In this edition:

May Full of Outdoor Adventure Opportunities

This May 8th edition has signs that summer is fast approaching with reports of fishing heating up in lakes and rivers and Safe Boating Week May 18-24 just prior to the May 27th Memorial Day Holiday. Free Fishing Days follow June 7-9. Seasonal reminders to "wear your life jacket" while on the water and "don't feed the bears" are simple ways to stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors. We've posted the Kids Fishing Day calendar, so look for an event near you and plan for some family fun. The turkeys are still gobblin' for another week and with schools out for summer vacation, what a super opportunity to take a youngster on a squirrel hunt during the Spring Squirrel season June 1-15. The warming weather is good for planting wildlife food patches as we have had ample "April showers." The hens are nesting, the stripers running, the trillium blooming , and a new herd of elk will be released in Buchanan County later in the month! Lot's to do in the great outdoors... Be sure to pause and smell the May flowers!

David Coffman, Editor

Safe Boating Week Begins May 18 - Time to Check for Safety Items

National Safe Boating Week kicks off May 18, 2013. Stacey Brown, VDGIF Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education advises, "This is the time of year to get ready for another season of responsible, safe, and fun boating on Virginia's waters! Be sure to check all your safety equipment."

It is a great time to perform routine maintenance on your boat too.

Finally, brush up on your boating knowledge. If you haven't already taken a class, check out all the classes on the VDGIF website. If you have already taken a class, review the Virginia Watercraft Owners guide to keep your knowledge fresh.

Let's make this a great summer – Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Have Fun!

 

CAUTION FLOODING ALERT

Many areas of Virginia have experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms the last two days as we are posting this May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report. There are Flood Warnings and Watches reported on many streams and major rivers across the state. Note that the Fishin' Report was up to date as of Tuesday May 7, but with the heavy rain storms many streams and rivers will be running high and cloudy and pose dangerous conditions for anglers and boaters, so extreme caution and plain old common sense should be used before planning any activities around moving water. We recommend checking with our contacts listed in Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report to get the latest on local river or lake conditions. This rain has changed everything regarding fishing and boating forecasts at time of posting. Most of the major rivers are going to be blow outs through the weekend till sometime next week. Alternatives are to check area reservoirs, ponds and the streams that get trout stockings Thursday and Friday. Check the Wild Events section for alternative outdoor events to still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are links to all these options throughout the Outdoor Report. Above all be safe, be responsible, be cautious and have fun!

Free Fishing Days June 7-9 - Try it, You'll Be Hooked!

June 7-9, 2013 have been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters, on these days. Plan some time to go fishing and boating; take the family fishing and boating or learn to fish and boat! See our Where to Fish section to get started!

There are few better times to reconnect with family and friends than while waiting for that next strike. Time spent fishing is always a welcome retreat, a bit of an adventure and the perfect setting for getting back in touch with what matters most. Escape, relax, play, reconnect with nature. And rediscover the fun of fishing and boating. You'll be surprised at how much you've missed it. Buy your fishing license today!.

Don't forget that the deadline for submitting photos to the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest has been set for September 7, 2013 so you can get those award winning photos all summer!

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.)

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. In May, Kid's Fishing Day events are scheduled in the counties of Wythe, Russell, Washington, Smyth, Pr. William, Craig, Floyd, Grayson and Buchanan!! Click on link for details. 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 served.

Orvis Woodbridge FF 101 Dates: 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.

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.

Crow's Nest Preserve Offers Guided Hike May 11 - Reservations Required

The VA Department of Conservation and Recreation has announced a field day at Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County for Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Participants will experience one of Virginia's most significant natural areas through a guided hike and natural history interpretation. The field day is free to attend, but reservations are required. Participants should wear casual clothes and comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk up to four miles. The event will take place rain or shine. Reservations can be made by calling 804-786-7951. Registration is limited to 80 people. Crow's Nest became a natural area preserve in 2009. The property is a peninsula between Accokeek and Potomac creeks. At 2,872 acres, Crow's Nest contains mature hardwood forest and some of the best examples of diverse, intact wetlands in the Potomac River drainage basin. The property supports habitat for a variety of species, including bald eagles, migratory birds, the federally listed short-nosed sturgeon and 22 plant species important to Virginia's Coastal Plain. In addition to its ecological value, the property has played a significant role in Native American, Colonial and Civil War histories.

Crow's Nest is one of 61 natural area preserves managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Natural area preserves contain some of the best examples of natural communities and rare plant and animal habitats in Virginia and the world. Crow's Nest is co-owned by DCR and Stafford County.

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.

Virginia Herpetological Society to Hold Annual "HerpBlitz" at Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area June 8-9

The Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) will hold its Annual 'HerpBlitz '(survey) at Dick Cross WMA (formerly Elm Hill WMA), owned by VDGIF, in Mecklenburg County along the beautiful Roanoke River just below John H. Kerr Dam. Much of the WMA was once a cattle farm. The WMA's 1,400 acres are primarily open upland, maintained as old fields or cultivated to benefit wildlife. Farming techniques on the WMA are modified to enhance wildlife habitat, and old fields containing native vegetation are encouraged and maintained by disking and prescribed burning. A notable exception is the nearly 300 acres of broad flood plain, or bottomland, along Allen creek and the Roanoke River. Allen Creek meanders through the eastern third of the area and forms its eastern boundary shortly before reaching the Roanoke River. Numerous wetland impoundments totaling approximately 165 acres are managed for waterfowl. 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. From U. S. Route 58 between Boydton and South Hill, take State Route 4 south and proceed for approximately 5 miles to the WMA entrance.  Only primitive camping is allowed on the WMA. 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 leader to RSVP: Jason Gibson at frogman31@gmail.com.

"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.

Wilderness Survival Weekend Course at NOVA 4H Center May 31 to June 2

If you were lost in the woods would you have the knowledge to survive? In this weekend course our expert instructors will teach you not only to survive, but to thrive in the out of doors. The Wilderness Survival Weekend Course will be held at the Northern Virginia 4H Center in Front Royal May 31 to June 2.

