Thursday, October 28, 2010

Largemouth Bass Virus

Largemouth Bass Virus Detected in Virginia Reservoirs...

No impact to people; impacts to fish normally are short lived and fish populations recover

Largemouth bass virus (LMBV) is a disease that impacts several fish species but only appears to cause death in some largemouth bass. First discovered in Florida in 1991, LMBV spread throughout the southern United States and was responsible for a number of largemouth bass deaths in the late 1990's. However, in some reservoirs LMBV only led to a decrease in survival and growth rates. When those declines occur, anglers catch fewer quality-size (greater than three pounds) largemouth bass. The good news is that impacts from the virus outbreak are normally short lived and largemouth bass fisheries recover in about three years.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) tested several reservoirs between 2000 and 2003 with most either having no occurrence of LMBV or very slight infection rates. However, in a few reservoirs in North Carolina almost 40% of the largemouth bass tested were positive for LMBV. One of those systems was Shearon Harris Reservoir, which continues to support one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the state.

Recent virus testing coordinated by VDGIF this past August revealed that LMBV was present in about 40% of the bass tested at John H. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake and is responsible for the decline in the bass fishery. Largemouth bass from Briery Creek Lake and Sandy River Reservoir (Prince Edward County) were also tested and the virus was detected and confirmed. A small largemouth bass mortality event which occurred at Briery Creek Lake in late June, 2010, was most likely the result of LMBV in the population.

Due to the popularity of the largemouth bass fishery at Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake, anglers have expressed concerns about the LMBV spreading to other area reservoirs. However, some of the area reservoirs already contain LMBV and fish have likely built-up an immunity to the virus. For example, largemouth bass in Lake Gaston tested positive for LMBV in 2000. However, recent surveys at Lake Gaston indicate that the largemouth bass population is doing well. Nevertheless, anglers should follow the precautions listed below to limit the spread of LMBV.


Can we cure the disease? No, the virus will have to run its course and hopefully the fish will build up immunity to LMBV. So far, lakes affected by the disease in the southern U.S. have not experienced additional large LMBV outbreaks since the initial ones in the late 1990's.

Are there any risks to humans from the virus? No, fish are safe to eat and the water is safe for drinking water supply and recreation. This virus cannot be passed to humans.

What causes an outbreak of the virus? It is not fully understood what causes an outbreak of LMBV. It is likely that stressful conditions such as low reservoir levels, high water temperatures, or increased handling time make bass more susceptible to LMBV.

How can you tell if a largemouth bass that you've caught has the disease? There are very few external cues that the bass might have the disease. Fish that are very sick from the virus may appear bloated and swim erratically due to the impacts of the virus on the swim bladder.

How does the disease spread? Fish that come in close contact (like in a livewell) can easily infect one another. Transmission through the water and eating infected prey are also ways that the disease is spread.

What can anglers do?

Limit fishing, especially tournament fishing, to cooler months. Bass with LMBV are more likely to suffer mortality in the heat of the summer due to stress related to the high water temperatures. Paper tournaments without weigh-ins are always on option that tournaments can explore for summertime tournament fishing.

Cooling livewells with blocks of ice in summer months is highly recommended. But, do not decrease water temperature in livewells more than 20° F from reservoir water temperatures.

DO NOT transfer fish or fish parts from one body of water to another. This can spread the virus.

Land fish quickly and handle them gently to avoid exhaustion and capture stress. Return the fish quickly to the water if you do not plan to keep it.

Sterilize bilge pumps and livewells with a bleach solution to kill the virus. Studies have shown that the virus can survive in water in livewells up to seven days. About 1.5 fluid ounces of bleach added to one gallon of water (1% solution) sprayed on livewell surfaces will kill the virus. Let the bleach solution stand for 5 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and let air dry as chlorine bleach is toxic to fish.

Tournaments should adopt best handling practices at all events. Using release boats, resting stations with oxygen and/or recirculating water, and iced water are all important considerations when planning a tournament. Refer to the conservation pages of the TBF or BASS websites for more information on safe handling practices and tournament organization guidance.

For information contact:

Dan Michaelson

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Fisheries Biologist


This information is from the Outdoor Report

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lead Sinker; Never Again ??

Legislation Introduced in the House to Prevent Federal Ban on Lead Tackle

On September 28, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced S. 3850 , legislation which seeks to prevent an overarching federal ban on lead in fishing tackle, a move that could have a significant economic impact on anglers and the recreational fishing industry. Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) introduced the companion bill (H.R. 6284 ) in the House of Representatives on September 29. In August, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was petitioned to ban the use of lead in fishing tackle and ammunition. The EPA quickly dismissed the ammunition section of the petition, but has not yet released its decision on fishing tackle. Ammunition is exempted from EPA regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bills introduced by Lincoln and Broun will amend the TSCA so the exemption for ammunition will also apply to fishing tackle. ASA members are encouraged to write their Members of Congress requesting co-sponsorship of this important legislation. Information and a template message are available on

Ethanol Increase Announced

EPA Announces Increase in Gasoline's Ethanol Content

On October 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a 50 percent increase in the allowable ethanol content in gasoline for automobiles built after 2006. Gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, commonly referred to as E15, could damage recreational marine engines and other small gasoline-powered engines because they are designed, calibrated, and certified to run on not more than 10 volume percent ethanol. This increase also raises issues about emissions, performance, durability and warranty coverage. In addition, increased corn production to meet the new standard could result in increases in the runoff of nutrients and other pollutants into watersheds. Any further EPA decision on the use of E15 has been delayed until testing on vehicles built before 2006 is complete.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Little Hickory Bear

The best days are days that we discover one of natures' wonders.  I never knew that bears fed in the top of hickory trees; like a giant fox squirrel.  Well, they do.  This little fellow was in a hickory in Pocahontas County, WV.  Yeah, they climb apple trees all of the time.  They bend over and trample down mountain ash, hercules' club and sumacs.  But, this one is in the top of a hilltop hickory, in a wind storm.

The next photo shows the bear, reaching out to pull a limb to its' mouth.  I saw it do this twice.  This whole series of photos is less than a minute in time.  I was hurrying, because I sensed that the show would not last much longer.

I am regretful that higher quality photos could not be had; but these are allot better than not having the opportunity at all.

After he got this last nut, he headed down the tree and was gone.

All photos published here are protected under US and International copyright laws by High Virginia Images.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I recieve an interesting publication, that many of you may not have seen.  Each issue of Timberdoodle contains articles on nature observations, weather and history of the Allegheny Highlands.  timberdoodle is the newsletter of the Friends of Canaan Valley National Refuge.  Each issue also contains the Chronicles of the Tucker County Highlands History and Education Project.  This publication is well presented and always has content which can be enjoyed by people of various interests.  To join the Friends of the 500th, you may contact them at PO BOX 422, Davis, WV  26260.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Colorful Caterpillar

Brown-Hooded Owlet
I had nearly given up looking for interesting caterpillars, for the season.  But was given a welcome gift this morning.  I have not seen this species in about five years.  I make sure and look for it, anytime that I am around members of the Aster family.
This is the Brown-hooded Owlet (Cucullia convexipennis). It feeds on members of the composite family. I never expected to find one on October 19th. This species could be the most colorful caterpillar of our region. The moth is dull brown and ugly.
I need to go out and get some better shots of this one, if the wind will stop blowing. I also just remembered that I do not have any Woolly Bear photos.
So if your looking for something to do, go out and explore your surroundings, you never know what you will find.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Did You Learn; This Week ?

Golden Stonefly
I learned that I apparently didn't know how to spell cemetery.  Cemetary looked right to me and I never thought of questioning the spelling.  I had to go back and change photo keywords and titles.  Luckily, with eBird, the process could be done with a single edit.  Still, the process of changing to the proper spelling took some time.

This just shows the need of keeping a dictionary handy for reference.  We can mess up simple things and not be aware of our mistakes.  One other important item to keep with the dictionary; for most of us, is the magnifying glass.  We also should beware of local signage, the one over on the hill from my house says cementary.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garden of Eagles Calendar

Garden of Eagles 2011 Calendar Now Available

Dedicated fans of the Eagle Cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden have found a unique way to show their support for Virginia's wildlife. Countless thousands have been captivated by the bald eagles at the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the unprecedented chance to witness the daily lives of these amazing birds. The Eagle Cam is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC Channel 13 with support from the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB). Last year, volunteers created The Garden of Eagles, a 2010 calendar showcasing remarkable bald eagle photos taken at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. This beautiful calendar won praise from eagle lovers all across the country — and sold out three printings!

The 2011 version of the calendar is just in – and it's "bigger and better"! This 11″ x 17″, 12-month wall calendar includes 18 large color photographs and more than 35 smaller full-color photographs — photos donated by the "Eagle Paparazzi". The calendar also includes special highlight dates from the 2010 nesting season.

Proceeds from the sale of The Garden of Eagles 2011 will benefit the Wildlife Center of Virginia and will be earmarked for construction of a new permanent home for Buddy (more about Buddy here) a young eagle admitted to the WCV in 2008, which may include a web-cam , better opportunities for public visitation and appropriate room for a fully flighted bird. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries non-game fund and the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary.

Order the calendar today »

High Virginia Outdoors: A Deer Fly Float Trip

High Virginia Outdoors: A Deer Fly Float Trip: "Fly Fishing - Small Stream Brook Trout The clear-cut bakes, in the afternoon sun. Jewelweed wilts. A doe arises from her bed. She is th..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Roaring Creek Project-2009

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

High Virginia Outdoors: INTEGRITY

High Virginia Outdoors: INTEGRITY: "Many of you have asked; why I do not submit more articles to various publications. This article may help you understand my feelings about th..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Where is High Virginia

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High Virginia Outdoors: October Aromatherapy

High Virginia Outdoors: October Aromatherapy: "You can visualize the morning. A heavy frost has melted and each puff of breeze sets off a cascade of falling leaves. Standing on a hardwood..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Diversify

High Virginia Outdoors: Diversify: "One sure way to get the greatest pleasure from the outdoors is to diversify your interests. We tend to get stuck in the rut of doing the sa..."

High Virginia Outdoors: Migratory Visitors

High Virginia Outdoors: Migratory Visitors: "Field Sparrow The past two weeks have been good for observing birds; during their fall migration. I have seen several species, here in my ..."

Migratory Visitors

Field Sparrow
The past two weeks have been good for observing birds; during their fall migration. I have seen several species, here in my yard. As of today, I still have Ruby-throated Hummingbirds present. October 12 is the latest date that I have recorded for hummers in the past. Today is the 12th. they will not be present, much longer. Yesterday evening, I had a large flight of Chipping Sparrows, there were more than 50 individuals here feeding on weed seeds. I searched the flock, trying to find something rare. I had hoped to find Clay-colored Sparrows, Lincolns or anything else; but alas there were only a couple of Field Sparrows mixed with the flock. White-throated Sparrows are beginning to show up in the area also. I had an Ovenbird, staying here for a week. It headed further South on Saturday. Several Pine Siskins and Purple Finches made their appearance on October 4th and some have decided to hang around for awhile.

I have had a steady trickle of warblers, over the past two weeks. Black-throated Green, Blackpoll, Black and White, Tennessee, Yellow-rumped and Cape May Warblers have been present. Ruby-crowned Kinglets showed up on Saturday. For some reason, I had several Scarlet Tanagers; which I had not seen all Summer.

It is prime time to get out the binoculars and take a leisurely stroll through the countryside. Enjoy the fall colors and hopefully encounter a bird; which you have never seen before. You never know what may show up. Go out a search out that song you have never heard before; it may be something good.
A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Peterson Field Guide)
Sparrows of the United States and Canada: The Photographic Guide

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Autumn Silence

The opening day of squirrel season has arrived ; in the hills of West Virginia. Until a few years ago, this was a highly anticipated day for me. I could always be found on a hardwood ridge; twenty-two in hand and squirrels in the game bag.

Gunshots were steadily heard until Halloween. Now, the woods around home are still. Trees are gone, squirrels are gone. The hickory ridges are now covered in blackberries and saplings. Coyote heaven.
I sold my .22's in 2004, after realizing that it wasn't feasible to drive 50 miles when you only have a couple of hours to spend hunting. The rewards do not justify the time and expense involved.

I spent all morning outside and a beautiful morning it was. I never heard on shot fired from the hillsides. Areas which are still blessed to have their mast producing trees, have an abundance of foods available to the critters of the woodlands. But, when the trees are gone; so is life. From here in the orange water, clear-cut wastelands of northwest Randolph County. Enjoy your Autumn if you still can.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Butterfly of the Month/October-Eastern Comma

It wasn't easy; making a decision about October's butterfly. Cabbage Whites and Red-spotted Purples seem to be the most adbundant fliers of early October.  But, I have noticed several Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) butterflies.  These butterflies can be seen from early spring, thru October.

These are butterflies of woodland edges and moist soils.  They can usually be found near gravel road mud holes. 

A hooked, silver comma can be found in the center of the hindwing, to help in identifying this butterfly.

Eastern Comma

The Butterflies Of West Virginia and their Caterpillars (Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wildflower of the Month/October-White Heath Aster

White Heath Aster
October in Appalachia is Aster month.  Members of the Aster family, dominate our landscape. We have over twenty five species, in our region.

White Heath Aster (Aster pilosus), while not being the showiest member of the family; may be the most common. It is also the longest blooming aster of our region and can be seen, during most years into November.

Asters are composites, the bloom is composed of the disc flowers, which are tubular and found in the center. The colorful ray flowers in shades of purple,pink,blue or white make up what we think is the simple flower.  White Heath Aster has several common names:  Nailrod, Steelweed and Michaelmas Daisy.  It can be found in fields, wasteplaces and roadsides and is one of the lastest available food sources for many species.

Ramp Seeds

Ramp Seeds
The Ramp is the king of spring, in the Appalachian Highlands. This member of the Allium family can be smelled from numerous towns and campsites.  But, have you ever seen the seed; from which the tasty leek is born?  This is the seed head of the Ramp (Allium tricoccum). This photo was taken in September.  The seeds will fall to the ground and sprout from the leaf litter of the forest floor and bring on a new generation of the pungent leek.