Riverkeeper report: Got shad?

Published 9:57 am Monday, March 27, 2017

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 19th through the 21st on the Blackwater below Franklin. Air temps ranged from 30 to 72 degrees and the water was 51 degrees.

The river was really low from the wind blowing it all to the sound, but other than that it looked pretty good. I did see a strange flow coming out of the creek just before you get to the bypass bridge. It was putting a strange slick on the surface of the river. I went up into the creek to further investigate, and found that it did not stink or feel oily or act oily when I performed a couple of routine field test that checks for that. So I guess it was just biological swamp yuk.

I saw no sawdust issues on the rest of the river and trash was not too bad. Had about a bag full I retrieved from the Franklin City stormwater canal and that was it.

Well, the shad are surely in the river now. I did not even try to fish for anything else. I started catching a few so I called my dad to see if he wanted to come out and try to catch some, especially since it was such a nice day. I picked him up at the boat ramp a little after 2 that afternoon.

At first we did not do much only catching a couple. Then we moved up close to the train trestle and the action picked up.

We were having a blast catching one every 5 minutes or so. Then after both of us switching to lures with hot pink on the lure it got nutty.

From 4 to 5 that afternoon we were catching a shad every cast. I do not think in all my years on the river I can remember catching shad that fast. My wrist actually had ‘bout given up we had caught so many.

We caught a bunch of roe shad as well, but threw all of ‘em back. It is really good the species is making such a strong comeback. Hopefully, one day the herring will also, but for that to happen the offshore harvesting of herring by foreign countries will have to be curtailed, and I don’t really see that happening. So it was a very nice trip, no water quality issues and very nice weather after it stopped raining the first day.

What I was really happy about though was the fact that the good Lord allowed me to enjoy a bountiful day with my dad on one of the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers.

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