Topics to include:

Basics of survival – The knowledge and mentality to stay alive

Fire Craft – Making and maintaining fire without matches or a lighter

Survival Shelters – Space blankets to debris huts

Wild Edibles and Water – Finding safe food and water

Managing Hypo/Hyperthermia

The cost is $160 per person which includes lodging and meals. Pre-registration is required at www.trackingsurvival.com or contact Wilderness Discovery at 877/614-5289 or trackingsurvival@yahoo.com.

National Trails Day Events at Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost June 1-2

Bring your Horses, Bikes, Kayak, Canoe, and Camping Gear to Southwest Virginia on June 1-2, at Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost which has partnered with several nearby events in celebration of American Hiking Society’s 21st annual National Trails Day.® The event will be held at 11703 Cordertown Rd., Coeburn, VA 24230 , with camping starting Friday afternoon. The ranch is centrally located to Several National Trails Day events: Little Stoney Horseback Ride, Guest River Gorge Walk/Hike, and The Clinch Coalition Hike down Chief Benge. There will be a unique opportunity to see the Dukes of Hazard’s GENERAL LEE all Day Saturday. We will offer Primitive Camping, Limited Bike Rental, Kayak Rental, Professional Bull Whip Artist Show, Bon Fires and Cowboy Church on Sunday at 10 am.

National Trails Day across the Country is an open invitation to all Americans to get outside and connect with nature through local hiking clubs, outdoor retailers, local parks and recreation departments or federal land managing agencies to experience everything the great outdoors has to offer. Sponsors include Clinch Valley Outfitters, LLC, Rich Hoffman/Bull Whip Artist, Wise County Lumber, Spearhead Trailblazers, and others to come. For more information on Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost 2013 NTD event, please visit our website or contact Nathan Ormes at crd98@vci.net or call 270-836-7708.

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.

VSSA Sponsors Crush'n Clays Event to Benefit St. Judes Hospital June 8 in NOVA

The Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA), the state affiliate association of the NRA, will sponsor their annual Crush'n Clays charity event benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on June 8th at the Arlington-Fairfax IWLA Park. This is the event's 15th year and it is the longest running clay target charity event in the nation. You can find more about the event online. Come out and sharpen your clay shooting skills and support a worthy cause.

Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation Hosts Heritage Day Shooting Event June 15

The Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) Founding Chapter 16 is hosting a Heritage Day Youth and Adult Shooting Event June 15, at Shady Grove Kennels, 11986 Lucky Hill Road, Remington, Virginia 22734. This event offers fun for adults and youth...Shooting, Archery, Raffles, Silent Auction and demonstrations for adults, youth and non-shooters. There is no charge for wounded warriors. For more information call 703-232-372 or email jsaggers@gmail.com

EACH PAID ADULT SPORTING CLAY SHOOTER (13+) GETS... 2 rounds sporting clays (50 targets), lunch, drinks and chance at winning shooting prize(s) and $35 value QUWF membership. Shells not included. Cost is $65.

EACH PAID YOUTH SHOOTER (ages 6-17 ) GETS... 25 target 5-stand shooting, 25 rounds of 22 and BB gun shooting, food and drinks plus a chance to win a top gun prize by shooting highest combined score at shotgun, .22 rifle and BB gun shooting + Archery. All youth shooting ammo costs included. Rifles and Shotguns (12, 20 and 410 gauges) will be provided. Youth 15 under must be accompanied by an adult...Use of guns and ammunition included for cost of $25.

The Floating Fishing School Sets Summer Schedule at 4 Lakes

It's summer and it's time for some fishing fun! Join a VDGIF 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 on four different lakes. Locations are:

VDGIF public fishing lakes are great places to fish for 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.

Each 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. For more information, contact Chris Dunnavant at 804-367-6778 or chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov

FOX-Family Outdoor Experience Set for Holiday Lake June 28-30

Bring the family and join us for a weekend of wilderness discovery at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center located at 1267 4-H Camp Rd. Appomattox, VA 24522. Our Family Outdoor Experience -- FOX weekend is scheduled for June 28-30 and will include classes in Animal Tracking, Archery, Camouflage, Canoeing, High Ropes Challenge/Climbing Tower, Hiking, Kayaking, Map and Compass, Outdoor First Aid, Riflery, Shotgun, Wild Edibles and Wilderness survival. For more information or to register visit www.holidaylake4h.com or call Kelsey Duncan at 434-248-5444.

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.

Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing utilizes fly fishing and fly tying in the rehabilitation of disabled servicemen and women in Military Hospitals, VA Medical Centers and Warrior Transition Units all across the country. Their premier fundraising event is the 2-Fly Tournament held each year at Rose River Farm in Madison County, Virginia.... This year was the seventh annual event and it was a huge success by any measure. Everyone had a fantastic time, many fish were caught, and over $220,000 was raised to keep programs running across the nation... For the rest of the story and many more photos from the event, continue reading "7th Annual Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament Raises $220,000 on Dispatches from the Potomac.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

I read with great interest Bobby Whitescarver's post on Getting More on the Ground about the future of a special piece of property along an important stretch of the Shenandoah River, in "Oh Shenandoah." The transfer of this land will help improve the water quality of the river as well as the Chesapeake Bay, and the property will now serve as an outdoor classroom for students and the public.

Though it is high on my list, I have not yet been fishing for redfish. But then again, until recently neither has Joe Underwood of Hooked Up. But he had about as stellar a first redfish outing as an angler could dream of. You won't believe his luck, and these fish, but he's got the pictures to prove it! Check out "Eastern Shore Rookie Reds."

Will from The Will to Hunt had a great adventure that included camping, hiking, turkey hunting and trout fishing in Highland County, VA. Everyone knows that things don't always pan out as planned, but only a true outdoorsman is equipped with the right attitude to enjoy and appreciate a trip that comes up short on hunting and fishing results. Read about Will's memorable trip in two parts, Hunting Highland Part I and Part II

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!

