In this edition:

Honor and Remember Our Veterans Who Answered the Call This Memorial Day

As spring gobbler season comes to an end and we clean and stow our gear, and get out the boat and fishing gear, be reminded that Memorial Day is a few days away on, Monday, May 27th when we honor and remember those heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom. We also honor and remember all our veterans and active duty service men and women and their families for your service, courage, and sacrifice. Thank you for "answering the call" to defend freedom and preserve liberty. Thanking those who now actively serve and live in our communities by helping them in some good deed is a tangible way to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice that we memorialize this special day.

The following weekend June 7-9 we celebrate Free Fishing Days and the opening of the Spring Squirrel season June 1-15. As we join with family and friends to continue our rich hunting and fishing traditions and introduce new sportsmen and women to our outdoor pursuits, we recognize that these opportunities are intertwined in your service and preserved for future generations to enjoy due to the ultimate sacrifice of so many for our benefit. Honor these veterans by pursuing your outdoor adventures with safety and courtesy for your fellow outdoor enthusiasts and appreciation for the opportunity just to be out there.

David Coffman, Editor

Record Spring Gobbler Harvest For 2013

Spring turkey hunters reported harvesting a record 19,265 birds during the 2013 season, according to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The 2013 spring harvest exceeded the previous record harvest of 18,345 birds set in 2002. The 2013 harvest was 26% above last year's harvest of 15,326 gobblers. The harvest east of the Blue Ridge Mountains was 23% higher than last year's harvest (12,994 vs. 10,527). In counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains the harvest increased 31% (6,271 vs. 4,799). Eighty-seven percent of the birds harvested were adult birds. Seventy-four bearded hens were reported. Fifteen percent of the harvest took place on opening day. By week, the highest harvest took place during the first week of the season (31%). The weekly harvest was similar through the balance of the season. Most of the birds were harvested by hunters using shotguns (92%). Hunters using rifles accounted for 7% of the harvest. The vast majority of birds were harvested on private lands (92%). The balance was reported from hunters hunting on federal (6%) or state (2%) lands.

Because the spring harvest is believed to be the best index to turkey populations, the record 2013 suggests a robust turkey population. However, population levels were not uniform across the state. Populations in the South Piedmont and Tidewater Regions are believed to be the highest in the state. Assuming other regions of the state have similar habitats, population growth can be expected in years to come.

Strong reproduction over the past 2 years has helped bolster the turkey population. Particularly mild spring weather in 2011 appeared to stimulate recruitment. Birds hatched in 2011 were 2 years old during the 2013 season. These birds tend to gobble frequently and represent an important part of the harvest.

Weather is also an important factor impacting hunter success rates. Good gobbling requires good weather. More birds were killed on Saturdays than any other day of the week. Fortunately, Saturday weather during the 2013 season was generally mild, conditions that likely contributed to the record setting season.

Recruitment and retention of hunters is a critical aspect to the future of hunting. The Special Youth Season offered a special day for young hunters to enjoy the sport at a time when competition is low. The season also offered the potential to retain adult hunters to mentor younger hunters. It was encouraging to announce that nearly 3% of the harvest (522 birds) came during the Special Youth Season. Harvest in the 2013 Spring Youth Season was comparable to 2012 (4%).

In summary, the 2013 spring season represents a new landmark for spring turkey harvest and population levels. This robust population status offers Virginia hunters extensive opportunities for high quality turkey hunting.

Top 10 Counties for Spring Gobbler Harvest:

  1. Bedford - 631
  2. Halifax - 516
  3. Pittsylvania - 510
  4. Franklin - 425
  5. Southampton - 411
  6. Scott - 346
  7. Caroline - 327
  8. Sussex - 326
  9. Campbell - 318
  10. Westmoreland - 304

Top 5 Season for Spring Gobbler Harvest:

  1. 2013 - 19,265
  2. 2002 - 18,345
  3. 2003 - 17,988
  4. 2006 - 17,195
  5. 2009 - 16,661

Ken and Maria Perrotte, authors of the "Dining In" feature for Virginia Wildlife Magazine, had a treat this spring when their grandson, Kenny got his first wild turkey. Their success was part of the record spring turkey harvest this season. Read their full story in the "Share Your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us" section.

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!

Attention Boaters! Your Help Is Needed For the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Recreational Boater Survey!

As a part of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program's efforts to document important areas for boating and the value of Virginia's recreational boating industry, your assistance is needed to ensure collection of accurate information about recreational use of Virginia's coast. From May to October, a select number of recreational boaters will receive a survey in the mail to document the location, duration, time, activities, and money spent on recent boating trips. The information gathered in this survey will provide a better understanding of how and where recreational boaters use the ocean so that those uses are included in future planning efforts. It also ensures that recreational boating areas are accounted for during evaluations and review processes of other ocean projects. For more information about the survey, go to: http://www.monmouth.edu/uciboatersurvey/default.asp

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 - Public Comment Period CLOSES Friday May 31, 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.)

Next Edition Three Weeks Away June 12...

Since we post the Outdoor Report on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, the next edition will be in three weeks, June 12. This 'extra week' in the calendar will be well spent celebrating the Memorial Day Holiday weekend honoring those fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. With the 'official' start of summer, we hope you take the opportunity to smoke a venison tenderloin or some catfish fillets for a neighborhood party, or dangle some crawdads at smallies on the James., or participate in any of the dozens of events listed in Wild Events. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for the June 12th edition. Have a safe and enjoyable beginning of Summer

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!

