Riverkeeper report: Crappie trip

Published 11:01 am Saturday, December 10, 2016

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 1st through the 3rd on the Blackwater below Rt. 189. The water was low and 49 degrees, air temps ranged from 30 to 60 degrees.

This was one of those crappie trips that are tough to get through. It started on the road before I was halfway to the boat landing. You know the “I don’t think I’m gonna make it there in time” feeling? Yea, well, that’s how that was. Luckily I did, and luckily I was not at a very public landing, which would have been crappie.

The fishing on this trip was totally crappie. I only caught three largemouth in two days of fishing, in between bouts of crappiness. I also caught one blackfish jigging, but no crappie.

Trash on this trip was pretty bad. This was my first excursion downriver to the mouth since Hurricane Mathew. I picked up some big items like 5-gallon buckets and milk crates still hanging in the trees along with plenty of the regular fare of trash. There was also one of those giant wooden wire spools in the river that I could do nothing with but watch float toward North Carolina.

I saw no water quality issues.

Someone had dumped some deer carcasses at the boat ramp, nothing new for this time of year. They had also tossed a giant roll of paper that was so heavy I could not move it.

Thank you Bobby Turner for being the best dad in the world and coming down there at night to load it in the Riverkeeper truck.

I really did not see that much wildlife on this trip, maybe they had the same crappie stomach bug I had. I did see a juvy eagle and saw a lot of wood ducks actually. On the second evening, just before dark, I watched 14 wild turkeys fly across the river to the Island I was on. They really do not fly well into heavily wooded terrain. It’s more of a controlled crash landing kind of thing and they are actually pretty crappie at it.

Even my beaver family that lives right near my base camp did not show up with their usual belligerent display of tail slapping at night. I guess they were afraid of contracting some kind of crappie human disease from me.

I think the cold weather is finally going to get here, it needs to as I saw skeeters actually still on day one out there. My river patrols from here on through December through February are usually pretty darn cold. It’ll be okay though and I’ll have a great time … as long as I’m not feeling crappie on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.