Green Blackwater

Published 7:35 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022

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Spirit of Moonpie, Whispering Bear and I spent August the 25th through the 27th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was… GREEN, stagnant, 83 degrees, stinking and just plain nasty. Air temps ranged from 68 to 88 degrees. Dissolved oxygen was 3 parts per million. Great weather except for the humidity on the first day.

Trash was very light; we only picked up about a dozen pieces. We saw a bunch of balls but could only get to one. I dread the next big rain event that happens in Franklin, though, as that will certainly put a bunch of trash in the river. 

The cows were also in the river. This really hurts the river when river conditions are already bad. All that poop just sits in the water festering and does not get flushed out because the water runs out a little and then back in a little. So all those nutrients don’t go anywhere.

The fishing on this trip was pretty good considering the high water temps, low dissolved oxygen and nasty water conditions. I caught several small bass on spinners and crank baits; we also caught a few nice bream and some big mudgappers. Only caught one catfish the first night, but on night two we struck paydirt, finally connecting with a monster catfish. We first caught two that night that were small, but then (as usual) right at the end of the night ’bout 12 midnight, we hooked up and landed a 35.4-pound blue. The fish actually was in better shape than I would have thought. It was probably 5 pounds or so light, but I didn’t think that was too bad considering the water conditions. 

So now I have some sad news. Dino, the little Fishasaurus dinosaur I have been seeing all my life on the Blackwater may have died. We found it up on the shore out of the water. It looked pretty bad. However, I got it back into the river and tried resuscitating it. The cute little dinosaur did swim off, but it didn’t look too good. I really hope it got to feeling better and maybe it survived. I hate seeing anything that is so rare being in such distress. Hopefully the rain we had helped, and we’ll see the cute little Cretaceous Period critter again on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

Jeff Turner is the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard. To contact him about river issues, send him an email at He can also be followed on the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard Facebook page. Just type in “Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard” in the search field on Facebook.