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.

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.

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.

Use Those Game Cameras All Year 'Round!

Don't let those game cameras gather dust waiting for deer season. They're perfect for spotting and photographing all kinds of wildlife, especially the more skittish species. But be sure to secure those cameras, especially in a flood plain!

The camera would be set up low on a tree in a little cove where I have spotted wood ducks before. It has a bracket that screws into a tree trunk, then the camera slips over the bracket and you're ready to go. Except we forgot one thing: To keep an eye on the river levels. An earlier rain was still having an impact downstream, and in no time the camera was underwater. Being airtight and buoyant, however, it simply lifted up off the bracket as the water got higher, and floated away. Find out about this adventurous game camera in Game Cam Lost, Then Found, Then Tells Us Where It's Been on Dispatches from the Potomac.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

Keeping on the duck theme, the very talented photographer Stephen Tabone was truly at the right place at the right time to capture a rare and special moment. You will love the images in, In the Right Place at the Right Time – Hooded Merganser Ducklings.

It must be the season for timely photo opportunities. Rob Choi captured some incredible bald eagle images while out kayak fishing. Check them out in Shutter Happy.

Seth Goodrich, another kayak fisherman, had a particularly special outing recently. Some beautiful speckled trout were caught, but the unique aspect of this Speck-tacular Night with the Boys was that it was Seth's last fishing outing as a bachelor. He has since tied the knot and landed, as he puts it, the best catch of his life. Congratulations, Seth and Kamaron!

Finally, Mark Taylor passes along a cool turkey hunting story, as a father and son patiently watched a gobbler close a distance from 1,200 yards to 10 yards, in Gobbler Comes from Afar to Wade Hampton. (Hint: It doesn't end well for the gobbler.)

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

Wheelin' Sportsmen hosts Outdoors Celebration Event at West Augusta

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.

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 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), we are featuring VDGIF partner organizations that support our Mission in each edition of the Outdoor Report. WSFR is one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history. The WSFR is a milestone program that brings together federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups to create a successful partnership that has led to quality wildlife-related outdoor opportunities. Through fostering and maintaining these partnerships, conservation and outdoor recreation will continue to future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.

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."

Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend Gets Great Reviews

On May 3-5, Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox, hosted the first of two Virginia Hunter Skills Weekends for 2013. Individuals, couples, groups of friends and entire families comprised the 60 participants ranging in age from 11 through grandparents.

Scheduled class topics from A-Z covered archery, basic shotgun, rifle and pistol, bow hunting, bow fishing, GPS navigation, muzzleloading, recovery of wounded game, skeet and trap shooting, small game hunting skills, trapping, turkey hunting and wild game cooking. The weather was ideal for the outdoor activities and provided just enough chill in the air to make the nightly campfires and s'mores enjoyable.

Just-for-fun evening events included a LaserShot game and a classic John Wayne movie in the outdoor Amphitheater complete with popcorn. Optional seminars rounded out the experience with opportunities to build a wood duck box, learn and practice to safely use a tree stand, or pick up some gun cleaning techniques.

VHSW is a partnership program presented by the Virginia Hunter Education Association, the VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center. It is staffed by volunteer Hunter Education Instructors from across Virginia. Participants' feedback on the event included, "Amazing instruction, the knowledge base was incredible and it seems that all the instructors want to pass on all of their knowledge in a safe and enjoyable manner to all who wish to learn", "Had a lot of shooting time, kids had a great time as well, held their interest", and "This was my 1st time and I thought this was a great weekend. I learned a lot and everyone was super friendly."

The next Skills Weekend is August 23-25, 2013. Course descriptions and registration information will be available on the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center website: www.holidaylake4h.com or by calling Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444.  Class size is limited so register early!

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 Host Outdoor Day with Fun Activities for All

On Saturday May 11th, 55 participants with disabilities from all over Virginia gathered for our Charlie Scott Memorial Outdoor Day in West Augusta. Participants enjoyed a fantastic day of fishing for trout and catfish at the stocked pond, blasting skeet, and flinging bolts on the Parker Crossbow range. Twenty two disabled youth from Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center joined in on the fun and several shoot skeet and crossbow for the very first time! Family members of the participants and volunteers joined in on the fun, and everyone enjoyed a delicious BBQ pork lunch provided by Alan Tiangson. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, Bass Pro Hanover, VA Eagle Distributing, VA Trapper's Asso. and the entire Scott family for making this such a successful event.

Photos by Sherwood Londeree and Lara Hoke.

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.

Video Features Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting

Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. If you want to learn one of the best methods we've seen for skinning squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering online, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young & old.

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

Grandson Kenny Gets First Turkey

Ken and Maria Perrotte author the "Dining In" feature for Virginia Wildlife Magazine and had a treat this spring when their grandson, Kenny got his first wild turkey. Ken relates the story...

A good morning for me and Kenny. He started out in a blind with Grandma, but their set up wasn't the best, she reported. I had moved on to try to locate some poacher who shot twice shortly after daybreak from a place where he clearly wasn't supposed to be. I had hastily set out a couple decoys for a second location when that happened. When I returned I saw a mature tom heading into the woods away from the spread. I sat down to take a 10-minute break, and called once and a hen immediately responded and closed in. My bird popped out of the woods and followed where I popped him at 20 yards. I called and suggested Kenny hustle over and join me. Within an hour, a group of jakes and jennies responded to some yelps. One jake got a little excited at the decoys and the purring of the call, strutting his way up the slope until he was 22 yards in front of Kenny's shotgun barrel. I clucked once on the call. The bird perked up and Kenny squeezed the trigger, rolling him in his tracks. He was so excited he asked if I could hear his heart beating as the turkey strutted ever closer. I think he may be hooked on this...

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.

May 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 in late MAy. Selected elk now in quarantine in Kentucky l received a second round of disease testing in early May. VDGIF biologists expect to move ten elk to the Buchanan County release site by the end of May and place in the acclimation corral.

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 have shed their antlers. Hopefully the adult cows are all pregnant and we will be seeing a new group of calves in two months. Cows have separated from the herd and started to go into seclusion to calve.

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!

Spring Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to go squirrel hunting the June 1-15, 2013 spring season, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. You'll also want to put on some bug repellent to ward off ticks, chiggers, gnats and mosquitoes. Learn to identify poison ivy (leaflets three let it be!) and avoid contact with the shiny green leaves and hairy vines. Note that you can also get a rash from handling clothes that have come in contact with this abundant woods plant. If you have walked through a patch of poison ivy, wash those clothes to remove the oils which cause the itchy rash. Snakes are also out and about with the warmer temperatures, so be alert. If it is a very warm day, it would be a good idea to field dress your harvested game as soon as possible and bring along a cooler with ice and plastic bags to store them. You may want to view the instructional squirrel skinning video featured in the next article.

As always, practice basic firearm safety. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, only point at what you intend to shoot, and clearly identify your game and what is beyond. So spray on a little bug juice and take a youngster squirrel hunting on one of the selected VDGIF's WMAs or private woodlands. You can locate the WMAs at the VDGIF map information system on our Find Game website.

Order your own copy today!

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

Remember spring is the time to be aware of ticks and the potential for Lyme disease. Especially for turkey hunters walking through grass fields and woods. Information about Lyme disease and what people should do if they are bitten by a tick can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website. Virginia Wildlife Magazine featured an article about Lyme disease prevention that can be read on our agency website.

The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Use insect repellant to prevent ticks from getting on you. There are many kinds of effective insect repellants on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Some may be applied directly to the skin, while others should only be applied to clothing. Read the label! Note the proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. Should you notice the target type ring around a tick bite or any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, seek medical attention immediately, as early detection and treatment will speed recovery in most cases. Be sure and check yourself, your children and your pets frequently whenever outdoors and after you return home for a few days.

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!

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.'

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!

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 late 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

Forensic Club Students Investigate Hunting Incident Scenario... On May 2, Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Mitch Booden and Hunter Ed Specialist, Officer Sarah Druy conducted a hunting incident investigation class at E.W. Wyatt Middle School in Greensville County for the after school Forensic Club. With the approval of the school principle and the sheriff's office, a real shot path was created the prior day (after school hours) to give the students some realism of the investigation. Students were given a hunting scenario in which they were to investigate. Four Complimentary Work Force (CWF) volunteers were on hand to be role players for the students as CPO's Booden and Druy guided them through the steps. Students conducted all the interviews, baseline measurements for evidence they found (including bagging and tagging the evidence), sketches and photographs. The students will compile all the information they gathered and will present a completed investigation at a later date.

Region II – Southside

Turkeys Can Run But Not Hide... On April 19, Conservation Police Senior Officer Brandon Harris initiated a foot patrol on a large tract of agricultural land bordered by the Dan River. Shortly after leaving his patrol vehicle, he heard two simultaneous gunshots coming from the far end of a wheat field bordering the river. Brandon quickly took a position to observe the area and noticed a fully camouflaged subject walking through the woods at the edge of the field. He sprinted toward the wood line where he contacted two individuals dressed in camouflage and possessing shotguns. Upon seeing Officer Harris, the individuals began to flee. After a brief foot pursuit, Officer Harris was able to make contact with the subjects. Officer Harris learned that the pair had floated down the river by boat and intended to pursue any turkeys they heard along the way. A search of the boat revealed a .17 caliber rifle equipped with a scope and bipod. Charges were placed for trespassing to hunt without permission and a safety equipment violation.

Region III - Southwest

Wounded Warrior Program Spring Turkey Hunt... On May 9-11 the "3rd Annual Virginia Wounded Warriors Program Spring Turkey Hunt 2013" event took place in Bland County. This year Senior Officer George Shupe and his wife Rebecca sponsored eight wounded veterans from Southwest Virginia that served during our most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each veteran was assigned an experienced hunter/guide and caller to assist them during this event. The guides were experienced hunters representing the "National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Bland and Grayson County Chapters of Virginia, and local hunters. The hunt itself occurred throughout Bland County on 5000 acres of land donated by local landowners. During the three day hunt, a total of four gobblers were harvested and one missed. Local taxidermists are donating a free mount to the successful hunters.

Candidates for "World's Dumbest" TV Show... On May 11, Senior Conservation Police Officer Randy Hurst was notified by VDGIF Dispatch that a Blue Ridge Parkway Ranger was on a vehicle stop and was requesting assistance. The ranger had located turkey feet, tail fan, and spurs from a freshly killed bird and the subjects where from Georgia and did not have Virginia hunting licenses. Officer Hurst and Conservation Police Officer Mark Brewer responded to the scene. Consent was obtained from the owner of the vehicle to search the vehicle and a video camera was located during the search. Consent was obtained to view the contents of the video camera, and to the officers surprise it showed the subjects engaged in the killing of the turkey. The subjects actually admitted on the video to "poaching a Virginia turkey and videoing it for the law." Confessions were subsequently gained and the two suspects were charged with hunting from a motor vehicle, hunting without a license, failing to check a turkey, illegal possession of turkey parts and conspiring to commit game violations.

Kids Fishing Day

Tazewell County Kid's Fishing Day... On May 4, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officers James Brooks and James Hale participated in the Annual Tazewell County Kid's Fishing Day Event at Lake Witten. More than 800 kids accompanied by parents and grandparents endured rain and windy conditions while trying their hand at catching the big one. Each child under the age of 16 received gifts to introduce them to and assist them in the sport of trout fishing. Officers Brooks and Hale aided children with fishing, patrolled for illegal violations and answered a pool of questions related to fishing, hunting, and boating. Other agencies attending and participating were the Tazewell County Soil and Water Conservation, Tazewell County 4-H, The Virginia Department of Forestry and several rescue and fire departments from Tazewell County. The Tazewell County Sheriff's Office and Special Police assisted with parking. Overall attendance for the event was well over 1,300 people.

Big Wilson Kid's Fishing Day On May 4, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris assisted with the Annual Big Wilson Kid's Fishing Day sponsored by Rugby Fire and Rescue. Despite the colder than normal weather and overcast skies, a large crowd turned out for the event. The kids had a good time with several citation fish caught including a twenty-five inch rainbow trout and an eighteen inch brook trout. Lunch was served for the crowd and many kids returned to the creek after lunch to continue fishing.

Dickenson County Kid's Fishing Day On May 04, Conservation Police Officers Mark Van Dyke and Tim Hayes assisted in the 2013 Dickenson County Kids Fish Day in Dickenson County, Virginia. The event was held at the Flannagan Dam Spillway on the Pound River in Dickenson County. The event promotes fishing with young adults and the theme was "Get Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs". There were over 900 people at the event from the surrounding community. K9 Officer Wes Billings and "K9 Josie" were also on hand and put on a demonstration of "K9 Josie's" ability to locate hidden firearms, fish and game to many interested participants. A lifetime fishing license was given away to one boy and one girl who were registered for the event.

Pulaski County Kid's Fishing Day On May 11, Conservation Police Officers Captain Clark Greene, Sergeant Charlie Mullins, Troy Phillips, David Peake, Chase Meredith, and Hunter Education Specialist Jeff Pease participated in the Fourth Annual Pulaski County Kid's Fishing Day. The event was held at the Boy Scouts of America's Camp Powhatan in Pulaski County. A total of 470 kids registered for the event and a record 1,215 plates of food were served. Events included fishing in the lake with over one thousand pounds of trout stocked, a bb gun range, a Department fishing simulator, several different exhibits, and a fish cleaning station. t-shirts were given to every registered child. Prizes included rod/reel combos, tackle boxes, fishing lures, two kayaks, one canoe, and four lifetime fishing licenses. Police officers from Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, Radford Police Department, Virginia State Police, Dublin Police Department and Claytor Lake State Park were also in attendance. The late Trooper Andrew Fox was also remembered for his assistance with last year's event. A framed memorial certificate with his picture was presented to First Sgt. Mike Honaker and will be placed in the Dublin VSP area office. Photos of the event will be posted at a later time on the Pulaski Kid's Fishing Day website located at kidsfishingday.org.

Craig County Kid's Fishing Day On Saturday, May 11, Conservation Police Officer Francis Miano and Sergeant Charlie Mullins participated in the 14th Annual Craig County "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" Kids Fishing Day on Barbour's Creek. This event was for ages 3-15 yrs of age. 403 kids registered for this year's event. K-9 Officer Wes Billings and his partner "Josie" conducted a demonstration that was greatly received, not only by the kids, but also by all the adults in attendance. During registration, each kid received a t-shirt, meal ticket and was allowed to choose a prize which ranged from fishing poles to flashlights. Participants and their parents were treated to a hotdog lunch at the Craig County Fairgrounds. The largest fish caught on this day was a 20 inch, 4.35 lb. brook trout. The winner received a free mount from a local taxidermy shop. Grand prizes were awarded to the 3 to 9 year old and 10 to15 year old groups. The overall grand prize was also awarded which is a lifetime fishing license. This event was made possible by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia State Police, Craig County Sheriff's Office, United States Forest Service and many generous contributions from merchants and volunteer workers from throughout the County.

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!

Attention Boaters! Your Help Is Needed For the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Recreational Boater Survey!

As a part of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program's efforts to document important areas for boating and the value of Virginia's recreational boating industry, your assistance is needed to ensure collection of accurate information about recreational use of Virginia's coast. From May to October, a select number of recreational boaters will receive a survey in the mail to document the location, duration, time, activities, and money spent on recent boating trips. The information gathered in this survey will provide a better understanding of how and where recreational boaters use the ocean so that those uses are included in future planning efforts. It also ensures that recreational boating areas are accounted for during evaluations and review processes of other ocean projects. For more information about the survey, go to: http://www.monmouth.edu/uciboatersurvey/default.asp.

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.

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!

Want to Talk about the Weather... and Fish?

There are so many variables in fishing: different species, type of lake or river, available cover, water clarity, depth, season, fishing pressure, type of bait, lure color and on and on it can go! Fishing is a dynamic sport, but one variable ranks higher in influence than any other; the weather. Fish do not have the luxury of shelter from the weather. The environment they live in is constantly changing and they live in it and their behavior is greatly influenced by it.

Therefore, understanding how weather influences fish behavior can make a big difference in our fishing success. The weather is a big piece of the puzzle that successful anglers put together on the water each day when trying to figure out how to best catch fish.

Of course the weather impacts different species in different ways and fish in each body of water can react differently to weather also, but the following are some general observations about fish and weather than can help you on the water.

Fronts – As a weather system approaches, cloud cover and wind increases and the barometric pressure is falling. Fish activity tends to increase before and as the front passes, but the other side of the front has a different personality. Marked by high-blue skies, windy and cooler conditions and a rising barometer, the fish seem to be less cooperative. Slow down your presentation on these post front days.

Cloud Cover – Fish tend to roam and move about more on cloudy days. The bright sunny days may find fish staying put in more protective deeper water or in cover such as grass or wood. However, in cold conditions the peak sunny times may see the highest activity levels.

Temperature – Fish are cold blooded, so their bodies match the temperature of the water and this affects their metabolism and activity level. Each species has an ideal temperature range and temps above or below that tend to slow fish down. A simple rule to help you find the most active fish is in the colder months, fish the warmest water available and in the hottest months, fish the coolest water.

Precipitation – An influx of water does a number of things to a body of water including changing the water temperature, level and clarity. Expect big changes such as a 2 ft rise in water level or the clarity changing from 2 feet to zero overnight as having a negative impact. These drastic changes tend to put fish in a foul mood for feeding and it is best to look for more stable conditions in the water system.

Wind – Anglers often do not like the wind, but trust me, the saying is true; "the wind is your friend." Wind creates current in bodies of water that generally lack it such as ponds and lakes and the fish like current because it creates an instant feeding advantage. Remember the saying and fish more windward areas and the results will follow.

Fishing is not an exact science, thankfully. The challenge is one of the aspects best aspects of fishing; we would eventually get bored if we could completely figure it out. However, understanding the weather can certainly help our catch rate. Keep a fishing journal to record the weather conditions in detail and your fishing techniques and locations. Follow these weather tips and overtime your experience and records will be an excellent guide to solving that major fishing piece of the puzzle; the weather.

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 2013 fishing license, we would like to thank you for helping to support Virginia's wildlife and natural resources.

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

Sarah White's Notebook

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature. is 72 degrees with 13 ft visibility. Shell crackers were the fish of the week with 100 drs. caught. Some as large as 1 lb. and 12.50 in. VERY NICE fish, you may have 2 more weeks to catch some of these good eating fish. Red worms are the key, find a shallow sunny spot and the chances are they are there. Bass are post spawn and spook easy but you can catch them. Soft plastics are your best choice. fished in 6 to 12 ft. of water slowly. Over 4 lb. fish were caught by many. A few crappie were caught but not in large numbers. Look for these fish in 10 to 12 ft of water, holding on any isolated cover. We saw the first good numbers of cats this week but they were not large. Pickerel are still very numerous and easy to catch. The faster you crank the handle the more you catch. Our next open is Saturday.

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester, (804) 693-2107. Small largemouth bass are being caught off the pier. The chain pickerel have been biting steadily with a few being caught just short of a citation. The larger largemouth bass have started to bite now that the water temperature is beginning to rise. Crappie fishing is still being reported both on the pier and out in the coves and standing timber throughout the reservoir. The water is at full pool, slightly stained and 72 degrees.

Our next Big Bash Bass Tournament is on May 25, 2013. Registration is available now. 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. According to Captain Skip, small bluefish, puppy drum, flounder and croaker are all in Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets. Around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel you can find tautogs and a few croaker. Red and black drum are in the shoals. The water is 67 degrees and murky, but clearing.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that in spite of the rain on Saturday, some anglers went out. They were rewarded by some good bass. Around lily pads, try spinners; a round Cypress trees try Zoom Brush Hog. No word on crappie or perch. Cats will readily take eels. The water is 75 degrees and stained.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Mid day water temperatures were in the mid 60s to low 70s in the lower lake and low 70s in the major creeks on Wednesday (5/15/2013). The lake level was about a foot above the top of the dam. The water was dark brown and moderately cloudy in the lower lake. Blue cats and a few channel cats were widely scattered in a variety of depths in the lower main lake and in the creeks and were hitting live minnows. Small to medium crappie were still scattered in the channels and on flats of the major creeks. A mix of sizes of crappie were also on wood cover and channel edges and near some lily pads in the main lake. Crappie were hitting live minnows, Kalin crappie scrubs, tubes, swimbaits, and Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. Bluegill were in scattered loose clusters on many shorelines in the main lake and in some areas up the creeks and were hitting flies, especially wet flies and nymphs, and small tubes and jigs. 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, Steve and Mitchell Novak had 17 crappie, 10 white perch, 1 yellow perch, 7 bluegill, 1 shellcracker, 1 blue cat, 1 pickerel, and 2 bass. Tom Porter and Malcolm Turnbull had 16 crappie, including 1 length citation, 53 bluegill, 3 shellcrackers, 2 shiners, and 1 bass. Hollis Pruitt had 21 crappie, 1 white perch, 2 yellow perch, 39 bluegill, 2 shellcracker, 1 shiner, 1 bowfin, and 1 bass. Capt. Bill Buck and Hollis Pruitt had 35 crappie, 1 white perch, 3 yellow perch, 36 bluegill, 1 shellcracker, 1 pickerel, and 2 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. I figured those raindrops falling on my head in the wee hours this morning as I prepared to go to West Neck Marina and set up for the day's tourney, our seventh event this season, might dampen a lot of the anglers' desires to chase bass. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. We ended up with 19 hearty souls in 12 boats, by far, our best participation this year. First place money today with a five fish limit weighing 14.32 lbs. was the team of Bob Glass and his partner, Randy Conkle. Their day's lunker was a hefty 5.64 pounder, which, in most cases, would have been big enough to capture the big fish pot, but not today. That prize was reserved for Jim Wilder, who weighed a dead fish that tipped the scales at 6.01 lbs. Jim also brought a five fish limit to the weigh in today. His total weight was 13.47 lbs. before a 0.50 penalty was assessed for weighing two dead fish. That penalty dropped his official weight to 12.97 lbs., which still was good enough to claim second-place prize money.

I don't often hit the water on back to back days, but when other priorities are at play, I take what I can get. My day started in an area where I lost a decent fish during last Saturday's tourney. We picked up right where the fish left off, hitting my Yo-Zuri SS Minnow. And like all of my fish yesterday, this one and the seven other bass I boated today came out of Albright's. Unlike yesterday, though, most of the fish today were about as far back in cuts and coves as I could get my boat. Yesterday, they were parked out front on little grass clumps that stood out a little ways farther than the rest of the shoreline. The difference in wind speed and direction may have had something to do with this change. I landed four bass were approximately 10 to 12 inchers. I also missed three or four hits today on the S.S. Minnow. Besides these eight bass, I boated two big white perch on a perch colored crankbait that Charlie painted and gave to me recently. Yesterday, I had to keep jerking his bait away from the gar. A couple of them got it stuck in their snoot for a few minutes, but they were able to shake free before I had to deal with the problem. I saw a couple of other trailers in the parking lot when I returned this afternoon but didn't see either boat on the water. Once I was off the water, I quickly gassed up, flushed the outboard, wiped the boat down, and headed home. I'm always toast after two consecutive days on the water. FYI: The water was over the top of the gauge when I got back to the ramp, and it still was coming in when I left.

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 shad and big minnows. Perch are a little slow, but you may get lucky with a small minnows. Bream are really biting well on crickets The water is clear and in the upper 50s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Well folks I don't have much of a fishing report. Mostly because it has rained here for like 2 weeks! The upper Blackwater is muddy and both Nottoway and Blackwater are on the rise. I did hear tell of some nice bass being caught on the Blackwater above Franklin, so the diehard fisher people that will not melt in the rain, might still catch some fish. Catfish are still biting and don't mind the muddy water so I guess you can do what I'm doing and go park under a bridge and fish. Just be careful and mindful of the lightning. Which by the way, there is a cool new app on Weatherbug called "spark". You have to make sure you have the most recent version of Weatherbug, if you do not just do a update. Then scroll across the bottom to the "spark" logo. Its free and it tells you how far away lightning is from your location. I have played with it a little bit and it seems to work pretty good. It's another tool to help you be safe and avoid getting struck. Do not use it to take risk and stay out in the open just to fish longer. Its way better to be safe and scrub the fishing trip and live and fish another day. You can't fish from 6 ft. underground!

The one that didn't get away... Steve Knox from Richmond had an amazing [possible state record] catch of a huge striper... the day BEFORE the leagal season came in. Read the details here in the Richmond Times Dispatch article.

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 some of the bass are probably spawning. You can get them with spinners, cranks and soft plastics in dark colors like pumpkin seed. Crappie are scarce but may go for a minnow or a jig. Cats are spawning and aren't interested in playing with anglers. Perch and other bream are going for small worms. Striper fishing in the James is good with rattletraps and orange grubs. The water is starting to clear and is 73 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. L.E. says that bass action is very good. Try dark plastics like June bug and black/chartreuse . Mossy creek is doing well to; try sulfurs and tricos, sizes 18 to 20. The water looks good and is in the 50s.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. No report this edition.

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. Fishing has been simply fantastic on the New River the past two weeks for NROC and its clients for both numbers and big fish. We've put some of the biggest smallmouth of the season in the boat over the period including multiple fish at 22 inches and up to 23.25 inches!! The river has been up and down over the last 4 days due to AEP's fluctuations for a squirt boat competition at McCoy, and these releases have jeopardized the already touchy spawn on the lower New, caused the bite to be off and on, and kept the water stained. Musky have been showing themselves and chasing. When the river stabilizes from these releases and the most recent rains, look for the BIG FISH action to continue into the summer! The summer season is just around the corner, and we are looking forward to some exciting top-water action. Check out our latest video, "Buggin' on the Fly", if you like BIG smallies on top!! 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 the smallmouth bite is "picking up". The best lures are flukes and pig & jigs. Some muskies are going for big inline spinners. The water is a dingy green color and from 62 to 65 degrees.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New River has been on fire. We are still catching some nice walleye, the smallmouth fishing has produced giant fish so far and signs the river is full of 8 to 14 in. class fish for future growth. The muskie spawn and recovery is over and they are getting on the feed bag. VDGIF Angler of the Year (2008,'10 & '12) Stephen Miklandric put three citation muskie in the boat with me this past Sunday and all the fish showed their battle scars from the spawn. We haven't caught any stripers in the river but they should be moving up out of Claytor Lake now. Water temp is 64.7 degrees but this morning (Monday) the river is rising fast and turning red from the heavy rains up river and in NC. May be fishable by the weekend.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that smallmouth fishing is "as good as it gets". His clients are getting multiple citations every day. Cranks are your best lure, followed by spinners. Muskies are being shy. The water is high green and 62 degrees.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. The smallmouth bite on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries) is still tough due to the high water. The further upstream you go, the more fishable the water. Top-water lures and flies are starting to work. Trout fishing remains good in the tributaries due to the cool, high water. Hopefully we will start to dry out soon.

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. Fly guru Harry Murray says that smallmouth streams in both the North and South are giving good fishing. Fish below the riffles. Good flies are: Shenks's White Streamer, size 6; Murray's Olive Marauder, size 6.The water is 65 degrees, at full pool and clear.

Stocked and delayed harvest streams are producing well. Best flies are Mr. .Rapidan streamer, size 10; Murray's Nine - Three, size 10; and Murray's Silver Ghost, size 10.The water is 65 degrees, clear and full.

The brookie streams in the mountains have seen good hatches of little yellow stoneflies and yellow sulfurs. Good flies are: Murray's Sulfur Dry Fly, size 16; and Murray's Professor, size 16. The water is 55 degrees, clear and at full pool. Harry reminds you that his website is updated twice a week for more timely information.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. The lake settled down towards the end of the week and the bass responded by showing up in numbers and size. Plastics were near the top of the list with crankbaits a close second. Some bass are spawning and can be taken advantage of with grubs, worms, creature baits etc. Enjoy catching these fish, but please release them right away so that they can propagate and add another generation for all to enjoy. Glen White and his grandson Jacob, had a memorable afternoon catching a 6.8 largemouth bass topped off with a 4.12 smallmouth bass among several other good catches. Water temps are in the mid 60s with the water clear from mid-lake to the dam and some color from Bolar landing up into the river. The lake is at normal pool and relatively clear of debris but continue to keep an eye out for that occasional log that may be floating due to the recent heavy rain. Many boats out trolling for trout but I can't seem to get any information as to their success. I have observed a few boats with planners trolling near the big islands.

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 Andrew Fenstermaker, 540-921-7438, owner for James River Outdoor Co. The James is fishing very well at the moment for numbers as the bigger fish finish up the spawn. On recent trips, we have landed several 20 inches and over, smallmouth, with the largest going 21.75 inches. We've encountered some very big musky and have landed some over 40 inches. But for the most part, the bigger smallmouth have been inconsistent. Look for this to change as the river stabilizes from the most recent rains and the spawn finishes up. The summer top-water bite is just around the corner, and the James is an excellent top-water river. 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 with us this summer, 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.

Potomac River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I headed out onto the Potomac River at Quantico Bay this weekend, enduring the rain on Saturday morning. Conditions were fair despite the rain; water temps in the upper 60s, bottom of the tide (at 0700), and partially stained water clarity. The vegetation, hydrilla and spatter dock, is growing in and should be fully in place soon. I worked the weed edges and some deadfalls with top water poppers and soft plastics, trying both Senko worms and lizards in dark green patterns. Pulled a couple of fair 2 to 3 pound largemouth to the boat, plus a handful of smaller bass. I also tried throwing some spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and frogs, but didn't get any interest in them. I was hoping to see some snakehead activity as well, but didn't hook up with the tasty invasive species on this trip. Oh, there were tons of carp splashing around all across the bay too, creating lots of "sound and fury" but little true action for me. We're getting closer to hot weather and my favorite time of year, alive with lots of top-water action...can't wait. Best wishes to all my fellow fisherman out there. Please remember to follow good catch and release practices to best safeguard our valuable fishing resources!

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. No report this edition.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures in the upper 60s to 70 degrees. Largemouth bass are post spawn and readily taking top water baits during the low light period of the day. Bass prefer minnows and soft plastics during light periods of the day. Crappie are also in a post spawn mode hanging around brush piles in 8 to10 ft. of water taking small minnows. Bluegills and shell crackers are getting ready to spawn. They are moving shallow hitting on red wigglers & night crawlers. Catfishing is great throughout the lake on chicken liver & night crawlers.

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

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

  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!

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

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

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With spring graduating into summer, college students are also graduating after years of study, many heading to careers of their choosing due to passion for something. Others embark on summer study programs both near home and abroad. For Scott Williams, a senior studying Mass Communication at Virginia Commonwealth University a study trip to Borneo gave him memorable experiences and life lessons that cannot be learned in any classroom. Scott is a gallery artist who has traveled internationally to 14 countries including backpacking through Europe, ferrying to Greece, and staying with indigenous tribes in Asia. His next destination at the time of his submission of a Top 15 article in the VOWA Collegiate competition was a filmmaking trip to Peru to document the Andean New Year upon graduation in May 2012.

A New Understanding from Borneo

By Scott Williams

For this study abroad trip to Malaysia (which would never be repeated,) my group of six teachers and students would be guinea pigs to see if future visits through the university were safe. Fine by me! For the next 45 days, we would be subjected to an extremely ambitious itinerary that would include living with indigenous Dayak tribes and experiencing rare flora and fauna as we hiked through some of the Earth's most stunning locations.

Two months earlier, we had video-conferenced weekly with our local guide, Bibi, and learned about the tribes we would be staying with... as well as what to do in case of a crocodile attack. The answer, of course, is to run a zig-zag pattern and to roll with the direction of the crocodile when bitten. My palms sweat with the excitement of adventuring into the unknown.

As our white bus bounced mercilessly through the jungle to our destination, I remembered some of what Bibi had mentioned to us about the Iban tribe. They were once headhunters, fierce warriors who collected and dried the skulls of their enemies. Successful hunters were tattooed to show off their accomplishments.

When we pulled up to the Iban longhouse, we were astounded by what happened next. To our utter disbelief, a full welcoming ceremony greeted us. Iban women, dressed in ceremonial attire, danced for us as we made our way through the main longhouse. Families presented us with various homemade treats we could not identify and a gamelan orchestra followed us as we continued down the hall. No expense was spared.

Homemade rice wine was thrust into our hands and it began to dawn on us that we were expected to finish the wine that each family poured for us. There were approximately 70 families. By the end, that longhouse looked very long.

The tribe's two longhouses were built beside the Rajang River, where children were playing. Mothers washed their clothes beside them with store-bought laundry soaps. My heart swelled witnessing families living in direct contact with nature... Then a tugboat went by, stacked with logged old growth forest, and my idealism was shattered. My eyes looked at the brown water, which was clear only ten years ago. I felt very sad for these people who were being forced to adapt to an environmental and social change.

I expected to have new experiences in the middle of the jungle. With the Iban, I did just that. A karaoke machine lit up and played the Backstreet Boys, which the villagers sang along with. I hoped this was a near-impossible fluke, but when I saw a Nirvana shirt on one of the teenagers at the upcoming Orang'ulu longhouse, I knew that it wasn't.

The Orang'ulu tribe was more accustomed to Westerners. The introduction ceremony was less severe on our livers and in it I made a friend.

Her name was Monica. She was twenty-six years old and took me in her boat upriver past the cemetery, past an illegal logging operation, and into a clearing where she parked. Then the jungle maiden pulled out her machete and effortlessly hacked away vines with an experienced grace that no American woman can imitate. Using a tall branch, she harvested fresh rambutan, which she then peeled and fed to me. I was in heaven.

December 31st came and our white bus pulled up to the Gunung Mulu National Park, considered to be the "jewel in the crown" of Sarawak's national parks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, covering 52,000 hectares of primary virgin rainforest interspersed between a network of rivers and streams. Our guide was an immortal person in his thirties who moved effortlessly. He had a friendly disposition and gave us only one word of warning: stay behind him. "Fair enough," I thought. This was, after all, going to be a hellish 14-hour trek through paradise.

Behind him, we were led to where a rafflesia flower was rumored to be in bloom. She is a rare treasure; the largest flower in the world, capable of growing six feet in diameter, whose fragrance smells like rotting meat in order to attract flies. We were immensely fortunate to have the privilege of finding one in bloom on our visit; it measured four feet in diameter and smelling exactly as described.

By the eight-hour mark our socks were damp with sweat and tobacco water, which we used to keep out the leeches. For the most part it worked. Our tireless guide asked us if we wanted a break. We managed to huff out a "yes" in between panting so he pointed off into the distance. Behind the roots, vines and trees was the most stunning waterfall I had ever seen. The sheer magnitude of this site silenced the world. This would be my rebirth into nature and I set to do it right. I took off all my clothes and plunged in. The crystal clear water cooled my body and refreshed my soul, reminding me of the innate oneness we share with Mother Earth. Our bus driver, an indigenous converted Christian, shook his head in disagreement with my nudity. I thought how ironic it was that 60 years ago he'd be doing the same thing. Such is life: wild.

I have left the jungle but it has never left me. Before leaving to the airport, I asked an Iban artist if he would tattoo me, which he and two other people did, hand-tapping a traditional Iban pattern into my thigh over the course of six hours.

That trip through unspoiled, ancient nature changed forever the way I feel about the Earth and Her beauty. On that overly ambitious trip, we trekked through the densest virgin rainforest, saw the world's largest flower, and were welcomed into the homes of an ancient culture, which I got to observe in the midst of globalization. I am immensely thankful for life on this planet and thank the jungle for refreshing my perspective of what it is to be alive.

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: