Shad fish are jumpin’

Published 12:29 pm Saturday, March 17, 2018

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 8th through the 10th on the Nottoway below Delaware. The water was normal, clear and 46 degrees the first day, but dropped to 43 the second. Air temps ranged from a really cold 26 to 50 degrees and it was windy the entire trip. It also rained on me the third day coming in and was 38 degrees, which made for a very miserable six-mile run back to Round Gut.

Trash on this trip was light; I only picked up a few bottles. I saw no water quality issues.

I was hoping the shad were in the river and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were. On that first day I caught I guess 25. They were a mixed bag of herring; hickory shad and I even caught a large American shad. That day the water was 46 degrees. The second day, because it got down to 26 degrees that night, the water temps had dropped to 43 degrees and I only caught two shad all day. Don’t know if it was a temperature thing or not. I just know that nobody else did much good that day.

I did not do any casting. I did jig fish for stripers and caught four in about an hour. However, all of them were less than 18 inches long so they had to be tossed back. I did not catch any white perch while jigging for the stripers, but I did catch two nice speckles.

The Moonpie Critter Patrol did not yield much as far as seeing critters. We did watch a Barred Owl fly right over us into the swamp and right into a hole in a tree.

I could not believe that owl didn’t crash. I mean it went straight in this hole and disappeared, then as I was starring in disbelief at what I had just witnessed the owl was at its doorway looking down at us. I grabbed my camera, but of course as soon as I did it took off out of the hole and flew back across the river. That’s the way that goes though sometimes when filming wildlife.

We didn’t see them thankfully, but both nights at camp the coyotes cranked up. The first night they started while I was sitting there freezing beside the river at 26 degrees. They started like at 9 and that’s pretty rare, usually it’s very late and I’m in my tent when they start howling like they did on the second night.

The good thing about them starting early was that I had my recording capability already booted up so I was able to record the canine concert. You can go to the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard Facebook page and hear that recording. I know the coyotes are a real problem and I hate they are here … but they are and we will never get rid of them again. So as long as they stay on the other side of the river from me I kinda enjoy hearing their howlin’ and screaming at night beside my campfire on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

To contact JEFF TURNER about river issues, email him at