RIVERGUARD REPORT: The rivers really need rain

Published 11:45 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Whispering Bear and I spent June 17-19 on the Nottoway below Delaware. The water was clear and unbelievably averaged 84 degrees… that’s hot. Air temps ranged from 65 to 87 degrees. We saw an NC DEQ boat out there and asked about the dissolved oxygen, and remarkably they said it was good. Trash was light, but I did remove 10 derelict limb lines. Several that were set illegally with no tags that used green twine were removed right across from where the Atkinson place burned down years ago near Smiths Ferry. 

The fishing on this trip was not too great. We only caught two three-pound catfish the first night and were skunked the second night. Mostly I blame this on the fact the river went still on night two right at dusk. It did not start moving again that night until midnight… about the time we went to bed… hhaaaa. The bream fishing was not too bad actually, though. I did not bass fish at all. We did see something pretty wild out there, though. Three different times we saw schools of small stripers busting through schools of fry herring or shad. I know this because I caught one striper. I possibly could have caught more, but I was not rigged up on any rod (of course) to be ready to cast to an occurrence like this. The other two feeding frenzies I could not get to in time. I don’t think I have ever seen the stripers hang around this long in the river before in that large of numbers.

On the Moonpie Wildlife Patrol, we saw an unusual number of great blue herons; don’t know what that’s all about. Several ospreys are still here also. We saw one eagle twice at Monroe Bridge; I think it probably has a nest somewhere in that area. We also heard a bunch of hawks, and the owls seemed unusually vocal this trip, even in the daytime for some reason. Also, there were a couple times at night the frogs got so loud they were drowning out the stereo, hhhaaa. 

So it was a good trip, kind of hot at times, but nothing like NOAA is predicting for later in the week. I’m glad we went because the river is going to get pretty stagnant on the lower Nottoway and Blackwater with the combined high heat and no rain forecasted. I just hope that combination does not cause another blue cat kill like has happened the past two years. I guess I’ll have to see if Moonpie will do a rain dance for the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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. Search for “Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard” on Facebook.