Riverkeeper Report: Hot stay on the Blackwater

Published 10:46 am Sunday, May 3, 2009

Moonpie and I spent the 24th through the 26th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was 62 degrees and a tad high. The weather was beautiful, but boy was it hot!!!

Trash was heavy, which surprised me since we just had Clean Rivers Day on the 18th. I guess I should have expected it since I have not been on the river in nearly two months. We also moved one log out of the river channel. You could tell it had been hit several times. We also towed a couple fishermen back to the landing who were having motor troubles. We also helped a fellow save his boat who had forgot to put his plug in.

The fishing was not as good as I had expected this trip. I caught a couple of shad, but that was so slow I gave up on it. White perch seem about done for also. Hopefully, there will be a good herring run later this week or next week.

I caught two stripers, but of course they were 17 inches, which is an inch short to keep. I caught them casting. I caught 5 largemouth, all of which were full of eggs. They are bedding right now and I had many hits from females moving the lure out of the bed.

I also caught three chain pickerel, which are really what I wanted. Usually this time of year I can catch all of them I want, but it seems not this year. They are mighty yummy. Mosquitos just about took us away at night while at the campsite. They were so thick the clouds of the pesky bloodsuckers would fly into the fire and cook. Man, you talk about something that stinks, whew! Moonpie woke up and asked what the heck I was cooking that smelled like burnt popcorn. There were so many flying in the fire I was able to stop putting wood on it; just the bugs kept it going!

We rode down the river to check on the eagle’s nest site the first day. We were rewarded with a good, clear look at one of the parents. I could not see any babies yet. We were sitting there looking at the eagle and Moonpie said, “You know, we have been looking at these eagles since 1999. I know they are majestic and cool and all that, but they always look the same. It’s like we are just looking at the same thing over and over and nothing is different.” Well, I reminded her, don’t forget there was a time we did not have any eagles around here because they were being poisoned by a bad pesticide. When they done away with the pesticide the eagles came back, so that is why we look at them so much.

“Yeah, yeah,” Moonpie stated, “but they never change.” Oh, well, I said, you mean change looks, like you, huh? “What do ya mean,” Moonpie said. I mean, well, eagles don’t get all gray-faced and show their age like you are, old gal.

“Oh, yeah,” Moonpie said. “Well I ain’t the only one a changin’ and turning gray faced. Just look over the side off the boat at that scraggly reflection looking back and you’ll see just what I mean on either of the two rivers we call the Blackwater & Nottoway.”