People and Partners in the News

Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Honor Shenandoah University Professor and Students

On April 18, in Halpin-Harrison Hall, Shenandoah University Environmental Studies Professor Woodward Bousquet and his dedicated, enthusiastic students were presented with the Mason Dixon Outdoor Writers Association's (M-DOWA, www.mdowa.org) prestigious Joe Penfold Memorial Award for Grassroots Conservation Efforts. This award honors 20 years of work by Dr. Bousquet and his students throughout those years in protecting, preserving, and educating about the precious natural habitat that is Winchester's Abrams Creek Wetlands.  Nominations for this award, part of the organizations yearly Excellence-in-Craft competitions, are made by member writers based on their publications. Winchester's photo-journalist Marie Majarov nominated Bousquet and his students who were featured in her "Abrams Creek Wetlands: Wet Prairies and Calcareous Muck Fens!" published in Virginia Wildlife Magazine, November/December 2012.

An exceptional one-mile strip of land covering 50 acres, half in Frederick County and half in the City of Winchester, Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve is one of the most biologically rich sites in Virginia! Or, as Bouquet's Environmental Education students describe it -- "Abrams Creek's Wetlands: A Natural Wonder in Our Back Yards." Thriving here, amidst a lovely variety of flora and fauna, are 18 state-rare plants and 12 more on the watch list, with 2 found nowhere else in Virginia . More details in Marie Majarov's Virginia Wildlife Article.

M-DOWA, representing 5 Mid-Atlantic States and DC, and VOWA are coalitions of outdoor communicators, including writers, photographers, radio/ video/film producers, artists, and internet communicators who strive to improve themselves in their craft, promote outdoor education, the wise use of our natural resources, and increase their knowledge and understanding of the outdoors.

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

OWAA Taps Tom Sadler as Executive Director

The Outdoor Writers Association of America announces the hiring of Tom Sadler as the organization's executive director. Sadler is a lifelong outdoorsman and has worked for years in both the conservation and outdoor recreation arenas. A former U.S. Navy Reserve officer and an avid angler and hunter, he lives in Verona, Va., in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. "OWAA is fortunate to find someone of Tom's caliber to lead our organization into a demanding new era," said Mark Taylor, OWAA president and outdoor writer for The Roanoke Times. "This era requires that we adapt to an ever-changing media landscape in order to best serve our existing membership and attract new members. Tom is more than equal to the task at hand... with his experience in the outdoor and conservation arenas , complemented by his vast professional network."

Sadler owns and runs a consulting firm, The Middle River Group, where he focuses on advocating for outdoor recreation and conservation. He launched the company in 2008 after moving to Verona from Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Sadler was the director of program development for the Trust for Public Land. He also served as the conservation director for the Izaak Walton League of America and was president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. Sadler has worked as an outdoor columnist for the New Virginian in Waynesboro and writes about the outdoors and conservation on his blog, Dispatches from Middle River (middleriverdispatch.com). He also works occasionally as a fly-fishing guide for Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg, VA.

Sadler serves on the boards of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association and the National Fisheries Friends Partnership. He also is a member of the steering committee of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a National Fish Habitat Partnership.

"My passion for the outdoors and conservation are exceeded only by my desire to share those passions with others," Sadler said. "OWAA members are the best communicators of those passions. To be able to help OWAA do more of that by growing the membership, increasing our supporter base and helping our members and supporters become successful is really an exciting opportunity."  For more information visit Outdoor Writers Association of America website.

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."

7th Annual Project Healing Waters 2-Fly a Record Success

Editor's note... I have had the honor the past 3 years to participate as a volunteer outdoor media and VDGIF representative for the Project Healing Waters 2-Fly event at beautiful Rose River Farm and the gracious hospitality of Douglas Dear and the entire PHW organization. I was unable to attend this year and offered the opportunity to our newest and youngest OR contributor Matt Reilly. Matt is a 17-year-old Junior at Fluvanna County High School, who is already an accomplished writer and photographer following his passion for the outdoors- especially fly fishing. So the 2-Fly was a 'natural' assignment. Look for his weekly column, Adventures Afield, in The Rural Virginian, a multi-county weekly newspaper covering the Central Virginia region. For additional stories and photos on PHW and the 2-Fly tournament read Ed Felker's blog, Dispatches from the Potomac in this edition of the OR. Also visit the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing website.

Matt Reilly reports... If fly fishing is a rejuvenating activity, never was it more evident than at Project Healing Waters' 7th annual 2-Fly Tournament at Rose River Farm in Madison County on Sunday, April 28th.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) is an organization focused on providing our active service members and wounded veterans with physical and spiritual healing through the peaceful sport of fly fishing. Established at Walter Reed Medical Center in 2005, PHWFF has grown to include over 150 programs in 46 states, Canada, and Australia. The annual 2-Fly Tournament is the organization's vanguard fundraising event; and a total of $220,000 raised by silent auction and independent sponsorships made 2013 the most successful year yet.

More than money, smiles abounded on the water Sunday, despite unfavorable weather. Veterans and guides hit the river in friendly competition for morning and afternoon fishing sessions, and netted hundreds of trout, all catch and release. On land, participants were treated to buffet meals and casting and knot-tying demonstrations by renowned fly fishing figures, Lefty Kreh and Ed Jaworowski. Fellowship, under the tent and on the banks, was the prevailing theme. When final scores were tallied, awards were given for first, second, and third place, as well as for biggest and smallest fish caught. First-time fishermen, SPC Andrew Pike and SGT Michael Davis of Idaho, guided by Rose River guide Brian Wilson and Pennsylvania guide Gavin Robinson took first place. Pike was also awarded "big fish" for a 19-inch rainbow.

With 2013's tournament proving the biggest success, the day ended in a positive tone, with the stage set for next year.

All photos for this feature on the PHWFF 2-Fly Tournament were taken by Matt Reilly, Outdoor Report contributor.

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

Wheelin' Sportsmen Have Spring Gobbler Success at New Kent

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen (VAWS) kicked off their  2013 Spring Gobbler season with an opening day hunt at the New Kent Forestry Center near Providence Forge. This annual spring gobbler hunt was dedicated to Chris Beazley, a 23 year old avid outdoorsman and turkey hunter, who lost his life on March 1st. Chris was obviously looking over the VAWS hunters as all hunters worked birds, had shots, or harvested longbeards. Volunteers arrived at the property in early afternoon on Friday, scouted, set up blinds and roosted birds for the next morning.

