Riverkeeper report: Shad run is on!

Published 3:37 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 8th through the 11th, yes four days, on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was low when I got there and 38 degrees. By the time I left it was back to normal height and 44 degrees. There was a lot of algae in the river on this trip, but all of it was from Franklin downriver. I did not see any upriver. One can only figure then that the extra nutrients in the river are coming from the vicinity of the city. I don’t know yet if it is from storm water run-off or from the sewage treatment plant, but I contacted DEQ to let them know about it.

GoogleEarth_ImageTrash was rather bad, but then it’s shad season and the more people in and along the river there are, the more trash there will be. It’s always like that every year.

The fishing on this trip was a mixed bag. The first day I caught only a couple yellow perch, just enough to bait my catfish lines. Once the water started warming up the fish did also. I caught several more yellow perch, a couple of fliers, which are kinda rare, a couple bass, a small striper and a nice chain pickerel. I ended up with 10 catfish with the largest weighing 21 pounds. The shad are in the river.

I watched several people catch some, but I could not, and Moonpie thought that was really funny the fact that the Riverkeeper, Prince of Fish, could not catch the sacred shad. I tried, too, fishing for like four hours for them with only one hit. So I left, disgraced and humbled and went on fishing for other species.

This time of year when the shad run is on the boat ramps get pretty crowded. Please remember if you’re going, that other people want to put in and others want to leave. Don’t get on the ramp and fix your tackle and straighten your gear. When you get on the ramp that means you’re launching or retrieving your boat and that’s all you should do there. Courtesy goes a long way with me out there, and if I do see you holding up progress, I’m gonna tell ya, in a courteous manner of course.

We saw a bald eagle out there on this trip, but by the time I got my camera out and booted up, of course it was gone. Not sure if this eagle I keep seeing around the Pretlow Farm is from our pair at Cherry Grove. I kinda doubt it, but who knows? They should have chicks by now and if you go to Cherry Grove and see the baby eagles let me know.

The nest is just before you get to the second cut through on your starboard side if your going downriver up in a tall pine tree. It is a huge nest, but hard to see. I’m giving out the location so people can go see it

Don’t make me sorry I did that by going out there and going on shore to get to the tree or do anything to disturb these birds. The site is protected by the FWS and they don’t like people messing with eagle nesting sites.

So pick a nice day, go catch a shad and maybe take your binoculars and go see the eagles, or any of the other cool wildlife we are so lucky to have around here on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.