Blackwater 18th Through 20th Trip

21 May
May 21, 2009

I spent three days on the Blackwater below Franklin the 18th through the 20th. The water was clear and fast. Air temps ranged from 44 to 72 degrees, perfect camping weather.

Trash was pretty bad as I picked up 1-½ bags over the three days. Heavy rains contributed to the heavy trash. However I got to say it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. A few years ago the river would have been inundated with trash after a rain like we had the other day. So kudos has to be given to Franklin Public Works for doing a good job of keeping the stormwater ditches and storm drains clean. The extra effort is making a difference on the river.
The fishing on this trip was outstanding. I caught over 20 largemouth and two stripers. All were caught on a Smithwick Rogue. I caught 10 of the bass and one striper out of one spot. One of the bass weighed nearly five pounds and would have weighed more if not for the fact it had spawned out. It was very poor and had a giant head. That fish should have been closer to 7 pounds.
I went to check on the eagles while out at the protected nesting site at Cherry Grove. I saw one adult but no babies yet. I would think that soon I will see them jumping from limb to limb and then can get a count on how many they had this year.
This was an interesting trip to say the least. I had a three-day window of good weather but an Eco-Cruise Monday and Wednesday. So I decided I would go and stay out there and just do the cruises between patrolling. Well I had to cancel the first group (Village at Woods Edge) tour on Monday, as it was just too cold and rainy that morning for the 10 am boarding time. Good thing too as it was cold enough I had to wear my winter coat. Wednesday’s tour with the Franklin Woman’s Club was much better though it was not exactly hot that day either. However at least the sun was shining and the group got to see some wildlife including a couple of really big snakes. I think some of the group would just as soon not seen that part of the tour. But all in all it was a great trip even though because of the weather I had to take everything from my winter river clothes to short pants.
Well I guess ya’ll have noticed little Moonpie was not on this trip. I’m sad to say that she is not doing very well and most likely will not be going out anymore. She is just not able to get around very good, she can’t hear and is going blind. She would end up hurting herself if she went. Her health continues to decline and now I’m having a hard time getting her to eat. So I’m keeping her at home in hopes she will live out her last days in the safety of her back porch.
I will certainly miss her on the two rivers we call the Blackwater & Nottoway.
Jeff Turner
BNRP Riverkeeper

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