On the second Saturday of the season, VAWS hosted two hunts in Albemarle County. Hunters enjoyed another great hunt at Panorama Farms hosted by the Earlysville Hunt Club, but no birds were harvested. VAWS is grateful to have the opportunity to hunt many great properties, and would like to express our sincere thanks to the Virginia Department of Forestry  and the many private landowners who welcome our hunters onto their property. If you have a mobility impairment disability and are interested in participating in VAWS events, or are a landowner and would like to host a hunting or fishing event, please contact Robin Clark at 434-249-6154 or via email.

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.

June Squirrel Season Opens on Private Lands and Selected WMAs June 1-15

Now in it's seventh year, a statewide squirrel season will be available for sportsmen June 1-15, 2013, on specific VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as listed on the VDGIF website and on all private lands. Fox squirrels may only be harvested on all private lands in counties with an open fox squirrel season and on the following WMAs: Big Survey, Goshen, Havens, Little North Mountain, Merrimac Farm, Phelps, Rapidan, and Thompson WMAs. Hunting squirrels with dogs is now allowed during the June season.

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

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

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

Elk Restoration Update

ONE YEAR AGO... Elk Release in Buchanan County Made History when 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.

Another group of elk are currently in quarantine in Kentucky. VDGIF biologists are planning to transport these elk to Buchanan in late May and place in the acclimation corral.

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

For more information on elk restoration 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."

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.

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.

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.

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!

The final two weeks of Spring Gobbler Season are a great time to take a youth or novice hunter to the woods to experience this exciting pursuit of wary Toms as hunting is now permitted all day. To ensure a safe and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends reviewing the following guidelines for a safe Spring Gobbler hunt: Get more tips on how to stay safe during your Spring Gobbler hunt!

With the spring 'green-up' of foliage, visibility becomes more difficult in the woods. One of the most important rules of safe hunting is to BE SURE and IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AND BEYOND... tragically a pair of spring gobbler hunters last week separated while stalking a turkey and the 70 year old hunter fatally shot his 45 year old companion from behind when he saw some movement and misidentified his target. All the wishing in the world will not bring a bullet back once the trigger has been pulled. The only other fatality during the 2012-13 hunting season was a juvenile that shot his father on January 1st, while hunting deer, also due to misidentifying his target and beyond.

Hunt safely, responsibly and ethically.

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!

CAUTION FLOODING ALERT

Many areas of Virginia have experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms the last two days as we are posting this May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report. There are Flood Warnings and Watches reported on many streams and major rivers across the state. Note that the Fishin' Report was up to date as of Tuesday May 7, but with the heavy rain storms many streams and rivers will be running high and cloudy and pose dangerous conditions for anglers and boaters, so extreme caution and plain old common sense should be used before planning any activities around moving water. We recommend checking with our contacts listed in Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report to get the latest on local river or lake conditions. This rain has changed everything regarding fishing and boating forecasts at time of posting. Most of the major rivers are going to be blow outs through the weekend till sometime next week. Alternatives are to check area reservoirs, ponds and the streams that get trout stockings Thursday and Friday. Check the Wild Events section for alternative outdoor events to still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are links to all these options throughout the Outdoor Report. Above all be safe, be responsible, be cautious and have fun!

Does Your Life Jacket Really Fit?

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

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

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

For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com. For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.

"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.

If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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 24th edition quiz for nature events for early May...

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Region I - Tidewater

Turkey Hunter Nearly Shot... On April 23, Sergeants Rich Goszka and Wayne Weller responded to a reckless handling of a firearm while hunting complaint in Richmond County. The investigation revealed that a single hunter had entered the property early in the morning and set up two hen turkey decoys just off of a logging road. Two additional hunters who also had permission to hunt the same property arrived later and located the single hunter's vehicle walked past the vehicle and began hunting. The two hunters approached the single hunter and upon seeing his hen turkey decoy fired a single shot. The hen decoy was positioned 70' in front of the single hunter. Fortunately the single hunter was not struck and contacted the two hunters. The scene was processed and evidence collected. On April 24, K-9 Officer Frank Spuchesi and his partner 'Comet' located the shot cup. A reckless handling of a firearm charge will be filed.

Region II – Southside

Turkey Caper... On April 18, Conservation Police Officer Matt Sandy received a call from a concerned citizen. He informed Officer Sandy that while hunting he had come across an individual that he believed had killed over his limit of turkey. Officer Sandy located the suspect's residence, walked in from an adjacent property, and set up surveillance in the woods and watched the suspect as he was cleaning the turkeys. After watching for a while, Officer Sandy approached the suspect and confronted him about the three turkeys that were on the tailgate of his truck. Officer Sandy also found that the suspect had not notched any tags for the turkeys and had not checked any of them in. Sandy then went to the location where the suspect had been hunting that morning and was able to determine that the suspect had trespassed on two different pieces of posted property while hunting. Officer Sandy also secured evidence in the form of a hat camera video. In the video you could hear a person calling a turkey, then a shot, the calling starts back and approximately 9 minutes later a second shot. Once again the calling starts, and the last shot was approximately 5 minutes later. The video then shows the suspect with two birds on the ground and one stuffed in a pouch on his back. Numerous magistrate summons were issued to the suspect for these offenses.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Special Trout Operation... On Monday April 15, District 42 conducted a special trout operation on Bullpasture River in Highland County. Officer E.W. Herndon worked undercover while Officer B.J. Harold, K-9 Officer Wayne Billhimer and partner 'Justice' patrolled the river. Towards the end of the operation Officer Herndon alerted Officer Harold and Billhimer of a subject that had given a fish away, appeared to have his limit on a stringer, and was continuing to fish. The two uniformed officers approached the subject. They soon learned that he only had 5 fish in possession and did admit to having given another away. Summons was issued to the subject for fishing after obtaining the limit of trout.

