RIVERGUARD REPORT: I’m in hot water

Published 10:02 pm Monday, August 21, 2023

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Whispering Bear and I spent August the 18th through the 20th on the Blackwater below Franklin. I definitely was in hot water as the water temp high was 87, which was one degree away from being as hot as I have ever seen it. The water was also getting pretty scummy and green/stagnant. We really need a very big rain event, but I’m not wishing for a hurricane mind you. Unfortunately, I do not see much rain in the extended two-weeks forecast. Air temps were a pleasant 62 to 86 degrees. We didn’t see that much trash but pulled a few gobs of fishing line and lures out of the trees.

The fishing on this trip for bass was pretty good. I reckon we caught 10. All were less than 2 pounds, and most were caught on topwater, believe it or not. Fished really slow. I’m also catching right many raccoon perch the past couple of trips for some reason. That’s kinda strange for this time of year. The catfishing was still really poor. We did catch one 3 pounder the first night right on the bottom, but that was it. I thought it was pretty odd we caught the cat on the bottom rig instead of the big floating cat rig since the dissolved oxygen readings I got were lower at deeper depths — 2.39 at 12 feet versus 2.79 at the surface. We only witnessed one dead catfish.

We saw right many avian critters on this trip, including a bald eagle a couple of times and a cormorant that didn’t want its picture taken. But the really coolest bird was the osprey this trip. Twice we saw it fly down and skim the water with its feet/claws. That was so cool-looking seeing the rooster tail it kicked up from dragging those huge talons. I don’t believe I have ever seen that behavior before. Typically, ospreys dive into the water feet first when attempting to grab a fish. According to what I could find online, they do the skimming thing when cleaning those claws or getting a drink of water. Not sure which task it was carrying out, but that was a really cool thing to see 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 blknotkpr@earthlink.net. He can also be followed on the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard Facebook page. Just type in “Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard” in the search field on Facebook.