Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent December the 30th through January the 1st on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was 46 degrees and 1.59 on the Franklin USGS gauge, fast and clear. Air temps ranged from 30 to 52 degrees. It was a cold trip. 

In keeping with the way I have logged my other six New Year’s trips over the years, day No. 3, which was really in 2024, gets added to the 2023 total. That means I ended the year with a total of 105 camping days done in 35 trips. I am very fortunate that I was able to beat my old record of 94 camping days set in 1999. Total since 1988 is 2,201. 

I will not be topping this new record, I’m sure. 

My yearly totals are as follows: Trash total — 407 lbs. on the Blackwater, and 323 lbs. on the Nottoway for a total of 730 pounds; total since 2001 is 102,947 pounds. Fourteen eagle sightings and three sightings of cows in the river. Oddest things pulled from the river: a family-size tent, a hunting chair full of shotgun shells, a kiddie basketball goal and a bag of bobbers. 

I was stunned at the amount of trash on the river this trip, but not surprised after all that rain. There was at least a pickup truck-load of Styrofoam all up and down the shoreline near the city of Franklin’s stormwater canal to the river — thousands of giblets of that crap from cups, plates and food containers. Some of the large pieces of packing Styro I could see where little critters had been gnawing on it… not good! I wish they would do away with that stuff. 

The fishing on this trip was terrible. I really only fished five hours the entire trip because of the amount of trash that was on the river that I picked up this time. I caught one raccoon perch, one speckle and a 3-pound blue catfish. I caught them on the blade bait and a rubber minnow jigging. 

Well another year in the bag; thank the Lord for letting me be able to go as much as I did and not get seriously hurt. It’s the really cold season out there now, so I’m going to have to be a-waiting for some warmer weather before I start venturing out again 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.