Shots Fired in Mountain Valley... On April 20, Senior Conservation Police Officer R.O. Ham III received a call from VDGIF Dispatch stating that they had received a call for shots fired in Rockingham County. Senior Officer Ham responded to the area in an attempt to locate the suspects. On arrival, Senior Officer Ham observed lights on a nearby ridge being cast into the wooded portion of the ridge. Senior Officer Ham approached the area by foot and was able to get within about 50 yards of the suspects and observed them attempting to locate a raccoon that they had shot at earlier in the evening. Due to the thickness of the wooded area, Senior Officer Ham was unable to effectively approach the suspects prior to them returning to their vehicles and leaving the area. Senior Officer Ham eventually was able to locate the suspects in front of the residence of one of the hunters on an adjoining property. When Senior Officer Ham approached the suspects, one violator was obviously under the influence of alcohol. The suspect also was in possession of a .357 handgun. After interviewing the suspects, charges for hunting under the influence of alcohol, underage possession of alcohol, two counts of hunting raccoon during the closed season and two counts of hunting without a license were placed on the violators.

Woodstock Public Safety Day... On Saturday April 27, Conservation Police Officers (CPO) Heine and Ostlund participated in the 2nd annual Woodstock Public Safety Day in Shenandoah County. The event featured numerous police, fire, and rescue agencies and their equipment, including three helicopters from VSP, Fairfax PD, and Pegasus Med Flight. VDGIF showcased a Honda ATV and a 16 ft. jet drive boat along with issued safety equipment for each. Crowd estimates ranged from 1500-2000 persons. CPOs Ostlund and Heine answered numerous legal and safety questions from the public, handed out countless VDGIF booklets, and showcased the Mustang suit and inflatable PFD'S. The VDGIF exhibit had lots of foot traffic and left the impression that we have the equipment and training to go anywhere in the state, over any terrain, to fulfill the agency mission.

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

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

The Floating Fishing School Sets Summer Schedule at 4 Lakes

It's summer and it's time for some fishing fun! Join a VDGIF 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 on four different lakes. Locations are:

VDGIF public fishing lakes are great places to fish for 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.

Each 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. For more information, contact Chris Dunnavant at 804-367-6778 or chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov

Safe Boating Week Begins May 18 - Time to Check for Safety Items

National Safe Boating Week kicks off May 18, 2013. Stacey Brown, VDGIF Statewide Coordinator Boating Safety Education advises, "This is the time of year to get ready for another season of responsible, safe, and fun boating on Virginia's waters! Be sure to check all your safety equipment."

It is a great time to perform routine maintenance on your boat too.

Finally, brush up on your boating knowledge. If you haven't already taken a class, check out all the classes on the VDGIF website. If you have already taken a class, review the Virginia Watercraft Owners guide to keep your knowledge fresh.

Let's make this a great summer – Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Have Fun!

CAUTION FLOODING ALERT

Many areas of Virginia have experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms the last two days as we are posting this May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report. There are Flood Warnings and Watches reported on many streams and major rivers across the state. Note that the Fishin' Report was up to date as of Tuesday May 7, but with the heavy rain storms many streams and rivers will be running high and cloudy and pose dangerous conditions for anglers and boaters, so extreme caution and plain old common sense should be used before planning any activities around moving water. We recommend checking with our contacts listed in Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report to get the latest on local river or lake conditions. This rain has changed everything regarding fishing and boating forecasts at time of posting. Most of the major rivers are going to be blow outs through the weekend till sometime next week. Alternatives are to check area reservoirs, ponds and the streams that get trout stockings Thursday and Friday. Check the Wild Events section for alternative outdoor events to still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are links to all these options throughout the Outdoor Report. Above all be safe, be responsible, be cautious and have fun!

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!"

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.

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.

"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!

Stephen Miklandric - Quest for my first Citation white bass

In the January 23, 2013 edition of the Outdoor Report "The Fishing Spot" Chris provided a profile on Virginia's "most prolific and decorated angler in the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Virginia Angler Recognition Program", Stephen Miklandric from Chesterfield. The article entitled, "The Trophy Fish Catching Machine" profiles Steven's accomplishments and what drives him in his quest for trophy fish. Read the entire article in the archives.

In the final paragraph of the article, the question was asked, What are Stephen's plans for 2013? Steven answered , "He is on a quest to be the first angler to catch all 25 species offered in VDGIF's trophy fish program." He currently has only 3 to go to accomplish his goal- Freshwater Drum, Sauger and White Bass.

True to his word and passion for fishing, Steven sent us an update for the April 24th edition on his quest for the three missing species, having started things off with the Sauger during a three day trip to the Clinch River in February focusing on the Dungannon to Fort Blackmore stretch located in Scott County. The extremely cold weather was no good for Sauger, but the walleye hit good, so the Sauger will have to wait for warmer weather.

In April Steven sent this report... Now for the White Bass! I've been focusing on the Hyco River for the past couple of days and it has been really good to me! I'd like to add that I have never ever heard so many frogs singing love songs in my life! Good Lord the Hyco River frogs are the loudest I've ever heard in my life! Anyway...In the past two days I caught the seven largest White Bass of my life! The largest I've boated was right at 2 pounds which I caught today 4/2/13...just 8 ounces away from citation weight. A White Bass must weigh 2 pounds 8 ounces or more to be a citation...I'll be working on them hard through April as they run up the rivers that feed Buggs Island. I'll keep ya'll posted!

On April 4, Steven emailed this message...

Subject: First Citation White Bass of my Life!! BOOMCHAGALAGA! :-D

Well Now! If you heard a very loud noise at 7:30 this morning is wasn't an earthquake...It was me screaming for joy...because it was at that very time that the Hyco River gave me my first citation White Bass!! She weighed in right at 2 pounds 8 ounces and was my first fish of the day! I timed this one perfectly with the approaching front and it paid off big time! At approximately 3pm the front caught up with me, the temps plummeted to 35 degrees, and the rain was mixed with sleet and snow. Needless to say the fishing completely turned off at that point but I managed eight fish during the morning and early afternoon. Not too bad considering the water temp only reached 54.5 degrees.

Then on April 7 a new message- the Second White Bass Citation is boated...

Well, I landed my second citation White Bass on Sunday 4/7! Another gem from the Hyco River in Halifax County! This time it was a large male...17" / 2 lbs 8 oz

So I now have citations in 23 species of Virginia's game fish! The Sauger & Freshwater Drum citations are the only two I still have yet to catch.

Go Steven go! We'll update you on his progress in future editions of the Outdoor Report...

