Riverkeeper Report: Bass fishing good on Nottoway River

Published 9:26 am Monday, August 22, 2011

Spirit of Moonpie, Freezing Deer and I spent the 16th through the 17th on the Nottoway below Delaware.

The water was pretty normal and 80 degrees.

Trash was practically non-existent.

The only water quality issue I saw was the normal summertime biological scum I usually see at some of the curves in the river.

The bass fishing was pretty darn good. I talked to a fella that was coming out as we were putting in, and he had caught a bunch of largemouth.

I caught 8 largemouth to 2½ pounds on a little top water lure. I also caught right many nice size bream on a tiny Rapala worked on the surface.

While we did pretty good with those fish, we still could not hook up on the catfish at night. In fact we were skunked! I just don’t know what else to try.

We fished as deep a water as there is in the river, then tried mid depth and even really shallow like 8 foot. All we could muster was a few nibbles on cut bream and steak fat.

We did not see that many critters on this trip. We saw some freshwater sponges that are pretty unusual to find. Those usually are a great indicator that the water quality is good.

We also watched some ospreys as we traveled pushing them ahead of us. One had a fish and just was carrying it around it seemed. Every time we would see this osprey take off, it had this fish.

Moonpie suggested that maybe the osprey was trying to smoke the fish. Ah, yes, the smoke. Wow, I have never seen anything like that before on the river.

We woke up the second morning close to the Bronco Club choking and crying. The smoke from that Dismal Swamp fire was so thick visibility was like an ocean fog. We couldn’t stand it and took off back upriver trying to get out of it.

Finally the wind shifted and cleared it out some. However, after looking at the forecast, I decided we better pack it in rather than risk the smoke coming back like it was that morning. I just could not take that.

But we still had a good trip; it’s just that we returned from this one smelling more like charcoal than fish from the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

JEFF TURNER is riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact Turner at his website, www.blackwaternottoway.com.