Riverkeeper report: Got trash?

Published 12:57 pm Saturday, February 4, 2017

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 27th through the 29th on the Blackwater above Burdette. The water was clear, 48 degrees (when I got there) and 6.44 on the USGS gauge at Burdette.  Air temps ranged from 25 degrees to 60 and it was windy the entire trip.

I was pleased to find out when we were launching the other day a contractor hired by the City of Virginia Beach in the river cleaning out a logjam from under the Gaston Pipeline trestle. That was impressive and nice ‘cause then I would not have to try to break it up myself.

However, the second day as I traveled downriver I found a logjam and worked on that for an hour. I finally got the thing broke up only to find that right around the corner, was another. Not only was that jam worse than the one I just broke up, but also now I had made it worse by breaking up the one above it. That jam is going to take someone with chainsaws to clear up. It is about a mile downriver from the pump station and is doable right now with the water up, but it will not be long before that catches more and more stuff and will become a permanent jam, blocking the river for many years.

I was also saddened to see two more places—one on the Isle of Wight side and one on the Southampton side of the river—have been logged since I was last there, but I must admit there was a decent buffer left and it was not swamp that was logged.

The fishing on this trip was not good for me. I was hoping to find the blackfish schooled up, ‘cause that’s a lotta fun catching those this time of year, but they were not. Usually the water temps this time of year up there are in the high 30’s or low 40’s, but this trip it was 48 and I’m guessing that messed up the blackfish convention.

I did not do any casting and I did not catch anything else jigging either but a crappy crappie that was ‘bout as big as a cigarette pack and an itty-bitty catfish. I did talk to a couple of guys that said they had caught like 16 bass, so there you go.

I really did not fish that mush as I spent most of my time on this trip picking up trash. It’s always really bad downriver from Burdette. Why is that? I removed 85 pounds of trash/litter out of the log jams and left that much more ‘cause I could not get the boat that deep into the jam, even though several times I had the entire length of the boat on top of the jam. Well, the fish weren’t biting anyway.

I guess since I did not “Get Fish,” I might as well “Got Trash” while I was out there 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.