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

CAUTION FLOODING ALERT

Many areas of Virginia have experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms the last two days as we are posting this May 8th edition of the Outdoor Report. There are Flood Warnings and Watches reported on many streams and major rivers across the state. Note that the Fishin' Report was up to date as of Tuesday May 7, but with the heavy rain storms many streams and rivers will be running high and cloudy and pose dangerous conditions for anglers and boaters, so extreme caution and plain old common sense should be used before planning any activities around moving water. We recommend checking with our contacts listed in Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report to get the latest on local river or lake conditions. This rain has changed everything regarding fishing and boating forecasts at time of posting. Most of the major rivers are going to be blow outs through the weekend till sometime next week. Alternatives are to check area reservoirs, ponds and the streams that get trout stockings Thursday and Friday. Check the Wild Events section for alternative outdoor events to still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are links to all these options throughout the Outdoor Report. Above all be safe, be responsible, be cautious and have fun!

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature is 66 degrees, with a visibility of 12 ft. Last week was a good one. Bass were caught in good numbers, just not a lot of large fish. The average bass was 2.50 to 3 lbs. I think the spawn is over for the most part. So start looking for fish on shallow shelves near deeper water, humps, or the edge of the shallows. Worms are my choice now, but a crankbait worked along the shelves will work also. Some crappie are being caught in 8 to 12 ft. of water, small minnows will work. More large shell crackers are showing up, but no signs of spawning yet, give them a week or so then look for these fish in very large numbers. Look for these on very shallow points and flats. Feed these fish red worms under a float, and look for a citation. 12 in. or 1 lb. We saw 2 small cats this week, more will show up now that the water is warmer. If you like large numbers of fish, try along the banks hitting as much cover as you can, and as fast as you can crank. You will have the time of your life. But it may cost you a finger or two. One young man said he caught 35 pickerel using this pattern. Take a kid fishing you may learn a thing or two. Saturday is our Third Sportsman Flea and Craft Show & Sale. Space is available so call fast.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. Bass have been small but plentiful with the better catches on the western side of the lake. Crappie fishing is still good at the north end of the lake and is expected to improve with the warmer weather approaching. Pickerel and yellow perch are also being caught. The water is 67 degrees, slightly stained and at full pool. The next Big Bash Bass Tournament will be held on May 25. Entry forms are available at the Ranger Station or on the website. 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. No report this edition.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that extremely windy conditions have kept anglers away. Some hearty fisher folk have come out, though. They found bass action to be hit or miss. Bass will take crankbaits. Crappie fishing has been good with minnows and jigs. Yellow perch are going for red wigglers and small spinners. Catfish may be fooled by eel. No word on bluegill. The water is 67degreees, high and clear.

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 (5/6/2013). The lake level was about six inches above the top of the dam. The water was brown and slightly cloudy in the lower lake, and more cloudy in some of the creeks up the 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. 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. Crappie were also in some of the staging areas near creek mouths and on wood cover and channel edges in the main lake. They were hitting live minnows, Kalin crappie scrubs, tubes, swim baits, and Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. Bass and pickerel were in the major creeks and around creek mouths and were hitting fly rod bugs, top-waters, crankbaits and jerkbaits, frequently very close to shoreline vegetation.

Fishing with Capt. Conway, Capt. Bill Buck and Hollis Pruitt had 20 crappie, 1 white perch, 1 yellow perch, 19 bluegill, 2 shellcrackers, 1 flier, 1 shiner, 1 blue cat, 1 pickerel, and 1 bass. Dr. David Wu-Pong and Jack Pong had 43 bluegill, 7 crappie, 1 flier, 1 shiner, 1 pickerel, and 2 bass, all on fly rods. Mickey Cleveland had 13 bluegill, 12 crappie, 4 white perch, 2 shiners, and 1 blue cat.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. A bump here, a scrape there...that's what I experienced throughout my time on the water today. I expected it, though, because the water level was at 2.6 feet when I pulled away from the ramp this morning at 7:15, and it had fallen to 2.2 feet by the time I returned at 3:15. This was the first time in a very long while that I've been on the water when it was this low, and I had forgotten what West Neck Creek looks like under these conditions. If it gets any worse (and it probably will, if the forecast is right), there's a high likelihood this Saturday's scheduled tourney may not happen, but there will be no official call on that until Saturday morning. Despite the skinny water, I managed to boat a half-dozen bass and one white perch. One bass was my fourth fish of the day and tipped the scales at 4 lbs. 1 oz. It and the other five, as well as the white perch, all hit my Bandit Footloose. Once I set the hook on this fish, she made two fantastic leaps but stayed buttoned until I slipped the net under her. At that point, the lone hook in her lower jaw fell out, guess my luck isn't quite as bad as I sometimes make it out to be. One of the other bass weighed 1 lb. 7 oz., but the rest fell in the 10 to 12 inch range. I also missed four or five strikes today by not being able to distinguish between a strike and bumping a submerged stump with the bait. And, too, I was just a little slow in pulling the trigger a couple of times. I forgot to check the water temp when I came in this afternoon, but at 7:15 this morning, it was only 61.8 degrees.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. According to Drew Dixon, bass action is good with plastics and cranks. Crappie fishing has been excellent on minnows and jigs. Lots of cats are falling for cut bait and big minnows. Perch are a little slow, but you may get lucky with a red wiggler or a cricket. Bream are really biting well in private ponds. The water is clear and in the upper 50s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Well, it's that time of year one can go to the river and catch 'bout anything. Good catches of catfish can be had especially using limb lines. Just be sure you follow all the rules and ALWAYS remove those lines after you're done fishing. White perch are still in the river and if you can catch them on the shore it is really fun fishing using small spinners. Bream are hitting the fly rod which is always a barrel of fun especially when they are on the bed. Just be kind and throw the egg laden females back. So get out there and have some fun before the heart and deer flies get so bad. Fish On!

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. Fishing on the James is definitely starting to bring the numbers. If you are ready to get out on the river for some productive smallmouth bass fishing, give us a call and let us handle the details! Stay away from the deep wintering areas and focus more toward the areas below rapids. Fish currents and eddies, and focus on that slack water right in the middle of a rapid. 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 bite is very good. They will take plastics, pumpkin seed and motor oil being good colors. They are also taking cranks and spinners. Crappie are slow, but may go for minnows and jigs. Cats are getting ready to spawn and have slowed down, but you might get lucky with cut hickory shad, cut eel and live white perch. Stripers are also doing well, with a local angler landing a 74 lb. monster( the fish was released) on cut hickory shad. They are also biting blood worms. White perch are going for blood worms and white curly tail grubs. Some shad are still there for the taking with spoons and darts. The water is fairly clear and 65 degrees.

