Riverkeeper report: Double duty river patrol

Published 4:13 pm Friday, May 31, 2013

Riverkeeper Jeff Turner saw a beaver, fox and many other critters on his most recent river patrols -- SUBMITTED

Riverkeeper Jeff Turner saw a beaver, fox and many other critters on his most recent river patrols — SUBMITTED

Well the Spirit of Moonpie and I have been busy. We did two three-day patrols back to back to cover both rivers recently. So here we go.

A fox spotted by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner on a recent patrol. -- SUBMITTED

A fox spotted by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner on a recent patrol. — SUBMITTED

On May 21th through the 23rd we took to the Nottoway in the pontoon boat launching at the new boat landing at Hercules. Ramp is nice; pier is useless as it is like two feet too high. The water was low, cloudy and about 70 degrees. Air temps ranged from 60 to 85 degrees. Trash not bad, no water quality issues.

The fishing on this leg of the trip was just fair. I caught a couple of catfish at night and caught a monster 41 inch 11 pound gar! It was kind of an aggravating trip as the weather was very unsettled. I spent a lot of time dodging thunderstorms and hung out a lot under Monroe Bridge. Now for the second leg of the patrol I went to the Blackwater on the 25th though the 27th. The weather had cooled back down so I decided to do one more shore trip. It was a very nice trip with nighttime low temps of 49 being just perfect to sit beside a fire. Skeeters were right bad till about 10 and the ticks were abundant. However I was using a product called Sawyer Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent and never got a tick.

Trash on this trip was pretty light though I did remove some big items like a cooler and a boogie board. Moonpie had fun riding the boogie board up above the airport, jumping logs and doing 360’s etc. as I pulled her behind the boat. This trip was like going to the zoo. Rarely have I seen and was able to film so many different species of critters. I saw a bald eagle, many snakes, a raccoon, a fox, beaver, muskrats, ducks and a turkey. There might be more, I don’t know if I can remember all of them, but these I got pictures of or film of.

This fishing this leg was great. The mission was to replenish my freezer with jack, or chain pickerel as is the proper name. They are my favorite fish to eat. I’m not sure how many I caught but it was a lot. All were caught on a #3 Mepps Minnow and a #3 Mepps Aglia white tail. I also caught one nice largemouth that was right at three pounds and several smaller bass.

I recently read an article where this fellow was saying that in’line spinner baits like the Mepps were outdated and obsolete. That guy is an idiot! Speaking of idiots, I need the public’s help with a litter issue on the rivers. There are a few unscrupulous people who like to set limb-lines to catch catfish, then after fishing the lines they just leave them there to tangle up other wildlife or catch fish that rot hanging there on the tree. If you are a person that enjoys Virginia state waters, whether motor boating, kayaking, fishing or whatever, you have a right to help keep our waters clean. So help me out when you’re out on the river. Anytime you come upon fishing line or any kind of string or line hanging from a tree or whatever, take the time to remove that and dispose of it properly. If it has a name tag on it leave it be unless there is dead animals or fish on it or it looks like its not being fished daily as required by law. In this case call 1-800-237-5712 or e-mail WildCrime@dgif.virginia.gov where you can report these crimes.

These lines left in trees hanging along the river are a real problem and I need your help to stop this practice. I have grizzly photos of mummified fish, dead Great Blue Herons and dead beavers these abandoned lines have killed. I am also aggressively working with VDGIF to address the matter and the message is being sent that this will not be tolerated. I fish limb lines also, but I remove mine when I’m done. So with your help let’s see if we can make the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway a much better place for us all.

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.