No more Nanook

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent December the 16th through the 18th on the Blackwater above Burdette Bridge. The water was 4 feet on the USGS Gauge at Burdette and 43 degrees. Air temps ranged from 26 to 52. 

I really didn’t pick up that much trash, only about 10 pounds, as it was too cold to go really far downriver where the bulk of the trash lives on that part of the river. I didn’t see any water quality issues. I did see some human decency quality problems though. At 4:15 the morning of the 17th, two boats came by and ’bout sank my boat that was pulled up to the shore. Then the duck hunters did the same thing when they left later that day. I even tried warning them off and trying to get them to go to no wake in that narrow part of the river, but they just kept going at 1/4 throttle, throwing a combined huge wake. I just cannot believe people can be so stupid not to know that a boat pulled up to shore will get smashed into that shore (or sink) when monster waves hit it from the stern end of the boat. Anyway, I got pics of them and reported the incident to the Department of Wildlife Resources. 

The fishing was ok. I was out there for the bowfin, but they were not stacked up like they usually are this time of year. Don’t know why. Dec. 17 is usually a really good date for them. I did, however, catch one bass and so many catfish I lost count. The white catfish with channel mixed in were in a school in 23 feet of water 10 feet thick. Yes, I mean there were so many catfish the sonar was reading a false bottom. Hundreds of catfish were in a tight school at this place. It was crazy there were so many. I could feel the fish as my blade bait bounced off of them as my lure dropped to the bottom. I would guess half of them I snagged. None were over 2 pounds. It was right much fun, but I sure missed the big fight of those large bowfin I usually am catching this time of year. 

I didn’t see many critters on this trip. It was just too cold, I guess. I had one beaver tail slap me a few times the first night, upset that I was camped in his path from the river to the beaver pond (that was dry). I was surprised at that with all that rain we had the day before I went out. I also saw a bald eagle and believe it has a nest in the area. Every morning I heard it (or them) making that weird eagle trill sound they make. I usually mostly hear that when they are nesting, so I think there is one around Corrowaugh Creek somewhere.

Well, it looks like my days of cold weather patrols/camping are over. I have an affliction called Raynaud’s Syndrome that is cutting off circulation to a couple fingers on my only good hand. Yes, gloves help, but with a glove on, there are lots of things I can’t do. Finding a warm glove with great dexterity is my quest right now. So, looks like I’ll be spending a lot of money on gloves trying to find something that probably doesn’t exist. I knew that one day I’d have to start cutting back on cold weather patrols. Old and cold just don’t go well together. Forty-five degrees in the daytime looks to be my limit. Nighttime really isn’t an issue as I have a small fire that keeps my hand sorta OK. Oh well, it looks like there will be no more Nanook 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.