In this edition:

Father's Day Ideas for the Outdoor Dad

This June 12th edition of the Outdoor Report is full of ideas for gifts for that special "outdoors Dad." But you won't see ads for new fangled gear and gadgets to wrap up as a gift. I learned from my Dad that the best gift for Fathers Day was sharing time and making great memories. Besides he already had two of everything, or so it seemed. A new fishing pole, camo truck mats, or rifle scope are nice, but include the gift of time to share in using these material things. With our busy lives these days, taking the time for an outdoor adventure, or making plans for a special trip this fall will create family bonds and memories that will last long after the other stuff. We hope the many stories and opportunities for outdoor related events in this edition will give you a great idea to honor your Dad or someone in your life that introduced you to the outdoors. If your kids aren't sure what to get you, go ahead and hint for the new shotgun, but note you would also prefer some time together to "unwrap" a very special gift.

David Coffman, Editor

Second Group of Elk Released in Southwest Virginia

Feature article BY ALLIE ROBINSON with photographs by Chief Photographer David Crigger, BRISTOL HERALD COURIER and tricities.com

May 24, 2013 VANSANT, Va. -- A hush came over the group as the elk emerged from behind a copse of trees.

The young elk, larger than a white-tailed deer, pricked their ears toward the humans, seemingly sizing them up, before running back along the pen into another area hidden from view.

The silence was almost reverent, as a group of people who have worked for years to reintroduce the animal into Virginia stood looking at the fruits of their labor. The second group of elk -- 10 total, two pregnant cows and eight yearlings -- brought into Buchanan County from nearby Kentucky were released into an acclamation corral early Friday [May 24th]. There, they will stay for a few days before being introduced into a herd of 24 elk already living on the mountain in the War Fork area. Those elk were either brought over from Kentucky last May or born in Virginia in the past year.

"They used to be native here," said David Whitehurst, Director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Bureau of Wildlife Resources. "The last one was killed in 1855. It's really exciting to be trying to restore one of Virginia's great animals back. It's real exciting to be restoring a majestic animal like the elk. "

The plan is to get the herd up to 400, which Whitehurst said could happen by 2020. Eventually, a few hunting licenses will be issued each year, but that will be after the herd's numbers increase, he said. In Kentucky, there are more than 10,000 elk, and elk restoration efforts are also under way in Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

"We hope to bring 50 next year" to Buchanan County, Whitehurst said. "That's all we intend to stock. The objective is to create a population that size for wildlife viewing, and to have a small huntable population."

The elk live on reclaimed surface mine land in Buchanan County. They're currently staying relatively near the acclamation corral, which is on private property. County officials have set aside several thousand acres nearby for the elk to roam.

The elk have been tagged and collared, and wear GPS units and radios, Whitehurst said. James Vance, a professor at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, is tracking the elk's movements to see what habitat they prefer and how the new herd will impact the one already established on the mountain.

The reclaimed mine land is ideal, Whitehurst said, since it has been reseeded with a mixture of grasses for the elk and other wildlife to forage.

It's important to restore animals like the elk to help fix some of the mistakes humans have made, said Kim Delozier, conservation project manager, who is helping restore the elk for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a nationwide group that has raised some $300,000 to fund the Southwest Virginia project.

"Over time, we as a human race have made mistakes, changed some things that shouldn't have been changed," Delozier said. "We lost some species. It's part of our responsibility to bring back the one we can."

He said elk were once part of Virginia's landscape, and there is a sense of nostalgia and accomplishment in bringing them back.

"I think people as a whole love to see large wild animals," he said. "Elk ... they're a symbol of wildness."

The elk efforts have received some opposition from farmers in the area, who are concerned about damage to their property and the danger of large animals on the roadways.

Some have been concerned about the possibility of elk bringing disease to other species, but wildlife veterinarian Megan Kirchgessner said the state wildlife department has done everything it can to ensure that doesn't happen.

"We've done our absolute best to take every precaution to minimize the risk," she said. Before the elk are brought into Virginia, they are quarantined in a pen on Pine Mountain in Kentucky, which is about a three-hour drive from the site in Buchanan County. There, they are tested for diseases and held in quarantine for about three months, Kirchgessner said. The elk were then driven into Vansant around midnight Friday, in order to keep them cool and cause them the least amount of stress.

Among the 50 or so people who visited the elk in two separate groups Friday morning were Nancy and Howard Holland, who live in Missouri and are chairs of the habitat council for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

"I've been a hunter and started going to Colorado in the late 1970s," Howard Holland said. "Once you go out there, it kind of gets in your blood. Then we got involved with the elk foundation."

The elk are visited frequently by volunteers with the foundation, including Leon Boyd, who has set up wildlife cameras across the property frequented by the elk.

"I enjoy it when folks get to se the elk who have never seen them before," he said. "They're an amazing animal and once you see them it draws you to them."

arobinson@bristolnews.com, 276-791-5459

View the photo gallery by David Crigger »

More photos and feature stories on the Elk Restoration Program and the release of the ten new elk, plus two calves born just last week, are posted in the Wildlife Conservation Projects Update section and the CPO Notebook.

Operation Dry Water

WARNING

Increased BUI Enforcement
June 28-30, 2013

Never Boat Under the Influence!

Virginia boaters, take note that June 28th-30th, Conservation Police Officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will be patrolling Virginia's waterways looking for boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is dangerous. Nationwide, over 17% of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications. They can slow reaction times, impair vision and lead to boating accidents. In Virginia, operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher is illegal. Penalties may include fines, jail, impoundment of boats, and loss of boating privileges. Curbing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities is key to achieving a safer and more enjoyable environment for recreational boating.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit http://operationdrywater.org.

Second Supplemental Largemouth Bass Stockings Planned for Back Bay

VDGIF working to restore top trophy bass fishery

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), is entering year 2 of a planned 3-year largemouth bass stocking project on Back Bay. The project plan calls for stocking 125,000, 2 inch fingerling largemouth bass each year for 3 years. While stocking is scheduled to occur in 2012 – 2014, assessment will continue for at least 2 years, and up to 4 years, after each year's stocking effort to determine the survival of stocked fish and any impacts on the adult bass population and fishery.

The Department has developed specific criteria for stocking largemouth over existing bass populations, and the situation in Back Bay meets these criteria. Specifically, Back Bay has undergone dramatic habitat improvement over the past several years in the form of expanding submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) coverage. With improving habitat in the bay proper, and the relict largemouth population being almost exclusively relegated to western tributaries and little or no connectivity to this improving habitat, the goal of stocking is to give the bass population a jump start. Primary project objective: a quicker recovery of this once world-class largemouth bass fishery. Back Bay was noted in the late 1970s as one of the top trophy bass fisheries in the nation. This outstanding bass fishery peaked in 1980, when 240 citation-sized largemouth bass (bass that weighed at least 8 pounds) were reported to be caught in the bay.

For more information about fishing opportunities in Virginia, visit the agency website at: www.HuntFishVA.com.

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!"

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.

Join The Floating Fishing School at Lake Airfield June 25

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 foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat provided by Bass Pro Shops & Tracker Marine for the Summer Fishing Series. VDGIF public fishing lakes are great places to fish 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.

The 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; for info or to register and pay, contact Chris Dunnavant at 804-367-6778 or at 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.

Ducks Unlimited Family Sporting & Conservation Day at VA Beach June 29

The Virginia Beach Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is hosting a DU Family Sporting & Conservation Day for kids (Greenwings) and their families on June 29th, at the NAS Oceana Skeet & Trap Range in Virginia Beach. The event is from 10 AM - 1 PM and tickets are $25/Adult and $15/Child under 15. The ticket price includes a one (1) year DU membership or membership renewal, Lunch, and one (1) Free Round of Skeet. Outdoor activities include Skeet & Trap Shooting (bring your own gun and ammo, but the round is free), Archery Range Shooting, Competitive BB Gun Shooting Range, DGIF Law Enforcement K9 Demonstration, Conservation Education, games and prizes. Tickets can be purchased online. For additional information call John Lipscomb at 757-434-7510 or Lynn Hightower at 757-286-3092.

30th Annual Sportsman Show Returns to Richmond Raceway Complex August 9-11

The 30th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 350 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. The show has expanded into a third building- The Green Top Pavilion which will include an archery range sponsored by Parker Bows, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K9 teams and much more.  Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 9-11, Conservation Police Officers and Wildlife Biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing and wildlife information questions. DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2014 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. Pick up your free copy of the new 2013-2014 Hunting Regulations & Information booklet that features descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience this season. The new Wildlife K 9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue.

