In this edition:

It's Showtime!

Sportsman showtime that is... As we suffer thru the dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 45 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 28th. This follows National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting. And with the new hunting regulations Apprentice license holders are also eligible to hunt during the traditional Youth Days.

To properly prepare for hunting season there are dozens of quality sportsmen shows and training events scheduled throughout August and September in every region of the state. These events all feature numerous exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities and seminars - something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new, innovative equipment and learn from the experts about new places and proven techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Detailed information and website links for each of these events is listed in this edition. All the events are unique and offer something different of interest to hunters of all skill levels. They range from one day hands-on workshops to three day shows with over 100 exhibits and demonstrations. Locate several of these events near you and take your family and friends and get ready for a safe and rewarding hunting season. I hope to see you all at the show!

There's still plenty of good fishing action thru the Fall. The Outdoor Report is full of fishing and boating tips and information to make your outing more productive, enjoyable, and safe. To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, read on...

David Coffman, Editor

Early Dove Season Opens September 2 - October 12

Dove hunters have a unique opportunity again this year with the opening day for Dove Season coinciding with the Monday Labor Day Holiday weekend. Many hunters took the opportunity to introduce a youngster, or adult friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this license option in the Hunting News You Can Use section. A new regulation enacted in 2010 states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons. Remember safety first and have fun!

The first segment of Dove Season runs September 2 - October 14, 2013. Details are as follows:

Here's some reminders of things to do before going hunting for migratory species:

View the Regulations for Virginia Dove, Woodcock, Snipe, Rail, September Canada Goose, and September Teal on the Department's website (PDF).

New Seasons To Be Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds at August 22 Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Meeting

New season dates and bag limits for waterfowl will be set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their regular August 22, 2013, meeting in Richmond. The waterfowl seasons and bag limits federal frameworks and staff recommendations listed on the VDGIF website are to be presented at the August 22, 2013, meeting of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries for action by the Board. Your comments on these recommendations are solicited. Read more »

The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species will be posted on the Department's website and listed in the next Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section.

New 2013-14 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Digest Available

The new 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Digest is on the VDGIF website and the printed 71-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices, upcoming sportsman shows, and the Richmond Headquarters office. Also you can download the Regulations through the new HuntFishVA app. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements with valuable money saving coupons have been included again this year. The digest contains information on the 2013-14 seasons and bag limits and new regulation changes passed by the Board of Game & Inland Fisheries at the June 13th Board meeting. An overall summary of the changes is found at the beginning of the digest on page eight, "What's New" and will be highlighted in more detail in the next edition of the Outdoor Report. This year's hunting seasons overall will be very similar to last year. One new change that is sure to be popular with sportsmen is hunters of any age with an Apprentice License can participate in the special youth days for deer, turkey and the newly established bear youth and apprentice hunter day. The ten-hour Hunter Education Course has been replaced with a new format with a self-study requirement for students, followed by six hours of classroom instruction. The new course should allow students more flexibility in scheduling and will focus on safety, hunting ethics and conservation. Hunters interested in applying for the early Quota hunts, such as New Kent Forestry Center dove hunt, Radford deer hunts, Hog Island deer hunt and others should print off, complete, and mail in the quota applications found on pages 67-69 so not to miss the early application deadlines.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Flat Out Catfish Workshop on the James River August 22

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,, or by phone, 804-283-7327. Registration Fee: $40 - register today, space is limited! Workshop date: Flat Out Catfish II, Thursday, August 22, 8am - 4pm.

First Virginia State Catfish Championship on Buggs Island Lake August 17

On August 17,2013 the first VA State Catfish Championship will be held on Buggs Island Lake. The lake is now famous as it holds the current state and world record Blue Catfish. Tournament hours are from 3 pm to 1 am at Staunton View Boat Ramp. To find out more information you can follow us on facebook and

Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake August 23-25

This unique program open to ages 11-90+ offers opportunities to learn new skills or fine-tune the ones you already have.  Three 4-hour sessions in a variety of topics provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and include shooting, archery, survival, game cooking, game processing, bow fishing and a variety of hunting techniques. This partnership program is presented by the Virginia Hunter Education Association, VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center and is held at the 4-H Center near Appomattox.  Registration is still open and the cost is $120.00 (meals and lodging included). Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred but not required; children under 18 must attend with a parent. For more information visit, call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444 or e-mail

Farmville Outdoor Festival August 24th

Are you looking for an opportunity to get outdoors and learn some exciting Outdoor Skills! Riverside Community Church is hosting their Annual Outdoor Festival in Farmville at the Five County Fairgrounds Saturday, August 24, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar with Pro-Staff Jim Burns from Quaker Boy followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest. This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors!

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

Hunters for Hungry Play Ball With Lynchburg Hillcats August 29

The second annual event to benefit the Hunters for the Hungry feeding program will be held on THURSDAY AUGUST 29th at Lynchburg City Stadium with the Lynchburg Hillcats. Anyone wearing any camo apparel will be admitted for 1/2 price, $4 instead of the general admission price of $8. There will be a raffle conducted with some really neat prizes, guns, crossbows, Hillcats autographed items, and much more. ALL PROCEEDS from this fundraiser benefit the HFTH feeding efforts.


For a $100 tax deductible sponsorship the individual, business, or organization will receive 25 General Admission tickets ( A $200 value ) to the August 29th game. In addition, all sponsorships received before July 10th will have their name etc in the August edition of the Game Day magazine, They will also receive recognition through a handout that will be given to every attendee the night of the event and they will also be recognized through PA announcements the night of the game and on the screen in the outfield as well.

For a $200 tax deductible sponsorship the individual, business, or organization will receive 50 General Admission tickets ( A $400 value ) to the August 29th game and all the same sponsorship advertising incentives / opportunities as comes with the $100 level sponsor. What a great way to get tax deductible advertising and treat family, friends, clients, customers, employees, your baseball team or others to a night at the ballpark.

Peninsula Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists Course Begins September 4

The Peninsula Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists, is now accepting applications for our 6th cohort of Master Naturalist Basic Training. The Peninsula Chapter serves Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson and part of York County.

The 12-week course will be held at The Virginia Living Museum on Wednesday evenings from 6-9 pm, beginning on September 4, 2013. There will also be 4 mandatory weekend field trips, one of which you schedule and complete on your own. Graduation will be held at our General/Holiday meeting on Tuesday evening, December 10, 2013. There are assigned homework readings that you are expected to read before each class, including one before the first class.

To become a successful graduate of our Basic Training, you should have access to email, understand how to find information using a web browser, and have the ability to open PDF files. Most of our coursework readings are online, and much of our out-of-class communication is via e-mail.

For consideration, please PRINT out, complete, and mail your application to the address on the form. Please know that we treat all information as confidential and it will not be released to third parties. Class size is limited to 25 participants. Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as possible by one of our volunteers.. Upon admission to the class, the $150 training fee may be paid via check. The training fee includes all materials.

Information about the state program is available at

Waterfowl Hunting Workshop at Holiday Lake September 27-29

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Virginia Waterfowling Workshop the weekend of September 28-30 at the 4-H Camp near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowling Workshop provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course.

