March 17th through the 19th Nottoway Trip

20 Mar
March 20, 2008

Moonpie and I spent the 17th through the 19th on the Nottoway around Courtland. The water was high at 8.71 on the USGS gage, colored and 54 degrees. Air temps ranged from 28 to 65 degrees.

Except for the huge amount of trash in the river and one dead deer, I saw no other water quality issues. But yes, lots of trash. Two full bags and there was so much I could not get. I can tell you one thing about the trash problem below Courtland, somebody that either boats or fishes up that way or has contact with the river frequently, drinks an abundance of Gatorade that’s for sure. I picked up over 80 bottles! Also in abundance were worm and Skoal containers.
More than likely it’s the same idiot over and over tossing the Skoal, Gatorade or worm containers into the river. All this trash was picked up between Courtland and the 58 by-pass bridge. The river looked really clean above Courtland. The fishing on this trip was pretty good. We caught two small stripers and about 10 shad, one of which was an American Shad. We gave the two stripers to VDGIF biologist Eric Brittle and his crew who were on the river that day gathering stripers and shad in the shock boat. I caught the shad on a hot pink spoon and the stripers on the Silver Buddy.
Speaking of fishing and enjoying the river, boating etc. I just want to mention that safety should be foremost on your mind when heading out. This time of year I see so much dangerous behavior on the rivers. A lot of new recreational boaters and fishermen head out each spring onto our rivers. In many instances these new boaters are not aware of safety laws or practices that could save their lives. On my last day this trip I watched a small johnboat come past me. The water up on this part of the river is treacherous to say the least with swift water and many logs. One person was perched on his knees on the front seat of the boat facing forward most likely looking for logs to warn the driver. This log look out was not wearing a life jacket nor was the driver. If they would have struck a log with any kind of speed that lookout would have gone over the front of the boat into raging 54 degree water, then most likely have been run over by his buddy driving the boat. Practices like this get people killed, not to mention it is against the law to ride in a boat in this manner. So please, use common sense and know the current laws governing your body of water. Thankfully in the next few years ALL operators of boats will be required to take a certification exam and pass to operate a boat on Virginias waterways. It is a law I have long advocated. We were very fortunate on this trip to see the eagles nesting at the nest site above the RR trestle in Courtland. While we were checking them out the male flew to the nest. Moonpie ask what it was doing as I had the only pair of binoculars. It looks like he brought lunch I said but I can’t tell who is getting fed, the mother or chicks. Moonpie, said that’s pretty cool, what do you think they will have for supper? Right then the male eagle took back off and headed right for us. I was stunned as it landed in a dead tree about 100 yards off our bow. Well I replied if you don’t be still I would say that a juicy Moonpie might be considered since that big male is looking square at you right now! Moonpie screamed and immediately jumped off her seat and hopped into the livewell. What a big chicken I remarked. No Moonpie said, chicken is something eagles eat fairly often, but a Moonpie is soft and sweet and would be quite a delectable treat. I bout got choked laughing so hard. Right I said, most Moonpies are sweet however I’m certain those eagles or any other eagles would gag at eating a Moonpie as out of date and stale as you are on either of the two rivers we call Nottoway and Blackwater.

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