ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Here is a round-up of the latest outdoor news from across the region.

SML at Top of Boating Incidents Report

The latest statewide boating incident report has been released by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR). There were 87 boating incidents, crashes, or accidents across the commonwealth last year. In those incidents, 39 people were hurt and 17 people were killed.

Nearly a third of the accidents were at Smith Mountain Lake. Alcohol was a factor in almost a quarter of the incidents. The most common type of accident was collisions between boats.

Tick Warning

The DWR has issued an advisory on ticks. Spring is the time of the year when parasitic arachnids come out. With thousands of hunters headed into a wooded area for spring turkey season this month, health experts say tick bites can be a problem because they can spread a variety of diseases.

Dressing properly while in the woods can prevent ticks

The best way to prevent tick bites is to wear bug repellent with DEET, dress in layers, and make sure there are no openings in clothing that would allow a tick to climb in.

Health experts say it is a good idea to check yourself for ticks after every outing in wooded or grassy areas.

Catch a Crappie

The crappie bite has apparently turned on about a week early this year. Area bait shops and fishing guides report good numbers of tasty panfish are being made in area lakes, especially at Smith Mountain Lake. Claytor Lake and Lake Moomaw are also good bets for crappie.

Captain Tony Miller with Smith Mountain Lake crappies (George Noleff/WFXR News)

Catching crappies is relatively easy. A pole, a bobber, and a hook and line baited with a live minnow will take fish. Target them around areas of fallen timber. They congregate in those areas with ample cover to the stage for spawning, and to spawn.