The workshop will provide participants of ages 12 through 90+, the opportunity to participate in 18 hands-on classes including: Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management.

Todd Cocker, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association Executive Director, notes that the past two years the weekend workshop was rated by its participants Very Good. The workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. There will be several night time mini classes and recreations' sessions Friday and Saturday night.

This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities." For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VAWFA website. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox.

VA Waterfowlers Assoc. Create An Additional "Traveling Blind" To Promote Educational Workshop

Not many waterfowl hunters think of using a waterfowl blinds on the highway or in a parking lot at a local sporting goods retailer. Most duck and goose blinds can be found over water or on the shores of a river or lake. Last year Virginia Waterfowlers' Association (VAWFA) began promoting the Annual Virginia Waterfowling Workshop at Holiday Lake 4-H Camp near Appomattox, by using "the Traveling Duck Blind" as a portable billboard and exhibit. This year the organization created an additional traveling exhibit "the Traveling Goose Blind" to promote the educational workshop event.

The Traveling Duck Blind & Traveling Goose Blind are blinds installed on a trailer emblazoned with images and logos about the educational workshop. The exhibits interpret details about the workshop and its sponsoring supporters.

This summer, the Traveling Blinds began their tours to various sporting goods retailers in the state by appearing at Ashland Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Dance's Sporting Goods and the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show. Check the VAWFA website for dates and details.

September Regional Big Game Contests Feature Biggest Bucks, Bears and Turkeys

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.

September 13-15, 2013 74th Western Regional Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. Registration: Begins Friday September 13 at 9 AM. Trophy Entry Deadline is 2 PM on Saturday September 14. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information:

September 28-29, 2013: 74th Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. This year the Eastern Regional is also the State Championship. For Contest rules and information visit:

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.

The Slayer

If you fish from a kayak, but also like to include your dogs on your river adventures from time to time, read how I came up with the perfect boat for me in The Slayer on Dispatches from the Potomac.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

I picked up my new kayak in Virginia Beach, where many of Virginia's kayak anglers fish. I did not catch anything during my short stay, but I will be back! And when I do, I will refer to Richie Bekolay's post, Sight Fishing Tips... Salt Style on Hook Line & Sinker. (I'm still not sure how long it takes to get comfortable standing up in a kayak!)

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage our readers to submit your blogs about outdoor life in Virginia! Send your fishing, hunting, hiking, photography or other outdoor blog, or a blog that you follow, to Ed at, and it may be featured here in this column.

People and Partners in the News

Trout Unlimited Tri-State Camp Trains Future Conservation Leaders

Chuck Hoysa, VDGIF and TU Trout in the Classroom Coordinator provided this article in the annual TU Tri-State Camp...

The ninth annual Trout Unlimited Tri-State Camp wrapped up at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia on June 28. Twenty campers, age 13-17, spent a week honing their fishing skills and learning about cold water conservation issues. This year's campers came from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Arkansas, and Puerto Rico. Paul Kearney served a Camp Director and George Gaines as Executive Director. Numerous volunteers from Trout Unlimited, DGIF, and Shenandoah National Park assisted with the camp.

A typical day at camp starts with fly casting after breakfast, followed by fly tying and a guest instructor. The afternoons and evenings are spent fishing in local streams and ponds. An annual highlight of the camp is a trout presentation by DGIF Fish Biologist Paul Bugas, which is followed by an elctro-shocking demonstration on the Rose River. However, this year, the skies opened up just as Paul and the campers arrived at the river, cancelling the activity!

The camp staff has done an outstanding job of following up with campers. To date, over 20 campers have gone on to college and majored in some type of environmental science. In addition, four camp graduates came back to serve as counselors this year. The Tri-State Camp is one of 21 youth camps conducted each summer by TU Councils across the country.

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."

Crush'n Clays Event Raises Funds for St. Jude Children Hospital

A sell out crowd of 120 shooters participated in the 15h Annual Crush'n Clays on June 8th 2013 at the Arlington-Fairfax Chapter of the IWLA in Centreville, Virginia. Over the last 14 years Crush'n Clays has raised $265,000 and after this event we expect to add $16,000 - $18,000 to that total. Crush'n Clays is not only, the longest running shooting charity that supports the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, but also, it is the longest consecutive running shooting charity event in the country.

Participants were provided with ammunition, event t-shirts and lunch. The trap shooting event consisted of 25 targets from the 16 yard line and 25 targets from the 22 yard-line. Both individuals and four person teams competed in the event. In the team competition the best three on the squad were recorded for record. All participants were eligible for individual awards using a "Lewis" class system.

The festivities began with Bob Brino, Skeet/Trap Director of the Arlington-Fairfax Chapter of the IWLA, providing a shotgun clinic for novice competitors. Once again, Bob donated the targets for the event. We all owe Bob a big thanks.

This year we also welcomed a new event sponsor Fishnet Security, Source Fire and Suburban Electric. Jim Hickerson, owner of Suburban Electric, is an Arlington-Fairfax IWLA member, shoots in the winter shotgun league, and is an accomplished skeet shooter. A big shout out to Jim, one of our own, for his support of Crush'n Clays.

As always, the Annie Oakley drew a huge number of participants. Many participants entered the event multiple times resulting in with well over 200 entries during the day. The Annie Oakley event also had tremendous spectator appeal, pitting the skills of one shooter against another. Half of the entry fees of the event we awarded to the eventual winner of each squad and the other half went to St. Judes Children's Research Hospital.

Bucky Sills, Rick Kohne, Wayne Owens and Gilbert Ramey of Arlington-Fairfax IWLA provided a popular barbeque lunch of pork, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and assorted side dishes.

J.R Wingfield, of Piedmont Sportsmans Club, bested all competitors in the main event, running all targets straight with a high score of 50. Congratulation to J.R. for, once again, being the 2013 Crush'n Clays Champion. J.R.'s has won this event several times with a perfect score. If he keeps this up, we may have to retire the plaque!

The remaining individual class winners were:

In the team competition the results were:

Thanks go to our sponsors the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, the Arlington-Fairfax Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, the National Rifle Association, Fishnet Security, Source Fire, Suburban Electric Corporation, Dominick Casciano, Everfresh, Vienna Septic Services and all the volunteers whose tireless efforts made the event a great success.

For the entire story and more photos visit:

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

Wounded Warrior Fishing Day Hosted by Conservation Police Officers on Crooked Creek

On July 20, Senior Conservation Police Officer Randy Hurst and the VDGIF Region III staff and volunteers hosted a Wounded Warrior Fishing Day at Crooked Creek Fee Fishing Area in Carroll County. There were 20 participants and all the veterans received raffle prizes that were provided by local businesses. The event was sponsored by VDGIF and the Wounded Warrior Program. Senior Officer Randy Hurst set up the event, coordinated with the Wounded Warrior group to recruit attendees and the Wythe Fish Hatchery for the stocking of the trout. Prizes were donated by Wal-Mart of Galax, Eden Distributing Company, Lisa's Car Wash, Lowes Hardware of Galax, Maurice Sporting Goods, and Applebee's of Galax.

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.

National Dove Hunter Survey Announced

Virginia dove hunters will be asked to participate in a nationwide survey this summer. The National Dove Hunter Survey will ask dove hunters to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting. The survey is a cooperative effort by the many state fish and wildlife agencies, all four flyway councils, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Objectives of the survey include learning about dove hunter characteristics: time spent hunting, perceived constraints to hunting, and thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.

The National Dove Hunter Survey is scheduled to be mailed out in late June, and will be compiled by the end of 2013. The survey is being undertaken because many issues and concerns of dove hunters are largely unknown. The survey will help state and federal agencies make more informed decisions on issues important to hunters.

"Nationally, there are more than one million dove hunters in the United States. This survey will encompass all regions of the country and will give us an excellent picture of hunter opinions and needs," says Dr. Ken Richkus of the Service's Population and Habitat Assessment Branch. "The Service and the states want to make sure we use the best science-based information for the management and conservation of our migratory bird resources and take hunter opinions and preferences into account whenever possible."

More information about the survey, including a "Frequently Asked Questions" page can be found on our website.

New 2013-14 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Digest Available

The new 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Digest is on the VDGIF website and the printed 71-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices, upcoming sportsman shows, and the Richmond Headquarters office. Also you can download the Regulations through the new HuntFishVA app. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements with valuable money saving coupons have been included again this year. The digest contains information on the 2013-14 seasons and bag limits and new regulation changes passed by the Board of Game & Inland Fisheries at the June 13th Board meeting. An overall summary of the changes is found at the beginning of the digest on page eight, "What's New" and will be highlighted in more detail in the next edition of the Outdoor Report. This year's hunting seasons overall will be very similar to last year. One new change that is sure to be popular with sportsmen is hunters of any age with an Apprentice License can participate in the special youth days for deer, turkey and the newly established bear youth and apprentice hunter day. The ten-hour Hunter Education Course has been replaced with a new format with a self-study requirement for students, followed by six hours of classroom instruction. The new course should allow students more flexibility in scheduling and will focus on safety, hunting ethics and conservation. Hunters interested in applying for the early Quota hunts, such as New Kent Forestry Center dove hunt, Radford deer hunts, Hog Island deer hunt and others should print off, complete, and mail in the quota applications found on pages 67-69 so not to miss the early application deadlines.

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 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

Back Yard Bandits

Ben Norris sent in this story about some neighborhood boys who are honing their hunting skills working with their coon hound to manage the raccoon population in their area...

At one time, and not really that long ago, that wily denizen of the deep woods, "Brer Coon", was a seldom seen "woodland creature" and a delight to discover puttering around in the evening, near a pond or stream, searching for frogs and crayfish. Especially a she-coon training her young. Today? Not so much! Back in the day a raccoon with a good winter coat would bring the earnest trapper or hunter $35-$40 for the hide and meat. Ladies in a mink coat or with a raccoon or fox stole adorning her shoulders were considered fashionable. Today she would be the object of scorn and ridicule, and as a result, hunting and trapping these varmints is a disappearing art, as there is no market for their skins. With very little to check the growth of their populations these animals have become not only pests, but the spread of rabies among coons and foxes is a nationwide scourge.

It is far from unusual, these days, to find your bird feeders ransacked, your garbage cans turned over, and trash spread everywhere by the multitude of suburban and even urban raccoons. Tales of attics or chimneys inhabited by raccoons are common place. Note: If you trap them, do not just turn them loose in another area, as it is very much against the law. My solution to the problem has been a few neighborhood boys that have a good coon dog. They welcome the chance to remove these nuisance varmints. Witnessing the ferocity of the fight delivered by one of these miniature "Grizzly Bears" when challenged by a brave dog will definitely persuade you that your house dog is not the answer... he is no match for a raccoon.

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

Your purchase provides funding to support Virginia's wildlife resources for the benefit of anglers, boaters, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Visit us at

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 before being soft released into their new habitat. 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, Kentucky Department and Fish and Wildlife Resources, 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 in May of 2012 are all alive and within 3-miles of the release site in Buchanan County.

The 5 resident bulls from last years group shed their antlers in April and have begun growing them back (see photos). Most of the adult cows separated from the herd and gone into seclusion to calve. We will report on the number of calves in the next 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 . 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."

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!

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September will soon be here and the fall hunting seasons will begin. Are you ready?!?! For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Course to qualify for your license. Our team of 900 volunteer instructors have over 160 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. This year, the Virginia Hunter Education Course is more convenient, combining the flexibility of self-study with less classroom time. Go to for more details.

With the Youth Deer Hunting Day September 28th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together for a refresher. This is also a good time to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.  New this year Apprentice License holders are eligible to participate in the traditional Youth Hunting Days for Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl days.  Visit the VDGIF website for details.

Safety Team Promotes Proper Treestand Use at Sportsman's Shows

The use of tree stands for hunting has increased dramatically in the past few years. Along with the increase in their use comes an increase in the number of serious or fatal injuries. While firearms-related incidents have declined tremendously since mandatory hunter education courses were instituted and blaze orange laws were passed, the number of treestand-related incidents has increased significantly. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries supports a Treestand Safety Team composed of volunteer Hunter Education instructors who provide safety training to other volunteers and to the public. Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand, the Team is providing exhibits, demonstrations and training at various sportsmen's events to help hunters properly prepare and stay safe while using treestands. We will be featuring treestand safety and use tips in each of the August - October editions in the Be Safe... Have Fun section of the Outdoor Report.

Remember to harness up before you climb up..

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 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.

Critter Corner by Marlene A. Condon

Thistles (Cirsium species)

How many times have you heard that thistles are non-native invasive plants that should be controlled for the sake of the environment? This assertion is put forth so often that you couldn't be blamed for believing it to be true, but it isn't.

We have several native thistles (Cirsium species) and they are extremely valuable to our wildlife. When deciding which plants to remove from the landscape, please remember that not all "weeds" are created equal!

Time of year to see them and where: Native thistles bloom from June to October, depending upon the species. The Pasture Thistle (C. Pumilum) and the Field Thistle (C. discolor) typically grow in the nutrient-poor dry soils of fields, pastures, and open woods. The Virginia Thistle (C. virginianum) grows in bogs while the Swamp Thistle (C. muticum) grows in swamps and wet woods.

Food: A thistle serves as a magnet, attracting a variety of butterflies, bees, beetles, and flies to its nectar-rich blooms. The insects pollinate the blooms, helping the thistle to make seeds that are an important food source for American Goldfinches. And the plant itself serves as larval food for several species of moths and the Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui).

Environmental function: These plants are vital not only to the reproductive success of a variety of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), but also to the nesting success of the American Goldfinch. This bird is unable to reproduce until thistles have bloomed and gone to seed. The goldfinch uses down (botanically known as "pappus") from the seeds in the construction of its nest, which is often so tightly woven that it can hold water.

Personal observation: I know when the first thistles in my yard have gone to seed because I'll see male and female goldfinches on the plants, eating seeds and gathering down to make their nests.

Nature-friendly garden tip: Don't be afraid to grow thistles. In a nature-friendly garden that supports wildlife, these plants—even the so-called invasive ones—can be quite difficult to keep in the yard. I purposely introduced Canada Thistle to my yard, but my yard is so full of plants that the thistles lasted just a few years before disappearing. My experimentation over the past 27 years with plants deemed invasive has shown that the majority of them survive and spread only if the soil is poor and the ground is bare.

Naturalist Marlene A. Condon is the author/photographer of The Nature-friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People (Stackpole Books; information at  If you have a question about animals or gardening in a nature-friendly manner, please send it to

River Keeper Assists Students in River Research

[reprinted from VA Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment News]

Doctoral students Rebecca Kidd of Newport, Va., and Matt Johnson of Colonial Heights, Va., conducted research on Virginia's Blackwater River last summer with Jeff Turner, the Riverkeeper for the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers. In his role as a volunteer for the Riverkeeper Program, Turner patrols both rivers and educates various groups and organizations about the watershed. "What pleases me the most is knowing there are young people out there like Matt and Rebecca who are interested in gaining knowledge that will aid in preserving that environment," said Turner. "I could not be any happier that those efforts were taking place right there in my rivers that I love so much. It just doesn't get any better than that."

"Jeff is very passionate about river conservation," Kidd observed. "As a result of his many years of experience, he was able to provide additional information regarding the history of the Blackwater River and how water quality has changed over time. It's always a great opportunity for scientists to interact with hardworking people in the field and to involve the community at which the research is aimed."

Johnson and Kidd were cruising the river to collect mussel specimens that could be used in their respective research projects. Johnson is studying the relationships between variation in stream flows in coastal plain streams and growth rates of freshwater mussels and trees in adjacent flood plains. Kidd's project focuses on the factors that influence freshwater mussel growth rates in the Nottoway and Blackwater rivers.

"Working with Jeff was great," said Johnson. "He seemed really interested in our research and asked a lot of questions along the way. We offered to compensate him for his time and gas used, but he refused. He said that someone taking interest in the rivers was payment is enough for him."

To read the entire article and other conservation topics of the VA Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment News:

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

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

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

This section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun: plus provide the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. The Virginia Wildlife calendar lists natural events that can serve as a "lesson plan" to get students outdoors exploring, observing, and having fun while learning about the woods, fields, and streams and the fascinating plants and animals that share these habitats with us. Each edition we will bring you ideas on topics, natural occurrences, and events to spark your interests in exploring nature. Make it a family adventure!

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

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

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for late August:

Answers to July 24 edition quiz for nature events for late July...

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Region I - Tidewater

Boating Under the Influence: Under Arrest... On July 20, Sgt. Rich Goszka, Senior Officer Ken Williams, Officers Tyler Bumgarner and Cameron Dobyns conducted a boating safety special operation on Potomac Creek between King George and Stafford Counties. The special operation was in response to the Sea Ray's Aquapalooza Event on the Potomac River. The event attracted an estimated 500 boats from Virginia and Maryland. During the evening Sgt. Goszka and Senior Officer Williams stopped a boat for inspection and suspected that the operator was under the influence of alcohol. As Senior Officer Williams was conducting field sobriety tests a PWC entered the creek and Officers Bumgarner and Dobyns attempted to stop the boat for inspection. The officers activated their emergency lights and the suspect looked directly at them and sped up. The officers activated their siren and the operator again refused to stop. The officers pursued the boat for several minutes in Potomac Creek at speeds over 50 MPH. The boat entered a marina and the operator was apprehended. The operator was arrested for eluding law enforcement and boating under the influence. During this time, Senior Officer Williams placed his operator under arrest for operating under the influence with a preliminary BAC of .22 and a final BAC of .16. As Officers Williams and Dobyns left to process their suspects, Sgt. Goszka and Officer Bumgarner resumed patrol. As they left the marina they observed a boat enter the creek at a high rate of speed. The boat was stopped and the operator was found to be under the influence of alcohol with a preliminary BAC of .17 and was arrested by Officer Bumgarner.

Operating Under the Influence of Pork, Peanut and Pine... On July 20, several officers from Districts 13, 14, and 17 patrolled the Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival on the James River in Surry County. Officer Woodruff and Sergeant Worrell stopped a Scarab speed boat leaving the festival. Officer Woodruff suspected the operator to be under the influence of alcohol and administered FSTs to the operator. The operator refused a PBT but was placed under arrest based on evidence gained during the FSTs. Transporting the suspect and administering a breath alcohol test took over 2 hours. The suspect provided a sample with a BAC of .14. The suspect was charged for OUI.

Region III - Southwest

Outdoor Adventures Youth Camp Supported... On July 16, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer James Brooks and Senior K-9 Officer Wes Billings and "Josie" conducted a joint program at Clinch Mountain Farms in Tazewell County for Outdoor Adventures Youth Camp. Officer Brooks discussed Conservation Law Enforcement. Officer Billings demonstrated K-9 Josie's duties and wildlife detection skills. There were 34 people in attendance.

Officers Support "The Way"... On Wednesday July 17, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris assisted with "The Way" Youth Camp held at the New River Wildlife Club in Grayson County. This is the second year for the event that reaches out to youth that would normally not have the opportunity to go to a summer camp. It is sponsored by several local churches and civic organizations. Officer Harris coordinated a partnership this year with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to provide backpacks and school supplies to the youth involved. Participants had a great time and plans are underway for next year's event.

Teachers Taught... On July 18, Virginia Conservation Police Sergeant Jamie Davis and Project Wild Coordinator Suzie Gilley presented at the Summer Symposium for K-12 teachers in-service at Virginia Highlands Community College. Sergeant Davis presented a PowerPoint concerning the duties of a Conservation Police Officer and outdoor education. Suzie Gilley presented teachers with valuable information concerning Standards of Learning and wildlife education. College officials and teachers were grateful for their efforts in presenting professional development relating to outdoor education.

Assist for Youth Shooting... On Friday July 19, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris assisted the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with the Safe Challenge Youth Shooting Program. This program was created to introduce young and novice shooters to safe and responsible firearm use and the hunter's role in conservation. Officer Harris presented information to a group of almost one hundred youth from Grayson County and the surrounding areas and then assisted with the .22 shoot that is part of the program. This is the second year of this event in Grayson County and interest in the program continues to grow.

Wounded Warrior Fishing Day... On July 20, Senior Conservation Police Officer Randy Hurst conducted a Wounded Warrior Fishing Day at Crooked Creek Fee Fishing Area in Carroll County. There were 20 participants and all participants received raffle prizes that were provided by local businesses.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

Harrowing Tale of VDGIF Rescue... On July 12, the Page County Sheriff's Office Dispatch received a 911 call concerning multiple subjects trapped in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in the area of Innskeep Boat Landing. At the time of the call, the river level was measured at nearly 12 feet above normal. Upon arriving, Officer Ostlund observed two subjects, an adult male and a 7 year-old female trapped in the river approximately 60-75 feet away from the shore. The adult was holding onto the little girl (who was wearing a PFD), while simultaneously holding onto tree limbs. He was unable to touch the bottom of the river and was not wearing a personal flotation device. At that time, he had been in the water for nearly 45 minutes and was yelling that he was losing his grip. The little girl was screaming, "Help me!" Rescue personnel attempted to reach the subjects by boat, but the boat was swept downriver by the swift current; however, they continued to try and get other life-lines to the subjects, but the overhanging tree limbs, the distance to the subjects, and extreme water conditions made it almost impossible. Working with First-Responders, a plan was developed to have Officer Ostlund tow a life-line behind a kayak to the subjects' location and then secure it to a tree. Unfortunately, this first attempt failed.

Officer Ostlund initiated a second attempt to reach the subjects by kayak and get a PFD to the adult subject. Page County Deputy Henry Molina threw and connected a second light-line rescue disc. Although Officer Ostlund was rapidly swept downriver, he was able to cut across the current and reach an eddy as planned. From there, he was able to paddle approximately 30 yards upstream to the subjects. Within seconds of reaching the subjects, the man lost his grip on the tree limbs. Both subjects were swept into the main current. Rescuers hauled in the connected life-line to try and pull them to shore, but the line broke due to the tremendous strength of the current. The little girl screamed and Officer Ostlund paddled backwards downriver as fast as he could. Even though the life-line did ultimately break, it did hold long enough for rescuers to pull the subjects through the swiftest moving water, that much closer to the shore.

As Officer Ostlund came abreast of the two subjects, they were able to grab onto a large submerged tree limb. He watched as the man twice got dragged under the water by the current. As Officer Ostlund maneuvered alongside them, the man told him to, "take her." In one movement, they lifted the child onto the bow of the kayak. Unable to paddle, Officer Ostlund drifted backwards. He immediately realized that the girl had the broken rescue-line tangled around her feet and legs. He focused on removing the line before it could potentially pull taught on debris. Once the line was clear, he then pulled the little girl into the kayak and told her to hold still. He looked up and was elated to see that the man was floating alongside! Officer Ostlund then gave the lifejacket to the man, and yelled at him to swim for the shore as hard as he could as he paddled alongside him. When they reached the shore seconds later, family and rescue personnel literally lifted everyone out of the water.

A total of four adults (all family) had been intending to kayak/raft the river with four juveniles. The most experienced kayaker entered the river first with her daughter and was immediately overpowered by the current. The three adults still on shore all jumped into the river to try and assist when the kayak overturned. Three of the subjects were pulled from the river by by-standers prior to any rescue personnel arriving on-scene. The following agencies worked together in this rescue effort: Luray Fire Department, Luray Rescue, Page County Sheriff's Office, Shenandoah Fire Department/Swift Water Dive/Rescue Team, VA State Police, and VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

K9 Team

K9 Teams Featured at sportsman shows statewide... Come meet the VDGIF K9 Teams at the various sportsman shows being held throughout the state in August and September. See the individual event descriptions in the Wild Events section for where one of the K9 teams will be making an appearance near you. For information on the K9 teams and their exceptional abilities read the feature article (PDF) by outdoor writer Mark Fike in the latest issue of Whitetail Times, official magazine of the VA Deer Hunters Association. We thank Mark Fike and the VDHA for permission to link to the magazine article in Whitetail Times magazine.

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:

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

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

Grants to Localities for Public Boating Access Facilities

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announces the availability of grants for fiscal year 2014 and requests applications.  Eligible to receive grants are Virginia localities (counties, cities, and towns).    The purpose of the grants is to assist localities in providing public opportunities for boating access facilities for new development or the renovation or improvements to existing public boating access facilities.  For more details, visit to download the following information:

Recreational boating is a popular activity and there are approximately 250,000 registered boats in Virginia. Many more watercraft (canoes/kayaks) that are not registered use existing facilities or are in need of additional sites. This grant program provides up to 75% of the approved project costs to construct or renovate boating access facilities for trailer or non-trailer hand-launch facilities. Applications are due by October 1, 2013 and award is anticipated by January 1, 2014. Upon notice of award, the local jurisdiction will have until April 1, 2014 to sign a Cooperative Grant Agreement. Funds are provided on a reimbursement basis.

This is the second year the Department has funded this grant program.  Last year the Department awarded $390,900 to 10 localities for the development or renovation of 14 sites on 7 different river systems. To learn more about hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor opportunities in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' website:

Flat Out Catfish Workshop 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,, or by phone, 804-283-7327. Registration Fee: $40 - register today, space is limited! Workshop date: Flat Out Catfish II, Thursday, August 22, 8am - 4pm.

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:

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!

The Fishing Spot - Celebrating 2 Years

Two years ago the first article of The Fishing Spot appeared in the Outdoor Report. Kelly Pratt winning a Bassmaster tournament on the James River and sending him to the world championship made for a great first story. Since then The Fishing Spot has covered the people, places, events and techniques of fishing for its readers.

The Fishing Spot (TFS) has covered a gamut of fishing-technique related topics. Combo fishing as I called it; floating a river and combing canoe/kayak fishing with wading was my first techniques article. Since then TFS has covered catfishing on the James, the drop shot rig, fly fishing for trout, crappie, sunfish, knots, hooks, line and more.

The column has profiled the people and places of fishing starting with the previously mentioned tournament success of Kelly Pratt, but also pieces on Virginia professional anglers David Dudley and John Crews and the DGIF citation king, Stephen Miklandric. The state record striped bass and spotted bass were covered as well as topics such as joining a fishing club; which in fact inspired one reader to join a club and she is having a blast learning about fishing!

If you would like to read past TFS articles, visit the Outdoor Report Archive page of our Agency webpage. My hope is that The Fishing Spot is always a place you can count on for some fun, informative and educational fishing articles. Continue to go to The Fishing Spot for more exciting articles about fishing in the Commonwealth as we move into year number three!

My sincere thanks for taking a moment to visit The Fishing Spot.
Tight Lines,
Chris Dunnavant

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, call 1-866-721-6911, or visit your nearest license agent.

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

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

Sarah White's Notebook

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, The water temperature is down to 84 degrees, and the visibility is at 14 ft. The drop in temperature had fish coming up on clumps of grass in as little as 10 to12 ft of depth; making loud top-waters baits a good choice. But the Carolina rig out fished it. This bite well be short lived, as the temperature goes up, the fish will have to move back into the comfort zone at over than 18 ft. So do not put those deep presentations away yet. A large number of crappie were caught early last week but by later in the week the numbers had dropped off to very low. Shellcracker were caught some reaching the 10 in. mark, worms were the preferred bait. Cats were active outside of the grass, crawlers and minnows were preferred. A couple of eyes were caught on some strange baits, green lizards, and green brush hogs, rigged Carolina. Our LCR open went very well with 15 teams fishing, yes though the storm. 87.9 lbs. of bass were caught for a average of about 2.3 lbs. The winning bag was 10.6, 2nd 9.5, and 3rd 9.0, Tod Godfrey caught the big fish of 5.3 lbs.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. We had a good week of fishing over here at Beaverdam. Bonnie S. of Ledgewood caught a 3 lb. 2 oz. bass in the deep channel by the Treatment Plant. Pat M. of Bloomfield caught a citation pickerel using crankbait. Several small sun fish were caught off the dock. And numerous fishermen braved the rain to try and catch "The Big One" on Sunday. Tip: Come in the morning, the fish have been biting early and tend to slow down by lunch. The water is 83 degrees, 2 feet below full pool and slightly stained.

Join us for Night Fishing September 6th from 6 p.m. to midnight.  Our next Big Bash Bass Tournament will be on September 21, 2013.  Registration is available now.  For more information visit our website at 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. The gar fishing in Cat Point creek is starting to pick up. Recently the gar have been sighted gulping air on the surface and several catches were reported by Niels deKoning who is visiting from Holland. The action was not real fast but steady with 4 catches on one outing. Typically the fish get active and catches of citation size fish begin in mid August and go through the fall season.

Virginia Beach: Contributed by local guide Skip Feller of Rudee Inlet Charters (757) 425-3400. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Back Bay: Local angler Tom Deans. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Chesapeake Bay: Contributed by Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach. Air temperatures are beginning to ease into the eighties as we round the corner into the late summer fishing trend. The biggest news still centers around the dynamic offshore fishing scene as it continues to evolve into a very good season for offshore trollers. Massive bigeye tuna continue to bust up spreads, while the billfish are moving on in.

Cobia: Good action is a sure thing lately, as good numbers of fish make a strong showing for top-water casters, with a few fish pushing to over 60 pounds hitting the docks this week. Many cobia are beginning their late summer trend of favoring buoys and bridge pilings, and cruising on the surface in lower Bay waters and off the oceanfront. Pods of multiple fish are also becoming more abundant. As for chumming, this messy technique continues to be very effective if you can weed through the strong shark presence this year.

Red drum: These fish are still making an impressive appearance this year, as schools continue to provide excellent casting action. Schools of bull reds are still roaming in the lower Bay, especially near the 3rd and 4th islands. Surf anglers are also catching nice fish from the surf along Smith Island. Puppy drum are showing a lot of activity in the shallows, where pups pushing to around 30 inches were caught as a by-catch by speckled trout anglers this week. Speckled trout are showing promise on the Poquoson flats and Hungar's creek, with smaller fish coming from the Bayside creeks on the Eastern shore.

Jack crevelle: Sightings of fleeting schools of these fish continue to surface as these fish prepare to settle on near shore structures for the remainder of the season. A few surprise hook-ups are thrilling unsuspecting anglers. Bobby Crutsinger of Virginia Beach hooked into a 47 inch surprise jack while live-baiting near the CB-line this week.

Flounder: The summer's sluggish flounder spell continues to concern anglers, but there is still time for a turn-around. In the meantime the bite is challenging at times, with a solid catch of 22 inchers considered a good day. Jigs and live bait presented along varying bottom structures in the lower part of the Bay is working best for the larger fish. The Cell, the CBBT structure, and lower Bay wrecks are just a few of the flounder hot-spots lately. Drifters are also finding luck with strip baits and minnows near buoy 36A and the Thimble Shoal Channel near Cape Henry. The lower Bay inlets are also giving up some keeper fish.

Spanish mackerel: Action picked back up this week as some nice fish provide good action from the middle Bay on out to the Ocean Front. Small gold and silver spoons are the best lure for these fish. King mackerel anglers are still waiting for the king bite to materialize, with not much to show. A good presentation of sharks along Virginia's coastal waters is attracting attention, but be sure to review the regulations before targeting these toothy hunters.

Other Fish: Sheepshead are still a sure thing along the Bay Bridge Tunnel structure, with more fish beginning to respond over the tubes. Smallish spadefish are still available along the Bridge Tunnel and around the islands, but most folks are not interested. Big triggerfish are hitting in these same areas, with some pushing to over 4-pounds.

Tarpon sightings and hook-ups on the Eastern Shore are always hush-hush, but scattered releases and a barrage of sightings are keeping anglers interested. The croaker bite is on out of Oyster, but the fish are on the smaller side right now. Amberjack are still available on offshore wrecks and at the Southern Towers, and deep dropping action is still good for boats running out to investigate the floors along the Canyon edges. Blueline tilefish, grouper, blackbellied rosefish, and nice sea bass are available for the taking. For bluewater anglers, billfish action is still heating up, but the persistent tuna action has boats pulling mixed spreads. Bigeye tuna weighing in at over 200-pounds are providing brutal battles for daring anglers, with hefty 60 and 70-pound class yellowfin tuna also adding to the fun. More flags are starting to fly at the docks as white marlin numbers build. A smattering of blue marlin, sailfish, and spearfish encounters are also rounding things out. Some dolphin are also around, along with some nice wahoo. For more information, go to

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams told me that bass are small but a good amount are coming in. Spinners are the lure of choice. No word on crappie, bluegill or cats The water is 85 degrees and somewhat stained.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Mid day water temperatures ranged from the low to high 80s in the lower lake on Saturday (8/10/2013). The lake level was about a foot above the top of the dam. The water was light brown and moderately cloudy in the lower lake. A mix of sizes of crappie were scattered on weed flats near shoreline cover in the main lake and were hitting live minnows, tubes, and Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. A mix of sizes of bluegill and shellcrackers were scattered on many shorelines and on hydrilla flats in the main lake and along hydrilla weedwalls around creek mouths and were hitting flies especially black or brown wet flies and nymphs, small tubes and jigs, and live worms. A few bass were on flats and shorelines in the main lake, and were hitting fly rod bugs and top-waters near sunup and sundown and stick worms and spinnerbaits a bit later in the mornings and earlier in the afternoons.

Mid day water temperatures ranged from the low to high 80s in the lower lake on Saturday (8/10/2013). The lake level was about a foot above the top of the dam. The water was light brown and moderately cloudy in the lower lake. A mix of sizes of crappie were scattered on weed flats near shoreline cover in the main lake and were hitting live minnows, tubes, and Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. A mix of sizes of bluegill and shellcrackers were scattered on many shorelines and on hydrilla flats in the main lake and along hydrilla weedwalls around creek mouths and were hitting flies especially black or brown wet flies and nymphs, small tubes and jigs, and live worms. A few bass were on flats and shorelines in the main lake, and were hitting fly rod bugs and top-waters near sunup and sundown and stick worms and spinnerbaits a bit later in the mornings and earlier in the afternoons.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that bass are gulping down soft plastic worms. Crappie fishing is also very good with the standard minnows and jigs. Cats are attacking cut bait. Bluegill will take worms and crickets. All in all, a great time to fish this area. The water is in the low 80s and clear.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Spirit Of Moonpie and I spent the 2nd through the 4th on the Blackwater below and above Franklin. I actually did pretty good on rod and reel for catfish. I caught 4 blues with one monster, for this river, going 18 pounds. Cut brim in the swiftest water I could find did the trick. I also caught a couple of yellow cats, a blackfish and a bunch of small bream on the fly rod. I also got into the bass pretty good on the 3rd. Using a top-water lure I caught 7 but they were all 2 pounds and under. Still, it was a lot of fun. What was not fun was the terrible lightning storm Saturday afternoon. I was under the bridge for that event and was still pretty scared. I got really worried when a couple in a boat did not come back downriver to get out that terrible lightning conflagration. They had been under the bridge with me the first go round of storms, then left and went upriver. So when they did not come back I was pretty worried. Being out and exposed in something like that in a boat is a memory one never forgets, and I have been in plenty. They finally emerged from the skinny upper parts of the river wet, but at least not fried. I have one of those fancy phones that has radar on it and a thing on Weatherbug called Spark Alert that tells you how close the lightning is. It's really great. Really though, all you need is eyes and ears. When you see lightning or hear thunder, please do the safe thing and find a bridge/shelter or just get out of the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. The Upper James River is finally making it into the typical mid to late summer conditions, which make for great fishing. On hot clear days the bass are hitting top-water. I will also start fishin' those deeper cooler pools just below a shallow fall with soft plastics and slow my retrieve down a bit. In order to catch that summertime cruiser you will have to begin employing some of your trout fishin' stealth. This time of year is an excellent opportunity to nail that big one on the top water, but the clear water can make it difficult. If you are going with the top-water bug, use a long leader and cover some ground. If you are spooking the fish on the cast, tippet out a little. Drifting your bug slowly along the bank and over hanging cover, is a sure way to land a nice late summer hog! For other up to date fishing info and reports check out or like our page on facebook! We keep our facebook page updated often!

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike says that bass action is very good on plastics in pumpkin seed and watermelon. Crappie are not biting. Lots of bream are coming in on crickets and worms. Flathead and blue cats are talking cut eel during the day and shad at night. Gar can be had for a medium minnow. The water is clear and 80 degrees.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Swift Creek Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Archie Spencer. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Region 2 - Southside

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow Jr. reports that bass are biting well on soft plastics, with good colors being watermelon and green pumpkin. Crappie can be found at brush piles and will take minnows and jigs. Cats are going for cut shad and bream. Bluegill are hanging out rock piles and banks. The water is warm and somewhat stained.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

James River Basin Trout Fishing: Contributed by Doug Lane, Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

James near Lynchburg: Contributed by Jared Harker, owner of Confluence Outfitters, (434) 941-9550. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Ron Karpinski says that the bass bite is slow, but try top water poppers on a fly rod. Crappie fishing is "decent" in 8 to10 feet of water with minnows and jigs. Catfishing is very good, with edible sized ones biting stink baits and clam snouts, and the big boys taking cut bait and shad. Bluegill are scarce and small, but try a worm or a top water popper on a fly rod. Walleye are going for Erie rigs with worms. The water is 82 degrees and clear.

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

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

New River: Contributed by Britt Stoudenmire, 540-921-7438, owner of New River Outdoor Co and host of The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh web show. The New River is in the best shape it has been all summer. The river is olive green with about 4' to 5' of visibility and has mid to upper 70's water temps. Fish are responding well to tubes and worms along with topwater baits such as Pop-R's and prop baits. The big fish "bug" bite is starting to happen as fish are staging and beginning to look for them. We had some wonderful days this past week on the spin and fly and you can check out the latest pics and reports on the NROC Facebook Page. Musky are on the move big time with much cooler than average water temps, particularly at night. Check out Southern Musky Outfitters for more on the musky action from the New River. And be sure to catch the latest show from the The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh, "Virginia is for Smallmouth", featuring some awesome bug action from the beautiful New River. It is going to be an exciting fall on the New River with higher than average water levels. Give us a shout to hit the action.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that smallies are picking up and going for cranks and GitZits. He also says that the river is full of muskies, and if you want to land one, now is the time. Try big inline spinners to get your monster. The water is green and warming.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Well, I know it is hard to believe but the Upper New River turned green yesterday for the first time since early June. Alas, it is brown and going red today from the heavy mountain rains in NC and above (upriver) us here in VA. With that said if we can get the clearing water the last two weeks of August and on should be a real slam bam time on the big smallies as usually occurs every year at this time. It has been tough fishing here and the Lower New as Radford keeps releasing a lot of water out of Claytor Lake but hopefully we will have a great final run on the small mouth, muskie and walleye through the fall. Get your trip booked now folks!

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says that smallie action is very good on just about any lure, with crankbaits and soft plastics. Muskies are going for swimbaits, glidebaits and inline spinners. If you prefer a fly rod, try articulated streamers or top water squirrels. The water is green and 70 to 72 degrees.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Last week the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries) was just beginning to get back to decent fishing conditions, then recent rains stained it back up. If the rains hold off, it should be fishable by late this week. The few times the river has cleared up this season fishing has been excellent, so we are hoping for good fall fishing.

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 Britt Stoudenmire, 540-921-7438, owner of James River Outdoor Co. The James River has been low and clear all month until very recently when afternoon rains muddied her over the weekend. Numbers have been fairly consistent, but the big fish have not been showing up to play with any consistency on either the spin or fly. Don't miss the latest show from the The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh, "Virginia is for Smallmouth", that features a great float down the Upper James River Water Trail in Botetourt County.

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 According to Harry, the smallmouth streams in the north forks of the River are clear, 78 degrees and at a good level. Good flies are: Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 4, in the morning. In the evening, try Shenk's White Streamer, size 4, fished below the riffles. During the day Shenk's White streamer size 4 is very good below riffles.

In the Valley, streams are low, clear and 77 degrees. Fish below springs and in heavily shaded areas. Good flies are: Murray's Inchworm, size 14; and Shenk's Cricket, size 14.

The Mountain streams are 58 degrees, low and very clear. The clear water makes the trout wary, so use fine leaders and small flies like Murray's Flying Beetle, size 14.

Remember to check out Harry's website before you go; it will have very up to date material.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Well, the dog days of summer are in full swing on Lake Moomaw! Bass fishing has been a hit or miss proposition the last couple of weeks. Anglers are catching some fish below 15 feet with deep running crankbaits, drop shots, and spoons. A few fish can be found holding on to shallow wood cover with Texas rigged worms being the productive bait. Overall the fish are small and scarce at this time. Night fishing has seemed to be difficult also. Some smallmouth bass are being caught on jigs and creature baits, but again the big ones have seemed to leave the area. The winning five fish limit of bass during a recent Sunday tournament weighed 8.15 lbs! The lake level has benefitted from all the rain this season so it still is nearly normal pool. Water temperatures have been hovering around 83 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

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. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Potomac and small ponds around Ashburn: Contributed by local angler Tyler Folts. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. The dog days of summer have had a tremendous impact on my fishing. On the Occoquan reservoir fishing has been tough for me. The fish that I have been catching are small and not abundant. On the Occoquan River the catfish bite is in full swing. Chicken livers seem to be the bait of choice with cut shad in second place.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is slightly stained with temperatures in the low to mid 80s. Largemouth bass fishing remains strong in 8 to 10 ft. depths with soft plastics enticing the bass bite. Top water baits are great during the low light periods of the day. Crappie are suspended in 10 to 15 ft. depths with live minnows and jigs drawing them in. Catfishing remains strong on the flats in the upper end on chicken liver and night crawlers.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. With a significant drop in water temperatures (86 at Dike III and 82 mid lake) from the headwaters to the dam here on Lake Anna, the annual transition has begun. Bass, striper and crappie are on the move and the fishing has broken out of the summer dog day patterns. Here's what you can expect on your next outing.

Largemouth Bass: Fish are in distinct patterns in the three regions of the lake. Down lake fish are schooled on small bait in the dam to Levy Creek region. You will find small top-waters to their liking as well as Toothache spoons, soft plastic jerkbaits and small crankbaits. In the mid lake region, many bass are schooled and moving to the backs of creeks to feed on threadfin and herring. You can target them with a dog walking top-water, lipless crankbait or swimbait. In the up lake region it's crankbaits one day and worms the next over rocky points and other natural structure. Fish are beginning to come out of brush and school up in smaller pods and feeding on baitfish. You can also expect action on the extreme headwater flats with lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits .

Striped Bass: Much better fishing is available for those of us that prefer lures to live bait! You can jig, cast or troll now in all three regions of the lake. Striper are beginning to feed on the surface in the early morning and late afternoon all over the lake. The up lake fish have been around the Hunter's Landing Bridge (Day's Bridge) in the Pamunkey Branch and around Rose Valley in the North Anna. There are some gulls now to help you locate schools. The mid lake fish are at the mouth of Sturgeon up to The Splits. Down lake fish are schooled near the dam with terns on them. Dike 1 has also had schools early.

Crappie: Look for the return of these panfish later this month to the docks in the upper Pamunkey and North Anna. You use 1or 2 jigs or minnows on slip bobbers then. Right now you can target big crappie with small crankbaits on rocky points in both tributaries.

Good luck and see you on the water.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Editor's Notes:

Record braking snakehead landed!
Caleb Newton landed a world record 17 lb. 6 oz. snakehead in Aquia Creek in Spotsylvania, on June 1st. And some wondered if the invasive species could thrive in Virginia waters! Hey, if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em!

Correspondent Needed:
Hey everybody! I need a contact for the North Landing River and Back Bay area. You could contribute by phone or email. It's really easy, and is good for business if you are a guide or tackle shop owner. You don't have to be in the fishing business though, local anglers make great correspondents. Please email me if you are interested:

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.

ODU Magazine (OutDoors Unlimited Magazine) has made a change to its website. The internet is full of websites that talk about fishing, boating, hunting and a few hit on a multiple topics. Regionally there are many good sites that give local news and direction. ODU Magazine went a different direction to respond to all anglers and hunters.

When ODU Magazine was first created we wanted to provide a website that gave anglers and hunters a website that addressed the need to know what was new and interesting in our industry's on an easy to navigate website.  We chose three types of media to give our growing readership (June was 27,000 unique readers) the maximum experience as well. We have North America's largest 100% digital fishing magazine, a 24/7 hunting and fishing news source with ODU News and the ODU Video Library which hosts the best videos found on YouTube for fishing and hunting.

With the ICAST show starting this week, ODU has launched an upgraded website to give our readers an even better experience. Without scrolling fishermen and hunters can easily choose our newest ODU Magazine, the latest on ODU News or see what videos we have been chosen to share in the ODU Video Library. Here is a link to the newest ODU Magazine internet experience for anglers and hunter:

Our team will be at ICAST this week and we look forward to seeing what is new and exciting in the sport fishing industry.

Larry Thornhill, Editor and Chief,
Bill Schwarz, Assistant Editor,

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As the dog days of summer continue through August, outdoor enthusiasts head to the mountains, rivers, lakes or ocean beaches for adventure and to cool off. For Kasey Ashburn, a Senior at Lancaster High School, the cool waters of a mountain stream at nature camp in Rockbridge County one summer provided a new appreciation for nature in its purest form and made her keenly aware of the need to protect wild places for this and future generations to experience. Kasey's story placed in the top fifteen in the 2010-11 VOWA High School Outdoor Writing Contest.

Mountain Water

By Kasey Ashburn

The mountain air in Rockbridge County, Virginia, was warm and dry in the shade by the girls' water hole at Nature Camp, perfect for summer. The air was hot, but not in the sticky way that makes me feel like the hair on the back of my neck has been glued down. It lacked that impenetrable liquid quality that thrives in the Northern neck. There was no breeze in the mountain shade, but none was needed. The cold fresh water cooled the air just enough that the thin film of sweat from the heat of summer vanished from the surface of my skin.

Of course, water shoes were required at Nature Camp, but unable to resist, I took them off to feel the cool wet rock below my feet on the miniature cliff above the deeper of the two pools. I stood wondering at how beautiful the place was. To my right, I watched the narrowest part of the stream glide forward expanding into the first small pool and then narrow down again as it tumbled over a series of small waterfalls into the pool below me. Looking left I could see the water leaving the large pool and expanding over a bed of rocks picking up speed and rushing toward the old stone bridge in the distance.

Looking down from my perch, I began to ponder the depth of the pool. I knew already that the smaller pool came just above my waist, so I peered down into the glassy water trying to guess its depth in comparison. As I gazed down, I experienced the feeling I get when looking down into a large fish tank: like I'm going to be sucked in through the clear rippling liquid into another world. I estimated the water was quite deep from the difference in altitude of the water's entrance and exit to the pool. Without this knowledge, I would have had no way of guessing anything due to the simple clarity of the water.

Preparing to enter the pool, I sat down on the edge of my perch. I slid off the edge ready to feel the pressure of my feet hitting the smooth rocks and little pebbles on the bottom, but as the water came up over my nose, I realized the pool was going to be deeper than I expected. As I slipped beneath the surface, I noticed how the water didn't splash, but rather seemed to fold around me and pull me into its cool mass.

Because I live near the cloudy waters of the Rappahannock River and Carter's Creek in the Northern Neck, I have developed the habit of closing my eyes under water. Here, however, I realized that I could comfortably open my eyes to look around. I could see up to the tiny waterfall where some small shelled animal fell down to join me in the pool. At the bottom I saw the rocks, pebbles and other snail-like creatures scurrying around below me. I even gazed up into the trees to see that they looked even more electrifyingly lush and colorful from my location under water, it felt like I had been enveloped into a globe of liquid and preserved in this little world just like the honeybee preserved in my mother's room. The main difference here, though, was that this place was very much alive, and I realized that sometime in the future it probably wouldn't even exist.

Inside the water it was cold but calming, still but alive with vibrant color, and real at present but endangered in the future. My previous trips to the mountains had never provided a place as peaceful and lush as this. Being in the crisp cool water looking around at what I realized to be only a fraction of the wonderful forms of life on earth brought to my attention just how little we have left of it. To think that we are trading places like these for construction and resources, turning the gifts the earth gives us back against it, disgusted me. Needing to breathe, I realized that I didn't want to rise from my liquid glass pool. Moments like this and many others I experienced that summer completely changed me. For the first time, I was truly excited to help the environment in hopes of keeping places like the water hole alive to share with my children hoping that one day they will see what I saw and maybe even more.

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.

Full competition guidelines/rules for 2013-14 VOWA/Dominion Collegiate Undergraduate and VOWA Bass Pro High School Youth Writing Competitions will be posted in September on the VOWA website:

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: