Riverkeeper report: Strippers caught red-handed
Published 11:07 am Saturday, January 23, 2016
Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 13th through 15th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was a little high and 39 degrees. Air temps ranged from a really cold 24 to 50 degrees. It was cold that first day with the wind blowing. How cold was it you ask? It was so cold that the first night my drinking water (in plastic bottles) got slushy…inside my cooler! It was tight out there. Thankfully it warmed up the second day and Moonpie and I thawed out.
Trash on this trip was bout normal and I picked up a full bag. I found two more styro blocks but could not get to them. I believe they are not new, but most likely are the last (hopefully) ones that were up in the Franklin ditch. The Franklin ditch by the way was remarkably clean this patrol. Fishing on this go round was pretty good. I caught a few yellow perch, but they were really spaced out. Not the fish, I mean the frequency of my catching them.
I have no way of telling if fish are spaced out mentally or not. What was really mind boggling though for real was that I caught stripers. Yea, I said strippers in the title just to get more readers! Especially those spaced out readers! Oh, and the red handed thing was the fact that on the first day my hands were so cold they were red.
Anyway, I caught three, but am sure I could have caught more if I would have found them sooner. All were 19 to 21 inches and were caught on a 1/4 ounce blade bait jigged vertically in about 10 ft of water. They are really hard fighters. I caught those fish upriver from Franklin. I also came across a fellow that was jug fishing for catfish. He had just started when I came by so I do not know if he caught any or not. So hey if you are reading this article, let me know if you did any good or not.
While I was upriver I also noticed the beaver population seems to be getting out of hand. There are huts everywhere and places in the swamp looked like industrial logging has been going on. There could stand to be some trapping done up that way. Sometimes wildlife needs to be managed especially with critters like beaver that can cause flooding issues when they populate one area too heavily. It would be better that man not have to manage wildlife, but since long ago when we screwed up the natural balance of things out there, we will for evermore have to intervene.
In the case of the beaver, there are not enough critters around here now that are capable of keeping their population in check. Once beaver get adult size, there ain’t too many animals that can take them on. So it was a good trip, and if you can stand the cold I highly recommend getting out there especially if you like beaver and strippers on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.
JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at email@example.com.