Hunting SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY is always foremost when afield. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Celebrity guests include Pat & Nicole Jones Reeve of Driven TV and Co-Hosts of Inside Outdoors TV Dave Poteat & Tim Anello! Also, Lizard Lick Towing will be on hand Saturday & Sunday only, don't miss out!

Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes he is giving away a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

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

Flat Out Catfish Workshops on the James River July 11 & August 6

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. To register or for questions, contact Chris Dunnavant by email, chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov, or by phone, 804-283-7327. Registration Fee: $40 - register today, space is limited! Workshop dates: Flat Out Catfish I, Thursday, July 11 and Flat Out Catfish II, Tuesday, August 6, times are 8am – 4pm.

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.

Picking the Right Guide Nets Great Results!

Want to give dad that special something that he probably wouldn't get himself for Father's Day? Schedule a fishing trip for you and him with a guide service! The Fishin' Report has a bunch of competent, experienced and fun guides listed that provide us with the reports on their waters and will provide you and your dad an adventure and memories you can share forever.  Shawn Hash with Tangent Outfitters recently provided Outdoor Report Editor David Coffman and myself with just such an adventure on the New River. We experienced excellent fishing all day long, but each ended up with a fish we will never forget. For the story and photos, check out Trophy Day on the New River on Dispatches from the Potomac.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

Keeping with the Father's Day theme, Cory Routh of Ruthless Outdoor Adventures writes about his daughter, in My 60 lb. Trophy.

The Will to Hunt is holding a Father's Day Contest and Giveaway, so here's your chance to brag on your old man and the outdoor values he has instilled in you.

Hook, Line and Sinker's Richie Bekolay provides a fun event in support of a great organization, Heroes on the Water. Read about it in the 5th Annual YakAttack Tournament. This is one I'd like to participate in next year.

And finally, REUTERS photographer Gary Cameron captured great images while VDGIF biologists were capturing Northern Snakeheads in Little Hunting Creek off the Potomac River, Virginia. See the slideshow in Fishing for Snakeheads

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

CPO Sgt. Jamie Davis Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

CPO  Sgt. Jamie Davis has been named Virginia Highlands Community College's  2013 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner. Only one winner is chosen each year, and nominees are judged based upon notable achievement in their chosen career field, outstanding service to the community and VHCC, and inspirational impact. Anne Dunham, Coordinator of Public Relations, Marketing & Alumni Development for VHCC noted, "We had many nominees this year, but the Alumni Association Board was very impressed with Sgt. Davis' outstanding qualifications and his ongoing contributions to VHCC."  The award was presented during the Commencement Ceremony on May 10.   To view the profile about Sgt. Davis that was featured in the  recent Alumni Newsletter, visit: www.vhcc.edu/hilltopper

12 VA Schools Represented in National NASP Tournament

Virginia schools participated in the 2013 National NASP Tournament on May 9-11, 2013 in Louisville, KY. This event had over 9800 student archers registered with 9426 archers completing their flight. A total of 567 schools from 39 states competed at this event. There were student archers from 12 schools representing Virginia. Schools representing VA were: Chickahominy Middle and Atlee High- from Hanover County; Saltville Elementary and Northwood Middle from Smyth County; Richneck Elementary from Newport News; Northside Middle, Northside High and Hidden Valley High schools from Roanoke; Elon and Amherst Elementary from Amherst County; Burnt Chimney Elementary from Botetourt County; and Rocky Run from Stafford County.

Student archers and teams qualified by participating in their State NASP tournaments from January through April. The Virginia State NASP Tournament was held on March 16th. School Teams were made up of 16-24 archers with 5 of opposite gender, and Individual archers scoring in the 1st – 5th Place in Elementary, Middle and High School divisions qualified to participate in the National Tournament. Reports indicate there were over 58,000 spectators throughout the event who cheered on the archers. All archers used a standard Genesis bow and shot Easton 1820 arrows from 10 meters and 15 meters, at a  80cm target face. For all results from the National NASP Tournament, please visit the NASP website at www.archeryintheschools.org

One student, Kendall Jackson from Newport News was surprised when her father who was on deployment, was able to return to see her shoot in the National Tournament!

For Virginia schools that want to participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), please contact Karen Holson, the Virginia State NASP Coordinator at DGIF. Email karen.holson@dgif.virginia.gov or call 804-367-6355 for more information on joining this exciting shooting sport!

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."

Teens Excel in 2013 Virginia Hunter Education Challenge

The Virginia Hunter Education Challenge took place May 18 and 19, 2013. Graduates of the Virginia Hunter Education Course competed at Rifle, Shotgun, 3-D Archery, Outdoor Skills and a Hunter Responsibility Exam. The event was held at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox County (http://holidaylake4h.com/). The overall winning team in the Senior Division (15-18 years of age) was from Powhatan County. The top Senior individual was Tripp Smith of Powhatan. Tripp's score tied teammate John Mootz of Powhatan, with the tie-breaker coming down to one more question answered correctly by Tripp on the Hunter Responsibility Exam. The overall winning team in the Junior Division (9-14 years of age) was from Scott County. The top Junior individual was Royce Coleman of Nottoway.

The Rifle event involved shooting .22 rifles at metal silhouette targets from different shooting positions. Participants shot from prone at 50 yards, sitting or kneeling at 30 yards, and standing at 20 yards. Targets were small and challenging (see photo). Hayley Waleska (see photos) of Culpeper won the Senior Division with a perfect score of 300. Alex Oliver of Powhatan and Walker Coleman of Nottoway tied for the top score in the Junior Division, with Alex coming out on top by knocking down one more target than Walker at long range. The Senior team winner for Rifle was from Culpeper County. The Junior team winner for Rifle was from Nottoway County.

The Shotgun event required breaking flying clay disks from different directions, between trees, and rolling on the ground. All of the disks were moving at high speed. Anthony Schaapman of Powhatan had the high score in the Senior Division. Wyatt Timberlake of Nottoway won the Junior Division. The top Senior team was Bedford County. Powhatan County won the Junior Division.

3-D Archery involved shooting arrows at life-size animal targets from as far away as 40 yards. Some of the shots were at odd angles or through trees and brush. The top Senior was Tripp Smith of Powhatan. The top Junior was Ethan Quillin of Scott. The Senior team winner was Powhatan County, and the Junior team winner was Scott County.

Outdoor Skills consisted of a compass course and a hunter safety trail which included decisions about safe and ethical shots at animals. Emma Hodge of Powhatan won the Senior Division, while Ethan Quillin was the top Junior. The top Senior team was Powhatan County. The top Junior team was Scott County.

The Hunter Responsibility Exam was held on Sunday morning. The winning Senior was Rachel Wooten of Powhatan. The winning Junior was Alex Oliver, also of Powhatan. Powhatan County also had the top teams in both the Senior and Junior Divisions.

For more information about the Virginia Hunter Education Challenge, contact the Hunter Education Coordinator at your nearest DGIF office.  Rules are available at (see attached file). Learn more about the 4-H Shooting Program online.

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

Bland County CPO and NWTF Team Up for Wounded Warrior Spring Turkey Hunt

On May 9-11, 2013 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.

WVVA   NBC TV News out of Bluefield, WV covered the wounded warrior hunt with an excellent story and interviews of participants.  View the TV  coverage of the Wounded Warrior Spring Turkey Hunt in Bland County

CPOs Host 1st Annual South Fork River Wounded Warrior Fishing Day

On May 18, Virginia Conservation Police Officers Dennis Austin, Larry Walls, Dan Hall, Captain Clark Greene and Sergeant Jamie Davis, colleagues from Wildlife Bureau Cliff Kirk and Jason Blevins attended the first annual South Fork River Wounded Warrior Fishing Day. Sergeant Davis coordinated with Lana Frye of Highlands Community Services to set up the event. A total of six veterans attended. More than 30 community volunteers were present to assist the fishermen any way they could. Several pounds of rainbow trout were stocked for the event. The veterans fished in rain showers without complaint with each of them hoping to catch a big one and their limit. One veteran landed a four-pound rainbow trout that will be mounted free of charge by Harold Taylor's Taxidermy. Volunteers prepared hamburgers, hotdogs, fried fish, fried potatoes and several other side dishes to sate the appetites of all in attendance. The veterans were presented gifts, prizes, and Certificates of Appreciation for their service to our country. Each volunteer and veteran attending the event received a Certificate of Appreciation for their attendance.

