Cows in the Blackwater

Published 4:31 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent February the 6th through the 8th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was back down to 40 degrees, clear and running pretty hard. Air temps ranged from 30 to 70 degrees. It was one of those trips where I thought it was going to be warmer than it was, but NOT. Of course, the 70-degree temp was recorded on my way home. 

The fishing on this trip was pretty good. I caught a total of five stripers. Though I must admit, five stripers over a two-day fishing period was a whole lot of jigging for only five fish! The fish were all over 18 inches, and I had one that was 4.2 pounds. One of the two I cleaned had eggs in it, the other was full of what looked like Golden Anchovies? I also caught one chain pickerel, several speckle, a gar and one lonely raccoon perch that looked to be full of roe. All the fish were caught jigging a blade bait.

The trash on this trip was not too bad. I did finally manage to get a big piece of blue boat flotation — that has been working its way downriver for years — out of the river. I also collected another kiddie car that had made its way out of the Franklin Stormwater ditch. I want to thank Chad Edwards at Franklin Public Works for getting that picked up for me and removing a huge log that had gotten hung up under one of the boat ramp piers. Sure is nice having new management there!

I did come across a water quality issue. There were cows in the river upriver from Franklin back behind River Road. I thought they had been fenced out, but I guess I was wrong with that report. Admittedly, though, I did not see a lot of cow poop on the shore or in the water at that location. That is good since the alligator weed in the river certainly does not need more nutrients. 

Well, I didn’t see any shad yet in the river, but I think they will not be long before getting here. Hopefully we will have another good run of those and the white perch this year. I hope everyone will remember to be safe and considerate of other boaters during this upcoming busy time of the year out 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.