Too much fresh water

Published 12:06 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent May the 4th through the 6th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was high at 1.87 on the Franklin gauge, clear and very fast. Air temps ranged from 47 to 73 degrees. The trash was very bad this time. The Franklin stormwater ditches finally did flush.

Lots to report — the Route 189 bridge project was finally finished. It’s nice, but I fear that elevated and longer road bed on the Kingsdale side is going to act like a bigger dam now. In 2017 when stakeholders met with VDOT, I recommended blow-through pipes be installed at three places to allow for flood waters to pass through, but VDOT did not do that. Plus, they left the barge bridge protection bulkheads in the river, which slows down flood waters as well. Don’t know why that was done; there will never be any more tugboat traffic on that river. Anyway, that combined with the new longer and higher roadbed on the Kingsdale side will certainly cause the community of Kingsdale to flood worse when the big one hits again. Also, the alligator weed has really taken off. There is twice as much this year. I came upon one huge mat of the stuff that was as high as the side of my boat. I have never seen it that thick before. 

The fishing on this trip was awful. Even though I caught a 17-inch striper, three largemouth and three chain pickerel, I cast 987 miles to catch those few fish, hhaaaa. All were caught on a white tail #3 Mepps or a Rogue stick bait. As my granddaddy used to say, “Too much fresh water in the river.” He knew what he was talking about; nobody knew the Blackwater like him, and I have seen it be true dozens of times. I’m not sure what the science is behind that; maybe the pH changes or something like that when there is a large influx of fresh water from heavy rains. Also of note was the fact that the water temperature dropped 10 degrees from the last time I was there on the 23rd of April. Hopefully things will be back to normal in a few days and the fishing should really take off 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.