Local vendors such as Petro Truck Stop of Glade Spring, Food City, Wolf Brothers Construction, Tim Blevins Construction, Jerry's Signs, Harold Taylor Taxidermy, Lewis and Clark Outdoors, Hunter's Paradise and anonymous donors in the community played an important part in making this event a success. The veterans are already expressing their desire to attend this event when it is held again next year. They and VDGIF personnel agreed that the rainy weather probably depressed attendance this year. They also agreed that as the news of this year's event spreads, it will cause an increased attendance next year.

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

15 Hunters Hosted at 8th Annual NWTF James River Chapter Wheelin' Sportsmen Spring Hunt

The NWTF James River Chapter of Bedford, VA hosted it's 8th annual Wheelin' Sportsmen spring hunt on April 27th with 15 hunters participating. Three hunters managed to put birds on the ground and some nice birds at that! All 3 over 20 lbs with the heaviest weighing in at a tad over 23 lbs! This brings our total to 19 birds over the last 7 years of this hunt. James River NWTF Chapter president Barry Arrington noted a big thanks to all the volunteers and to the landowners who gave us permission to hunt their farms.

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 placing them 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.

June 2013 Update: Allen Boynton, VDGIF Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist Manager for Region 3 – Southwest notes that, "The transport and release of ten elk – 8 yearling bulls and two pregnant cows was successful with the elk being released from the acclimation corral June 6th. The elk already released are all alive and within 3-miles of the release site in Buchanan County.

The 5 resident bulls from last years group have shed their antlers. Most of the adult cows have separated from the herd and gone into seclusion to calve.

Reporter Phillip Keene with The Voice newspaper in Buchanan- Tazewell published the following story on the May 26 release.

Elk Capital of Virginia Growing Stronger

Second round of capture and transportation place 10 new elk in Buchanan County

The Elk Capital of Virginia continues to grow stronger, increasing in population as ten new elk became residents of Buchanan County last Friday. Buchanan County is now home to 34 total elk, with two expectant mothers among the new members of the herd.

The state elk restoration plan calls for 75 elk to be transplanted into Buchanan County with a long term goal of growing that herd to 400 elk within the county, but wildlife officials with Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries say the data shows that the 130,000 acres of public land in the tri-county elk management area, which also includes Dickenson and Wise counties, can support around 1,500 elk. Much of the elk's stomping grounds in Buchanan County are located on reclaimed mine sites which support a variety of wildlife and game animals.

As part of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries elk restoration project, the second annual influx of elk immigrants from Kentucky were released into the acclimation holding pen at Warfork in the Prater district of the county in the early morning hours of last Friday, May 24. The new elk will be released from this pen in the coming weeks to integrate with the existing herd.

Before last year's inaugural release into Buchanan County, there hadn't been a substantial elk herd in the commonwealth for nearly 100 years. The last survivor of a very small isolated elk population in western Virginia is said to have died in the late 1960s.

This year's new additions to Buchanan County's herd began by being captured in Bell County, Kentucky and were then quarantined in a holding facility there for 90-days. The elk were observed, rigorously tested and found to be disease-free before being transported to Buchanan County for introduction into the thriving herd.

Originally, the restoration plans for Virginia called for 35 elk to be added to Buchanan County's herd this spring, although those plans were altered in consideration of the Missouri elk restoration project.

Missouri began their restoration efforts just prior to Virginia and both states have worked together in a cooperative effort with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, with that agency striving to facilitate the capture of healthy elk for both states restoration endeavors.

Several state wildlife officials, local government officials, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) members and outdoor enthusiasts from various regions were on hand for this year's elk reception, held at Noah Horn's Well Drilling office at Deel the night before this year' elk release.

During that reception, David Whitehurst, director of DGIF's Bureau of Wildlife Resources, told those in attendance that Missouri had lost some of the elk that were part of their restoration project. Due to that unforeseen event, Missouri was given 40 elk from this year's cooperative capture process, limiting Virginia's portion to only 10 animals. This concession was made with the understanding that Missouri game officials will likely not be back for more elk during next year's event.

"We hope to bring in about fifty elk to Buchanan County next year" Whitehurst said.

"Leaving something for your children's grandchildren – that's what this is all about," said Whitehurst, who has been involved in the restoration of other wildlife species during his career with the DGIF, including whitetail deer, bald eagles and largemouth bass, "We couldn't do it without the passion of you folks. And we've not seen more passion than we have out here in Southwest Virginia."

Contention over temporary protection efforts for the growing elk herd have brewed for some time in the areas surrounding the restoration project, although DGIF officials and elk supporters involved in the efforts say they do not want permanent protection of the elk. They instead say that hunting is part of the restoration process and support future elk hunting after an adequate number of animals have been added to the herd through introduction, protection and breeding over the next few years.

DGIF Regional Wildlife Manager Allen Boynton has previously stated that a limited hunt could possibly be conducted before the herd reaches the optimum level of 400 animals and could even be possible in the next four years, although no definite timeframe is in place for that eventuality.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation official Chris Croy commended local elk supporters for all they the work they have done in making the restoration project a success. Croy gave a special thanks to Leon Boyd, Jeff Horn and everyone at Noah Horn Well Drilling stating, "There's a conservation streak that just runs rampant through this company. I'm sure it was started years ago by Noah himself."

"Last year in celebrating this historic event, in bringing elk back to Buchanan County for the first time in a hundred years, some words were spoken that really just say it all," Croy told the crowd, "those words were: Welcome to elk country!"

Phillip Keene is an award winning journalist for The Voice, a bi-weekly paper covering news and features for Buchanan and Tazewell Counties in Southwest Virginia, published every other Wednesday. Keene is a native of Buchanan County and an outdoor enthusiast, camper and fisherman. Keene is the recipient of a 2011 general news writing award from the Virginia Press Association. We appreciate his contributing this article to share with our readers in the Outdoor Report.

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."

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."

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 June 2013

The Wild Turkey Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) gathered for its third meeting on June 6, 2013, in Verona, VA. Before this meeting convened, SAC members drafted preliminary goals for consideration in the proposed management plan; these goals considered the suite of values expressed by stakeholders during earlier public involvement efforts. The Wild Turkey Technical Committee, composed of DGIF technical staff with turkey expertise, met on May 30, 2013, to review these goals and offer suggestions for clarification and consistency with DGIF policies. The Technical Committee also developed draft management objectives and potential strategies that would achieve the goals and objectives.

At its third meeting, SAC members reviewed, discussed, and ultimately approved a set of broad management goals for inclusion in the draft Wild Turkey Management Plan. In addition, members discussed and evaluated the draft objectives and potential strategies created by the Wild Turkey Technical Committee; SAC members offered additional potential strategies for consideration in the plan.

Currently, the Wild Turkey Technical Committee is incorporating SAC input into a draft for final review by the SAC. The draft plan will be released for broader public review in July; copies of the draft plan will be available for review via the VDGIF Turkey Plan webpage, and other media outlets (e.g., press release, VDGIF Outdoor Report). Public comments will be solicited in public meetings to be held at various locations around Virginia, and via the VDGIF website once the plan is ready for review. Please continue to monitor the VDGIF Turkey Plan webpage for future updates, including dates and locations of public meetings. The goal is to have a finished 10-year Wild Turkey Management Plan available for consideration by the DGIF Board of Directors sometime during the fall, 2013.

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!

WARNING

Increased BUI Enforcement
June 28-30, 2013

Never Boat Under the Influence!

Virginia boaters, take note that June 28th-30th, Conservation Police Officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will be patrolling Virginia's waterways looking for boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is dangerous. Nationwide, over 17% of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications. They can slow reaction times, impair vision and lead to boating accidents. In Virginia, operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher is illegal. Penalties may include fines, jail, impoundment of boats, and loss of boating privileges. Curbing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities is key to achieving a safer and more enjoyable environment for recreational boating.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit http://operationdrywater.org.

