes on May 31, 2013. Regulatory comments received by DGIF during this period will be provided to, and considered by, the Board. In order to be submitted to the Board for their consideration during regulatory actions, comments must be in writing and accompanied by the name, address, and telephone number of the party offering the comments. Comments lacking the submitting party's identifying information may be received by staff but will not be considered by the Board.

The channels for submitting written comments during the April 2-May 31 proposed regulation public comment period are:

Please note that comments on the proposed regulation amendments received outside of the public comment period are not provided to the Board. (The exception is public comments made in person at the March "regulatory proposal" and the June "final action" Board meetings; these are considered by the Board even though given outside of the designated public comment period.)

Ask Your Friends if They are Still Getting Their Outdoor Report

If you are reading this – that's good news! We have just discovered we've lost a random group of subscribers back in December- January. Somehow our 'system' lost or dropped several thousand subscriber emails-- we aren't sure what happened. We have no way of knowing who got dropped. We've gotten a lot of emails from loyal readers letting us know they had not received their January or February editions. Please help us restore our subscriber list by contacting your friends and colleagues and asking if they received this March 13th edition of the Outdoor Report. If not, advise them of this subscriber address glitch and forward them this edition.

Contact your friends and colleagues to check their spam folders... David Murr, VDGIF Webmaster notes that from time to time, email providers implement changes to the way they try to detect which incoming emails are "spam" and which are legitimate messages. Sometimes, real emails—like the one you get twice a month to let you know the latest Outdoor Report has arrived—are flagged mistakenly as spam. If you don't hear from us on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month, take a moment to look in your spam or "junk mail" folder, to make sure it hasn't ended up there.

To make sure you receive the Outdoor Report every time, be sure to "whitelist" our address (OutdoorReport@dgif.virginia.gov) by adding it to your email account or client's "approved senders" list. Taking this action will ensure that your email provider never marks our messages as spam by mistake. If your friends and colleagues have also requested the Outdoor Report, and suddenly stop receiving it, please tell them to also whitelist our address, and re-subscribe if necessary.

If you ever need to subscribe again, you can do so on our subscription page.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Calendar Posted on VDGIF Website

The 2013 Kids Fishing Days event table is now posted on the VDGIF website. View it from the Upcoming Events page and there is a link under Contests and Ongoing Events on the right side. There are 40 events posted currently and new ones will be added as they are submitted. VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator Chris Dunnavant notes, "More and more people are utilizing this web-table and traveling significant distances to experience a Kids Fishing Day." Send in your photos of family fun to the Outdoor Report. Share this information with family and friends and "Take a Kid Fishing!"

Orvis Offers Free Fly Fishing Clinics in April-June

The Orvis Company will once again be rolling out the successful and popular Fly Fishing 101 program beginning weekends in April and going through June of 2013. This a comprehensive and fun program consisting of fly fishing lessons designed to welcome new, novice and advancing students to the great sport of fly fishing. And the best part – it's FREE! FF 101 offers 2 hour weekend classes designed to teach students the basics of fly fishing. Fly Fishing 201 takes students to the next step by bringing them to the water to apply their skills and actually catch fish!

Once instruction is completed each group attendee will receive a $25 coupon off any purchase of $50 or more good toward full price Orvis merchandise on that day only. Additionally each group attendee will receive a certificate for a free Trout Unlimited Membership and a free membership to Federation of Fly Fishers- A $70 value. The total free package value with instruction is valued over $100.00!

FF 101 classes will meet at Orvis Woodbridge, Potomac Town Center, Woodbridge VA. FF201 classes will meet on the water at a location TBA. Call the store 703-576-7661 to secure a spot today as classes are limited and first come first serve.

Orvis Woodbridge FF 101 Dates: April /13,27,28 – May/4,5,18,19,25,26- June/8,9

Orvis Woodbridge FF 201 Dates: May/11,12- June/ 1,2,15,16

Orvis stores throughout Virginia are holding the fly fishing clinics. Visit www.orvis.com/flyfishing101 for a list of store locations or to register for classes near you!

Wheelin' Sportsmen Plan 3 May Fishing Events

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen have some exciting fishing events planned for this spring.  If  you have a disability and want to join us, now's your chance. Last year we held our first West Augusta Outdoor Day near Staunton, and we'll return again this year on May 11th. If you weren't there last year, you missed out on our NWTF award-winning Best New Event of 2012, as our participants shot skeet, crossbow and reeled in big catfish all day. The Little Switzerland Chapter NWTF will re-stock their trout pond with rainbows on May 18th, so head for the beautiful mountains of Monterey... and plan to take plenty of trout home! On Saturday May 25th, the Grace family will host their 7th annual Mossy Creek Trout Rodeo near Broadway, just north of Harrisonburg. We will be fishing a mile stretch of the scenic Smith River, stocked with browns and rainbow trout. You do not want to miss out on this event! Registration Forms are available at www.vanwtf.com

We have numerous events planned throughout the year, ranging from turkey, deer, dove, and waterfowl hunts to fishing and shooting events, in all areas of Virginia. As an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation, our events are open to anyone with a disability, and there is no charge to participate. If you'd like to receive news of our events, please contact Robin Clark at 434-249-6154 or via email.

Virginia Cave Week April 21-27 Features Tours of Frederick County Natural Area

Cave Week, April 21-27, is a special opportunity for Virginians to learn about the world beneath their feet. The week is intended to raise awareness of Virginia's caves — and surrounding limestone habitats known as karst. Featured this year are free tours of Ogdens Cave Natural Area Preserve in Frederick County scheduled for April 22-24, 4 until 8 p.m. Participants will be able to see the cave's entrance room, pools, inhabitants and an underground segment of Buffalo Marsh Run. Above ground, the tour will feature riparian buffer and prairie restoration projects under way at the natural area. There are more than 4,000 known caves in Virginia, predominately in the Shenandoah Valley and southwest. Caves provide habitat for rare or threatened species such as bats and cave-adapted invertebrates. In addition, karst supplies water to many communities in Virginia. Most caves are on private property. A few have been converted into popular tourist destinations, or commercial caves. Lesson plans, virtual tours and other educational resources about caves and karst are available at www.vacaveweek.com.

NRA Courses in Basic Pistol and Personal Home Protection at Holiday Lake April 28-30

Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center located at 1267 4-H Camp Rd. Appomattox, VA 24522 is offering the Two Courses in Two Days on April 28th-30th. NRA Pistol Basic Course teaches the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary for safely owning and using a pistol. This course meets the requirements to obtain a concealed handgun permit in Virginia. Personal Protection for the Home Course follows the NRA Basic Course and teaches advanced shooting techniques. It is an excellent course in safety and how to be more prepared in the invent of a home invasion. Both courses are taught by a certified NRA instructor and are offered at $215 which will include all course instruction, materials, meals and lodging. This is a live fire class (22 cal. Pistols will be available, students must provide ammo). For more information or to register please visit us at www.holidaylake4h.com/nraclass.php or call us at 434-248-5444.

Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival April 25-27

Celebrate spring migration at the Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival April 25-27 at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Join expert birders and guides to explore the Swamp with guided bird walks, canoe trips and bus tours. Get a close-up look at colorful songbirds with bird banding demonstrations and explore the Swamp at night with Owl Prowls. There will be photography workshops to hone your skills and a variety of exhibits and fun children activities at the Festival HQ on Saturday April 27th. DGIF is proud to help sponsor this great wildlife experience. Registration is free! Call (757) 986-3705.

Explore the Outdoors Event for Kids in Chesterfield April 28th

Come join the fun with the Community Idea Stations and Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation at the Explore the Outdoors event Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 1-5 pm, at Huguenot Park, 10901 Robious Road, North Chesterfield, VA 23235.   From nature walks to outdoor investi­gations, families, friends, and neighbors are invited to participate in hands-on experiences that encourage kids to learn about science. VDGIF staff will have furs, skulls and other hands-on wildlife identification items. The day will feature 40+ local organizations which specialize in outdoor activities for families and is free and open to the public.  Explore the Outdoors activities and parking will be held at Huguenot Park. Next to the park, the Community Idea Stations studios will be open for tours and kids will have a chance to meet Curious George plus see themselves on TV.    The Virginia529 Savings Plan is the funding Sponsor. For  more information visit the website: http://ideastations.org/exploreoutdoors

Urban Survival Course in Franklin County April 27-28

An Urban Survival Weekend course has been scheduled for April 27-28, 2013 from 8 am-5pm each day at the Franklin County Public Safety Training Center located at 1488 Franklin St, Rocky Mount, VA 24151.  The course cost $25 and will cover a broad range of topics:
Water Sources: Finding them and making them potable, Waste Management and Disposal, Food: Types, Proper Storage, Methods and Preparations, Preparing Your Home, Family, and Pets, First Aid Kits and Supplies, Hyper- & Hypothermia: How to avoid it, Prevention and Treatment, Heating and Cooling Your House Without electricity, Tips and Tricks, Natural Emergencies: Power Outages, Snow -Severe Storms, Fire, Earthquakes &Flooding,  Unusual Emergencies: Nuclear, Civil Unrest, Pandemic, Biological Event and Economic Collapse,  Shelter in Place or Bug Out, Herbs and Wild Foods, Non-electric Gizmos and Gadgets, Situational Awareness and Personal Safety, Basic Human Needs for Survival: Physical and Emotional. To register E-mail: michaelpruitt@franklincountyva.org or call  540-483-3091

Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake May 3-5

The Hunter Skills Weekend is a unique program open to ages 11-90+, that  offers opportunities to learn new skills or fine-tune the ones you already have.  Three 4-hour sessions in a variety of topics provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and include shooting, archery, survival, game cooking, treestand safety and a variety of hunting techniques. This partnership program is presented by the Virginia Hunter Education Association, VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center located near Appomattox. Registration is open until April 19, 2013 and the cost is $120.00 (meals and lodging included); a discounted fee is available before April 12, 2013. Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred but not required; children under 18 must attend with a parent. For more information visit www.holidaylake4h.com or call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444.

Ann & Rob Simpson Featured at Shenandoah National Park Annual Wildflower Weekend May 4 & 5

Ann and Rob Simpson, award-winning photographers of from Stephens City will be giving a presentation, book signing and hikes the weekend of May 4 & 5 at Shenandoah National Park for their annual Wildflower Weekend. It is free and open to the public. The link to the park website and further information and schedule can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/wildflower-weekend.htm. Both Rob and Ann are teachers at Lord Fairfax College in field biology sciences, natural history and international nature photography. Visit their website for more information on courses, books and other training events available: www.snphotos.com

4th Annual CPS Vegetation Management Workshop in Wakefield May 8

CPS Timberland will be hosting its 4th Annual Vegetation Management Workshop on May 8 at the Airfield Conference Center in Wakefield. This meeting will include representation from Forestry, Wildlife, Utility Rights of Ways and Aquatics markets and offering recertification credits, CFEs and Sharp Logger. This program is landowner friendly and will cover new pesticide laws, updates on NPDES, invasive species, forestry and wildlife management techniques, product updates, equipment demonstrations, new cost assistance programs and more. For folks wishing to come in the night before, please contact the Airfield Conference Center to secure your lodging needs. For info or to register contact:
Doug Pond (804) 241-8118 or Charlie Smyth (804) 513-7185
PRE-REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY - RSVP by May 6, 2013 via email to: charles.smyth@cpsagu.com or doug.pond@cpsagu.com

VA Herpetological Society to Hold Annual Survey at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park May 3-5

The Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) will hold its Annual Spring Meeting & Survey at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and a portion of False Cape State Park, in Virginia Beach, May 3-5.  Established in 1938, Back Bay NWR contains over 9,250 acres, that includes a thin strip of barrier island coastline typical of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Habitats include beach, dunes, woodlands, agricultural fields, and emergent freshwater marshes. The majority of the property's marshes are on islands within Back Bay.  Public vehicle access is not allowed beyond the visitor center at Back Bay NWR nor in any part of False Cape State Park.  The Park is a mile-wide barrier spit between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of 4,321 acres with 5.9 miles of beachfront, extending to North Carolina line.  Access to the Park is through the Back Bay NWR and is limited to hiking, bicycling, or boating.  VHS will rely on Park personnel to provide transport to and from several of the survey zones. VHS will have access to certain impoundment areas not open to the public.

Several species not frequently encountered have been sited within these parks, including rainbow snakes and State Threatened eastern glass lizards. VHS has agreed to observe/photograph and avoid any capturing/handling of any glass lizards. Also, eastern cottonmouths are frequently encountered within the refuge, so snake boots/knee high rubber boots are strongly recommended for all survey participants. All VHS surveys aim to find and document as many different reptile and amphibian species as possible during each event.  This data will be entered into VDGIF's databases, helping to keep these resources of data as up to date as possible. Anyone is invited to come join us and participate in survey events, as these events encourage educating as many as possible about Virginia's herpetofauna.  Please keep checking the VHS events webpage for further details about the event and lodging options as we get closer to the date.  Membership in VHS is not required to attend.  Please contact the event leaders to RSVP:  Dave Perry at vicepresident@vaherpsociety.com or Larry Mendoza at president@vaherpsociety.com.

39th Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally May 10 - 11

The 39th Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally will be held on May10th and 11th, 2013. ...as always, in Konnarock, Virginia. For details or to make a dinner reservation visit the website: mountrogersnaturalistrally.org.

International Migratory Bird Day Observed May 12

International Migratory Bird Day Observed will be observed May 12, 2013 with a focus on bird life cycles. This year's theme details all aspects of a migratory birds' life, from migration to breeding to nesting to raising young. Habitat conditions in one season may affect the survival and nesting success of birds in another. Winter habitats are just as important as nesting sites, and their quality influences nesting success. Stopover sites, the places where birds rest and refuel during migration, are also critical. Sandy beaches, forests, grasslands, and other habitats must be available as stopover points for birds flying long distances as well as for breeding birds. Local organizations are encouraged to celebrate whenever migratory bird arrival happens in your community or whenever you feel like celebrating birds!

To find an event near you visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/SpecialEvents/FWS_SpecialEvents_Search.cfm. For ideas about what to do at an International Migratory Bird Day event visit: http://www.birdday.org/birdday/event-ideas

The Miraculous Migration of the Monarch Butterfly May 15 in NOVA

The Friends of Dyke Marsh, Friends of the Potomac River Refuges and Georgetown University’s Center for the Environment May 15, 7:30 p.m., will sponsor a special program on the monarch butterfly. Larry Brindza will give a presentation on the life and migration of the monarch butterfly, one of the most amazing phenomena in nature. Every fall, he tags monarchs in the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Lorton and on Virginia’s Eastern Shore as the butterflies head south. In 2011, Larry was named Scientist of the Month by MONARCH NET, the North American network of monarch butterfly monitoring programs. Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Boulevard,Alexandria,VA 22306; 703-768-2525. Free and open to the public. Visit www.fodm.org and www.foppr.org

VA Herpetological Society Assists in Belmead BioBlitz in Powhatan May 18

The Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS)  will take part in the Belmead BioBlitz, to be held on the Francis Emma/Belmead Property in Powhatan County, on May 18, 2013.  This event is being hosted by the James River Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists.  The entire event will survey for all living organisms on this property, while VHS will participate in the group(s) that surveys for reptile and amphibians species on this property.  Francis Emma, Inc. is a nonprofit organization under the auspices of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament with 2,265 acres of land entrusted to its care, with 1,000 acres of this land placed in a  conservation easement.  All VHS survey events aim to find and document as many different reptile and amphibian species as possible during each event.  This data will be entered into VDGIF's databases, helping to keep these resources of data as up to date as possible. Anyone is invited to come join us and participate in survey events, as these events encourage educating as many as possible about Virginia's herpetofauna.  Please keep checking the VHS events webpage for further details about the event and lodging options as we get closer to the date.   Membership in VHS is not required to attend.  Anyone interested in participating in this event, must complete the registration and waiver forms on the following link, and email them to the given contacts:  https://sites.google.com/site/belmeadbioblitz/forms. For questions, please contact the VHS representative for this event, Dave Van Gelder, at dfvangelder@comcast.net.

"Ready, Set, Wear-It Lake Anna" Boating Safety and World Record Attempt Photo May 18

The public is invited to attend the "Ready, Set, Wear-It Lake Anna" Boating Safety event at High Point Marina 4634 Courthouse Road Mineral, VA 23117 on May 18 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and encouraged to bring their own life jackets –inflatable or traditional Type I, II, III or V styles. You can also participate in "the most people wearing life jackets at the same time," world-record attempt. The official count-down begins at 11:00 am when people will be asked to deploy their inflatable life jackets or don a traditional life jacket. An official tally and photo will be taken for submission to the National Safe Boating Council. Informational Displays, law enforcement vessels presented by the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Vessel Safety Checks by the USCG Auxiliary. For Additional information contact Stacey Brown, Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education at stacey.brown@dgif.virginia.gov.

"Ready, Set, Wear-it Smith Mountain Lake" at Bridgewater Marina May 18

Sea Tow and Bridgewater Marina at 16410 BT Washington Hwy. Moneta, VA 24121 on Smith Mountain Lake will sponsor "Ready, Set, Wear-It" on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, to promote life jacket awareness. Wear your life jacket and get your name in the drawing for fabulous prizes. Participants do not have to be present to win but must be registered to participate. Names of participants will be drawn by the Tow Bee and by Bridgewater Marina's Kayla Karet. Children attending the awards event will also be given a prize if they attend wearing a life jacket. For Additional information contact Stacey Brown , Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education at stacey.brown@dgif.virginia.gov.

Virginia State Parks and Outdoor Nation to Host National Outdoor Summits June-August at 3 State Parks

Virginia State Parks in partnership with Outdoor Nation, the millennial-led movement championing the outdoors, will host three youth summits this summer where millennial leaders will connect with local peers to identify regional outdoor issues, develop strategies and receive leadership training. The three-day Outdoor Nation Summits will gather more than 100 attendees. Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 28. "Millennials" is a term generally used to describe young people born between 1980 and the late 1990s. The summits are being held in partnership with America's State Parks Foundation's Ambassador Program and Outdoor Nation. Summits will take place at Natural Tunnel State Park in Duffield June 7-9, First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach July 12-14 and Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield August 1-3. During the Pocahontas State Park event, summit participants will be invited to work with the nonprofit Virginia Museum of Radio Entertainment during a performance by Dark Star Orchestra, Saturday, August 3. There is no cost for participants to attend the Outdoor Nation Summits – food and materials will be provided. Participants are responsible for their travel to and from the event. Campsites are available for summit participants, but they will need to bring a tent, sleeping bag and personal items. Tents can be provided upon request. To register for a summit, visit http://outdoornation.org/vsp. For more information visit www.OutdoorFoundation.org, www.americasstateparks.org/Ambassadors, or www.OutdoorNation.org.

Ed's Virginia Outdoor Blog Report

Editor's note... With the increasing popularity of blogs and other social media in outdoor communications, Virginia blogger Ed Felker offered to share his blog and those of fellow bloggers with our readers in the Outdoor Report. Ed is a graphic designer, writer, photographer, artist and outdoorsman. A native Virginian, Ed can most often be found near his studio overlooking the Potomac River, usually with a camera, often with a fly rod, always with a dog. In his blog, "Dispatches from the Potomac," he writes about fly fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking, photography and simply enjoying the outdoors. Ed serves on the Board of Directors for the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association and lives in Loudoun County with his wife and many, many animals.

I doubt I'm alone in declaring with longer days and warmer temperatures that it's time to get outdoors more often. No excuses! Those winter blues are gone but maybe a few extra pounds remain, so what better way to start moving than with a vigorous hike on a beautiful day!

The Appalachian Trail reaches from Maine to Georgia and takes 2,200 miles to do it. Like most things that go from Maine to Georgia, the historic trail passes through Virginia. Anyone who thinks Virginia isn't a large state has never had to walk it, as 550 miles — a full 25% of the trail — falls within the Commonwealth. Continue reading "The Appalachian Trail in Virginia: Miles 1 through 2" on Dispatches from the Potomac.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

Lee Tolliver will get you fired up for fishing with his early season fishing forecast in the Virginia Pilot online.

Seth from Bent Rod Chronicles has me absolutely dying to get out smallmouth fishing with his post, "Pig Wrestling!" Exciting stuff, Seth, well done! Seth is on the pro staff for Malibu Kayaks, Overboard Fishing Rods and Accent Paddle, so I plan on reading his blog carefully and picking up some pointers.

For a fishing change of pace, perhaps Tom Sadler's Series on Tenkara fishing on five great Virginia streams is for you. Congrats to Tom who has been hired as Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

I have recently become obsessed with trying to capture photographs of the several wood ducks we are lucky enough to have at the river where we live. So I was thrilled to come across Stephen Tabone's posts about photographing wood ducks. Fantastic images, Stephen!

Do you write about outdoor life in Virginia? Send your fishing, hunting, hiking, photography or other outdoor blog to Ed at ejfelker@verizon.net, and your blog may be featured in an upcoming Virginia Outdoor Blog Report!

In the next edition, look for Ed's experiences working with wounded servicemen and women with Project Healing Waters at Rose River Farm in Madison County. Read more about these events in People & Partners section, 2-Fly Tournament.

People and Partners in the News

Officer Dallas K. Neel Named Virginia Boating Law Enforcement Officer Of The Year

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) announced that Conservation Police Officer Dallas K. Neel has been named Virginia's Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2013. Along with that, he has been nominated for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2013. Experience in recreational boating enforcement, education and outreach to the community, was instrumental in Officer Neel's selection. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Dallas received a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1996. In 1997, he joined the Department where he was originally assigned to Richmond County. In 1998, he earned a transfer to Bedford County where he gained the responsibility for enforcement duties in Roanoke and Botetourt Counties, as well as the cities of Bedford, Roanoke and Salem. This duty station requires Dallas to patrol the Roanoke River, James River and Smith Mountain Lake.

Officer Neel is well known for his firm but fair boating law enforcement practices. He places a special emphasis on the detection and apprehension of those who boat under the influence or operate in a reckless manner. Neel utilizes his enforcement time wisely and dedicates a considerable amount to the enforcement of boating related activities. In 2012, he spent over 800 hours on these activities, with 430 hours spent on active boat patrols throughout his patrol district.

Neel utilizes unique enforcement tactics to gain compliance with Virginia's boat laws and regulations. Throughout 2012, he concentrated a significant amount of his boating enforcement time working waterways that have historically received little attention. These patrols proved very effective as violations relating to safety equipment, alcohol use, and drug abuse were detected in these newly patrolled areas. Boaters and other outdoor recreation users in these areas now enjoy a safer experience today due to Officer Neel.

Understanding that the world is an ever-changing place, Officer Neel realizes he must continue to learn new methods and techniques to use in the workplace. By attending numerous trainings, he has been able to polish and hone his skills. He has successfully completed the basic and advanced courses offered by NASBLA for Boat Accident Investigations. He has utilized this training to assist with evidence collection and documentation of reportable boat incidents on Smith Mountain Lake. Over the last few years, he has been heavily involved with the investigation of several complex boat accident investigations.

While working on and around Smith Mountain Lake, Officer Neel has taken boating and driving under the influence seriously as he goes about his daily patrols. In 2012, he arrested five individuals for operating a motorboat under the influence of alcohol and drugs and two others for driving under the influence. Dallas' alcohol related enforcement has not gone unnoticed as the Smith Mountain Lake Chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has awarded him their certificate of achievement for the past four years. This award is given to the officer that displays personal and professional dedication to reducing alcohol related incidents on and around Smith Mountain Lake.

Officer Neel consistently displays an outstanding ability to handle complex situations thus maintaining smooth operations in his district. Furthermore, he emphasizes boating safety and responsible boat operation techniques to everyone whom he comes in contact with. He fosters a positive relationship with other law enforcement agencies, officers and constituents. Time and again, his innovative methods and communication skills have proven to be an invaluable asset to this department. Officer Neel has proved to be a true asset to this department through his accomplished work history, as well as the professional and optimistic attitude he consistently displays while diligently serving the public.

To learn more about boating in Virginia, visit www.dgif.virginia.gov.

Media Contact: Captain A.B. Fisher (434) 525-7522 tony.fisher@dgif.virginia.gov

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing 2-Fly Tournament In Madison April 27-28

The Seventh Annual Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament will be held April 27-28 at the Rose River Farm in Madison County at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains to raise funds for this growing organization that provides recreation and restoration for disabled service members.  Individual and corporate donors will join forces to support Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) 147 programs in 46 states. While the Tournament Teams are already full, there are sponsorships available and banquet tickets for the Saturday evening dinner "under the stars". Click on this link for reservation and sponsor information. Sunday's fishing tournament pairs two PHWFF participants, either an injured service member or disabled veteran, with professional guides from across the region who are among the most notable names in the sport. Each team has a morning and an afternoon fishing session. In the end, with many large trout brought to hand, the winners will be determined by fractions of inches.

Participants in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) programs and alumni will also be on hand to discuss the challenges facing today's service members, both physical and emotional, and the impact PHWFF has had on their recovery and transition. Look for a special feature on the 2-Fly in the May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings. The 2-Fly Tournament is the organization's headline event to raise awareness and funding for its 146 programs across the nation. Visit the PHWFF website for more details.

Training for Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities

Only 30 individuals will be selected to participate in the Partners in Policymaking (PIP) program. Participants must live in Virginia, have a developmental disability, or be parents of young children with developmental disabilities. The Virginia Board for People with Disabilities covers all expenses for participants' training, lodging, meals, and travel. Featuring national experts through eight weekend sessions in 2013-2014, Partners learn about self-advocacy, supported employment, building inclusive communities, assistive technology, communication, independent living, and more!

For a complete schedule or to download the application, visit http://www.vaboard.org/policymaking.htm or http://bit.ly/13PIPapp

Watch 2 min. videos at http://bit.ly/Pip13Va or http://bit.ly/13vaPIP and hurry—completed applications (with 3 reference letters) must be received by April 30, 2013. For more information, call 1-800-846-4464 (toll-free, voice/TTY) or e-mail Rachel.Loria@vbpd.virginia.gov or Teri.Barker@vbpd.virginia.gov

Parent of a child with DD? Learn how to help them navigate school & life! Applications are due April 30; download at http://bit.ly/13PIPapp

Free advocacy training for people w/ DD or parents of kids w/ DD. Only 30 accepted; apply by April 30. Learn more at http://bit.ly/13PIPapp

Getting a job. A house. A ride. How can you help people w/dev.disabilities? Be a Partner in Policymaking! Apply by 4/30: bit.ly/13PIPapp

Want to advocate for people with disabilities? Apply to be a Partner in Policymaking by 4/30. bit.ly/13PIPapp or http://bit.ly/13vaPIP

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 these partner organizations, highlighting the groups programs and activities that support us in our Mission "working together for wildlife."

Lee County Strutters Chapter NWTF and Conservation Police Team-up for Youth Turkey Hunt

On April 6, 2013, the Lee County Strutters Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) held its first ever youth turkey hunt. The event was co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and organized by Conservation Police Officer Tosh Barnette. The local chapter advertised for the event thru the local newspaper, The Powell Valley News and the Daniel Boone Soil and Water Conservation District website. The five youngsters selected to participate ranged in age from eight to fifteen, had an interest in hunting but normally did not have an opportunity to go hunting. Three of the youth took and passed the Basic Hunter Education Class held at Lee County Career and Technical Center in March of 2013.

Hunter Education Specialist Jeff Pease was able to provide Conservation Police Officer Barnette many gifts for the youth hunters that included an Outdoor Education shoulder bag, pencils, 'The Great Hunting Debate' and 'Living with Black Bears in Virginia' DVDs, Hunting Heritage stickers, Virginia Wildlife calendars, hats and magazines. With assistance from NWTF Regional Director Billy Hall, the Virginia State Chapter of the NWTF provided a commemorative box call to each youth hunter. NWTF Board of Directors President Sam Mars III offered several diaphragm calls donated by vendors at the 2013 NWTF National Convention and Sports Show. The Lee County Strutters chapter of the NWTF presented the youth with camouflage gloves, face masks and Lee County Strutters chapter logo hat.

Each youth was accompanied by two adult mentors on the hunt to provide direction and monitor safety. Various private properties were utilized throughout Lee County for the event. Conservation Police Officer Barnette made contact with John Hartley, Southwest Operations Steward for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, and made arrangements for the youth to also utilize sections of The Cedars Natural Area Preserve for the hunt. The youth hunters and participants gathered on March 30th for a pre-hunt meeting where they were able to review firearm safety, pattern their shotguns and receive some turkey hunting pointers. All five youth hunters were able to be in the woods early in the morning on youth spring turkey day to hear birds gobbling on the roost and several observed turkeys during the hunt. One youth hunter was successful in harvesting a wild turkey gobbler. Her bird was not only her first ever turkey harvested but it had two beards and sported 1 1/8" spurs, quite a trophy gobbler. To conclude the event, all participants and volunteers were treated to a lunch donated by the local Subway restaurant. All the youth hunters expressed excitement and are looking forward to their next hunt.

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

Editor's note... The future of our hunting and fishing heritage and traditions is in the hands of the sportsmen that take the time to mentor new outdoor enthusiasts- especially children, creating memories and a passion for the sport to continue to a new generation. Family members and friends, hunt clubs, and numerous sportsmen organizations all have a part in this important mission. The following is an example of sportsmen organizations, businesses and VDGIF staff and volunteers parting to provide exciting, educational and fun opportunities for getting anglers and hunters of any age or experience level to try new experiences to renew their interest and passion for the great outdoors and making new memories with family and friends. David Coffman

Kids Catch Trout and Great Memories at Trout Heritage Weekend in Madison

The Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited and VDGIF partnered with Graves Mountain Lodge for the traditional first Saturday in April for Trout Heritage Day and a special Kid's Fishing Day. Several hundred trout were stocked along a private section of the Robinson River, solely for children under the age of 12 to experience the joy of fishing. A special thank you to all the volunteers from various organizations and agencies that shared their passion for fishing and the great outdoors with these youngsters and their families.

All photographs for this feature were taken by Lee Walker, VDGIF Outreach Director.

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.

Spring Gobbler Harvest Surpasses Previous Years

This 2013 Spring Gobbler Season is getting started with a BANG, posting a great opening day April 13 tally compared to last year, with a 27.4% increase.

2013
2876 Total
2507 adult
363 juv.
6 bearded hens

2012
2258 total
1948 adult
307 juv.
1 bearded hen

Outdoor Report Editor David Coffman, finally broke a 4 year slump and shot this 20.5 lb. gobbler with double beards 11 and 6 inches and 7/8 inch spurs. It was a "textbook" hunt with hunt club buddy Sherwood Londeree calling the Tom off the roost after the bird surprised the pair walking towards another gobbling bird further away in the woods. David noted, "This was the culmination of a lot of factors that came together after I missed a big bird 5 years ago... my buddy Norm McLaughlin gave me a Simmons Diamond pattern scope, and an 'undertaker' choke for the NWTF camo model Winchester 12 ga. pump shotgun I won at a NWTF Hunting Heritage Banquet, and using a chestnut box call I picked out at the last NWTF Convention I attended with my Uncle Tink Smith... Tink passed away last May at age 101, so this is the first gobbler season in 30 years that I won't get to hunt with Tink, but he was with me in spirit and I know he'd be proud of this gobbler and finally doing everything 'the right way' in the turkey woods just the way he taught me".

Stationary Waterfowl Blind Sign-Up Dates

Blind Licenses can be purchased online or at any license agent

Waterfowl hunters who license stationary blinds are being reminded by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to purchase their stationary blind licenses for this coming waterfowl hunting season (2013-2014) during the time periods listed below. These dates are the same as during the past 2 years and are as follows:

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

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

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

All other blind laws and blind purchase dates (Floating Blinds, Offshore Blind Stake Sites) remain the same as in the past 2 years. For all stationary blinds, if a stake has been erected on the site of a stationary blind, such stake must be replaced by a blind by November 1. Such stationary blinds shall conform to the standards prescribed in law. All blind licenses are sold through the VDGIF's point of sale system just as other licenses are sold. This can be done with any license agent in the state or via the internet from your home through the Department's website.

A license will be provided to you at the time of sale. You will have the option to request that a blind plate be sent to you if you do not have one. The blind plate, if requested, and a decal for the plate will be mailed to you within 3 to 5 business days.

Information on the dates for purchasing blinds and the purchasing process are also posted on the Department's website and will be listed in upcoming regulation brochures.

"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

R.T. Atkins Get First Gobbler on Youth Day Hunt

The Franklin County Long Beards Chapter of NWTF held their annual Youth Hunt during the special Youth Spring Gobbler Hunting Day April 6th and hosted seven kids paired up with volunteer chapter member "guides". Chapter Vice President Jack Watts was the guide for , R.T. Atkins of Glade Hill, a 13 year old 7th grade student at the middle school and this was his first turkey hunt, but he had experience deer, small game and duck hunting with his dad.

We were set up on the edge of a field at the base of Chestnut Mountain off of Rt. 40 east of Rocky Mount and enjoyed the calls of three gobblers beside the field and behind us. A gobbler entered the field at 8:30 am, about 100 yards or more from us, as we were listening to other gobblers in the woods behind us. R.T. was cool and calm while we watched the gobbler look toward the decoy we had set up and toward the other gobblers in the woods behind him. I told R.T. that he was waiting for the hen to come to him and also waiting to fight the other gobblers if they came into the field. After 45 minutes or so, he headed toward the decoy. I told R.T. the shadow in the field was the "game on" spot when he got there. The gobbler strutted much more often the closer he got and after he reached to shadow and stuck his head forward, I said "now" and R.T. took careful aim and fired his 20 ga. loaded with #5 shot and the gobbler dropped! That was about an hour and fifteen minutes after he had entered the field, so R.T. learned to be very patient and wait for the bird and the shot.

It was then that R.T. told me his heart was pounding in his chest, as he grinned ear to ear. This was his first turkey hunt, but he is an experienced hunter, having hunted small game, deer and ducks, but I think he is a turkey hunter now. What a great way to spend the morning....with a great young man; skillfully waiting and aiming for the shot. He was a great hunter, student and sportsman and I really enjoyed the hunt with him! The other kids were photographed with R.T.'s gobbler at the lunch we had for them at noon at Chapter Presidents Billy Thurman's home.

Wildlife Conservation Projects Update

Editor's note... In the past two years VDGIF has established restoration programs for bobwhite quail, mussels, elk and other species. Our readers have noted great interest in updates on these programs in particular and other species that are "in the news" and subject to special management considerations by VDGIF staff and partner agencies and organizations. These news items are featured in this section. DC

Ruffed Grouse Society Volunteers Complete H.C. Edwards Chapter Habitat Project

The H. C. Edwards Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) recently completed their 2012 Drummer Fund Habitat Development Project on Saturday, March 16, 2013. Eight volunteers from the Chapter and three volunteers from the James River Chapter of RGS (near Richmond) participated in the work day on the Highland Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near McDowell.

The Drummer Fund Project involved creating soft edges around a large, linear wildlife clearing to enhance food and cover for many wildlife species on the Wildlife Management Area, especially ruffed grouse. A total of 7 Heirloom apple trees (3 yr old) and over 250 fruit producing trees/shrubs of 5 different species were planted. All the apple trees, as well as a few Chinese chestnut trees, were protected by a 4 ft. high wire cage to prevent damage by deer until the trees mature. To facilitate proper planting of larger trees with big root systems a two—man auger was employed. The Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) donated 200 trees and shrubs for the project and the Chapter purchased an additional 50 southern crab apple shrubs. Meredith Leake with Heirloom Apple Trees, a private nursery near Hood, donated 7 apple trees for the project. These donations are very much appreciated.

The Ruffed Grouse Societies "Drummer Fund" was created in 2010 to fund statewide habitat projects. In every state where chapters hold a successful Sportsman's Banquet a statewide fund is created. The fund is used for projects within the chapter's state for specific habitat projects that are approved by RGS Regional Biologists on a ranking process.

VDGIF Bureau of Wildlife Resources District Wildlife Biologist, Al Bourgeois, who is an active member of RGS and helps plan and participate in many of the organizations habitat projects added an interesting side-note is the fact this project was completed in the county where the Ruffed Grouse Society was founded in 1961. Three gentlemen from nearby Monterey, Bruce R. Richardson, Jr.; Dixie L. Shumate, Jr. and Seybert Beverage were concerned about how to improve grouse habitat and so started the Ruffed Grouse Society. Fifty-two years later the local RGS chapter is still carrying out that desire.

Webpage Developed to Update Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation have developed a webpage to host information about the developing Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan (Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan).  Please check the webpage often for information about the planning process, as this webpage will serve as the main source of information regarding the plan.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation have developed a webpage to host information about the developing Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan (Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan). Please check the webpage often for information about the planning process, as this webpage will serve as the main source of information regarding the plan.

Update as of April 2013

The Wild Turkey Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) gathered for the second time on March 19, 2013, in Verona.  The SAC was introduced to the complex decision-making process in which the agency engages when allocating the wild turkey harvest; SAC members saw how decisions made relative to fall harvest have significant implications to both spring and fall seasons and participating stakeholders.  The SAC also continued work on identifying the values that drive identified issues and concerns related to wild turkey management.  Between the 2nd and 3rd meeting, the SAC will begin drafting preliminary goals for the management plan based on these values.  The third meeting of the SAC will be in mid-May, during which final draft goal statements will be crafted for public review.   Please continue to monitor the VDGIF website for future updates.

View the list of the members composing the Wild Turkey Stakeholder Advisory Committee on the website. The individuals serving on the committee represent a diverse group of interests; many are landowners, farmers, hunters, and are members of conservation groups. Five individuals are serving on behalf of an organization with stakes in wild turkey management in Virginia.

The Virginia Quail Team is on Facebook

The Virginia Quail Team is on Facebook! Like us at www.facebook.com/VirginiaBobwhiteBulletin . VDGIF Farm Game and Quail Program Co-coordinator Marc Puckett noted, "On this new facebook page you'll be able to meet the Quail Team, stay up-to-date on the latest quail news in Virginia, learn about habitat management techniques and quail ecology, and much more! Help us build a network of individuals dedicated to bringing back the bobwhite in Virginia. Help us spread the word to the next generation of quail enthusiasts. Local landowner interest and leadership is the key to quail recovery in Virginia."

VDOF and VDGIF Announce New Forestry Cost-Share Partnership

The Virginia Quail Team is pleased to announce the launch of a trial program partnership between VDOF and VDGIF to offer forestry related, wildlife friendly best management practice cost-share. These practices apply in the 15 target, or focus quail counties and are aimed at improving early-succession wildlife habitat while simultaneously targeting forest stand improvement. The program will be administered by VDOF and funded primarily by VDGIF via Quail Recovery Initiative funds. Visit the website for details.

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."

Elk Restoration Update

Elk Release in Buchanan County Makes History... 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. The Elk Restoration Project is the result of a long term partnership between VDGIF, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Buchanan County.

April 2013 Update: Allen Boynton, VDGIF Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist Manager for Region 3 – Southwest notes that, "Preparations are well under way for moving another group of elk to Virginia next month. Selected elk now in quarantine in Kentucky will receive a second round of disease testing in early May. VDGIF biologists expect to move more elk to the Buchanan County release site by the end of May.

The elk already released are all alive and within 3-miles of the release site in Buchanan County. It seems as winter will never end, but already the vegetation is starting to green up at the release site. The 5 bulls will soon shed their antlers. Hopefully the adult cows are all pregnant and we will be seeing a new group of calves in two months.

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

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

The Wildlife Foundation of VA Launches Quail Restoration Effort on Albemarle Property

The November December 2012 edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine in the Afield and Afloat section features an article by Jenny West, Executive Director of the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia on the Foundation's efforts to improve habitat for bobwhite quail on their 2,000 acre property in southern Albemarle County. As a pilot program TWFVA has released 500 birds at Fulfilment Farms and over the next few months will provide controlled public hunting opportunities, youth hunts and bird dog hunts to help revive this waning sport. Visit the www.vawildlife.org website for more details.

Habitat at Home© DVD 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!

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Make Your Spring Gobbler Hunt a Safe One!

This edition features numerous workshop opportunities sponsored by sportsmen's groups in partnership with VDGIF, encouraging special training for youth and novice hunters to participate in the upcoming Spring Gobbler season. To ensure a safe and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends reviewing the following guidelines for a safe Spring Gobbler hunting experience for young and old, novice and experienced alike:

Hunt safely, responsibly and ethically.

Get more tips on how to stay safe during your Spring Gobbler hunt!

Becoming Bear Aware!

With a healthy, growing black bear population, bear sightings are becoming common throughout much of Virginia. A highly adaptable and intelligent animal, bears can live close to people. While local residents often do not know bears are living close by, some bears may wander into residential areas due to the smell of food around homes. The most common food attractants are bird feeders, garbage, and pet food; however, outdoor grills, livestock food, compost, fruit trees, and beehives can also attract bears.

What should you do if you see a bear?

To learn more on what to do if a bear is consuming bird seed, garbage, pet food, etc., on your property, or if you encounter a bear cub, read more on the VDGIF website.

If you experience a bear problem after taking appropriate steps of prevention, please notify your VDGIF Regional Office. Phone numbers for the regional offices can be found by visiting the Department's website.

Living with Bears in Virginia, a video produced by the VDGIF, is available on the Department's website and provides tips for peacefully coexisting with bears. Please visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bear to view the video, print a brochure, read more about bears in Virginia, and view other useful links to bear information. Remember, if you live in Virginia, you live in bear country. Let's work together to Keep Bears Wild!

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

On July 1, 2013, all PWC operators 14 years of age and older as well as motorboat operators age 40 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater must have completed a boating safety education course and carry such proof in their possession while operating the vessel.

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!

This winter boating season VDGIF reminds fisherman and duck hunters 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.

Blackwater - Nottoway Clean Rivers Day Big Success

Another successful Clean Rivers Day was attended by 145 hardy souls Saturday April 20th. Twenty-eight teams hit the ditches, streets, streams and river to help clean-up our little piece of earth. They made a difference picking up an amazing 5067 pounds of trash and debris. This was the 12th Clean Rivers Day event held. "noted Riverkeeper Jeff Turner, we had people help from as far away as VA Beach and people as young as 4 and as old as 80 involved in the clean-up. Everybody that participated are in my book Defenders of the Rivers." Teams that have reported cleanup totals are:

Nottoway Indian Tribe of VA Team Ashland
PDCCC Science Team Three Rivers Bass Club
Team Blohn Franklin Rotary
Franklin Black Achievers Team Litman
Croaker Canoeing Nottoway Yacht Club
Team Davenport Zuni Ruritans
Franklin Garden Club Team Carmean
Team Hancock & Bunch Team Smith
Team Woodard Historic Southside Master Naturalist
Team Turner, Lee & Rogers Blackwater Outfitters
Team Wachsmann Franklin Beautification Commission

Arbor Day in Virginia Celebrated, April 26th

J. Sterling Morton initiated the holiday in 1872 in Nebraska and is credited as the father of Arbor Day nationally. Virginia adopted the concept and sets the last Friday in April as the day of our state Arbor Day.  Many community values are dependent on the health of our trees. The concern for their health is everyone's responsibility. Everyone needs to take a leadership role in increasing funding and programs for parks, trees, and greenspace. It's your urban forest, learn it, grow it, maintain it, enjoy it. Plant a tree to benefit your children and theirs. Arbor Day activities can occur throughout the month; for  ideas on activities in your area visit the VA Department of Forestry website for more details.

Critter Corner by Marlene A. Condon

The Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor): Its Significance to the Gardener

You may hear a lone treefrog occasionally calling on a warm spring day. However, male Gray Treefrogs don't start calling vociferously for females until spring nighttime temperatures have stopped falling below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

This minimum nighttime temperature is also a requirement for such warm-weather crops as tomatoes and green peppers. Thus a good way to avoid transplanting your veggie seedlings too early is to wait until after the raucous treefrog chorus has begun.

Treefrogs typically become very active around May Day, the first day of May. This date is known to us because it has traditionally been a time in cold-weather areas to celebrate the beginning of continuous warm temperatures.

A widely practiced tradition on May 1 is that of dancing around the Maypole, which I did as a child growing up in New England. It was marvelous to be outside feeling the heat of the sunshine after the frigid blasts of winter. I imagine treefrogs probably enjoy feeling that heat as well.

After having spent more than half of my life now in Virginia, I associate May 1 more with the Gray Treefrog than the Maypole. And for a gardener, that's a very useful association to make!

Time of year to see them and where: Look for male Gray Treefrogs after they have begun calling. This usually occurs around the end of April or the beginning of May, depending upon where in Virginia you live and the weather conditions that year. Males first locate a pond where females will be able to attach their eggs to vegetation near the surface of the water. You can look for calling males nearby on plants or even structures, such as benches or picnic tables, which they hold onto with large sticky toe pads.

Food: Gray Treefrogs feed upon insects, spiders, and other invertebrates that inhabit the trees where these amphibians spend most of their time.

Environmental function: A tree cannot support an unlimited number of leaf-eating insects without serious harm to itself. Thus treefrogs help to limit the numbers of invertebrates in the tree canopy so that trees can remain healthy. Treefrogs themselves serve as food for other animals, such as snakes, raccoons, opossums, and skunks.

Personal observation: One early-spring day as I was working in my fruit and vegetable garden, I decided to pull away some of the leaves that had gathered along the inside of the garden fence. To my surprise, I uncovered a treefrog that was hibernating under the leaves. I immediately covered the animal back up and, since that day, I have tried to only move leaves after I know (by their calling) that treefrogs have become active. However, if leaves are covering plants beginning to grow and they must be removed, I do it very carefully with my hands rather than with a rake.

Nature-friendly garden tip: Most people burn leaves or bag them for removal. But leaves really should be raked up around the tree from which they fell. Those leaves represent nutrients that the tree extracted from the ground and the tree needs those nutrients back to leaf out again in following years. Additionally, those leaves provide the tree's natural mulch that benefits its roots by maintaining moisture levels and moderating soil temperatures. Equally important, the leaf cover becomes a natural blanket for the benefit of invertebrates and even some vertebrates, such as Gray Treefrogs. These animals need shelter to protect them from the weather as they hibernate.

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 animals or gardening in a nature-friendly manner, please send it to NTRLDY@aol.com

Be a Sweetheart to Wildlife

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

Nuisance & Problem Wildlife

Modifications have been completed on the Nuisance and Problem Wildlife Section of VDGIF's website. Angela Weller, Executive Administrative Assistant in the VDGIF Bureau of Wildlife Resources notes that it is much easier to access the nuisance wildlife information. Simply Click on the Wildlife Information Tab from the home page and choose the second link, which is the Nuisance/Problem Wildlife Page. From there you can choose species pages with basic information on laws and regulations right at the top of the page.

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!

Explore the Outdoors Event for Kids in Chesterfield April 28th

Come join the fun with the Community Idea Stations and Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation at the Explore the Outdoors event Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 1-5 pm, at Huguenot Park, 10901 Robious Road, North Chesterfield, VA 23235.   From nature walks to outdoor investi­gations, families, friends, and neighbors are invited to participate in hands-on experiences that encourage kids to learn about science. VDGIF Wildlife Education Coordinator  Suzie Gilley will have furs, skulls and other hands-on wildlife identification items. The day will feature 40+ local organizations which specialize in outdoor activities for families and is free and open to the public.  Explore the Outdoors activities and parking will be held at Huguenot Park. Next to the park, the Community Idea Stations studios will be open for tours and kids will have a chance to meet Curious George plus see themselves on TV.    The Virginia529 Savings Plan is the funding Sponsor.   For  more information visit the website: http://ideastations.org/exploreoutdoors

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

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

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for early May:

Answers to April 10th edition quiz for nature events for late April...

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...

Volunteer VDGIF Hunter Education Instructors do much more than teach the required Hunter Education Courses, they also develop and assist with outdoor skills training events such as Becoming an Outdoor Woman workshops, sportsman show exhibits and other Special Youth Hunts throughout the year for deer, rabbit, waterfowl, squirrel and much more. To become involved as a Hunter Education Instructor, contact Sgt. David Dodson at david.dodson@dgif.virginia.gov. Please include your locality in the e-mail.

Region I - Tidewater

Operation Shad Dart... The annual migration of anadromous fish including Striped Bass, American and Hickory Shad, and River Herring is in full swing as these fish make their way from the Atlantic Ocean to their spawning grounds in the upper reaches of the James River. With a moratorium placed on American Shad and River Herring, and a current closed season on Striped bass, poaching is an issue at this time of the year. Officers from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries initiated a plan to help curtail the illegal harvest of the fish that could not be legally creeled. Donning plain clothes, and using unmarked boats, officers launched an operation to help put a stop to this activity. Anchoring the boats, and fishing amongst the multitude of boats and anglers, officers conducted surveillance in an attempt to detect violations. At a predetermined time, officers began inspecting boats and creel limits. When the operation was concluded, over 30 boats, and 75 fishermen were inspected. There were 11 summons and 3 warnings issued for possession of illegal fish, license violations, and violations for boating safety equipment. This operation helped increase public awareness and the determination of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to see that the resource will continue to be there for future generations.

Region II – Southside

Anglers Jump the Gun on Trout Heritage Day... On Friday, April 5th, Senior Conservation Police Officer Michael Morris and Senior Officer Frank Neighbors received information on four individuals fishing in stocked Heritage Day trout waters. Due to these waters being closed to fishing on this day officers responded to the area. Officer Morris found one fisherman fishing during this time and charged him with unlawfully fishing in closed waters. Officer Neighbors found three other individuals matching the description he had been given. Neighbors set up surveillance on the three suspects and eventually witnessed the three fishing in the prohibited waters. Neighbors charged the suspects with fishing in prohibited waters and fishing without National Forest Permits.

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.

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 2013 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 2013

Kids Fishing Day Events Calendar Posted on VDGIF Website

The 2013 Kids Fishing Days event table is now posted on the VDGIF website. View it from the Upcoming Events page and there is a link under Contests and Ongoing Events on the right side. There are 40 events posted currently and new ones will be added as they are submitted. VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator Chris Dunnavant notes, "More and more people are utilizing this web-table and traveling significant distances to experience a Kids Fishing Day." Send in your photos of family fun to the Outdoor Report. Share this information with family and friends and "Take a Kid Fishing!"

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock NOW OPEN to Powerboats

Mill Creek boating access site in Middlesex Co. on the Rappahannock River near the community of Wake in Gloucester County is now open to the public. Visit the VDGIF Facility Closures & Alerts page for more details.

Hercules Landing on Nottoway River NOW Open

The Hercules Boat Landing at Rt. 671 on the Nottoway River is NOW OPEN. The closure was necessary because the ramp at Hercules sat adjacent to a VDOT bridge that is being expanded and will occupy the area where the old ramp was located. The new ramp is much improved and will provide service far into the future. In addition to better boating access, the new ramp offers improved safety to vehicles and trailers entering and exiting the facility. Look for a photo feature on the new ramp and facilities in the May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report.

Use Caution at Carters Wharf Boat Ramp - Extreme Sanding Build-Up

John Kirk, VDGIF Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for Region I Tidewater area, advises boaters to use caution at Carter's Wharf ramp on the Rappahannock River due to extreme sand build-up on the ramp and beyond. The ramp is only navigable by small jon-boats, canoes, and kayaks. This sand build-up is currently beyond the abilities of VDGIF equipment to clear. VDGIF Infrastructure staff is currently working to determine the potential for a project that would remove the sand and result in a long-term fix. We apologize for any inconvenience and suggest using Hoskin's Creek as an alternative launch in the area. Updated information will be posted on the VDGIF Facility Closures & Alerts page and the Outdoor Report as soon as new information becomes available.

VMI, W&L Collaborate for Fly Fishing Tournament

Twenty Virginia Military Institute cadets and Washington and Lee University students gathered March 23 at Escatawba Farms in Alleghany County for the second annual VMI-W&L Fly Fishing Tournament. Intended to foster relationships between students at the two neighboring schools, both located in Lexington, VA., the tournament pits 10 teams composed of one cadet and one W&L student against one another in two sessions. The tournament was sponsored by the Trout Unlimited Skyline Chapter and national organization, as well as the two schools and Costa del Mar sunglasses. Tournament directors were the Fishing Club faculty advisers from the two schools, Col. Lee Dewald at VMI and Dr. Robert Humston at W&L, and beat officials – one for each team – were Trout Unlimited members and alumni. Dewald and Humston received the state Trout Unlimited Chairman's Award in April 2012 for coordinating the inaugural tournament.

Both tournaments were the culmination of a year of educational activities, including casting and fly tying clinics. The students also gained team-fishing skills. Four of last year's teams asked to compete together again, and this year, as second-place winner Cadet Ryan Dick noted, they developed strategies for "keeping a fly in the water." Rules allow only one person from each team fishing the team's beat at any one time. They switched every time a fish was caught or at regular intervals. Five fish per session were scored, at 100 points per fish plus 20 points per centimeter. The winning team, with 9,280 points for the 10 fish, included Cadet Jason Nave, who had participated in club training sessions but never before fly fished. He was paired with experienced W&L fisherman Oliver Nattere. Both schools' clubs also participate in service projects, including stream cleanups and the Project Healing Waters programs for veterans. See the story on a stream cleanup day in People and Partners section in this edition of the Outdoor Report.

"Ready, Set, Wear-It Lake Anna" Boating Safety and World Record Attempt Photo May 18

The public is invited to attend the "Ready, Set, Wear-It Lake Anna" Boating Safety event at High Point Marina 4634 Courthouse Road Mineral, VA 23117 on May 18 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and encouraged to bring their own life jackets –inflatable or traditional Type I, II, III or V styles. You can also participate in "the most people wearing life jackets at the same time," world-record attempt. The official count-down begins at 11:00 am when people will be asked to deploy their inflatable life jackets or don a traditional life jacket. An official tally and photo will be taken for submission to the National Safe Boating Council. Informational Displays, law enforcement vessels presented by the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Vessel Safety Checks by the USCG Auxiliary. For Additional information contact Stacey Brown, Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education at stacey.brown@dgif.virginia.gov.

"Ready, Set, Wear-it Smith Mountain Lake" at Bridgewater Marina May 18

Sea Tow and Bridgewater Marina at 16410 BT Washington Hwy. Moneta, VA 24121 on Smith Mountain Lake will sponsor "Ready, Set, Wear-It" on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, to promote life jacket awareness. Wear your life jacket and get your name in the drawing for fabulous prizes. Participants do not have to be present to win but must be registered to participate. Names of participants will be drawn by the Tow Bee and by Bridgewater Marina's Kayla Karet. Children attending the awards event will also be given a prize if they attend wearing a life jacket. For Additional information contact Stacey Brown , Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education at stacey.brown@dgif.virginia.gov.

The Fishing Spot

by Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator

Welcome to The Fishing Spot! Through my role as Angling Education coordinator for the VDGIF, I am able to connect with a variety of anglers across the Commonwealth and this is an opportunity for me to share those experiences and fishing related topics with you. My sincere hope is that you can always come to The Fishing Spot for interesting and educational fishing articles, intriguing interviews with anglers and the latest on fishing in Virginia. Please enjoy!

Workshops on The Floating Fishing School

The Take a Kid Fishing on the James workshop aboard The Floating Fishing School earlier this month was a huge hit. Teaming up with James River Guide, Captain John Garland and scheduling an event on the James River during the shad run was a recipe for success! Our plan was to fish for whatever was biting: shad, stripers, white perch or catfish. Our strategy worked as we began the event fishing for shad and closed out the sessions with some great blue catfish action. The participants were all smiles as we landed shad after shad and hooked up with catfish to 15 pounds.

If you missed the workshop, don't fret, there are more opportunities with the upcoming Summer Fishing Series on our very own VDGIF lakes during the month of June! School is out and The Floating Fishing School will be making the tour around the Commonwealth and visiting some of our very best Agency Lakes. Register today; the boat can only hold so many!

It's summer and it's time for some fishing fun! Join a DGIF, Fisheries Biologist and the Angling Education Coordinator aboard "The Floating Fishing School," our 26' Sun Tracker pontoon boat provided by Bass Pro Shops & Tracker Marine for the Summer Fishing Series. VDGIF public fishing lakes are great places to fish with a variety of species. We will be fishing for whatever is biting: sunfish, crappie, catfish and bass. This event will be a great opportunity to enjoy a nice day on the water, learn the basics of fishing and fish biology. Workshop is from 7:30 AM -12:00. Bait, tackle, PFD, snacks and drinks are provided. Registration fee is $15 per participant. Take a Kid Fishing; each adult (18 and older) must register with at least one child between 8-17 years of age. Children 15 and under must be accompanied by a registered adult. Freshwater fishing license required for 16 and older. Event is open until filled; to register and pay, contact Chris Dunnavant at 804-367-6778 or at chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov.

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature is 64 degrees with a visibility of 12 ft. Bass were active this week some fish on beds, but most were caught on top-water baits. Crankbaits, and worms worked also. I had a report of a couple catching 30 fish on top-water, but we know that you have to shake off 2 pickerel for every bass so they caught maybe 10 bass. That is not a bad day on the Creek. I saw pics of bass 4 to 5 lbs. I even caught a 3 pounder myself. Crappie were caught, but not off the dock. They have moved off into 10 to 12 ft. of water. Small minnows and jigs worked well. The gills are starting to become active, some keepers have moved up into the brush, but are holding tight to it. You may try red wigglers, but you need to be at 5 to 6 ft. to find the big ones. We are now renting space for our Sportsman Flea & Craft Show & Sale. The fishing is getting good on the CREEK come on out and catch one it may be a big one!!!!

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. Saturday's Big Bash Bass Tournament had 38 entries with Clarence Jenkins and Chuck Conger taking first place with 15 pounds 8 oz. Big fish (5 lb. 2 oz.) and second place went to Al Bowles and Russell Holmes. The next Big Bash Bass Tournament will be held on May 25. Crappie fishing is improving with the larger fish being caught at both ends of the lake. Several people have been catching their limit daily. Pickerel are still plentiful. The water is 70 degrees, at full pool and slightly stained. Beaverdam Park will host a Boy Scout Benefit Tournament April 28, 2013. Entry fee is $50 per boat. Sign up is now available for this tournament. 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. No report this edition.

Virginia Beach: Contributed by local guide Skip Feller of Rudee Inlet Charters (757) 425-3400. The fish are starting to show up!! Red drum on the shoals and flounder and croaker in the lower bay! Still tautog around the bridge and puppy drum in the inlets and some small bluefish in Rudee Inlet.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that few anglers have been around lately. A largemouth over 9 lbs. was landed recently. Bass are going for plastic worms (particularly dark colors like pumpkin seed) and spinners. Crappie fishing is good with minnows and jigs. Yellow perch are biting well on small spinners, crickets and little worms. Cats are attacking freshly cut eel. Lots of gar are there for the taking. No word on bluegill. The water is 70 degrees and stained.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day water temperatures were in the low to mid 60s in the upper and lower lake and in the major creeks on Monday (4/22/2013). The lake level was about six inches above the top of the dam. The water was brown and moderately cloudy, due mainly to pollen, in the lower lake. Blue cats and a few channel cats were widely scattered in a variety of depths in the lower main lake and in the creeks and were hitting live minnows. A few crappie in a mix of sizes were still scattered in the channels and on flats of the major creeks, and in some of the spawning areas, especially around Cypress trees. Larger numbers of crappie were in some of the staging areas near creek mouths and on wood cover in the main lake. Crappie were hitting live minnows, Kalin crappie scrubs, tubes, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. A moderate number of bass and pickerel were in the major creeks and around creek mouths and were hitting crankbaits and jerkbaits, frequently very close to shoreline vegetation. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Ted Antol had 14 crappie, 1 yellow perch, 1 flier, 1 pickerel, and 1 bass. Tom Porter and Hollis Pruitt had 16 crappie, 1 bluegill, 1 flier, 2 white perch, 1 yellow perch, 1 channel cat, 1 pickerel, and 1 bass. Robin Preece and Dave Diamantes had 24 crappie, 2 white perch, and 1 blue cat.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. As I left West Neck Creek this morning and turned south, I figured it was going to be another spinnerbait day, but that wasn't the case at all. One by one, I went through the three models I had tied on to no avail. I then tried to tempt the fish with a Bagley's Bang-o-Lure, but they weren't buying that either. It wasn't until I picked up one of the two rods with a Bandit Footloose tied on that things started happening. By the time I quit at 3 o'clock and headed back to the marina, I had boated 16 fish, including 14 bass, 1 pickerel, and 1 yellow perch. My best three bass of the day were a 1 lb. 3 oz., a 1lb. 7 oz. and a 1pounder. Most of the others fell in the 12 to 14-ounce range. Everything went for the two Bandit Footloose, and all the fish came from the same small, shallow spot down south. Besides the fish I boated, I easily missed a dozen more that hit a bit quicker than I could react. All in all, it was a relaxing, fun day that I wouldn't trade for anything in this world. I've always just enjoyed that tug on the line, whether it be a 2 incher or a 2 pounder. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy setting the hook on a big fish as much as the next guy, but when I'm out like I was today, the size honestly doesn't matter.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that the bass bite is good on soft plastics and cranks. Crappie are really hitting minnows and jigs. Local cats like cut shad. White perch are going for small worms. No word on bluegill, but they should pick up soon. The water is clear and in the mid 50s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. No report this edition, as Jeff was real busy with the successful clean up day with the Blackwater - Nottoway River areas. See the Green Tips section for the full story.

Editors Note...

Jeff Turner reports that the VDGIF boat ramp on the Nottoway at Rt. 671 known as the 'Hercules Landing' that has been closed for several months opened the weekend of April 12th with significant improvements for both safety and usage. Look for a photo feature on the new ramp and facilities in the May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. The James River above Lynchburg is on fire! ... well the fishing is ... though the Department of Forestry did have a controlled burn in the Locher Tract Area last week, nothing is actually on fire, but apparently the smallmouth have been awaiting the break in the weather even more than we have! The fish have made their break from the winter feeding grounds into their spawning areas and spring feeding areas! We are catching larger numbers of fish and they are responding on the move. Throw crankbaits and spinners into those quicker moving riffles with a few feet of water. Don't be afraid to keep throwing those weighted tubes, but keep them bouncing up and swimming, and be ready for the strike! If you are looking to get on the water give us a call, we still have a few openings for the Spring season. For other up to date fishing info and reports check out https://www.facebook.com/ConfluenceOutfittersVA and give us a like on Facebook! We keep our Facebook page updated often!

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike says that the bass are in a pre-spawn stage and are biting cranks and spinners in the gravel pits. Crappie action is good with minnows and jigs. Blue cats are attacking white perch, cut shad and eel. Shad are going for silver and gold spoons and shad darts. Mike says he has had better luck with gold spoons. They will also take 1 in. curly tail grubs in chartreuse. Please remember to release all American Shad. Stripers are being cooperative; Mike brought up a 28 pounder. The water is in the mid 50s to low 60s. It is muddy now but should clear soon.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. No report this edition.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow told me that bass are attacking cranks, spinners, jerks and soft plastics. Some of the crappie are on their beds and will take minnows. Some big slabs have been coming in, with one weighing 4 lbs. 4 oz. The cat bite is also good with cut and live shad. No word on bream. The water is stained to clear and in the mid 60s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. No report this edition.

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 says that the bass are on their beds and are taking buzzbaits and jerks. Crappie action is very good on minnows and jigs. Cats are being shy, but may go for stinkbait or a chicken liver. Fly anglers are getting lots of bluegill. The water is yellow from the pollen and in the 70s.

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

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com. No report this edition.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. No report this edition.

New River: Contributed by Britt Stoudenmire, 540-921-7438, owner of New River Outdoor Co and host of The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh. The last two weeks on the New River have been a roller coaster ride with river levels fluctuating up down caused by rains from big storms and inconsistent "out of the blue" releases from AEP's Claytor Dam during the so called "Recreational Period." When river levels have been consistent, the BIG smallies have bit very, very well with good numbers of citations up to 22  in. and over 5 lbs coming in our boat. Water levels and clarity are currently "perfect," water temperatures are in the 50s, and the weather forecast looks great for the next 10 days!!! For more from the New River, please visit and "Like" the New River Outdoor Co. Facebook Page for the latest pics and reports or give us a shout at 540-921-7438 to hit the river.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that things are picking up on his part of the New. Smallies are biting spinners and cranks. Muskie are attacking live chubs and suckers and big jerks. The water is dingy but clearing and 60 degrees.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. I have some exciting news to announce in this edition. New River Charter is now offering muskie trips on the James River and small mouth floats on the Jackson river. In between heavy rains we are getting some fairly decent water to fish. The river is muddy now but should be starting to clear up when this report reaches you. NRC has been putting their clients on some giant small mouth the last couple of weeks and it should be a great Spring for big fish coming up. While the Jackson does not produce the giants like the New River, numbers are high and provides a lot of great light tackle action. The walleye bite has slowed since the water temperature has risen. The muskie are still spawning but they should be hitting well again inside two weeks. Catfishing has been great. Water temperatures have been hanging around 62 degrees but with frost this morning and cooler temperatures forecasted for the next week it will probably drop several degrees. We are looking forward to seeing many of our regular clients and some new faces in the next six weeks! This week I had a client coming all the way from Beijing, China. Going to be a busy, fish catching time coming up. For more up to date New River water conditions and recent catch photos check out our website and on facebook.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says they are "crushing" smallies on spinners and cranks. Muskies will hit "any moving bait". And citation fish of both sorts are being landed. The water is stained and 56 degrees.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Continued high, discolored water continues to hamper fishing on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). Some nice fish have been caught between rainstorms, but good conditions haven't lasted very long. Trout continue to be caught in the tributaries of the Top New.

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

Upper James: Contributed by Andrew Fenstermaker, 540-921-7438, Lead Guide for James River Outdoor Co. Two weekends in a row we have received big rains that knocked James River water levels up to over 9 feet and nearly to 8 feet respectively. In between those rises and falls, the fish have bit pretty well. Big fish need consistency, especially during the pre-spawn period, so we are excited to see the "stable" spring forecast coming up for the next 10 days. River levels and clarity look good and water temperature is warming.

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry, the smallmouth streams in the South Fork should be clear and fishable and 58 degrees. Good flies are: Olive Marauder,size 6; Murray's Skunk Roadkill, size 8; and Shenk's White Streamer, size 4.

The stocked streams in the Valley should be full but fishable at 60 degrees. Fish nymphs along the stream bottoms. Good flies are: Murray's Dark Stonefly Nymph, size 14; Murray's Yellow Stonefly Nymph, size 14.

Water in the mountain streams is high but fishable. The best fishing is to be found at the stream heads. There are good places to park your car on both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Good flies are Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly, size 14; Sprit of Pittsford Mills, size 14; and Mr. Rapidan Olive Deltawing Caddis, size 14. The water is 52 degrees, clear and full.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. RECORD BROW TROUT It is on at Moomaw! Bass are aggressively feeding and can be caught using a variety of techniques. Steady patterns include the traditional jerkbait bite (some wind helps this bite) and crankbaits. There are also some reports that floating worms and swimbaits are taking their share. Both smallmouth and largemouth are being caught. Sean Sabol of Union, West Virginia, landed a 6 pound smallie burning a crankbait near where the fish busted some shad last week. The lake is in good condition even after some heavy rain. Water temps get into the upper 50s late in the day. No sign of spawning, but it won't be too long before the fish to head to the beds. There are some yellow perch being caught but not in great quantity. Reports are that the brown trout are still active and can be taken with trolled baits and live bait. The turkeys are gobbling too!

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Check Puff's website for updates on Lake Moomaw fishing action and opportunities for guided boat trips on his steady pontoon craft. Puff invites you to contact him asap as he still has a few spots available for his highly prized "spring turkey-trout combo trips" where you can come on up to the scenic mountains for Spring and enjoy the thrill of listening for gobblers in the mornings, then casting for some whoppers in the warm afternoons. With this weeks warm sunny days the trout bite should pick up along with yellow perch. The bass are "bending the rods doubled over"! Watch in the next editions for grillin' tips from Puff for fish, fowl and other wild game.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. No report this edition.

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.

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

Potomac and small ponds around Ashburn: Contributed by local angler Tyler Folts. The bass are very active now with the rise in temperature. They have begun to make beds and some females are already guarding them. Jigs, top-waters, worms, and creaturebaits have produced good size and numbers in the past few weeks. You will be able to sight fish bass on their beds within the next week or so with ease. Be sure to be persistent and keep throwing lures at them even if they do not show an interest the first few times. The bass will hit because they are angry and don't want the lure to be in their bed not because they are hungry. It may take 20 to 50 casts to get one fish to bite but it is all worth it as this is the best time to catch the biggest fish in my opinion. Crappie are already actively guarding their beds and can be caught on small grubs and tubes. Sunfish will hit just about anything you throw at them as long as it can fit in their mouth. Get out there in the next few weeks and hold on.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Shad fishing in the Occoquan River has been on fire! More than 99% of the fish I have caught so far have been hickory shad. Females are starting to show up really well after two weeks of a fantastic bite by males. The females are running about two pounds but I caught one that was closer to four pounds. On the last trip out, I caught a single American Shad which of course was returned to the water very quickly. I've been using a regular shad dart and spoon rig. White and chartreuse seem to be working equally as well. When the water is stained, a bright orange or pink can stir things up. There are lots of bank fishermen and boat anglers should give them a little room. On weekends, beware of the sightseers. Last weekend two different boats ran through my lines just because they weren't paying attention that I was fishing.

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Water is clear with temperatures in the low to mid 60s. The warming trend, coupled with the full moon on Thursday, fishing should be phenomenal the next couple of weeks. Both the bass and crappie are moving shallow to spawn. Largemouth bass are hitting on a variety of soft plastics, with lizards being the predominant choice. Bass are hitting top-water early in low light periods of the day. Any shoreline structure is going to hold a number of crappie ready and willing to take small morsels, jigs, or minnows being the bait of choice. Pan fish are also moving shallow being caught on night crawlers and red wigglers. Catfishing is picking up on the upper end of the lake. Surprisingly, live minnows seem to be what the catfish are after, chicken liver is also a good option.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144.

Largemouth Bass: Anna's largemouths are moving to shallow wood in the mid and down lake region to spawn. You can try for them using soft plastic jerkbaits, shakey worms and wacky-rigged stickbaits. The bigger females will be nearby and will often hit the shaky worms or jigs fished slightly deeper. The hottest zone is from the 208 Bridge down to the power plant. Don't fish "chocolate pudding" bottoms, but instead target the first third or middle third of coves with harder bottom substrate. You can also try buzzbaits and top-water poppers (really!) when you have some good shallow cover present. The fish in the up lake region won't spawn until early May, but you can still catch them using Tiger Shad spinnerbaits, Bandit crankbaits and jigs. The water is still stained up lake, so the soft plastic jerkbait bite is not on like it often is this time of year. Down lake bass are spawning on docks and stumps in coves like Valentines, Duke's and Fisherman's Cove. You might also check out the coves between Dike 1 and Dike 2.

Striper: Good live bait fishing is occurring in the region above Harris Bridge. The Sandbar region has fish feeding every morning now. Watch the remaining birds to show you the fish. Pull jumbo shiners or gizzard shad on side planers and free lines and you'll catch 'em. It's pretty easy. The same goes for the flats above Stubbs Bridge, the mouth of Terry's Run and the region above Henry's Point in the Pamunkey Branch. Lure fishing has been tricky. Large swimbaits and some suspending jerkbaits are your best bets fished right on the banks or in shallow water over humps and points. This bite will continue until the full moon in May when the fish begin to spawn, but we're in for a good run of fish!

Crappie: Some of the best fishing of the season is underway. Fish shallow wood, rocks and grass lines if you want the biggest slabs. This first spawn will go fast with fish already on grass lines and beaver huts. Use 1 to 2 in. jigs on 1/32-oz. heads on six-pound test line if you like to cast. Slip bobbers and minnows in 2 to 4ft. are good, too. Hot zones are the top of the North Anna, the upper Pamunkey Branch and the upper portion of Terry's Run. Mid lake crappie are fewer but bigger if you can find them.

Best of luck and we'll see you on the water!

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

Bass: They are roaming the shallows looking to fatten up prior to the spawn. The bass will be very shallow in warming trends looking for and establishing bedding areas and falling back to the first breaks when the weather gets colder. Work faster, moving baits with warming trends such as swimbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and crankbaits and slow down and down size in cold front conditions using Carolina rigged lizards, crawfish imitators, twitchbaits like Senko's, Slugo's and Bass Assassins. A great tried and true technique for the lake is barely twitching a floating Rapala in place nearby a boulder or stump. It is hard to beat sight fishing mid and down lake in the clearer water, concentrate your efforts looking for 30 degree gently sloping banks with sand or gravel bottoms with scattered stumps. Polarized glasses are a must for this type of fishing, use your trolling motor and scan the shallows on high till you see bass, then work the areas with your favorite lures. If you find beds you can throw tube baits, lightly weighted worms or lizards into the bed and leave it there to provoke strikes, remembering to please release bedding fish where you catch them. The backs of main lake pockets and coves all hold bass and are easier to fish if you want to avoid the wind. Another pattern that works for big fish this month is targeting windy rocky points and rip-rap where the baitfish are spawning, throwing big bladed spinner baits. Put the bait right up to the bank for best results. The rockier the point, the better. Up lake where the water is stained, best patterns are to work structures, grass beds, docks, rocks piles, stumps, etc., with moving vibrating baits. Docks in and around marinas hold large numbers of bass, many tournaments are won fishing in these areas. Just about any technique you use will work this month, just concentrate your efforts in 10 feet or less.

Stripers:  Fishing for stripers so far this year has been slow for most anglers due to the water temperatures being over 20 degrees colder than previous years. Now that the temperatures are steadily rising, the stripers are feeding heavily and are preparing to spawn. Stripers are feeding all over the lake now on 5 to 15 foot flats, humps and points. Just about every shallow flat and primary point on the lake and near the mouths of creeks are producing nice catches. They are feeding from all the way up the rivers down to the Dam and are not being selective of what they want to eat, gorging themselves on gizzard shad. This month stripers only have two things on their mind, eating and spawning. Contrary to what many anglers believe or read, all the stripers in the lake do not run up lake to spawn. Although nature tells the striper to run up lake or to the backs of creeks seeking current to spawn, Anna does not have the right conditions for the species to propagate successfully, consequently we catch stripers all over the lake this time of year. There are hundreds of schools of stripers scattered throughout the lake. Here are a few techniques to catch stripers this month.  April weather is usually not very stable. When we have warming trends the fish feed more aggressively, feeding shallow and feeding often. When the fish are feeding in the upper water column we are running gizzard shad on planner boards, bobbers and freelines. This is not a tactic for the faint of heart, when a huge stripers blows a 12 inch gizzard out of the water and your drag starts screaming it will put chills down your spine. Conversely when cold fronts blow through the fish will not be as aggressive and will usually back off to deeper water, anglers will have to put their live bait right in the faces of the stripers to entice strikes. Slow down and use smaller baits for more action. In cold fronts I will downsize to Herring and present them on a down line in the depth I see them on the depth finder. Live bait consistently catches stripers, whatever the weather conditions offer. Not only does live bait produce the largest stringers, the biggest fish in the lake fall victim to huge gizzard shad. Fisherman who fish with artificial baits will also get some explosive results by throwing top water baits like Spooks, walking a Redfin and popping Chuggar type baits. Swim baits work well all month, good baits to try are Berkley's Hollow Body Swim bait when the fish are feeding on shad and downsize to Sassy Shads and Sea Shads when in cold fronts. A good pattern for stripers this month is to cast up to and under docks. Stripers are also feeding on crappie and many are caught nearby deeper docks. Fish could be right up on the bank this month, we are already catching big stripers in less than a foot of water! To view our catches check out my journal at www.JimHemby.com.

Crappie: Fishing just doesn't get any better for crappie than in April. Locating the fish is very simple. Most shallow docks where baitfish are present will hold crappie especially where there is some cover present. Every dock up lake above Hunters Landing has crappie under them , simply fish the docks quickly till you hit the one that has the size fish you are looking for. Usually the larger fish will attack your offerings first, fish till you catch little fish then move on. Other great areas to fish are Beaver huts, shallow brush piles, shallow rock piles, stumps and especially the shoreline grass beds in the North Anna. Crappie congregate in large numbers around the larger dock complexes such as Marina and community docks. Good locater baits to use are small tube jigs on 1/16 oz heads. Pull up to a structure, make a few casts, catch a few fish, have a lot of fun. Once you locate the area where the larger fish are holding, try some small and medium minnows under a bobber. On cloudy days and in post spawn the crappie will pull off of cover and roam shallow flats in water 10 feet or less. Trolling jigs with your trolling motor will catch these fish. We are catching some HUGE Crappie that are hitting 6 inch gizzards, client Brian Nickols caught a 2 ½ pound crappie on March 24th on a gizzard shad.

Don't forget to send me your tips, tricks and recipes for our next edition! Just send them to fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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 Outdoor Report is proud to partner with the on-line ODUMagazine™  to give our readers direct access to a great variety of info about fishing around the region, as well as links to hunting and conservation news. ODU Magazine Editor Larry Thornhill and  Assistant Editor Bill Schwarz will be providing updates and links to their website on new features and seasonal information for the fishing enthusiasts. We welcome them and their vast video library and contacts as regular contributors to Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report.

ODU Magazine™ launched its website in December 2011 and followed immediately with our first digital fishing magazine. From the beginning, ODU Magazine™ has aspired to provide our growing readership with a quality, entertaining and educational digital fishing magazine, balanced with daily news from our hunting and fishing journals. In our ODU Fishing News and ODU Hunting News, we cover daily fishing and hunting tips, new product introductions, conservation announcements, legislative issues that outdoorsmen should be alerted to and great catches and hunts from around the world. The ODU™ March 2013 Boat House edition is one of the most comprehensive boat buyer's issues that we have ever done. Inside you will find a mixture of boats, from Bass to V-Hull boats and a little in-between. ODU has been hard at work reviewing a variety of new boats for this year issue and hopefully we have picked out the top boat for your "Boat House".

Also included in this issue is a variety of articles from Lawrence Gunther on "Using Sound to Catch Fish", Bill Vanderford article on "A New Fishing Season Fills My Heart With Wonderful Memories Of The Best Man I Ever Knew", to "Deep insights: "To Cast or Not to Cast" on how Ott DeFoe uses side imaging to decide whether to fish or move on.

  1. Using Sound to Catch Fish, By Lawrence Gunther, Pg 8
  2. A New Fishing Season Fills My Heart With Wonderful Memories Of The Best Man I Ever Knew, By Bill Vanderford, Pg 13
  3. Northeast River Walleye, By D&B Ice Adventures, Pg 15
  4. Live Bait The Key To Consistent Catches, By Capt. Bill Miller, Pg 19
  5. Winter Strategies For Spring Success, By Garett Svir, Pg 21
  6. Get Ready For Open Water Fishing, By Bob Jensen, Pg 25
  7. 26 Angels Foundation, Pg 27
  8. Discovered By Accident, Proven Fish Catcher Now...A Look at the Swim Jig, By Glenn Walker, Pg 29
  9. Early Season Time Cranking, By Captain Mike Gerry, Pg 37
  10. Small Lakes Can Offer Big Incentives, By Bob Wattendorf, Drew Dutterer and Bill Pouder, Pg 38
  11. Accessorizing Your Boat, By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson, Pg 43
  12. ODU Boat House, Pg 47
  13. Flying Fisherman, The Clear Advantage, By Chris Jenkins, Pg 67
  14. Floodwaters Point to Spring Crappies, By Noel Vick with Brian "Bro" Brosdahl, Pg 69
  15. Jack Of Many Trades, Pg 73
  16. Skinny Water Walleyes, By Jason Mitchell, Pg 76
  17. Breaking Down the A-Rig, By Captain Mike Gerry, Pg 80
  18. Just Go Fishing, By Bob Jensen, Pg 82
  19. Deep Insights: To Cast or Not to Cast, Pg 84

Click here to read this edition of ODU Magazine, or click on any of the above titles to go directly to the story.

And please, enjoy the outdoors!

Larry Thornhill, Editor and Chief, larry@odumagazine.com
Bill Schwarz, Assistant Editor, bill@odumagazine.com

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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email your material to
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and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the spring warming up and the fishing action beginning to heat up, this story by Shannon Staton from Dabney S. Lancaster Community College recounts a memorable childhood experience of her young start fishing with her dad and the memories created that special time. It will make you want to grab your favorite rod and lure and head for the water with a special person in your life. Take a kid fishing- you'll both be hooked for life. Shannon's story was one of the Top 15 stories recognized in the 2011-12 VOWA Collegiate Outdoor Writing Contest.

My Fishing Trip

By Shannon Staton

On a hot summer day in June, my dad decided to take me fishing at Jack's Pond. Jack was an old friend of my dads who passed away a few years earlier. I was eleven years old and full of energy. Being a "Daddy's girl," I was always willing to do anything with him. The day was dry, and I remember looking at the water and thinking about jumping off the dock and into the pond to cool myself from the heat. That probably wouldn't have been a wise choice since I was trying to catch the fish, not swim with them.

The night prior to our father-daughter fishing trip, we went out at dark and caught night crawlers for bait. Catching worms was my all-time favorite preparation for fishing. The only thing we needed was a flashlight and an old Folgers coffee can filled with moist dirt. We would go out in the back yard, walking slow and easy, making sure not to scare them back into their homes. I remember creeping up and snatching them from the ground as they started to slither out of their hole. Their slimy bodies fought to slip from my fingers as I pinched them tight between my index finger and thumb. Letting one get away meant one less chance to catch the one fish that made that famous smile stretch across my dad's face. It took me a while to master the art of "hunting for night crawlers," but I finally earned the privilege of being my dad's night crawler side-kick. As the night went on, we caught dozens of night crawlers and ended up with a Folgers can full of the skittish worms. We were finally ready for the big day ahead of us.

Finally! The next morning had arrived and we were going fishing at Jack's pond. Although the pond was only ten minutes away, I was still excited to spend some quality fishing time with my dad. We gathered up our fishing poles and tackle box, threw them on the back of the truck and hit the road. The ride over felt like forever; the anticipation of casting that line out into the water was unbearable.

When we arrived, I jumped out of the truck and scurried to the bed of the truck to get my pole and the fishing worms. As I ran down the path to the pond, I could almost taste the honeysuckle in the air. I can remember almost falling after tripping over a root. I was always known for my clumsiness. At last, I made it to the dock where we would set up our fishing gear. I sat on the dock with the Folgers can in my lap and began digging in the dirt, searching for the perfect worm to cast out into the cool water. "Perfect", I shouted as I pulled out the biggest worm in the can, "this will get me a fish for sure". I snatched up my line and started threading my worm onto the hook. First, I stabbed the hook into the head of the worm and continued to weave the worm on the hook until I knew the fish could no longer see the trap I had planned for them. As my dad stood by my side baiting his hook, I cast my line into the pond and heard that familiar sound of the bait smacking the water in the distance. I stood there, waiting patiently for a fish to bite. A few minutes went by and I felt a fish nibble on my line.

I can remember my dad saying, "There you go! Jerk the line and reel it in!" I reeled until I could see the fish flopping in the shallow water in front of me. "Dad, I did it!" I said, as I pulled the fish up out of the water. The shiny scales of the Perch glistened in the sun. I didn't have much experience with taking fish off hooks so my dad did it for me, walking me through it step-by-step. He ran his hand down the fish's back and got a good grip on it and slowly reached in and took the hook out of its gill. Afterwards, he handed me the fish and I took a long look at my accomplishment, soaked up the moment and turned it back into the water. I turned to my dad as he said "Good job, Honey!" and I saw the smile that I longed to see, he gave me a warm gentle hug and said "I'm proud of you."

I smiled, turned back to my pole, baited my hook and started all over again. I through my line back into the water and waited for the next bite. About five minutes later I was surprised to feel another fish on my line. I jerked and reeled in the second fish. "I caught another one!" I said as I reeled it in to the dock. I pulled the second Perch out of the water and asked dad to help me take it off the hook again. I looked at it for a short amount of time and threw it back to swim with the others. I continued the same routine of baiting my hook, casting my line, and reeling in the fish.

By the end of the day, I caught a total of twenty fish, and my dad caught three. I was amazed that I could possibly catch more fish than a man that had been fishing practically all his life. Although I had a great day with my dad, I was exhausted from all of the excitement and it was time to go home. As soon as we got back to the house, he started calling his friends and family, bragging about how many fish I caught that day. To this day, I still like to tease my dad about getting out fished by his eleven year old daughter.

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) annually sponsors High School and Collegiate Writing Competitions with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience or special interest." We encourage students to consider their experiences in the outdoors with wildlife, hunting, fishing, and natural history and enter these contests. The goal of the competition is to reward high school and college students for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors.

This year's competition deadline was February 7, 2013. Judging has been completed and the Winners were recognized at the joint Mason Dixon & Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Joint Annual Conference on March 16 in Staunton.

Bass Pro Shops cosponsors the High School contest, and provides gift cards of $150, $100, and $50 for purchasing merchandise at Bass Pro Shops to the top three winners. Prizes will also include gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA.

The Collegiate winners received cash prizes provided by Collegiate Contest co-sponsor Dominion. This year a special new cash award was initiated that includes publication by the Cooperative Living Magazine staff for the best Collegiate entry about the Virginia outdoors. A complete feature on the 2012-13 Competition winners will be posted in the April 10, 2013 edition of the OR.

Full competition guidelines/rules for 2012-13 VOWA/Dominion Collegiate Undergraduate and VOWA Bass Pro High School Youth Writing Competitions are available on the VOWA website: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: