The Outdoor Report

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

A 5-foot alligator, named
A 5-foot alligator, named "Donnie Budreaux", was recovered in late January from a private home in Greene County by CPO Sgt. Owen Bullard and Officer Tim Bostic, coordinating with DGIF Wildlife Bureau biologists. An animal rescue was initiated in cooperation with the Luray Zoo. The Luray Zoo owner stated the alligator was the fattest alligator he had ever seen. The owner of the alligator was issued a summons for unlawful possession of the alligator.

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers (CPO), 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. These reports are prepared from the officer’s actual field notes by Kim McCarthy, Executive Assistant to Captain Clark Greene, Acting Chief of Law Enforcement Division VDGIF. 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 outdoor enthusiasts an undeserved bad reputation. Don’t let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia’s sportsmen!

Region I- Tidewater

Waterfowl Hunters Cited On January 28, 2017, CPO Cameron Dobyns was heading towards home near the end of his shift. As he crossed a bridge in Essex County he observed several waterfowl hunters pulling up to the boat landing. He stopped and checked the successful hunters and found one of the subjects to not have the required federal waterfowl stamp. As Dobyns was finishing up with this violation, he received a phone call about another group of waterfowl hunters who were trespassing to hunt. Since it was already after sunset, Dobyns responded to another creek on the other side of town and observed the group of hunters coming in by boat. Though he would not be able to address the alleged trespassing he did observe the boatload of hunters operating the boat without proper navigation lights. Upon contact with this group of successful hunters with their ducks, Dobyns learned that one of them did not have a state hunting license. It was also determined the boat was unregistered. The appropriate charges were placed and a warning given on the navigation light issue.

Region II- Southside

License Inspection Locates Wanted Subject – On Sunday, January 29, 2017, CPO Bruce Young checked two fishermen under a bridge on the Smith River in Henry County.  Neither fishermen were licensed to fish in stocked trout waters.  While issuing summonses for the trout license violations, Officer Young noticed that the birthdate given by one of the suspects did not correspond with the age of the person being checked.  Further investigation revealed that the Henry County man was wanted in Henry County and was arrested on a capias and turned over to Henry County authorities.

Region III –  Southwest

Boat Patrol Leads to Felony Arrest – On January 21, 2017, CPO Adam Keene and Conservation Police Officer Benjamin Boyette conducted a boat patrol to check walleye and musky fisherman on the New River in Wythe County.  While traveling between boat ramps, the officers noticed a disabled vehicle that was partially blocking the roadway.  Upon checking the vehicle, they observed the driver acting nervous.  A record check revealed the driver was suspended. The officers were able to obtain consent to search the individual as well his vehicle.  Officer Keene located a suspected meth pipe tucked in the driver’s sock and arrested him for possession of a controlled substance.  Officer Keene read the driver Miranda and transported him to the magistrate.  While traveling, Officer Keene asked the driver if he hunted and the driver eventually admitted to killing an eight point buck without a hunting license.  Upon completion of this interview, Officer Keene had additional game law violations to go with the charges of driving suspended and felony drug possession.

Region IV- Mountains & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont

Donnie Budreaux Goes to the Zoo – On January 26, 2017, CPO Sergeant Owen Bullard received information from a confidential informant that a 5 foot alligator was being kept in a home in Greene County.  Working with members of the Bureau, Sgt. Bullard was able to arrange an animal rescue from the Luray Zoo.  On 01/29/2017, Officer Tim Bostic and Sgt. Bullard visited a residence off Mount Olivet Road in Greene County.  When the owner of the alligator opened the door, the alligator was in plain view.  Sgt. Bullard told the owner they were there for the alligator and Officer Bostic and Sgt. Bullard were invited into the residence.  There was a 5 foot American Alligator in a 150 gallon tall tank.  The alligator was too big for its tank.  The owner was trying to find a larger tank but could not afford one.  The owner of the alligator stated he ordered the animal 3 years ago, using an online company called Backwater Reptiles.  The company has an office in Florida and at least one other in California.  The owner of the Luray Zoo responded and the alligator, named Donnie Budreaux, was taken to the Luray Zoo.  The Luray Zoo owner stated the alligator was the fattest alligator he had ever seen.  The owner of the alligator was issued a summons for unlawful possession of the alligator.

30th Western Virginia Sports Show at Augusta Expo Feb 24-26 features TV celebs

The 30th Western Virginia Sports Show  features activities for kids and TV celebrities to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen's organizations. The VDGIF will have Conservation Police Officers, K9 Team and  Complementary Work Force Volunteers on hand to answer questions and provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and Agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources.
The 30th Western Virginia Sports Show features activities for kids and TV celebrities to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen's organizations. The VDGIF will have Conservation Police Officers, K9 Team and Complementary Work Force Volunteers on hand to answer questions and provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and Agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources.

30th Western Virginia Sports Show at Augusta Expoland Feb 24-26 features TV celebs as sportsman and outdoor TV programming are becoming more popular every season with many new shows and celebrities to inform, educate and entertain. The common theme of these programs is to responsibly go enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. This year’s 30th Western Virginia Sports Show  will feature more celebrity guests than ever before. R.J. Molinere and Jay Paul Molinere – Swamp People on the History Channel will be featured at this year’s show on Saturday only .  Have you ever seen a big grizzly bear up close? Welde’s Big Bear Show grizzlies who have appeared on live TV shows, commercials, and special events throughout North America, are returning by popular demand featuring 6 different bears. This show features other hunting and fishing celebrities including Lance Hanger and Paul Butski, will be on hand to demonstrate their winning techniques and give tips on hunting a big gobbler this Spring. Howard and Jason Caldwell will demonstrate Falconry featuring their “Raptors Up Close” program for conservation education of these fascinating birds of prey. Nationally acclaimed wildlife artists including Shenandoah Valley natives Ken Schuler and nationally acclaimed Jack Paluhand  from Pennsylvania will exhibit their amazing artwork.

Show Founder and Manager,  Mark Hanger proudly notes, “Our show is a truly unique event. We proudly feature more outdoor celebrities, displays, and vendor categories than any event in the region. At our family friendly event, you can view the latest hunting and fishing equipment, arrange a dream hunting or fishing trip, enter contests, catch rainbow trout, participate in the latest interactive activities, enjoy dozens of game displays, shop with over 200 vendors, eat great food, and enjoy a variety of free seminars by well know celebrities and TV personalities. There will be seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia’s great outdoors. The show features activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen’s organizations. The VDGIF will have Conservation Police Officers, K9 Team and  Complementary Work Force Volunteers on hand to answer questions and provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and Agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Visit the show’s website for all the details.

Virginia Based Exhibitors Featured at Great American Outdoor Show This Week…

Editor’s note…   I am posting reports to The Outdoor Report blog, on items of interest and hope to see you at the Show.  Make sure you take plenty of time,  with 1,100 exhibits in 10 buildings of the Farm Complex here in Harrisburg, PA, there’s more than a day’s worth to see!  David Coffman, Editor The Outdoor Report

The  NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg PA February 4-12 is the largest outdoor show in the world and attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from at least a dozen states.  VDGIF has partnered with Virginia Marketing LLC and other Virginia outdoor businesses and tourism destinations to sponsor a corner information booth in the Hunting Outfitter Hall #4618.   TOR Editor , David Coffman notes that, “From my  experience attending the past three years since the NRA began sponsoring the event, it is well worth the drive to Harrisburg to take a couple of days to attend this extensive showcase of hunting, fishing and outdoor sports vendors and organizations from all over the world. I will be using Facebook and Instagram showcasing Virginia based vendors and sportsmen organizations at this show, many of which you will be able to visit in person at upcoming sportsman shows in Virginia. Be sure and stop by the Virginia Outdoors booth to say Hello.   Remember- Virginia is for  lovers… of the outdoors!   David Coffman, Editor,  The Outdoor Report         email:  david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov

We will be showcasing several Virginia based exhibitors in daily TOR Blog posts including:

Virginia Outdoors    # 4618  Outfitters Hall

Southampton Outfitters #5623  Outfitters Hall

Parker Bows  # 1238  Archery Hall

Virginia Blade #48  Hallway – North Hall *[change of location from past 2 years]

Come see the many new products and services developed by fellow sportsmen and American businesses to help you make the most of your outdoor experiences and to be safe, rewarding and successful.

The NRA Great American Outdoor Show is a nine day event celebrating hunting, fishing and outdoor traditions that are treasured by millions of Americans and their families. The show features over 1,100 exhibitors ranging from shooting manufacturers to outfitters to fishing boats and RV’s, and archery to art covering 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space! Not to mention a jam packed schedule including country concerts, fundraising dinners, speaking events, archery competitions, celebrity appearances, seminars, demonstrations and much more!

Great American Outdoor Show February 4-12 Features Virginia Exhibits in Harrisburg PA

Be sure and visit the Virginia Outdoors booth #4618 in the Outfitters Hall at the NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg PA February 6-14. Other Virginia based vendors include Parker Bows, Southampton Outfitters, and Virginia Blade. Check on the NRA website for show details. Photo of Southampton Outfitters booth # 5623, by David Coffman, Editor TOR.
Be sure and visit the Virginia Outdoors booth #4618 in the Outfitters Hall at the NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg PA February 6-14. Other Virginia based vendors include Parker Bows, Southampton Outfitters, and Virginia Blade. Check on the NRA website for show details. Photo of Southampton Outfitters booth # 5623, by David Coffman, Editor TOR.

The Outdoor Report Editor, David Coffman will be reporting LIVE from the NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg PA February 4-12, 2017. VDGIF has partnered with Virginia Marketing LLC and other Virginia outdoor businesses and tourism destinations to sponsor a corner information booth in the Hunting Outfitter Hall #4618. This is the largest outdoor sports show in the Eastern US and attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. Coffman notes that, “From my  experience attending the past three years since the NRA began sponsoring the event, it is well worth the drive to Harrisburg, PA to take a couple of days to attend this extensive showcase of hunting, fishing and outdoor sports vendors, outfitters and organizations from all over the world. I will be using Facebook and Instagram showcasing Virginia based vendors and sportsmen organizations at this show, many of which you will be able to visit in person at upcoming sportsman shows in Virginia. Be sure and stop by the Virginia Outdoors booth to say Hello– mention you saw this promotion in TOR and we’ll have a special VDGIF 100th Anniversary tote bag show packet for you.”   Send me an email with the day[s] you plan to visit the show so I can have a goodie bag set aside just for you.    Remember- Virginia is for  lovers… of the outdoors!   David Coffman, Editor,  The Outdoor Report         email:  david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov  or cell tel: 434-960-1558

The NRA Great American Outdoor Show is a nine day event celebrating hunting, fishing and outdoor traditions that are treasured by millions of Americans and their families. The show features over 1,100 exhibitors ranging from shooting manufacturers to outfitters to fishing boats and RV’s, and archery to art covering 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space! Not to mention a jam packed schedule including country concerts, fundraising dinners, speaking events, archery competitions, celebrity appearances, seminars, demonstrations and much more!

The Great American Outdoor Show celebrates the outdoor traditions treasured by millions of Americans and their families in a 650,000 square foot exhibit space that will feature nearly 1,100 exhibitors, including shooting manufacturers, outfitters, boat and RV dealers, hunting and fishing retailers, and much more.

To see the full schedule of celebrity appearances, and to purchase tickets to the Great American Outdoor Show, visit us at www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.

Winter Great Time for Crappie Fishing

Avid fisherman Andy Maneno shows off stringer full of crappie caught with his brother in private farm lake in Northern Virginia last weekend of January.

Editor’s note:  I received several photos from award winning photographer and avid outdoorsman Andy Maneno from NOVA of a big stringer full of crappie- he calls them ‘slabs’, with note that when it’s cold outside and deer season is over- crappie fishing is a great way to break cabin fever.  I asked the VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator to provide some tips on crappie fishing.  Enjoy and be safe out there in the cold!  David Coffman, Editor The Outdoor Report.

I am a Crappie Fisherman... by Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator

In Virginia we are fortunate to have an abundance of year-round fishing opportunities. Crappie fishing is no exception and it ranks at the top of the list for cold water fishing. Last November [2012] I had the opportunity to spend a day fishing the Chickahominy River and Lake with expert Crappie angler, Dr. Greg South.  Greg is a retired radiologist and former Bassmaster pro, placing 2nd behind Rick Clunn in the 1984 Bassmaster Classic. Greg learned how to Crappie fish from his dad and has been pursuing them all of his life.

Greg says that Crappie can be caught year round, but he prefers to fish for them from November through April, “Crappie are excellent table fair and the meat is firmer and sweeter in the cold water.”  As we headed out to fish, Greg revealed his t-shirt that stated, “I am a Crappie Fisherman.” He convinced me as we landed over 100 fish during our trip that day!

He exclusively uses homemade hair jigs during the cold weather, believing they give him an edge over plastic baits this time of year. He pours and paints his own jigheads and ties his jigs primarily with craft hair and occasionally buck tail. He and his dad have been tying Crappie jigs since he was a kid before the quality jig making components and plastic baits were available like they are now. His dad’s first jigs were crafted using a baitholder hook with a split-shot pinched below the eye and tied with bristles from a shaving brush. Plastic baits like tubes, curly tail grubs and straight tail shad imitators work all year long, but he feels they are best during the warmer months.  The top color combinations contain chartreuse, white, pink or orange.

This ‘rattletrap’ shiner attracted both crappie and bass during a January fishing trip. Note that crappie enthusiasts also prefer craft hair jigs with color combinations containing chartreuse, white, pink or orange. Photo by Andy Maneno.

Often anglers fish for panfish with flimsy ultra-light rods and small reels, but Greg uses heavier equipment. He uses 6’6” medium or medium light action rods that are suited for finesse bass fishing. The rods provide more backbone and the longer length coupled with larger reels allow for greater casting distance. He primarily fishes his jigs without a float, but will employ a 7’ rod if that is the favorable technique. He spools up with 2 and 4 lb. yellow line to aid in detecting the faintest strikes. He ties all his baits with a loop knot to achieve the proper swimming action.

Even though the Crappie fishing is excellent during the cold months, with 100 fish days being commonplace, the fish are not found everywhere. The best concentrations of Crappie are likely to be found in deeper water away from the shoreline. In the tidal rivers and lakes with current like the Chick, Crappie will be found away from the strong current in eddies or slower moving water. They may be relating to current breaks, drop-offs, cover or just the bottom.  In lakes like Buggs Island or Lake Anna the fish will be found around cover in the form of brushpiles, docks and bridge pilings. Greg also points out that Crappie love shade – even when it is cold.

A helpful tool for locating Crappie is your fishfinder. Idle around studying your electronics looking for schools of Crappie and cover. Greg rarely stops and fishes if he does not see fish on the screen.  Sometimes they look like vertical columns and other times just horizontal lines just above the bottom or suspended. Each unit shows the fish differently, but over time you will learn what represents bait, larger fish and of course Crappie! Sometimes the fish hold tight to a brushpile and do not show up on the screen, a good brushpile is always worth a few casts.

Be sure and review the Wild Events Calendar in TOR for Sportsman Expos, Fishing Seminars, Kids Fishing Days and The Fishing Report featuring recent reports from guides, bait shops and marinas for major lakes and rivers throughout Virginia. Also, check out the What’s New section in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations, learn more about the new pre-announced trout stocking program, and start making your plans now for Trout Heritage Day and Free Fishing Days!

Star City Whitetail Website Announces Big Buck Best Photo Contest Winners

1st Place Winner Collin Tucker, 14 Pointer  Madison County
1st Place Winner Collin Tucker, 14 Pointer Madison County

The winners of the   Star City Whitetails   5th annual Big Buck Best Photo Contest have been announced.  SCWT website founder Jeff Phillips from Roanoke, an avid hunter and videographer,  is a frequent contributor to TOR with links to stories of interest to hunters and anglers throughout the State.  The Big Buck Best Photo Contest atttracted more than 50,000 votes via Facebook and the website photo Gallery.  The winner is Collen Tucker from from Madison County, with his “Graves Mountain Giant.”

THE GRAVES MOUNTAIN GIANT

This was the first time that I have actually been able to sit down and do a face to face interview with one of the winners of our Big Buck Contest.  I invited Collin Tucker over to the house for some lunch and big buck talk since he was going to be in town visiting his girlfriends family in Salem Virginia.

Collin hails from Madison County Virginia and at age 22 is a very ambitious young man. Collin is a graduate of Bridgewater College and is currently a Health and P.E. teacher in Culpeper Virginia, whenever he has a extra moment to himself you can often find him on the creek or river bank trout fishing.

Since his first deer harvest at age 8 with his Winchester 30/30 alongside his uncle Lucky Graves, Collin has been heavily involved in the outdoors. He loves deer hunting, bird hunting and as I mentioned before he likes to wet a line!

Collin has hunted an 1800 acre piece of property on Graves Mountain which is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Syria Virginia his entire life. Over the years Collin has taken some decent bucks including a 158 class B&C 10 point buck during the 2015 muzzleloading season.

Collin is a member of a hunt club known as the “Misfits” which is made up of good hunting buddies from the area. The group will often gather to hunt the Graves Mountain property once the dog season begins in December.

On Saturday December 10, 2016 the Misfits took a half dozen reliable deer chasing beagles along and hunted the lower half of the property in the morning. Although the dogs worked hard alongside the hunters the morning hunt only turned up a few does.

Read the rest of the big buck hunting story :http://www.starcitywhitetails.com/blog/the-graves-mountain-giant.html

 

Be on the lookout for the 2017 Spring Gobbler Best Photo Contest this Aprin-May. Contact  jeff@starcitywhitetails.com for further information.
view the gallery at: http://www.starcitywhitetails.com/gallery/cat.php?cat=62.

Remember, it takes a hunter to make a hunter…

1st Place Winner Collin Tucker, 14 Pointer Madison County , 2nd Place Winner-Brent Boney of Emporia, 3rd Place Winner-Dustin Nichols - Huddleston

Break the Cabin Fever at Sportsmen’s Shows this Winter…

The outdoor sportsman's expos scheduled for January – April  feature seminars from the experts, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests, promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors from the pros. TOR Editor David Coffman will be sending live DGIF outdoor blog posts  direct form the NRA Great American Outdoor Show February 4-12 in Harrisburg PA.  This is one of the largest outdoor shows in America and worth the trip.  Visit the Virginia Outdoors Booth in the Outfitters Hall.
The outdoor sportsman's expos scheduled for January – April feature seminars from the experts, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests, promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors from the pros. TOR Editor David Coffman will be sending live DGIF outdoor blog posts direct form the NRA Great American Outdoor Show February 4-12 in Harrisburg PA. This is one of the largest outdoor shows in America and worth the trip. Visit the Virginia Outdoors Booth in the Outfitters Hall.

January – April Sportsmen’s’ Shows and Events Set Dates and Locations…  The regional outdoor sportsman’s shows scheduled for January – April 2017 have set their dates and some have changed from previous years. These annual “Break the cabin fever and beat the winter blues” events feature seminars from the experts, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests, promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia’s great outdoors from the pros. All the shows feature activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsman’s organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Each show offers something different, so check each show’s website for all the details.

 

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

K9 Justice with partner CPO Chris Billhimer uses the dogs keen sense of smell to detect fish hidden in plastic bag to elude officers that were caught over the creel  limit.
K9 Justice with partner CPO Chris Billhimer uses the dogs keen sense of smell to detect fish hidden in plastic bag to elude officers that were caught over the creel limit.

Region I- Tidewater

Cooperation Between Agencies Gets the Job Done – On January 15, 2017, at approximately 2100 hours Senior CPO Bumgarner and Officer Rollings responded to the area of the Poropotank River along the King and Queen and Gloucester County line for the report of a boater who was reportedly unresponsive and stranded on a mudflat.  Contact had been attempted with the subject by helicopter and from shore with no success.   On this evening temperatures were in the low 40s and the subject did not have the proper foul weather gear for the weather conditions. Once arriving on scene, Officer Rollings coordinated with the Gloucester County Fire Department and using his extensive local knowledge of the waterway, he determined an approximate location of the boater.  Officer Rollings then provided this information to Senior Officer Bumgarner who plotted the coordinates on his GPS.  Senior Officer Bumgarner then navigated the City of Poquoson Fire Department’s air boat to the scene several miles up the Poropotank River.   Senior Officer Bumgarner and members of the City of Poquoson Fire Department located the subject within 200 yards of the coordinates provided by Officer Rollings safe and in good health.

At the conclusion of the incident the officers were recognized by the assisting agencies for their professionalism, local knowledge and expertise navigating the search team to the incident location. The Officers ability to quickly and efficiently coordinate with assets on scene led to the safe and successful rescue of the boater in distress.  Agencies assisting with the rescue included Virginia Conservation Police, Gloucester County Fire Department, Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office, City of Poquoson Fire Department, King and Queen County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Coast Guard.

Region II – Southside

Surveillance Activity Leads to Arrest – In December 2016, Senior Officer Brandon Harris received information of a convicted felon who was allegedly hunting with a firearm in Halifax County.  Officer Harris learned where the suspect lived and initiated an investigation.  While searching a wooded area near the suspect’s residence, Brandon located a climbing stand with a trail leading back to the residence.  In order to avoid being seen in the area, Officer Harris utilized issued surveillance equipment in an effort to view whoever was using the stand.  After several weeks of inactivity at the stand, Officer Harris obtained photographs on January 6, 2017, of the suspect hunting from the stand earlier that same morning.  The subject was clearly using a firearm and was not wearing any blaze orange.  Using this evidence, Brandon obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s residence.  With assistance from CPO Tyler Blanks and local deputies, the suspect’s residence was searched and a firearm was seized.  The suspect admitted to hunting with a shotgun and was found to not have any hunting licenses.  Further investigation revealed that the firearm belonged to a family member who had provided the firearm to the suspect despite knowing he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.  Charges are pending on the suspect and the owner of the firearm.

In the Trenches: Good Old Fashioned Police Work – On January 14, 2017, Senior CPO Brandon Harris, was patrolling Halifax County when he observed a pickup truck with a dog box in the bed parked along the side of a driveway.  The vehicle was parked in such a manner that Officer Harris suspected that the occupants of the vehicle were rabbit hunting.  The driveway led to the residence of a convicted felon with whom Officer Harris had previously charged with multiple hunting violations.  Brandon parked his patrol vehicle in a secluded area and initiated a foot patrol in an attempt to locate and identify the hunters.  As he neared the area where the vehicle was parked, he heard the sound of rabbit beagles giving chase and several scattered gunshots.  After several hours of repositioning, Officer Harris was finally able to observe a group of five hunters standing around a UTV.  Brandon recognized the convicted felon as one of the individuals but could not determine if he was in possession of a firearm.  The hunters separated to continue the hunt and Brandon began to trail behind the suspect.  After additional surveillance, Brandon was able to observe that the suspect was carrying a shotgun and began to close in to attempt to make contact.  Officer Harris made contact with the subject who was still in possession of the firearm and arrested him without incident.  Further investigation revealed that another member of the hunting party had provided the subject with the firearm despite having knowledge that he was prohibited from possessing them.  The suspect was transported to the magistrate’s office where appropriate charges were placed.  Charges are also pending on the second subject.

Assist Other Agency – CPO Dale Owens assisted the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office in locating a suspect that ran into a wooded area after crashing his car while being pursued by a Patrick County Deputy.  CPO Owens was able to locate the North Carolina man using his assigned FLIR unit at midnight on January 12, 2017.  The suspect faces felony charges in Virginia and in North Carolina.

Region III – Southwest

Complaint Leads to Charges – On December 16, 2016, Senior CPO James Brooks received a complaint of subjects taking a deer from Mud Fork Road in Tazewell County. The caller described the vehicle in question as a burgundy Toyota pickup with farm use tags. Officer Brooks was familiar with the vehicle and the owner.  Brooks had interviewed the subject in 2014 for similar violations. Officer Brooks located the suspect on December 19, 2016 and the suspect advised he shot a doe from the road using a rifle. The suspect also admitted to other violations committed during archery season.  Appropriate charges obtained.

Region IV – Mountains & Shenandoah Valley

On January 20, 2017 Senior Officer Billhimer and K9 Justice were patrolling Passage Creek in Shenandoah County. Several trout anglers were fishing the freshly stocked trout stream.  Officer Billhimer was checking an angler’s fishing license with K9 Justice. K9 Justice alerted on a pack on the ground behind an angler.  Officer Billhimer asked the trout angler how many trout he had in his pack. The angler unzipped the pack and brought out two large trout saying “Just two trout.” K9 Justice wasn’t satisfied and alerted on the pack again. Officer Billhimer inspected the pack and found 7 trout hidden in a plastic bag in the bottom of the anglers pack. The suspect was charged with trout fishing after obtaining the daily creel limit. Exceeding the creel limit of trout.

Fishin’ Report

Russel Holmes, a Beaverdam regular from Richmond reeled in 9 yellow perch citations over the weekend. He fished alone away from the crowd on the north side of the lake. Russell released every single fish caught alive and well.
Russel Holmes, a Beaverdam regular from Richmond reeled in 9 yellow perch citations over the weekend. He fished alone away from the crowd on the north side of the lake. Russell released every single fish caught alive and well.

Sarah White’s Fishing Guide’s Notebook

Sarah White has collected the latest fishing reports from over 20 fishing guides, marinas and avid anglers for major rivers and lakes listed by geographic region throughout the state this week for posting here in the Fishin’ Report. With cold winter temperatures  slowing activity a bit  and deer season ended in most of the state, take advantage of any warm sunny days and  head out to your favorite river or lake and take a kid fishing.   Please use caution in planning any outdoor activities or going on the water.  Be aware of the dangers of frost bite and hypothermia.  Always wear your life jacket and let someone know know where you are going and when you plan to return.  Check conditions before you venture out.  The websites and telephone numbers for the guides and marinas are listed here- contact them for the latest conditions.  For more information on a particular area contact the guide or marina listed through their website, Facebook page, or telephone and please mention you saw their contact info in The Outdoor Report.

Before we begin the Fishing Report, a word of caution. One slip and fall into the water this time of year can bring on deadly hypothermia in a very short amount of time. Please bear in mind that neither the water nor the air temperature needs to be freezing for hypothermia to set in.  One thing, therefore, that I recommend, is some form of dry bag. These containers vary in price, size and effectiveness, so do some thoughtful research before you buy.  But buy one you should – having a dry set of clothes to get into can quite literally save your life. Another thing you must have is water proof matches in some sort of protective container so that you can start a fire. And don’t forget your thermos of hot coffee. I’m not trying to talk you  out of winter fishing – far from it. What I am asking is that you bear in mind that different seasons of fishing call for different preparations. Fish safe.

 

Region 1: Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir:  Contributed by Park Attendant  Carson Grainer. The walleye bite is very good. Try cranks and jigs, fished about 15 to 20 feet down. Not much word on bass, a few have come in on cranks and night crawlers. No word on cats, crappie or perch. Chain pickerel are hot, taking “anything and everything.” A few as big is 24 in. have been brought in. The water is in the mid 50s, low and very clear.  For more info call (757)  603- 7853.

 Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Michelle Maynora-Hostinsky. For information about fishing in Gloucester County contact the ranger station at (804) 693-2107 or email at mmaynora@gloucesterva.info.

The water is 40 degrees and the pool is full. All week fishermen have been bringing in citations. We’ve had Bass, Crappie and yellow perch weighed in. Russel Holmes, a Beaverdam regular from Richmond reeled in 9 yellow perch citations over the weekend. He fished alone away from the crowd on the north side of the lake. Russell released every single fish caught alive and well. The crappie are still schooled up and active in the deep water. They are more likely to hit dark jigs verses live minnows. Bass are making a big appearance this week in the drop offs, bass fishermen have had a good week. The bass are active and hitting hard.  The Beaverdam Tournament series will kick back off the third Saturday in march and will continue every third Saturday until October, excluding July & August.  This Saturday, January 28th we will host our Fishermen’s appreciation breakfast, followed by a Winter blast Tournament, open to the public. For more information about fishing Beaverdam tournaments you can contact the ranger station at (804) 693-2107 or email at mmaynora@gloucesterva.info .  Enjoy and fish responsibly.

 Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200.  No report this time.

Chesapeake: Contributed by Dr. Julie Ball. As Old Man Winter continues to tighten his hold along the Mid Atlantic coast, the grumbling among anglers continues to rise. It seems the winter fishery is not showing much promise due to closed fisheries, and the slow or nonexistent action.

A few hopeful anglers continue to search the oceanfront for striped bass. But, again, coastal striped bass are missing in action. One local charter captain suggested that perhaps the migration pattern of these fish has changed over the past few years, completely circumventing the inshore Virginia coastline. Regardless of the reason, rockfish are not within reach for legal fishing right now for coastal anglers. Although some catch and release rockfish opportunities with some sizable fish may still be available inside the Chesapeake Bay, not many are interested.

As for bluefin tuna, they are also anyone’s guess, with rumors of some sightings and another report of an undersized release. When targeting these highly protected species, be sure to review the regulations carefully and use appropriately sized tackle and equipment.

Speckled trout action was decent within local inlets until recently. Before the latest freeze, some days were better than others, with some keepers pushing to around 21 inches, with the best luck occurring with Mirrolures or Gulp Shrimp. Puppy drum are also a possibility in these same locations.

Mostly due to limited opportunities with other species, tautog are becoming more intriguing to anglers, but the bite is hit and miss. Good catches are coming from within Bay waters along the Bay Bridge Tunnel as well as various Bay structures, with some fish ranging around 6 pounds. The tog bite on both inshore wrecks and deeper structures has been good this week, with recent reports of tog pushing to around 7 pounds responding to green crabs. Keep in mind that you can keep up to three tautog per person at a minimum of 16 inches. Big bluefish and sea bass are still a possibility in some of these same locations, but the sea bass season is now closed. Dog fish are also becoming an issue in these locations as they settle into the area.

With the nonexistent inshore rockfish bite, anglers may turn to deep dropping when the weather allows. The Norfolk Canyon and its edges are a good place to look for deepwater bottom dwellers such as blueline and golden tilefish, grouper, and blackbellied rosefish. Dog fish are also becoming a nuisance in these deep water areas, which is making these catches more challenging.

For more info check out Dr. Ball’s awesome website at www.drjball.com.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. On Wednesday 1/18/2017 mid day water temperatures in Chickahominy Lake were rising and were in the mid 40s in the main lake.  The lake level was a few inches above the top of the dam.  The water was light brown and slightly cloudy.  Winter patterns were in place, and action has been most reliable following several days of stable water temperatures.  Most blue cats and bullheads were on flats and channels in the main lake and scattered in creeks and hitting live minnows and cut bait.  Most crappie were on mid depth flats, along drop offs, and in channels in the main lake, especially near wood cover, but on sunny days after several days of stable conditions, crappies may move onto shallow flats or into creeks.  Active crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small swimbaits.  Small to medium yellow perch and white perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on some main lake flats and channels and were hitting live minnows, small swimbaits, and small jigs.  Most bluegill and shellcracker were along channel edges in the main lake and were occasionally hitting small jigs, Nikko nymphs on drop shot rigs, small swimbaits, and live worms.  Most bass, pickerel, and bowfin were on flats, along drop offs, or in channels in the major creeks and the main lake, but some bass have relocated to shorelines following periods of sunny moderate weather.  When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, stick worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and jigs.

Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers: Contributed by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner. Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 18th through the 20th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was clear and 44 degrees. Air temps ranged from 38 to 65 degrees. There is still plenty of trash out there from the October flood, but most of that is in the trees and I cannot get it. Most of that stuff is plastic grocery bags that will degrade and disintegrate in a few months.  I have been concentrating on the stuff that does not go away fast like the beer bottles, styro items and plastic bottles. There are always plenty of those out there. Fishing on this trip was fair, though I only fished one of the three days. I caught 3 small bass, two jacks and a few decent raccoon perch. All were caught on a blade bait jigged vertically off of the bottom. I believe I hung a striper, but I never turned it and it got off. That made me soooo happy. NOT! Contact the Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper’s website for more information:  www.blackwaternottoway.com.

 Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life’s Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518, www.lifesrevengefishing.com.  Captain Mike has no report this edition.

 Middle James: Contributed by local angler Doug Reynolds. You can find all the current river and fishing information at http://www.jamesriversmallmouth.com website. As always, let’s go fishing! Nothing this time around.

 Region 2: Southside

 James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366, (434) 996-5506, www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com . No report this time.

Kerr Reservoir: Bobcats Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Crappie: Fish are on two different patterns depending on what part of the lake you are fishing, from Clarksville downstream the fish can still be caught vertical jigging with bucktails around brush and other structures on ledges and points. On the upper end of the lake in creeks such as Bluestone and Buffalo, fishermen are beginning to haul in some nice catches of fish by tightlining jigs and minnows in 5 to 12 feet of water around drop offs and shallow flats.   For more info see Bobby Whitlow’s website for a full and detailed report: www.bobcatslakecountry.com.

James at Lynchburg:  Angler’s Lane, (434) 385-0200, www.anglerslane.com.  Davis Stanley told me that the smallmouth fishing in the James is slow. Still, you might get lucky with Senkos, cranks or jigs. The water is high and very cloudy due to recent rains, with a temperature in the lower to mid 50s.

The Jackson is just too high to fish safely. Don’t risk hypothermia for a trout. Things should settle down soon

Brookie fishing in the mountains is “okay”.  Try going with a small streamer, small nymph or dry fly. The water is 40 degrees, high and fairly clear.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina. Holly Grove will be closed until mid February. To leave a message call (434) 636-3455.

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Captain Travis Patsell of Cats N ‘ Stripers Fishing Charters (540) 580-3487. www.CatsNstripers.com. Nothing this time.

Region 3: Southwest

Claytor Lake:  Rock House Marina . For more info call at (540) 980-1488, or go to www.rockhousemarina.com.  No report this edition.

 New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415   tangentoutfitters@gmail.com.  Shawn Hash says that he has been spending his time lately leading duck hunting trips. Tangent Outfitters provides everything you need – blinds, dogs, even guns if you don’t have one of your own. Duck season ends January 28th, so if you want to go ducking this year, you’ve got to act fast. Goose season ends in the 3rd week of February.

As far as fishing goes, smallies aren’t really biting well. Muskies are picking up, and as water temperatures warm this week, they will really get going. Try blades, bulldogs and soft plastics.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274. The Upper New River is at near normal pool and a stained green color with the water temps running in the mid 40s. This warm spell has provided some nice walleye and smallmouth action lately and should continue until a big arctic blast hits us. Slow presentations are the key. Muskie haven’t been as active as I would have expected but they could fire off at any time. Walleye season will be here shortly so give us a call if you want to get after these toothy critters. Make sure to wear that PFD fishing in the winter! For information go to www.newrivercharter.com.

Top New River:  Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC., newrivertrips@gmail.com.  River levels on the “Top New”, Mouth of Wilson to Fries, are still somewhat below average. Some welcome rain is predicted early this week. Temps are above average and the ice that was in local trout creeks is now gone. Fishing for smallmouth can be pretty decent if you go several days into a warming trend. Conditions are good for the cold water species, musky, walleye and trout. Long range forecast looks like the temps will be more winter-like. Be careful if you go out on the water this time of year. Let us know if you would like a trip.   Check out newrivertrips.com for trip info, or call (276) 236-5492,  (276) 235-2514 (cell).

 New, Clinch and Holston Rivers: Contributed by Tommy Cundiff of River Monster Guide Service, (844) 588-2347. If you would like to get a trip in during one of the most beautiful times to be on a river in Southwest Virginia, call 844-luv-2fish now. We have some spots available and will put you on some fish. You can also visit our website at rivermonsterguideservice.com, or like us on Facebook and send us a message. Thanks and good fishing!  No report this time.

 Region 4: Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

 North and South Forks Shenandoah River: Harry Murray, (540) 984-4212, www.murraysflyshop.com.  Fly god Harry says that both the north and south forks of the Shenandoah will give good smallmouth fishing if you use a sinking head fly line with streamers or nymphs fished very deeply. Good flies are: Murray’s Skunk Roadkill Nymph, size 6; Murray’s Olive Roadkill Nymph, size 6; and the New Murray’s Tungsten Cone Head Olive Marauder, size 4. The water is clear, 46 degrees and at full pool.

The stocked and delayed harvest streams in the Valley are high due to recent rains, but the upper reaches are still good. Good flies are: Spuddler, size 8; Shenk’s White Streamer, size 4; and the Betsy Streamer, size 10. The water is fairly clear and 45 degrees.

The mountain brookie streams are too cold to fish.

Harry will be giving his nationally renowned classes every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon until April. It’s a good investment if you want to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. Check his website for complete details.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenberger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com.

Region 4: Northern Piedmont

 Tidal Potomac: Contributed by local guide Captain Steve Chaconas. Fish are moving a bit shallower and this is allowing the use of more aggressive presentations.

Warmer temperatures and longer days have pushed water temperatures into the 50 degree range!

Rain and low 50s for Monday, warming to midweek highs in the low 60s before slipping to more seasonal temperatures in the low 40s.

Look for the warmest water and try new Lucky Craft Slim Shads. These baits get down quickly, stay in the strike zone, and have a lot of action at a slow speed! Also try suspending Lucky Craft Bevy Shad and Pointer jerkbaits. The key is line; 8 pound test Edge or Copoly. I prefer spinning gear, like the Quantum Smoke reels. These are fast and easy to cast a long ways. Slow retrieves and many pauses. Target areas near drops up to 6 feet deep.

Silver Buddy blade bait lures continue to pull fish off drops. Cast to shallow ends of drops and allow the bait to reach the bottom. Work with short burps and semi slack to the bottom. Take note of the depth and focus there. Follow up with Mann’s 3 inch avocado Stingray grubs and Mizmo 4 inch curl tail grubs. Use 1/4 once ball head jigs. Stay away from weedless versions as they make it just a bit tougher to set the hook.

Split shot rigs dragged along the areas being cranked or down the Silver Buddy areas will also produce. Use small creature baits like Mizmo Swamp Monsters. Use a spinning reel with a medium action rod.

Also Punisher Hair jigs with small plastic chunks come into play. Line is key too, try a 10 to 15 pound Gamma Torque braid with 8 pound test Edge leader on a medium heavy spinning rod. Work them slowly and allow to sit. Shaking and sitting works too. Soaking all baits in garlic Jack’s Juice Bait Spray keeps fish holding on a bit longer. Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. info@nationalbass.com. For more info call: (703) 360-347 or (703) 380-7119.

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. Boy, I’m not a big fan of winter / cold weather fishing – however, with the relatively mild temps lately I have been able to get out onto the Occoquan River the last two weekends to check things out.  I’m not positive of the water temps because one of my transponders is out, but suffice it to say it is cold.  Of note though is that with the recent rains the Occoquan Reservoir is once again flowing over the spillway, which is creating additional flow and raising the water levels nicely in the river.  I’ve been targeting bass and perch with some slow retrieve jerkbaits, but with little success.  However, the Silver Buddy is still king of my winter repertoire – the ½ oz size has provided me with a few nice bass, which I’ve found suspended near sharp drop off spots in the river; the ¼ oz size yields lots of “dink” perch, bass, and pinfish; plus it seems the carp on the river are always very curious when I fish the ½ oz to 1 oz sized Silver Buddy, as I’ve caught several nice 5 to 8 pound carp…sometimes foul hooked but mostly lip or mouth hooked.  Trust me, a 5 lb. carp on a light jigging rig is FUN!  Good luck to one and all who brave the winter waters – here’s to tight lines for all.

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. No report this time.

 Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540) 672-3997.  Nothing this time.

Winter Fishing Tips from ODU

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.

Winter fishing for bass can be a fun time if you know where to fish, what to throw and of course if you bundle up to meet the weather conditions. Winter fishing can also bring a surprising bonus…big bass. This is the time of year when female bass start grow their eggs and their size tends to grow with it. Ever catch a spawned out bass? They always look thin. Winter bass always look like they swallowed a school of shiners.

Also, ever fish for white bass in winter? We will get you there in this edition of ODU…

Largemouth in winter. If you’re a brave soul and get out on the water a lot during the cold of winter you are greeted by what seems to be the devil of winter fishermen, that being clear water. In most cases the water clears quickly in the winter even after strong winter rains, I am sure there is a scientific reason for it but no matter the fact remains you have to be able to overcome this winter obstacle. Continue reading here – http://www.odumagazine.com/clear-water-and-winter-fishing/

White bass in winter. In spring, white bass seek tributaries of major reservoirs for spawning runs. It is during these spawning runs, when thousands of whites are concentrated in small streams, that most white bass are taken during the year. In fact, for some white bass aficionados, there’s no season but spring. When spawning runs end, so does the fishing.  That’s unfortunate, for winter is an excellent season for catching whites.
Continue reading here – http://www.odumagazine.com/how-to-target-wintertime-white-bass/

 

Star City Whitetail Website Big Buck Best Photo Contest Entry Deadline January 13th

A picture is worth a thousand words…  and memories to last a lifetime!

Editor’s note...  We’re looking for some good deer, squirrel, rabbit, bear, gamebird , waterfowl 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,  friends or volunteers for discovering the passion for the outdoors and providing this most important opportunity for developing new traditions, life skills and character building resulting in wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

The photo gallery for this edition of TOR features photos of smiling young hunters submitted in December.

A special thank you to avid hunter and videographer Jeff Phillips from Roanoke who manages the blog site Star City Whitetails for sharing some of  the photos from his site of smiling youngsters who harvested deer on the special Youth / Apprentice Weekend and throughout the season.  We will also be forwarding photos submitted to TOR and DGIF Facebook, to the Star City Whitetails {SCWT] hunting website 5th annual Big Buck Best Photo Contest.    SCWT is hosting a Big Buck Best Photo Contest that runs from opening day of bow season till the end of Late Muzzleloader season. Deadline to ENTER photos is Friday January 13, 2017. Hunters should submit photos of them with their buck to jeff@starcitywhitetails.com or send your photo to the SCWT Facebook page and you are entered.  After January 13th the hunting community can cast their votes for best buck by going to the  2016 Big Buck Best Photo Contest Finalist photo gallery on the site to cast their vote
http://www.starcitywhitetails.com/gallery/cat.php?cat=62.  Folks can also vote on SCWT Facebook page.

The Winners will be announced on the SCWT Website and in TOR January 20, 2017.

Remember, it takes a hunter to make a hunter…

Fishin’ Report

Sarah White’s Fishing Guide’s Notebook

Sarah White has collected the latest fishing reports from over 20 fishing guides, marinas and avid anglers for major rivers and lakes listed by geographic region throughout the state this week for posting here in the Fishin’ Report. With cold winter temperatures  slowing activity a bit  and deer season ended in most of the state, take advantage of any warm sunny days and  head out to your favorite river or lake and take a kid fishing.  Note the Richmond Fishing Expo will be returning to Meadow Event Park – State Fairgrounds in Doswell  Friday through Sunday January 20-22.  Visit the show website for details. Please use caution in planning any outdoor activities or going on the water.  Be aware of the dangers of frost bite and hypothermia.  Always wear your life jacket and let someone know know where you are going and when you plan to return.  Check conditions before you venture out.  The websites and telephone numbers for the guides and marinas are listed here- contact them for the latest conditions.  For more information on a particular area contact the guide or marina listed through their website, Facebook page, or telephone and please mention you saw their contact info in The Outdoor Report.

Before we begin the Fishing Report, a word of caution. One slip and fall into the water this time of year can bring on deadly hypothermia in a very short amount of time. Please bear in mind that neither the water nor the air temperature needs to be freezing for hypothermia to set in.  One thing, therefore, that I recommend, is some form of dry bag. These containers vary in price, size and effectiveness, so do some thoughtful research before you buy.  But buy one you should – having a dry set of clothes to get into can quite literally save your life. Another thing you must have is water proof matches in some sort of protective container so that you can start a fire. And don’t forget your thermos of hot coffee. I’m not trying to talk you  out of winter fishing – far from it. What I am asking is that you bear in mind that different seasons of fishing call for different preparations. Fish safe.

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing Report January 10th 2017

 

 

Region 1: Tidewater

 

Little Creek Reservoir:  Nothing this time. For info call (757)  603- 7853.

 

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Michelle Maynora-Hostinsky. For information about fishing in Gloucester County contact the ranger station at (804) 693-2107 or email at mmaynora@gloucesterva.info. Nothing this edition.

 

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200.  Penn has no report.

Chesapeake: Contributed by Dr. Julie Ball. When anglers are able to get out on the water, some very large rockfish await within Chesapeake Bay waters. Although the bite for these super sized fish is rarely off the charts, consistent action with fish pushing to over 45 and 50 pounds caught this week, anglers are putting in their time hoping to land the big one.

These larger rockfish continue to come from the Eastern Shore side of the Bay, but boats do not need to travel quite as far to reach the fish this week. Boats are using eels drifted or slow trolled on large bobbers and planers in anywhere from 25 to 40 feet of water near buoys 38 and 40A north of Plantation Light. But remember that the Bay striped bass season closed at the end of the December.

Tautog are still hitting well on most lower Bay wrecks and along the structure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, where anglers are catching fish ranging to around 3 to 6 pounds. Nice tog are also beginning to respond on more coastal and offshore wrecks when boats can venture out to reach them. A few boats are making the run to these deeper wrecks in order to get in on the sea bass action before the season closes at the end of the year. Folks are finding plenty of takers, with some sea bass averaging to over 4 pounds. Flounder, trigger fish, and chopper bluefish are also a possibility on or near some of these same structures.

Speckled trout enthusiasts continue to find good action in most backwater locations, with Rudee, Lynnhaven, and Little Creek Inlets hosting catches of trout ranging mostly to around 18 to 21 inches. Casters are finding good luck using a variety of top water artificial lures, Mirrolures, and Gulp baits. Puppy drum are also a possibility in these same areas.

When anglers find a break in the weather, boats heading for the edge of the Norfolk Canyon are finding good hauls of blueline and golden tilefish, and grouper. Big bluefish and jumbo sea bass are also a by catch in these same deep areas, but dog fish will soon begin to overshadow most fishing efforts for deep droppers.  For more info check out Dr. Ball’s awesome website at www.drjball.com.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475.  On Monday 1/9/2017 mid day water temperatures in Chickahominy Lake were in the mid 30s in the lower main lake.  The lake was almost totally covered with ice, but should thaw later in the week.  The lake level was a few inches above the top of the dam.  The water was light brown and almost clear.  Prior to the lake icing over, winter patterns were in place
and should resume as the ice melts.  Action has been most reliable following
several days of stable temperatures.  Most blue cats and bullheads were on
flats and channels in the main lake and scattered in creeks and hitting live
minnows and cut bait.  Most crappie were along drop offs and in channels in
the main lake, especially near wood cover.  Active crappie were hitting live
minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin
crappie scrubs, and small swimbaits.  Small to medium yellow perch and
white perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on some main lake flats
and channels and were hitting live minnows, small swimbaits, and small
jigs.  Most bluegill and shellcracker were along channel edges in the main
lake and were occasionally hitting small jigs, Nikko nymphs on drop shot
rigs, small swimbaits, and live worms.  Most bass, pickerel, and bowfin
were on flats, along drop offs, or in channels in the major creeks and the
main lake.  When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows,
spinnerbaits, swimbaits, stick worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and jigs.

 

Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers: Contributed by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner. Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 30th through the 1st on the Nottoway below Delaware. The water was lowww, clear and 42 degrees. Air temps ranged from 24 to 50 degrees and it snowed and rained on us.  What I did see/witness was the lowest river level I have ever seen/remember on the lower river. By the end of the first day the wind had just about drained the Nottoway, and the swamp, Ha Ha! The 30 mph winds blew 3 ft of water out of the river to the sound. I have seen this happen many times over the years, but not to this extent. I saw shell beds along the shore that I did not know even existed. It was very fun looking at all the shells and collecting some of those ancient creations. Yet, again though, I found no teeth! Oh well, it was great fun just looking at stuff that no human had ever seen before. The fishing on this trip was good. I did no casting at all, but instead vertical jigged the entire trip using ¼ ounce blade bait. I also only fished in one location the two days I fished. I ended up with a jack, a striper (3 pounds), 4 largemouth (one went 3 pounds) and about a dozen raccoon perch. I also had a couple of nice fellows give me some raccoon perch and 3 jacks they caught right there talking with me.   Contact the Blackwater-Nottoway Riverkeeper’s website for more information:  www.blackwaternottoway.com.

 

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life’s Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518, www.lifesrevengefishing.com.  Captain Mike has no report this edition.

 

Middle James: Contributed by local angler Doug Reynolds. You can find all the current river and fishing information at http://www.jamesriversmallmouth.com website. As always, let’s go fishing! Nothing this time around.

 

Region 2: Southside

 

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366, (434) 996-5506, www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com . No report this time.

Kerr Reservoir: Bobcats Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Striper: Fish are in most of the major creeks feeding on shad, these fish can be caught livebaiting with shad and jumbo minnows or by casting lures to them. Fishermen are getting good numbers, it has just been hard to come by keepers. For more info see Bobby Whitlow’s website for a full and detailed report: www.bobcatslakecountry.com.

James at Lynchburg:  Angler’s Lane, (434) 385-0200, www.anglerslane.com.  Tom Reisdorf says the James is too cold to make for pleasant fishing right now. This should change as temperatures rise by the end of the week. The rainbows and browns in the Jackson are hitting big streamers. The water is clear, 44 degrees and at a normal level. The mountain brookie streams are giving pretty good fishing, but it’s very hard to get to them. If you can, try small to medium sized nymphs. The water is in the 30s, very clear and at a normal level.

 

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina. Holly Grove will be closed until mid February. To leave a message call (434) 636-3455.

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Captain Travis Patsell of Cats N ‘ Stripers Fishing Charters (540) 580-3487. www.CatsNstripers.com. Nothing this time.

 

Region 3: Southwest

Claytor Lake:  Rock House Marina . For more info call at (540) 980-1488, or go to www.rockhousemarina.com.  Mike Burchett told me that the lake is freezing over and he has seen no one fishing in a week. Things will probably improve towards the end of the week, but until then conditions just don’t make for fun fishing.

 

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415   tangentoutfitters@gmail.com.  Nothing this time.

 

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274.  Right now the Upper New River is low, clear and frozen over from this cold blast but warming temps should have it thawed out toward the end of the week. Muskies will be hitting deep cranks, glides and don’t overlook big tubes bounced off the bottom. Walleye should be heating up with crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs tipped with grubs providing some action. If you would like some winter fishing since deer season has closed, give us a call. We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  For information go to www.newrivercharter.com.

 

Top New River:  Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC., newrivertrips@gmail.com. The local trout creeks in the area of the “Top New” , Mouth of Wilson to Fries, have a considerable amount of ice in them. We will need some warmer temps in order to have enough “soft water” to fish. The New has a little ice in it, but temps in the 50s later this week should take care of that. Full moon is Thursday so that will increase the muskie bite. Be safe and dress warmly if you plan on fishing this time of year.  Check out newrivertrips.com for trip info, or call (276) 236-5492,  (276) 235-2514 (cell).

 

New, Clinch and Holston Rivers: Contributed by Tommy Cundiff of River Monster Guide Service, (844) 588-2347. If you would like to get a trip in, call 844-luv-2fish now. We have some spots available and will put you on some fish. You can also visit our website at rivermonsterguideservice.com, or like us on Facebook and send us a message. Thanks and good fishing!  No report this time.

 

 

Region 4: Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

 

North and South Forks Shenandoah River: Harry Murray, (540) 984-4212, www.murraysflyshop.com.  Harry says that the north and south forks of the Shenandoah are at a normal level, clear and 41 degrees. The best approach is to use streamers and nymphs, fished slowly in deep pools and pockets beneath the riffles. Good flies are: Murray’s Roadkill Nymph, size 6; Bitch Creek Nymph, size 6; and Murray’s Heavy Hellgrammite, size 4.

 

The stocked and delayed harvest streams in the Valley are at a normal level, very clear and 39 degrees. A good tactic is to fish a streamer, like the Murray’s Skunk Streamer, size 10, with a size 12 Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle 2 feet below it on the same line. Fish this set up very slowly and deeply below the riffles.

 

The brookie mountain streams are too cold to fish.

 

Harry will be giving his nationally renowned classes every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon until April. It’s a good investment if you want to learn new skills or brush up on old ones.

 

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenberger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com.

 

 

Region 4: Northern Piedmont

 

Tidal Potomac: Contributed by local guide Captain Steve Chaconas. Hold on for warmer weather and fish very slowly on steep drops out of the current.

 

Water temperatures will be in the mid 30s. Strange winter weather. Low 30s on Monday. 40s on Tuesday. 50s on Wednesday and 60 for Thursday into the weekend. Chance of rain mid week. Overnight temperatures this week from 20 to 45.

 

Silver Buddy lures work well on 10 pound test GAMMA Edge or with Torque braid main line. Cast to the shallow end of drops and allow the bait to reach the bottom. A short sharp pop and slowly allow the bait to drop back to the bottom. This is where bites occur. Use a medium action rod with a fast reel and set the hook. Focus on the steep drops.

 

Try Punisher Hair jigs with a small plastic chunk and Punisher rattle. A spray of Jack’s Juice will soak into hair. Use 8 pound test GAMMA Edge or as a leader with 15 pound test Torque braid. Fish the same drops and barely lift and allow the jig to glide and sit. Mix in small shakes and slow drags. A medium heavy spinning rod works best. The Quantum Smoke spinning reels are fast and can take up line for better hook sets.

 

During the warmest part of the day, cast Lucky Craft Bevy Shad suspending crankbaits and work over warmed areas on flats on the drops. Either drag or drag and lift, working pauses into this presentation. Lighter 6 pound test Copoly will allow the bait to run deeper and enable bites to be felt with much more effective hook sets. Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. He can be reached at info@nationalbass.com or for more info call: (703) 360-347 or (703) 380-7119.

 

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. Nothing to say this time.

 

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. No report this time.

 

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540) 672-3997.

Nothing this time.

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.

 

Winter fishing for bass can be a fun time if you know where to fish, what to throw and of course if you bundle up to meet the weather conditions. Winter fishing can also bring a surprising bonus…. big bass. This is the time of year when female bass start to grow their eggs and their size tends to grow with it. Ever catch a spawned out bass? They always look thin. Winter bass always look like they swallowed a school of shiners.
Largemouth in winter. If you’re a brave soul and get out on the water a lot during the cold of winter, you are greeted by what seems to be the devil of winter fisherman – that being clear water. In most cases the water clears quickly in the winter even after strong winter rains, I am sure there is a scientific reason for it but no matter, the fact remains you have to be able to overcome this winter obstacle. Continue reading here – http://www.odumagazine.com/clear-water-and-winter-fishing/
Also, ever fish for white bass in winter? We will get you there in this edition of ODU. In spring, white bass seek tributaries of major reservoirs for spawning runs. It is during these spawning runs, when thousands of whites are concentrated in small streams, that most white bass are taken during the year. In fact, for some white bass aficionados, there’s no season but spring. When spawning runs end, so does the fishing.  That’s unfortunate, for winter is an excellent season for catching whites.  Continue reading here – http://www.odumagazine.com/how-to-target-wintertime-white-bass/

 

 

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers (CPO), 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. These reports are prepared from the officer’s actual field notes by Kim McCarthy, Executive Assistant to Captain Clark Greene, Acting Chief of Law Enforcement Division VDGIF. 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 outdoor enthusiasts an undeserved bad reputation. Don’t let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia’s sportsmen!

Region I- Tidewater

Hunting Under the Influence of Alcohol – On December 29, 2016, Senior CPO Frank Spuchesi and Officer Glenn Cramer were conducting a hunting patrol in King George County. The officers were on foot patrolling a wooded area when they observed a hunter walking in the woods and climb into a tree stand. The officers conducted a compliance check and immediately smelled a strong odor of beer coming from the hunter. The hunter’s eyes were glassy and his speech was slurred. The hunter had several beers in his jacket pocket. The officers conducted field sobriety test and determined that the subject was under the influence of alcohol. The officers conducted a preliminary breath test and the subject’s blood alcohol content was .11. The subject’s shotgun and ammunition were seized and he was charged with hunting under the influence of alcohol.

Multiple Trespassers – On December 29, 2016, Conservation Police Sergeant Rich Goszka and CPO Dan Rabago were conducting a hunting patrol in Westmoreland County. The officers observed several vehicles parked on posted property and conducted a field inspection. The first vehicle did not have permission and was charged with trespassing to hunt. The second vehicle was not occupied and the officers waited and observed a hunter walking in the field without a gun. When contacted, the hunter heard he was not supposed to be on the property so he gave his gun to another hunter in the woods and returned to get his truck. He was also charged with trespassing to hunt.  A third vehicle left the area and was later contacted.  It was discovered that this hunter had used all of his deer tags earlier in the day and was in the act of attempting to exceed his season bag limit for deer and failed to validate a deer tag.

Investigation Begins by Checking Databases – During the month of November 2016, CPO Tyler Bumgarner received information regarding a subject who had killed 3 bucks and a doe using a shotgun during the muzzleloader season in King & Queen County. Tyler began his investigation by checking DGIF’s databases and determined that the suspect had purchased no hunting licenses or checked in any game. Several attempts to locate and interview the suspect were unsuccessful due to family and friends covering for him. A subsequent check of the data bases indicated the suspect purchased his hunting licenses after the investigation began. Tyler eventually located the subject and only obtained a partial confession about the number of deer killed, weapon used, and where the deer had been killed. Through Tyler’s thorough investigation and in a final interview, a full written confession was obtained. There were 20 game laws violated in which Tyler made 8 charges for the lesser offenses of the tagging and possession violations. The antlers from three 8 point bucks were seized as evidence. Because the suspect had finally come clean, Tyler did not feel it was necessary to make a charge for every violation. The magistrate summonses were served December 12, 2016.

Region II – Southside

Fatal Hunting Incidents Leads to Community Hunting Safety Program – On Dec. 2, 2016, Senior Officer Brandon Harris and D25 officers investigated a fatal hunting incident that had occurred in Charlotte County.  Upon concluding the investigation, Brandon recognized that several of the most recent hunting incidents in his district had involved juveniles exhibiting unsafe hunting practices.  In response to this, he created a presentation focusing on educating young hunters about safe hunting practices and how to avoid potentially dangerous hunting situations.   Officer Harris and Sgt. Jon Hart advertised the event through local hunters and hunting clubs in the area, and a church in the community where this tragic incident had occurred volunteered to host the event on the evening of December 16, 2016.    The officers spoke to a group of over 45 young hunters, and the adults, about firearm safety with the majority of the discussion centered on how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous activities while hunting.  With hound hunting being the most common manner of hunting in D25, Officer Harris focused on situations that hunters often face while hunting with dogs and near other people.  Additionally, the young hunters, and parents alike, were encouraged to avoid putting too much emphasis on the harvesting of game and to instead place emphasis on making safe decisions and enjoying the hunt itself.  The event lasted two hours and included a great deal of open dialogue between the Officers and those in attendance.  Officer Harris has received a positive response from the attendants and the surrounding community and plans have been made to host similar events in other counties in and around his assigned district.

Joint State Investigation Leads to Arrests-On Monday, December 26, 2016, Conservation Police Officers in Virginia assisted a North Carolina Wildlife Officer with a spotlighting incident that occurred in North Carolina near the border with Virginia.  Two Martinsville men were interviewed by CPO Bruce Young and CPO Dale Owens.  The officers obtained confessions and located the firearm involved in the illegal taking of a doe deer with the aid of lights and after legal hours.  Charges are pending in North Carolina.  One of the suspects was charged with operating with a suspended license by CPO Bruce Young.  His license suspension was the result of not paying fines for convictions in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, last year, after being arrested for the same violations by CPO Eric Dotterer.

Region IV- Mountains & Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont

Illegal Hunters Caught Passing the Buck – On December 3, 2016, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Tim Dooley received information in reference to two subjects trespassing to hunt in Albemarle County.  According to the informant, one of the subjects killed a trophy buck while trespassing.  CPO Dooley initiated an investigation and learned the subject who supposedly killed the trophy buck was not licensed to hunt and had not checked any deer this season.  Through suspect interviews, CPO Dooley ascertained the suspect that was not licensed killed the deer.  He and the other suspect then went onto property where they were not permitted to hunt to retrieve the deer.  Because the suspect who killed the deer was not licensed, the other suspect checked the deer in under his hunting license and took it to the taxidermist to be mounted.  The trophy antlers were seized as evidence from the taxidermist and charges are pending for trespassing to hunt, killing deer illegally, hunting without the proper licenses, failure to check deer, and loaning a hunting license.

 

 

 

National Fish Art Contest Underway

Students & teachers: I Love Wildlife’s State-Fish Art national contest is underway! Students select any state-fish; learn about the fish species, including behavior, habitat, and conservation needs; draw or paint the fish in their habitat, and then write about the fish. Students – enter on your own or get your school to participate!

Wild Turkey Season January 14-28 in Selected Counties…

The final segment of the Fall Wild Turkey season is  January 14 through 28, 2017 in the selected counties of Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Caroline, Carroll, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dickenson, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fairfax, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Goochland, Grayson, Greensville, Halifax, Hanover, Henrico, Henry, King and Queen, King William, Lee, Loudoun, Louisa, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nelson, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince William, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and on Camp Peary.

Bag Limits are One per day, three per license year, no more than two of which may be taken in the fall.  Archery and Fall Firearms Season is One per day, either sex may be taken.

Wild turkeys killed in January must be checked using the telephone or Internet checking system.

Hunt Safely- Remember be sure of your target and beyond, let someone know where you are going and plan to return.  Review winter weather safety tips.

Selected Waterfowl Hunting Seasons are open through January 31, visit the DGIF website for details and winter waterfowl hunting safety tips and precautions.