CAUTION FLOODING ALERT

Many areas of Virginia have experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms the last two days as we are posting this June 12th edition of the Outdoor Report. There are Flood Warnings and Watches reported on many streams and major rivers across the state. Note that the Fishin' Report was up to date as of Tuesday June 11, but with the heavy rain storms many streams and rivers will be running high and cloudy and pose dangerous conditions for anglers and boaters, so extreme caution and plain old common sense should be used before planning any activities around moving water. We recommend checking with our contacts listed in Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report to get the latest on local river or lake conditions. This rain has changed everything regarding fishing and boating forecasts at time of posting. Most of the major rivers are going to be blow outs through the weekend till sometime next week. Alternatives are to check area reservoirs, ponds and the streams that get trout stockings Thursday and Friday. Check the Wild Events section for alternative outdoor events to still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are links to all these options throughout the Outdoor Report. Above all be safe, be responsible, be cautious and have fun!

Paddling Class Available Online

VDGIF Boating Safety Education Coordinator Stacey Brown notes that one of Virginia's boating education partners is offering a free online paddling class for people who kayak, canoe, or enjoy stand up paddleboard. Whether you are new to paddle sports or are a veteran, this course provides important skills for being safe on Virginia's waters!

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.

9 Wild Ideas for Getting Outdoors

Suzie Gilley, VDGIF Wildlife Education Coordinator and Project WILD State Coordinator sent us this suggestion from the National Wildlife Federation with 9 Wild Ideas for Getting Outdoors, as June has been officially proclaimed as Great Outdoors Month! Since we know that simply figuring out what to do outdoors can sometimes be a challenge, check out these nine ideas from wildlife on easy and fun ways to spend time outdoors this summer... Have a fun and adventurous summer exploring the great outdoors.

Pictures in Young Nature Explorers section below...

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.

9 Wild Ideas for Getting Outdoors

Suzie Gilley, VDGIF Wildlife Education Coordinator  and Project WILD State Coordinator sent us this suggestion from the  National Wildlife Federation with 9 Wild Ideas for Getting Outdoors, as June has been  officially proclaimed as Great Outdoors Month!  Since we know that simply figuring out what to do outdoors can sometimes be a challenge, check out these nine ideas from wildlife on easy and fun ways to spend time outdoors this summer... Have a fun and adventurous summer exploring the great outdoors.

  1. Go for a swim.
  2. Play catch.
  3. Climb a tree.
  4. Take a walk with a friend.
  5. Go fishing.
  6. Observe local wildlife.
  7. Roll around in the dirt.
  8. Practice yoga.
  9. Have a picnic!

How are you getting outdoors in nature this month? Snap a pic and share it at www.facebook.com/nationalwildlife OR email your photos to alerts@nwf.org and we'll share them for you.
Anne Senft ,Vice President of Philanthropy, National Wildlife Federation

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

Two Boaters Rescued After Boat Takes on Water... On May 24, Conservation Police Sergeants Rich Goszka and Paul Atkins, Officer Cameron Dobyns and USFWS Officer Dustin Martin responded to a sinking vessel in the Rappahannock River between Essex and Richmond Counties. It was reported that the vessel had drifted into shallow water and Sgt. Goszka, accompanied by EMS personnel, launched a jon boat with a mud buddy motor. The two occupants of the boat were quickly located wading to the shore near a marsh and Sgt. Goszka and Officer Martin retrieved them from the shore and transported them by boat to Essex County EMS personnel. The two boaters were suffering from exposure and were shaking uncontrollably. The partially submerged vessel drifted to shore and could not be immediately recovered. Sgt. Atkins responded to the hospital to conduct an investigation which revealed that the boaters were out for a day of fishing when the cold front crossed the area bringing high winds, rain and four foot seas. They anchored to wait out the storm when their vessel began taking on water and they were forced to cut the anchor, but it was too late and the vessel filled with water. The two boaters were treated at a local hospital for hypothermia and the elder boater was kept overnight for further observation. The officers described the weather event equivalent to the conditions of a tropical storm.

Region II – Southside

Disabled/Wounded Veteran Fishing Event... On May 19, Senior Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Michael Morris worked and assisted Project Healing Waters in organizing and offering a disabled/wounded veteran fly fishing event at Green Hill Park in Roanoke County. Approximately ten participants and 30 volunteers joined CPO Morris for a day of casting lessons, fly tying, and fly fishing. CPO Morris worked with Paint Bank Fish Hatchery Assistant Manager Ernie Palmer to coordinate the donation of brown trout from a federal fish hatchery in West Virginia. Donations were received from many individuals and organizations including Sportsman's Warehouse, Gander Mountain, Trout Unlimited and the Virginia Conservation Police Association. A hamburger lunch was provided by Parkway Outdoors. Several of the veterans had never fly fished and the highlight of the day came when a blind veteran caught his first fish on a fly rod! CPOs Dallas Neel, Joe Williams and Shannon Smith along with Sgt. Bryan Young assisted with the event.

DNA Aids in Prosecution... Conservation Police Officers John Koloda and Shannon Smith, along with Sergeant Bryan Young, successfully prosecuted a case in Botetourt County from this past fall involving a shooting from the road incident. This case was unique because CPOs were able to obtain blood samples from the area where a deer was reportedly shot, and later located a deer hanging in a suspect's garage. During the course of the investigation, the suspects repeatedly denied having shot the deer from the road and stated they shot it from an area several miles away. Realizing the need to close this loop, blood evidence was submitted for an analysis. The lab analysis was returned with 100% confirmation that the blood from both samples was deer blood and came from the same animal. Appropriate charges were placed on both suspects. During court, the defendants never stated they were innocent, but only attacked the validity of the DNA test. Both subjects were found guilty and ordered to pay fines of nearly $2,000.00.

Boat Incident and DIVE Operation... On May 27, Conservation Police Officer Eric Dotterer investigated a boating incident that occurred on Philpott Lake at 0700 hours. A 77 year old Bassett resident struck a log and the boat started taking on water. The boat capsized and the operator swam to shore with minor injuries and was picked up by a passing boater. The contents and the boat were a total loss. On May 31, CPO Eric Dotterer and CPO Jeremy Hood returned to the incident location and recovered and returned several items that had been lost when the boat capsized including $1101.00 in cash. Both officers are members of the VDGIF Dive Team and were able to recover the items within approximately two hours of dive time. The boat was taken to the nearest boat ramp by the officers, with the aid of lift bags and loaded onto the owners trailer.

Region III - Southwest

Scott County Outdoor Team Very Successful at Virginia Hunter Education Championships... On May 17 – 19, 2013, Senior Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker led the Scott County Outdoor Team as a coach at the Virginia Hunter Education Championships in Appomattox. Officer Honaker has coached the Scott County Outdoor Team since 1998. This year the Scott County Junior Team won the following awards: 3rd place in team rifle, 2nd place in team shotgun, 1st place in team Archery, 1st place in team Outdoor Skills, and 1st place team overall champions. They also won the following individual awards: 1st place in Outdoor Skills, 1st place in Archery, and 2nd place overall. The Scott County Outdoor Team sent the largest group in their history, 24 members. They also had some firsts in their twenty year history. This year's team had seven female members and two members younger than ten years of age. On Saturday night at Holiday Lake, the Scott County Outdoor Team sponsored a campfire event with roasted hot dogs and smores that was attended by more than fifty kids from competing teams. This event provided a valuable time of fellowship among the competitors. The Scott County Outdoor Team has won fifty-one awards at the Hunter Education Championships in the last five years.

To read more on the Hunter Education Championships, read the feature article in the Partner Organizations Working Together For Wildlife section of this edition of the Outdoor Report.

Wythe County Kid's Fishing Day On Saturday, May 18, Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Jim Anders assisted with the 14th Annual Wythe County Kid's fishing day at the VDGIF Rural Retreat pond. There were 75 young fishermen that attended. Despite the damp weather, several kids caught their first fish. Trophies were given in three age groups for the smallest, largest and first to catch their limit. The smallest fish caught was a 4" Bluegill and the largest fish, a 20" Rainbow Trout. One young female secured her third trophy in three years for being the first to catch her limit. CPO Billings and K9 "Josie" also attended the event. Mr. Larry Robbins, with Appalachian Outdoor Fishing Show, was on hand to video some of the activities and conducted an on camera interview with CPO Anders. The Wythe County Parks and Recreation Department provided free hotdogs and drinks that were donated to the event by local businesses.

South Fork River Wounded Warrior Fishing Day On May 18, Virginia Conservation Police Officers Dennis Austin, Larry Walls, Dan Hall, Captain Clark Greene and Sergeant Jamie Davis, colleagues from Wildlife Bureau Cliff Kirk and Jason Blevins attended the first annual South Fork River Wounded Warrior Fishing Day. Sergeant Davis coordinated with Lana Frye of Highlands Community Services to set up the event. A total of six veterans attended. More than 30 community volunteers were present to assist the fishermen any way they could. Several pounds of rainbow trout were stocked for the event. The veterans fished in rain showers without complaint with each of them hoping to catch a big one and their limit. One veteran landed a four-pound rainbow trout that will be mounted free of charge by Harold Taylor's Taxidermy. Volunteers prepared hamburgers, hotdogs, fried fish, fried potatoes and several other side dishes to sate the appetites of all in attendance. The veterans were presented gifts, prizes, and certificates of appreciation for their service to our country. Each volunteer and veteran attending the event received a certificate of appreciation for their attendance. Local vendors such as Petro Truck Stop of Glade Spring, Food City, Wolf Brothers Construction, Tim Blevins Construction, Jerry's Signs, Harold Taylor Taxidermy, Lewis and Clark Outdoors, Hunter's Paradise and anonymous donors in the community played an important part in making this event a success. The veterans are already expressing their desire to attend this event when it is held again next year. They and VDGIF personnel agreed that the rainy weather probably depressed attendance this year. They also agreed that as the news of this year's event spreads, it will cause an increased attendance next year.

Kids Fishing Day in Russell County On May 18, the Annual Kids Fishing Day event was held in Russell County at Cedar Creek. Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer James Hale and Captain Clark Greene attended the event. Even though there was bad weather, the children were enthusiastic about catching trout and it led to an enjoyable day for all. 175 children received a new rod and reel. All children in attendance received a free goodie bag of fishing supplies. Sponsors and attendees for the event included the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Kids Fishing Day Organization, DCR Law Enforcement, Russell County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, Russell County Volunteer Life Saving Crew, and various volunteers. Free food was provided to all that attended, or assisted with the event. Approximately 600 adults and children were present for the festivities.

Washington County Kids Fishing Day On May 18, Conservation Police Officer Larry Walls assisted with the annual Washington County Kids Fishing Day. Despite constant rain throughout the day, approximately 60 children attended the event at Beartree Lake. The participants were able to attend a casting contest with prizes awarded for accuracy and distance. Prizes were given in several categories including biggest fish and first kid to catch his or her limit. Sponsors and attendees for the event included the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the U.S. Forest Service Kids Fishing Day Organization, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and the Mount Rogers Volunteer Life Saving Crew. The overall attendance for the event was over 120 people.

Smyth County Kids Fishing Day On May 18, the Annual Kids Fishing Day event was held in Smyth County on the South Fork of the Holston River at Riverside Community Center. A total of 65 kids participated in the event along with approximately 130 adults. Several creel limits were observed despite a steady, gentle rain which seemed to reduce the turnout from past years. Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer Dan Hall and Wildlife Bureau Manager Bill Kittrell represented the Department at the event with Mr. Kittrell serving as this year's Master of Ceremonies. At the conclusion of the event, a host of prizes were given to a majority of the kids participating in the event. The event was sponsored by the Riverside Ruritan Club and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Water Safety Day On May 17, Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke assisted in the Dungannon Elementary School Water Safety Day in Scott County. Natural Tunnel State Park staff guided students down approximately one mile of the Clinch River in canoes. Students were also given the opportunity to ride in a jet powered jon boat operated by Officer VanDyke. Topics such as boating safety and boat operation were discussed with students and school staff.

Cooperative Effort Between Teachers and CPOs a Success On May 24, 2013, Virginia Conservation Police Sergeant Jamie Davis and all 5th grade classes at Meadowview Elementary School stocked in Sugar Hollow Park the trout they successfully raised at school. During the fall of 2012, Sergeant Davis coordinated with Trout Unlimited and Dr. Lester of Washington County Schools, to have the trout tank placed in the school. The 5th grade classes were able to observe the trout growing through many stages from the time eggs were placed in the tank until time of release. Teachers used live demonstrations from the aquarium for examples on Standards of Learning (SOL) testing. This cooperative effort was a learning experience for the teachers and students. Each student had the opportunity to release at least one three inch trout and all of the students enjoyed the event. Sergeant Davis also advised the students about the career and duties of a Conservation Police Officer.

Kayaker Found On June 2, Senior Conservation Police Officer Dan Hall was on patrol and overheard radio traffic from Smyth County Sheriff's Dispatch concerning a subject who was kayaking and fishing the Middle Fork of the Holston River in Smyth County and had failed to show up at a takeout point within the town of Chilhowie. After contacting the Sheriff's Office, Senior Officer Hall advised county personnel that the subject would not have had enough time to travel and fish the distance as reported. Senior Officer Hall was able to locate the individual along a remote section of the river and contacted Department Dispatch and County authorities who had organized a search for the individual. The subject had already given up trying to paddle and was found carrying his kayak along the river.

Summons Issued for Fishing Violators On Saturday June 1, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris was on a kayak patrol on the New River in Grayson County and observed two groups of people fishing along the bank. After a period of observation all but two subjects were observed fishing and one subject was observed keeping every fish that he caught. Contact was made with the subjects that were wade fishing and the subject that was keeping every fish that he caught was found to be in possession of twelve smallmouth bass. One of the twelve fish also was in the 14-20 inch slot limit. While engaged in contact with this subject the other two subjects got out of the river. One subject on the shore was observed hiding something in the weeds. Contact was made with two who had waded ashore, one of which had hid his fishing equipment. A total of five summons were issued, three fishing without license, one exceeding daily creel limit, and possession of slot limit smallmouth bass.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Kids Fishing Day on Bull Pasture River... On Saturday, May 4, Conservation Police Officer (CPO) B.J. Harold conducted her 4th Annual Kids Fishing Day on the Bullpasture River in Highland County and was assisted by CPO Chance Dobbs. Sixty-two children registered and all received goody bags, free lunch, door prizes, and six lucky ones received trophies for having the biggest fish. One young lady reeled in a 19 7/8 inch brown trout winning her the biggest fish trophy, $50 cash, and a certificate to hang on the wall. Along with promoting, securing donations, organizing, and running the event; CPO Harold also contributed to the day by utilizing personal funds to rent a portable toilet. This addition was much appreciated by the families and volunteers that attended. The event was a huge success and CPO Harold is already planning for the 5th Annual Kids Fishing Day.

Conservation Awareness Day... Conservation Awareness Day took place on May 7 and 8 at three Frederick County Middle Schools. Conservation Awareness Day is an annual event organized by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. This program, for all sixth graders, is intended to make students aware of the need for the conservation of our natural resources, as well as introducing students to professions in the natural resources field. District 41 Conservation Police Officers (CPO) have been participating in this annual event since 1996. In 2013, they conducted 24, 13-minute talks at the three schools. Master Officer Ray Solomon and CPO Ian Ostlund spoke at Admiral Byrd Middle School and discussed ATV and boating safety. As summer approaches, the topic of boating safety was very appropriate as people enjoy Virginia's wildlife resources on the many lakes, rivers, and streams. The officers displayed the different types of PFD's and other equipment used by CPO's. Sergeant Carl Martin and CPO Owen Heine spoke to students at James Wood Middle School and Aylor Middle School. They discussed conservation topics centered on habitat requirements and improvements. The 2013 Conservation Awareness Days reached 824 Frederick County students.

One Fish Short of an Empty Bucket... On May 13, Virginia Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Eller was en-route to a local fishing spot on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County. Coincidently, while still en-route, Eller received a call that river herring were being kept by an individual at that same fishing spot. Once on scene, Officer Eller observed fisherman headed towards a vehicle. The individual noticed the marked patrol vehicle and immediately started throwing fish from his bucket. Contact was made with the fisherman and the individual denied any illegal fishing activity. A creel check was conducted and as luck would have it, CPO Eller discovered a single herring left in the fisherman's bucket. CPO Eller conducted an interview with the individual and located multiple other herring that had been tossed onto the ground as Eller was approaching. Evidence was obtained and appropriate charges were placed.

Conservation Police Officer Ray Solomon Named Officer of the Year in Winchester... On May 13, the Exchange Club of Winchester held its annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Recognition Program. The Exchange Club is a civic organization that sponsors activities designed to benefit, award and develop our nation's youth, promote crime prevention, serve senior citizens, and recognize military and public safety service providers. Master Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Ray Solomon was selected as this year's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year from five highly competitive and professional officers from the community. In addition to CPO Solomon's law enforcement responsibilities, the committee recognized his educational outreach effort involving the area's youth. CPO Solomon coordinated, conducted, and/or participated in youth programs to include Conservation Awareness Day, fishing programs for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office Youth Camp, James Wood High School FFA, JAKES Event, scout groups, Izaak Walton Kids' Fishing Day, and Frederick County Sheriff's Office Explorers Group.

K9 Team

Jake Plays 'Hide and Seek' to Assist Williamsburg Police... On May 30th 2013, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Megan Vick received a request for K9 assistance from Williamsburg Police Department (WPD). Williamsburg Police were attempting to serve a felony warrant when the suspect, who was at a local apartment complex, climbed out of his rear window and fled the area on foot. Upon arrival CPO Vick and partner K9 Jake were joined by CPO George Wilson and multiple Williamsburg police officers. They quickly assessed the scene and formed a search team to track down the suspect at large. Behind the suspect's apartment was a steep ravine leading to a creek. Williamsburg police officers thought this was the escape route used by the suspect. K9 Jake was provided with clothing articles belonging to the suspect to help identify who he was tracking. Officer Vick and K9 Jake quickly eliminated the steep ravine area as the path of escape.

K9 Jake picked up a trail leading from the rear window of the apartment, along the back of the building and then out past the front of the building, following the wood line past parking areas, other apartment units, and up to another apartment. Williamsburg police officers identified the apartment building K9 Jake tracked to as where the suspect had previously lived and recently moved from. While approaching the apartment building from the front, an investigator from WPD was met by a witness that saw a man matching the description enter the second floor apartment, at the same time K9 Jake got a strong whiff of the suspect's "fear scent" and lunged forward into the apartment's exterior stairwell. Williamsburg police officers and CPO Wilson knocked on the apartment door and were greeted by a man and woman stating that they were alone and had not seen the suspect. Officers requested to take a look around the apartment, the residents invited them in and the officers quickly found the suspect hiding in the bedroom. The suspect, who is involved with multiple felony violations, including rape of a minor, murder and gang recruitment, was taken into custody and learned the hard way that K9 Jake's favorite game is hide-and-seek.

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

WARNING

Increased BUI Enforcement
June 28-30, 2013

Never Boat Under the Influence!

Virginia boaters, take note that June 28th-30th, Conservation Police Officers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will be patrolling Virginia's waterways looking for boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is dangerous. Nationwide, over 17% of boating-related fatalities are a result of alcohol use. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications. They can slow reaction times, impair vision and lead to boating accidents. In Virginia, operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher is illegal. Penalties may include fines, jail, impoundment of boats, and loss of boating privileges. Curbing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities is key to achieving a safer and more enjoyable environment for recreational boating.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit http://operationdrywater.org.

Flat Out Catfish Workshops on the James River

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. To register or for questions, contact Chris Dunnavant by email, chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov, or by phone, 804-283-7327. Registration Fee: $40 - register today, space is limited! Workshop dates: Flat Out Catfish I, Thursday, July 11 and Flat Out Catfish II, Tuesday, August 6, times are 8am – 4pm.

Second Supplemental Largemouth Bass Stockings Planned for Back Bay

VDGIF working to restore top trophy bass fishery

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), is entering year 2 of a planned 3-year largemouth bass stocking project on Back Bay. The project plan calls for stocking 125,000, 2 inch fingerling largemouth bass each year for 3 years. While stocking is scheduled to occur in 2012 – 2014, assessment will continue for at least 2 years, and up to 4 years, after each year's stocking effort to determine the survival of stocked fish and any impacts on the adult bass population and fishery.

The Department has developed specific criteria for stocking largemouth over existing bass populations, and the situation in Back Bay meets these criteria. Specifically, Back Bay has undergone dramatic habitat improvement over the past several years in the form of expanding submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) coverage. With improving habitat in the bay proper, and the relict largemouth population being almost exclusively relegated to western tributaries and little or no connectivity to this improving habitat, the goal of stocking is to give the bass population a jump start. Primary project objective: a quicker recovery of this once world-class largemouth bass fishery. Back Bay was noted in the late 1970s as one of the top trophy bass fisheries in the nation. This outstanding bass fishery peaked in 1980, when 240 citation-sized largemouth bass (bass that weighed at least 8 pounds) were reported to be caught in the bay.

For more information about fishing opportunities in Virginia, visit the agency website at: www.HuntFishVA.com.

Join The Floating Fishing School at Lake Airfield June 25

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 foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat provided by Bass Pro Shops & Tracker Marine for the Summer Fishing Series. VDGIF public fishing lakes are great places to fish 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.

The 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; for info or to register and pay, contact Chris Dunnavant at 804-367-6778 or at chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov.

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!

A Day with The Trophy Fish Catching Machine

My time directing our trophy fish program allowed me to meet many talented anglers across the Commonwealth. One such angler is Stephen Miklandric. Stephen is the leading angler in the DGIF Virginia Angler Recognition Program (VARP). He is an all-out trophy fish angler, currently logging 23 citation species out of 25. His goal this year? Catch the last two. He took a break from that chase and he and I recently spent a day fishing on a small body of water in the Suffolk area targeting trophy Redear Sunfish.

After meeting up in the morning, it did not take long to understand why Miklandric is so successful at catching trophy fish. First, to say that he is organized is an understatement. All of his gear is in top condition and has a specific place and purpose. Secondly, and closely related to his organization, is his system. There is an order to everything he does from launching the boat, to preparing his equipment and to when and where he fishes. Thirdly, and possibly the most important, is passion and intensity for pursuing trophy fish. His drive to catch big fish is unparalleled.

It sounds like Stephen is a machine, and he is, but that did not prohibit us from having a good time in the boat together. The fellowship that friends and family share on the water is just as important to him as catching fish. At each place we fished, Stephen could recall many fishing memories and they often included stories of his children catching trophy fish at those locations.

Despite a passing cold front and less than ideal weather conditions, we caught plenty of fish and quite a few different species. We landed bluegills, bass, yellow perch, white perch and crappie and I managed to catch three citation Redears (Shellcracker). Miklandric was a little disappointed, I think his goal for me was to catch 10 citations and become a VARP Expert in Sunfish in one day. Had it not been for the cold front, I am confident it would have been accomplished.

If pursuing trophy fish sounds enticing to you then I say, go for it! From my own fishing experience and observing Stephen, catching big fish is a unique pursuit. All good anglers find trophy fish fortune from time to time, but to consistently catch big fish requires a different approach and temperament. The best advice is to begin today. Pick your species, do your research online and get out and fish, keeping an accurate log of everything you do. Be prepared for some fishless days; it takes discipline to stay with it and not fish for numbers. That is how Stephen Miklandric began; believe it or not, there was a day when he caught his first citation. Now it's time to go get yours!

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

CAUTION FLOODING ALERT

Many areas of Virginia have experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms the last two days as we are posting this June 12th edition of the Outdoor Report. There are Flood Warnings and Watches reported on many streams and major rivers across the state. Note that the Fishin' Report was up to date as of Tuesday June 11, but with the heavy rain storms many streams and rivers will be running high and cloudy and pose dangerous conditions for anglers and boaters, so extreme caution and plain old common sense should be used before planning any activities around moving water. We recommend checking with our contacts listed in Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report to get the latest on local river or lake conditions. This rain has changed everything regarding fishing and boating forecasts at time of posting. Most of the major rivers are going to be blow outs through the weekend till sometime next week. Alternatives are to check area reservoirs, ponds and the streams that get trout stockings Thursday and Friday. Check the Wild Events section for alternative outdoor events to still get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are links to all these options throughout the Outdoor Report. Above all be safe, be responsible, be cautious and have fun!

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature is 75 degrees and a visibility of 11 ft. We had 12 in. of water added to the lake in about 12 hours, but it didn't bother the fish. Saturday found a very good top water bite with 3 fish over 4 lbs. Daybreak found fish feeding in the new water along the shore line that was dry Friday. Texas rigged worms worked well as did spinner baits. The best fish came off shallows close to deep ledges. A few crappie fell to road runners and small minnows. The rising water had them holding in small groups on the outside edge of woods. Gills were about but not as large as the fishermen would have liked. I guess the big news is that 7 eyes were caught, Two of these fish were $20.00 fish, the average size was 21 in. Most of these fish were caught on crawlers, but 2 fell for spinnerbaits. Look for these fish in 12 to 15 ft. of water along flats and shallow points, a depth finder will help in holding the proper depth. Along with the eyes were lots of channel cats. some as large as 6 lb. Use crawlers on the bottom and you may hook into one of those eyes. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

Our LCR Open last Saturday was light, but we caught fish, the results are as follows. Tod Godfrey and David Rodrigo took 1st. with 15.6 lbs. & big fish 4.0 caught by David. 2nd. place went to Justin Nrnols and John Tyson with 7.1 lbs. and a 2.5 lb. fish, 3rd. place went to Andrew Stine with 6.2 lbs. and a 3.6 lb. fish. Not a bad day of fishing the morning after a hurricane

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester, (804) 693-2107. The crappie fishing is doing well in the channels as well as on the dock. Most fishermen are using minnows to catch the crappie. Largemouth bass are being caught along the banks of the reservoir. The bass are mostly being caught with artificial lures. The grass still looks okay at both entrances to the park. Our next Big Bash Bass Tournament is on June 22, 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. Fishing has been pretty good at the Mouth of the of the Bay! Spadefish and sheepshead are starting to make a good showing; try fiddler crabs for the sheepshead and clam for the spadefish. Red and black drum are attacking crabs and clams. Flounder will take gulps and cut bait.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams says that the bass bite is hit or miss, but some big ones have come in. Try plastic worms and small spinners. No word on crappie. Cats are attacking eel. No word on bluegill. The water is 72 degrees and stained.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day water temperatures ranged from the mid 70s to low 80s in the lower lake and in the backs of the major creeks on Monday (6/10/2013). The lake level rose rapidly overnight Friday and was a little over a foot above the top of the dam. Current was visible in the upper lake. The water was medium 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. A mix of sizes of crappie were scattered on submerged wood cover, along channel edges, near some lily pads, and near shoreline cover in the main lake and creek mouths. Crappie were hitting live minnows, Roadrunners, Kalin crappie scrubs, tubes, swim baits, and Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. Bluegill and shellcrackers were dispersing from 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. A few bass and pickerel were in the major creeks, around creek mouths, and on flats in the main lake, and were hitting fly rod bugs, top-waters, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and plastic worms, particularly early and late in the day.

Fishing with Capt. Conway, Dean Dunbar had 3 crappie, 3 yellow perch, 59 bluegill, and 10 shellcrackers. Carolyn Conway had 32 bluegill, 3 shellcrackers, 1 flier, and 5 yellow perch. Mickey Cleveland had 9 crappie, 4 white perch, 1 yellow perch, 14 bluegill, 1 channel cat, and 2 bass. Carolyn Conway had 21 bluegill, 1 shellcracker, and 1 shiner.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. Oh where would we be without good ol' Yankee Ingenuity? That's a thought I had Wednesday while I was at West Neck Marina. I just had come in from a day on the water and was getting ready to recover my boat when I saw a couple of young boys tow a boat trailer to the parking lot, unhitch it, then drive away. I had wondered what they were doing but figured it was none of my business, so just continued with what I was doing. It wasn't until I had parked my boat in the shade and was preparing to clean it up that everything about that trailer the boys had left in the parking lot came into focus. A few yards down in front of me, I could see the same two boys, along with a couple others, working feverishly on another trailer. It wasn't long before all my questions were answered. While one of the boys climbed behind the wheel of the tow vehicle, the others aligned themselves on either side of the trailer, up close to its tongue. Then, ever so gently, the boy behind the wheel started inching the trailer out from its parking space, as his friends walked along with it. I quickly discerned the trailer was listing to one side, and part of it also was dragging the ground. As it passed where I was standing, I saw what only could be described as a fine piece of yankee ingenuity. Their problem was this: The tongue of the trailer nearly had rusted off the rest of the frame. Their solution was this: Using a few pieces of lumber and some rope, they had fashioned a support brace that allowed them to half-drag, half-tow the broken-down trailer to the ramp.

I didn't follow them there, but I feel pretty safe to say that, when they arrived, they somehow slid their ski boat into the water, unhooked what was left of the old trailer, and recovered the boat onto the newer trailer in the parking lot. What they ultimately did with the old trailer is anyone's guess, but I feel certain they didn't take it out onto the road. If so, I wouldn't have wanted to be in any of the cars following it. I found it refreshing to see that young folks still resort to some of the tricks of their forefathers, even though they likely have found a new name for it. I chuckled a bit to myself when I figured I'd probably only get a "deer in the headlights" look if I mentioned the term "yankee ingenuity" to these boys. I know I'm showing my age--I see it every morning as I look in the mirror.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that the bass bite is good on plastics and cranks. Crappie are taking minnows and jigs. Cats are attacking cut bait. Bluegill action is picking up, try crickets and red wigglers. The water is in the high 50s and clear.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. By the time you read this the rivers will be at flood stage most likely. I fished yesterday (6/9) on the Blackwater and caught some nice red throats in the fast water on a baby Snagless Sally. Now no need to run out and try to buy one of these killer lures cause they do not make this size anymore. Gonna have to wait about a week for the water levels to go back down before the fishing gets right again.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. Fishing on the Upper James continues to bring the numbers. Smallmouth bass are feeding heavily now that they have completed the spawn season. With the heavy feeding, they can be caught on about anything, but the best luck is still to be had on soft plastics, especially when the river is up from heavy rains. With the recent rainfall we were out on the high stained river and still bringing fish to the boat. It is certainly more about where you are putting the bait rather than what you are throwing. Fish the current seams where the bass will hold waiting for their next meal to be swept from the swift water to their lazy slack water hiding places.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike told me that the James is too high and muddy for good fishing, but, if the rain holds off, it should be fishable by the weekend. The Pamunkey is in better shape. Stripers are being landed by peeler crab; a bait that will also be taken by croakers. Croakers will also go for squid. Cats are eating cut bait, live bream and cut eel. White perch can be found near the James, and can be fooled by jigs, minnows and bloodworms. The James is muddy and 72 to 75 degrees; the Pamunkey is stained and 75 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

VDGIF Complementary Work Force volunteer and avid fisherman Russ Moon from Richmond has a few tips to share with fellow anglers... Here's a tip... Big Bass like Big Baits. In this case I was targeting deep water, which Trophy Bass like quick access to. Pop and Pause retrieve with a couple little 12" pulls to mimic a frog that is attempting to get away. The pauses allow the fish to get interested and zero in on the location created by the pops. The strike normally occurs right after you pop and pause or twitch and pause. That is exactly what this fish did, the strike occurred after a short pull and as soon as the bait had stopped for about 2 seconds the bass struck so fast all I could see was a white flash. Then my line starting "moving" rapidly and I knew this was no 12" fish.

I am 100% Catch and Release, allow someone else to have the thrill you just experienced or maybe you will be able to catch the fish again when it is even larger. Trophy Awards require either a photo or weight on certified scales, so have those items in your pocket or close by so you can get your memory without keeping the fish out of the water. Extract the hook, photo your prize catch and then gently cradle it in the water to allow it to revive itself and watch it swim away.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. James River is blown out. Fish the lakes and ponds searching for carp. The carp are sucking the cicada's down like crazy!

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow reports that bass are doing well on dark plastics, green pumpkin and watermelon seed are good choices. The bass will also take spinners and cranks. Some crappie are off deep laydowns, others around bridge pilings and submerged structures and around boat docks. The traditional minnows and jigs will work well. Cat bite is good on cut bait and shad. The water is slightly stained and in the upper 70s to low 80s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Riesdorf says that the James in his area is too high to fish. The rainbows and brown in the Jackson are biting well on big streamers. Mountain brookies will take Purple Haze and little yellow stoneflies.

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

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski says that bass bite is good on Carolina rigged lizards and top waters. Crappie have tapered off, but some can be found in 5 to 8 feet down, try minnows and jigs. Cats have been attacking stinkbait and chicken livers. Bluegill are in the shallows and will take small spinners, small worms and crickets. The water is 75 degrees, very high and slightly stained.

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 it's 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" and up to 23.25"!! 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 topwater 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 with us this summer.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says the bass bite is good on small jerks and GitZits tubes in dark greens or browns. Muskies are not very active, but may be fooled by big swimbaits or jerkbaits. The water is murky and in the mid 60s.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. No report this edition.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that smallmouth fishing is very good with his clients landing multiple citations every day. Cranks are your best lure, followed by spinners. Muskies are chasing more aggressively. The water is high green and 62 degrees.

Editors note... Finally after five years since Shawn Hash – Tangent Outfitters was one of the first guides to offer fishing reports for the Outdoor Report and inviting me to go fishing with him on the New River, I finally 'fit' a trip in on the return leg home of my 6 day expedition to SW VA to cover the elk release and feature stories of CPOs and VDGIF staff and partner projects in the "Great Southwest". I want to share my note to Shawn upon my return home...

6-3-13 Hellooo Shawn... I can't believe it's already been over a week since our fantastic fishing adventure on the New River with you. When I met with Lee Walker last Wednesday in Richmond to 'report' on the 6 day road trip we spent nearly an hour just talking about THE fishing trip! I sincerely repeat that was the best fishing trip I have been on – great companions, including great guide, biggest fish, 'mostest' fish, incredible gear and just fun action all day. I can't believe I didn't get any good pics during wind gusts in last rapids near the takeout—if you get a chance soon take a few for me of your next clients showing the rapids to add to my files. The stability of the new inflatable "Drift Boat" was amazing and your handling in the wind and rapids made me feel safe! It seems I've spent every day going thru the list of contacts we made and following up with thankyous and photo sharing. I will send a few pics for your bulletin board and I told Ed {Felker} we will use his "Trophy Day on the New River" blog as the feature in next Wed June 12th OR. Looks like Ed and I saved the BEST for LAST on our "fishing survey field trip"... thank you for a great day on the NEW! DC

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. No report this edition.

Use common courtesy on the river and at landings... Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner advises if you're boating or fishing on the river this spring please remember that a lot of people fish anchored in the middle of the river this time of year. So, please slow down around those blind curves and don't wake people hard when they are fishing. At the boat ramps please don't prepare your boat to put in on the ramp or prepare your rig for going home on the ramp. There is usually lots of room in the parking lot. If you're in your boat waiting for the boat ahead of you to get out of the way, remember, don't make it harder on them by cruising back and forth in front of the landing at ¼ throttle and throwing a 3 ft. wake. You're only going to make him mad and take longer to get their boat on the trailer, plus it's against the law! Be courteous and respectful of others, after all we all want a safe and enjoyable trip to and from the river.

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

Upper James: Contributed by Andrew Fenstermaker, 540-921-7438, Lead Guide for James River Outdoor Co. No report this edition.

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry, the smallmouth streams are too high to fish. The water is 68 and muddy.

The Valley streams are also too high just now, with temperatures at 65 degrees and poor visibility.

The brookies in the mountain streams are doing well, taking Murray's Flying Beetle, size 14; Murray's Professor Dry Fly, size 14; and the Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly, size 14.

Just as a reminder, Harry updates his stream reports twice a week, so go there for up to date information.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. The bass are in full post spawn mode. The fish have moved to main lake points as well as the first secondary point from the main lake channel. Effective techniques include Carolina rigs, shakey head plastics, drop-shots, and deep crankbaits. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are active. There is also some active surface feeding in the evenings which can provide some exciting and explosive strikes for those who can get a Zara Spook or Pop R into the fray.

The night bite has improved with some nice catches in the 2 to 3 lbs. range with an occasional fish over 4 lbs. being reported. The shad have also just begun their annual nocturnal spawn which should provide some great night time action the next few weeks.

The lake is full pool with temps in the 70s.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. No report this edition.

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"+ smallmouth with the largest going 21.75". We've encountered some very big musky and have landed some over 40". 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 topwater bite is just around the corner, and the James is an excellent topwater 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.

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I ventured out to Quantico Bay on the Potomac a weekend ago with my fishing buddy, John. We headed out in the morning and encountered the low tide. We found several snakeheads in the spatterdock willing to hit our spinnerbaits, top-water, and crankbait offerings, but the bass seemed to be hanging out elsewhere. It was very difficult maneuvering in the low water though, as the hydrilla and spatterdock is taking hold in the majority of the Bay. Later in the morning we boated a couple of 7 pound snakeheads and a couple smaller 4 to 5 pounders, and then as the tide started coming back in we battled two gar and a nice bass as well. After getting back to Quantico Marine Corps Base to pick up more ice for the snakeheads in our cooler we noticed that the post was having a "snakehead tournament" this weekend ...darn...guess we should've held off to get into the mix this weekend instead.

This weekend I headed out on my own and, due to the heavy fishing pressure at Quantico during the tournament and the rain that hit us last Thursday and Friday, I decided to try the Occoquan Reservoir. I put in at the Bull Run Marina and found the water very high and stained, with temperatures around 70 degrees. I caught a couple of small bass on top-water plugs early, and then later in the morning I started catching some nice 3 to 4 pound bass on soft plastic Senko style worms around the timber, so it turned out to be a pretty nice morning as a result.

I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming Father's Day weekend...be sure to spend some of it fishing with your Dad, son, brother, or best buddy!

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 mid 70s despite the recent rains due to the springs that feed into Lake Orange. Crappie continue to suspend in 10 to 12 ft. of water being taken on small minnows. Largemouth bass are feeding heavily on the cicadas as well as top-water lures and soft plastics. Catfishing remains strong, especially in the upper end of 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!

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email your material to
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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As summer recess from school approaches many families head to the outdoors for vacation to camp, fish, canoe, hike or just enjoy time exploring wild Virginia. State Parks, private campgrounds and retreats are opening back up after being closed for the winter months. For 16 year old Allyson Huppert, a Sophomore at Tunstall High School in Danville, her most memorable outdoor experience was a camping trip to Jellystone Campground in Natural Bridge with her family enjoying the fresh air, outdoor cooking and spending time with family without the "techno distractions" when home. Observing and discovering the wonders of nature, learning new outdoor skills and sharing life stories with friends and family can be a life changing, memorable experience. Allyson entered her article in the 2010-11 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition and placed in the Top 20. Jordan has captured the excitement, serenity, and fond memories that come with a week in the outdoors camping with her family and leaving the distractions of everyday life at home. She even gained a new appreciation for Yogi and Booboo!

Bears Can Play Games

By Allyson Huppert

Two years ago in July my family decided to go to Jellystone Park at Natural Bridge. The week was going to be spent camping in tents and making fires. My two sisters had only camped one other time, but Jellystone was completely different. The park and waterslides, pools, and playground to enjoy. All of us put up three huge tents but it required teamwork. Camping is a vacation full of teamwork. Collecting firewood, and bike rides to the market were daily routines. Although it required a lot of work it was fun, enjoyable family time.

Soon after I had to go get my sister out of the river, and when I did I received an unexpected surprise. When I stepped my feet into the water a slimy, long object ran across my feet and scared the breath out of me. I then glanced down and noticed a green water snake. Right then my feet flew into the air and the snake flew across the river. I honestly think he was more scared of me than I was of him. I faced one of my many fears that day, and never wish to do that again. Later that evening we set up a campfire to cook steak and baked potatoes. Campfire food is amazing stuff. The taste is way better than food you cook at home. It also involved a bunch of us to eat the large meal and keep the fire going. Yogi, Booboo, and Cindy also ventured around the park during dinner to talk and taste the guests different meals. We spent one evening eating a special that the tree bears had prepared especially for the guests. It was quite delicious. I also must say these bears know some excellent camping tricks that I would've never thought of in this era.

One morning when we got up and ate breakfast everyone decided to venture to the bears' clubhouse. Once arriving we found Yogi, and all of his friends painting river rocks. This meant getting a huge rock from the river of your choice and painting it with special paint. My family decided to join in and paint. My sisters and I ran to the river and found nice, smooth rocks and went up to show Yogi. He handed us the special rock paint and we immediately started painting. It was quite enjoyable bonding and meeting other people who also enjoy camping.

After we finished the beach wasn't to busy, so I went to lay out in the hot sun. as I was laying in the sun Cindy came and invited to play beach volleyball with her and the other campers. Yes, I know volleyball with a bear, but it was the main highlight of my trip. Hours later after supper we made smores and chased lightening bugs. Camping brings out the best in everyone. It's so much fun spending time outdoors with bugs and animals that you don't normally like to be around. Another reason being that spending time with family, telling stories, and just getting feelings out makes the vacation worth the while.

I overall have come to enjoy camping with my family. It is an amazing experience even though you don't have the luxury of cell phones or television like you would in a hotel. Camping keeps you up and going. There's never a dull moment. Yogi even made my week better my stopping at my tent every morning and talking to me. I honestly loved this camping experience.

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: