Blackwater Bonanza

Published 10:36 am Monday, April 3, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent March the 29th through the 31st on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was crystal clear and very low most of the time due to the wind. I forgot what the water temperature was, sorry. Air temps ranged from 38 to 72. Pollen was THICK!

The trash on this trip was not too bad really. I only picked up about half a bag. I did get an item I believe was a first. I found a yoga ball or one of them big exercise balls. It was certainly the biggest ball of all the balls I have collected from the river in the past 23 years.

The Moonpie Wildlife Patrol was busy this trip. We saw a juvy bald eagle, osprey, anhinga, beaver and had a blast watching a mink that climbed a tree. Never seen that before, and we watched it dig into a rotten place in the tree, I guess looking for bugs. I had no idea they would forage for insects. I got a cool video of that, which will be posted on Facebook. I also picked up a baby wood duck that seemed lost, and I helped get it back with its brothers and sisters. I kept hearing a momma duck and finally found them hiding back behind Carson Whitleys. So, I was glad I got to reunite them.

The fishing on this trip was pretty darn great. The first day I went upriver and caught 30 to 40 shad, and maybe some herring mixed in. They were either little shad or big herring. I could not tell for sure. Most all were caught on a large green spoon or small orange spoon. On day two I picked up a friend, and we ventured downriver. We caught a few bass to 3 pounds and a jack. Best lures were stick baits in blue. We also caught a few shad on bass lure crankbaits, which was weird. A lot of weirdness went on that day. We caught a few white perch jigging the blade bait, a catfish and an eyeball also jigging the blade bait. Yes, my buddy caught an eyeball. He released it!

So, it was definitely a Blackwater Bonanza as far as the fishing and critter-watching goes. That’s what’s so great about this time of year out there. All kinds of fish are biting and all kinds of critters are out and very happy to have the two great rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway to enjoy. 

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.