Riverkeeper report: Who let the cats out?

Published 12:17 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 9th through the 11th on the Nottoway below Delaware. Air temps ranged from 72 to 94 degrees and the water was 80 degrees. The river was high at 11.53 on the Sebrell gauge, muddy and running like a ditch. Trash on this trip was just about non-existent.

On this Moonpie critter patrol, we saw a barred owl, seven snowy egrets, two adult bald eagles, a beaver and a cormorant. We watched the little beaver swim right by the boat and go up a creek they had built a dam across. We watched it meticulously check out the structure to make sure there were no problems, then it crossed over the dam and continued its swim up the creek toward the sand pit ponds off of Route 258.

The fishing on this trip was FANTASTIC! I easily caught all the brim I needed for catfish bait casting and on flyrod. I only cast for bass for about an hour the whole trip and only hung a jack.

The first night we catfished we caught five from 3 to 12 pounds, a mix of blue and channel; no bats this time.

The second night started off with a bang, first in the boat was a big 26-pounder.

I was drenched after getting that thing in the boat and getting it weighed, etc., and not from the fish. It was soooo hot/humid in that curve and no breeze at all. Then I caught a 4-pounder and the next fish up was a poor 17- pounder. By poor, I mean that fish was sick or something. It was just about as long as the 26-pounder, but was all head. Its body was really thin-looking and it had some strange markings on it like old wounds or something.

So we had a really good time on this patrol even though it was stifling hot.

After catching all those catfish Moonpie said, “I don’t know who’s in charge of these things, but I sure do like it when they let the cats out on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.”

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