Riverkeeper report: Fishing good, trash bad

Published 9:19 am Friday, June 13, 2014

A gar had gotten ensnarled in twine that was tied to a hook on the Nottoway River. -- SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

A gar had gotten ensnarled in twine that was tied to a hook on the Nottoway River. — SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 6th through the 8th on the Nottoway above Cypress Bridge. The water was 77 degrees and 4.6 ft on the USGS gauge in Sebrell. Air temps ranged from 58 to 85 degrees.

Once again trash was terrible. I picked up two large VDOT bags full. Lots of Grizzly brand tobacco containers from that low life that fishes upriver were found again. Light bulbs — where do light bulbs come from that get into the river? That just behooves me to ask how they get in our waterways. I mean it’s not like folks use them in their boat, not 110 bulbs anyway. Maybe somebody is using them for floats?

I also took down a bunch of trash hanging from the trees. A lot of this trash had hooks and lead weights attached to it. So that was good for me, free hooks and weights. No names attached, it’s trash. There were also several limb lines up there that had name tags attached that were left hanging in the water. They had been there for a long time. One had a gar on it that had gotten ensnarled in the twine that was tied to the hook. It had been on there awhile and was seriously emaciated. I cut it loose, but left the line and other lines with his name on them and called the VDGIF. That’s the problem with leaving lines in the water like that. Other critters can get on them and die. Yea, it was just a gar, but even a gar should not be made to starve and suffer like that.

Since nothing seems to be working in my efforts to get people to remove their lines, from here on out I am going to start naming people in my column who abandon lines on the river in an attempt to fix this problem. I am also already keeping a database of names of the trifling people that leave these lines out. I’m tired of removing dead and starving critters off these lines. When I’m finished fishing my limb lines, I remove them because it’s the responsible thing to do. Hey, if you can take the time to put these lines out, you can take the time to take them in.

Anyway, the fishing on this trip was great. I caught 21 largemouth, most around 4 pounds and a couple others weighed 3. All were caught on a Bagley topwater lure, AC-Shiner or Snagless Sally. It was pretty good fishing considering I fished behind other people the entire three days.

I saw a lot of critters on this trip including an adult bald eagle, several beavers, Great Blue Herron and lots of snakes. I heard coyotes when the train went across the river at Delaware and made a decent owl recording one night that really freaked out Moonpie. All in all a good trip with good weather.

I patrol both rivers a lot and have been Riverkeeper now for 14 years. People that don’t want to play by the rules or do the right thing should know by now I’m going to pursue those problems. Maybe one day all people that utilize our rivers will respect them and do what is good and right for our rivers. That sure would be nice, and then all I would have to do is fish on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.