Riverkeeper report: With a little help from our friends
Published 1:17 pm Saturday, July 16, 2016
Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 10th through the 12th on the Nottoway and Blackwater launching from the VDGIF landing at Hercules. The water was normal and 82 degrees. Air temps ranged from 73 to 90 degrees.
One of the main missions of this trip was to make another attempt at retrieving a refrigerator door from the Nottoway. A couple of weeks ago some idiot launched a double-door refrigerator and its two detached doors into the Nottoway in the area of Monroe Bridge. Anyway, somebody got to this rogue refrigerator before I did and was nice enough to get it out of the river and put it on the pier at the Bronco Club. So whoever that was, I greatly appreciate it. Thank you also to Doug Rogers and the folks at the Bronco Club for getting the door disposed of.
I saw no water quality issues this trip and trash was light.
The fishing on this trip was fair. After having a hard time at first catching any bream for bait, they finally started hitting like crazy. I saw and talked to several people that were really mopping up, especially those using the fly rod. I fished for bass some, but only caught a bunch of really small like 6-inch and even 4-inch fish. Yes, 4 inch! The first night I caught three nice cats to 12 pounds up in the Blackwater. The second night in the Nottoway I caught two, but they were less than four pounds.
The bugs were pretty bad both nights, but I had some help with that. The first night, it had just got good and dark when out the corner of my eye I saw something jump across the front of the boat. When I’m out there I’m pretty alert to movement not generated by Moonpie or I. It’s that perimeter self-presentation thing that kicks in whether I’m camping on land or boat.
Anyway, I finally saw that it was a little green tree frog. I watched it hop/crawl its way all 24 feet from the front to the back of the boat by way of the boat railing. It knew, I guess, that’s where the bugs were and promptly set about gobbling up bugs while sitting on the back couch. Soon after that I caught movement again from the front of the boat. Sure enough, it was another tree frog. However, this one seemed kinda dumb or maybe it was just inexperienced. It just sat there on the front railing for like 15 minutes.
Finally Moonpie said, “Hey, why not help the dude out and take it back there with the other one?”
So that’s what I did, but much to my amazement it still just sat there. I even tried feeding it a mayfly, but it would not take the bug from my fingers. I guess the fact that my hands smelled like nasty cut bait could have had something to do with that, who knows. Finally though, the little frog started moving around and stalking bugs and eventually I saw it grab a few. I think it was learning by watching the other frog.
Now the interesting thing is, that at home the other day I was working on the boat and found a tree frog camped out in the battery compartment. So obviously these frogs live in the pontoon boat and ride in it to and from the river!
Anyway, I was glad I had the two bug eaters in the boat because with a little help from my froggy friends, it was a very nice trip on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.
JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at email@example.com.