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. The James is in great shape. The smallmouth have been eager to eat as well! Several fish over 4 lbs have been boated along with a brute that went five and a half pounds. Another five pound fish was also boated by the same angler. The fish have been taking spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jig and pigs. Fly anglers have success using the CK baitfish and the CK clawdad. Just make sure you get the fly in the strike zone. Some days they would chase the bait but 8 out of 10 times they wanted something fished pretty slow.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow Jr. says that the bass bite is good with top-waters, jigs and spinners. Crappie fishing is good off the docks and in 8 to 12 feet of water. Use minnows and jigs. Cats are going for cut bait, crappie and live bream. Perch are biting on crickets and small worms. The water is stained to clear and 52 to 68 degrees.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Riesdorf told me that that the smallie angling is "real good "with crayfish imitators. The rainbows and browns in the Jackson are "very active". Brookies are also cooperating, especially with little yellow stonefly and caddis imitators. Bluegill are attacking popping bugs and little nymphs. The water is clear and warming.

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

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that some bass are still on their beds, but some have moved on. They are taking crankbaits and plastic worms, pumpkin seed is your best color for plastics. Crappie fishing is very good with small minnows. They have seen 7 citation slabs in 2 weeks. Cats are responding well to big minnows and cut bait. Yellow perch are in the shallows and will take spinners, crickets and red wigglers. The water is clear and in the low to high 60s.

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 web show. The last two weeks on the New River have provided some of the best fishing of the season so far with multiple citation days and fish up to 22.5". Fish have been caught on everything from soft plastics to spinnerbaits. Muskies are starting their feed on the post-spawn, and we have landed fish up to 45" recently. While the river has been in excellent shape, the most recent weather front dumped nearly 3" to 4" in the area, and the river is on the rise, stained, and un-fishable for a few 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 some big bass are coming in on spinners. If you fish up his way, he says, you are guaranteed an encounter with a muskie. To land your lunker, try a big wooden jerkbait. The water is at a good level, around 60 degrees and a nice green color.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. New River Charter has been hammering big smallmouths for its clients and looking forward to the same with monster muskies starting soon. The river has been in great shape but we are getting pounded with rain as I write this report so fishing will be over with here for the next several days. Water temperature is 59 degrees and we have a couple days left open for guided trips during this sensational Spring smallmouth season. Check out our recent photos at http://www.newrivercharter.com/photos.html

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that bass fishing is good on soft plastics in brown, black and other earth tones. Muskies are "starting to show their heads again"; they like big cranks and big inline spinners. The water is clear and 62 degrees.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Fishing trips the past two weekends produced some smallies, 17 to 20 inches. Trout fishing last week in the tributaries of the top New continued to be quite good. Now, heavy rain has set in. The south fork of the New is already up over 5000 cfs; the river will be blown out for a week. Enjoy your Mother's day weekend with Mom and hopefully the next weekend will be good to fish the 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. No report this edition.

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry the smallmouth streams in both the north and south fork of the Shenandoah are in great shape and giving some really good fishing. Good flies are: Shenk's White Streamer, size 4; Shenk's Sculpin, size 4; and Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4. The water is clear, at a good level and 65 degrees.

The stocked and delayed streams in the Valley are also great places to fish just now. Good flies are: Murray's Grey Ghost, size 10; Murray's Skunk Streamer, size 10; and Murray's Nine - Three, size 10.The water is at an ideal level, clear and 62 degrees.

If you like to hike a while before fishing , the brookie streams in the mountains will give you a day of fun. Good flies are: Mr. Rapidan Parachute, sizes 14 and 16; the Sprit of Pittsford Mills, size 16; and the Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Black Caddis. The water is clear, at a good level and 54 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Fishing was a bit slower this past week due to the persistent weather fronts affecting our area. The bass, which were pre-staging and cruising the shoreline the week, now seem to have disappeared. Some reports of some scattered catches of bass on crankbaits and shakey head plastics. Things will pick up once warmer and stable weather sets in. Lots of trout fishermen on the lake, most are concentrated in the lower pool near the ledges of the river channel. No reports as to their success or techniques.

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 Britt Stoudenmire, 540-921-7438, owner for James River Outdoor Co. The Upper James has been fishing well with post-spawn smallies on the feed with several 20"+ smallmouth and big, big numbers. They have been biting "everything." Muskies are starting to come out of the funk, and feeding up on the post-spawn with several 40"+ fish hooked in the last week. The river is high and stained at the moment and should be fishable by the weekend. Please visit and "Like" our James River Outdoor Co Facebook Page for more pics, videos, and reports or give us a shout if you'd like to hit the river, 540-921-7438.

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. No report this edition.

Occoquan Reservoir and Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Fishing in the Occoquan River continues to be fantastic. The shad run continues to be strong and snakeheads are biting as well. I have also picked up striped bass and catfish while chasing shad.

On the Occoquan Reservoir fishing, however, has been more difficult for me. Water temperatures remain below 60 in the morning and the water is very stained. Some fish have moved shallow and I've seen a few making beds but overall productivity has not been great for me.

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. The water is clear with temperatures in the mid 60s. Largemouth bass and crappie are beginning to spawn. On warm sunny days they can be found in the shallow spawning areas. On cloudy cooler days, both the bass and crappie back off the shore and can be found in the 5 ft. depth range. Live bait and soft plastics are the best options for the bass and crappie bite. Noteworthy, Jim Ford of Staunton, brought in a lunker 7 pound bass on Saturday using a soft plastic bait. Catfish are turning on in both ends of the lake hitting on chicken liver. Pan fish are moving shallow with red wigglers producing the greatest catch.

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

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

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 April 2013 Spring Fishing edition, of our ODUMagazine™ has combined a unique blend of articles covering everything from bass to speckled trout. Please make sure you read the article title "Sometimes it's not about the fishing" by Ed Harp. The article is definitely thought-provoking and put's a unique twist on our fishing trip.

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. Bass By The Bushel, By Chris Jenkins
  2. Think Outside The Box, The Jig Box!, By Jason Freed
  3. 3D Baitfish Spawning Chart, By Lawrence Taylor
  4. Transition Fishing For Perch, By D & B Ice Adventures
  5. Muskie: Proper Handling Practices, By Sean Landsman with Marc Thorpe
  6. Catch Fish That Are Hittin' and Spittin', By Bob Jensen
  7. Beat The Crowds For Pressured Ice-Out Crappies, By Daniel Quade
  8. Key to the A-rig, By Captain Mike Gerry
  9. For Variety, Try Fishing Muscle ShoalS, By Jake Bussolini
  10. Inside Angles on Walleyes, By Jason Mitchell
  11. Sometimes it's not about the fishing, By Ed Harp
  12. The Magical Swirleybird, By Bill Vanderford
  13. Getting Creative for Early Spring Crappies, By Tom Neustrom
  14. The Monsters of the James River, By Jake Bussolini
  15. The Jerk Bait Craze, By Captain Mike Gerry
  16. Delacroix Speckled Trout, By Jeff Bruhl
  17. ODU Tackle Box
  18. East Side Iowa Fishing Vacation, By Dan Galusha
  19. Chasing The Warm Water, By D & B Ice Adventures
  20. Windy Spaces and Angling Aces, By Tom Neustrom
  21. Crappies Galore, By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
  22. Downtown Montreal Fishing, By Anthony Badham

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

Editors' note: Reader Bob Simmons recently saw something pretty cool, in his words: Monday, while fishing at Sugar Hollow near Crozet, VA, I saw something I had never seen before. There was a lot of splashing at the base of the dam. I thought it was a school of crappie but when I walked to the top of the dam I discovered it was the largest bass I have ever seen. The bass had corralled a number trout against the dam and was feeding on the trout. The trout were 10 to 12 inches in length. The trout were scrambling for their lives. A few of the trout escaped and were lying motionless around a sunken tree. This was an amazing site. I had no idea that a bass would dine on a 12 inch trout. Nature can put on some great shows.

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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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the April showers filling the trout streams and the warming May sun not only bringing forth beautiful wildflowers, but stirring wild creatures like black bears from their winter naps, can make for some unexpected outdoor adventure and a word of caution while in the wild... For Nathan Unger, a sophomore at Tunstall High School in Danville, an encounter with a black bear while on a father –spn trout fishing trip in the mountains of Georgia when he was 12 years old made fro a memorable outdoor experience.   With the encouragement of his English teacher, Adrian Nester, Nathan entered his essay in the 2011-12 VOWA High School Outdoor Writing Contest  where his story placed in the top 20. Nathan is an avid outdoorsman and his good instincts for the proper reaction when startled by the bear on the streambank and those actions by his dad and another fisherman in the area made for a safe encounter for both man and beast. As you head out on outdoor adventures this spring, heed the lessons from Nathan's exxperience and review the safety messages in this edition of the Outdoor Report on living with black bears.

An Unforeseen Encounter

By Nathan Unger

While reflecting upon on our childhood we can always point out an adventure that excited us the most. As for me, I have always been a part of a family who enjoys the outdoors. Endeavors such as standing in a stream fishing, sitting by a campfire while camping, and freezing in a deer stand while waiting for that monster buck to walk into my crosshairs, have always flowed through my blood. Among these unforgettable, wild adventures, there is one that far outweighs all the rest.

While entering my teenage years at the age of twelve, my dad decided to plan a camping trip involving the two of us. As we scouted out different areas of the southeastern United States to see where we wanted to camp, we compromised on a primitive camping ground in northern Georgia called Low Gap Creek. I still remember vividly how our campsite looked. First, we descended the side of a mountain with a stream at its base. We decided to scout it out first to make sure it was not too remote just in case there was an emergency. We eventually found the site we wanted at the base of the incline and climbed back up to the car to unload the gear. Well, since there was no electricity we had to blow up the air mattress via the car battery and carry it all the way down the hill without slipping on the slimy, moss-covered rocks that plastered the small stream that led to the base of the mountain. We finally trudged all the way down the embankment, set up our tent, built a blazing campfire, and sat down to take a deep breath.

We brought plenty of food but our intentions were to catch as many trout in the stream as possible. We knew any day could be hit or miss. Come to find out, we realized we did not stop for any worms along the way. So, yes, we started digging. We began scratching away leaves and moist soil in search of a delicacy that all rainbow, brown, and brook trout covet. The search was not too successful until my dad found a simple, mushy, ghost-colored larva. Quicker than I could blink it was on the hook and flowing down stream. Within minutes we had supper. As it got dark we lathered the fish in butter, wrapped it in tin foil and placed it over some steaming coals.

Since we were only planning on staying for the weekend, we had to get busy with our priority – fishing. We hiked up and down the river bank and around the bend and even strattled a few trees in order to make some strategic casts. As the day drug on we caught our fair share of fish with our spin cast reels and even our fly rods. It wasn't until the late afternoon that the real excitement began. My dad and I were on some rocks out in the stream when a fall fish – a scavenger of most streams – cleared my hook, so I had to go back to shore grab the worms. As I jumped on shore I saw something that I will never forget. There it was, big and black. I found myself face to face and within ten feet of a three hundred pound black bear. As I stood there in bewilderment, I took a step back and plainly called to my dad, "Dad, there's a bear!" He immediately jumped down and threw his hands over his head and started yelling at it at the top of his lungs while another man nearby blasted a whistle he had handy. The bear immediately took off and was up the mountain and out of sight within minutes.

After we sat there in shock for a few minutes, the man with the whistle who seemed like he was about to have heart failure said he needed to go back to his car to check on his family. As my dad and I looked at each other we knew what each of us was thinking, "How are we going to sleep at all tonight?" After a few of more hours of fishing and paranoia we soon had to end our trip early and pack fast because my mom was in labor with my youngest brother. We knew we had a story to tell, but we were not sure who was going to believe us. Our brief adventure was forever etched in our minds.

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: