Fishing on the Nottoway River – Part III

nottoway river, virginiaToday was shaping up to be on the cooler side of the 100-degree mark. We have experienced about 2 weeks of temperatures north of the “feels like” 100 degree mark. There was a chance of rain later, but I wanted to get outside and get in a bit of fishing.

The Nottoway was on my short list, I wanted to paddle farther upstream than my last outing on this river. So I got up early, loaded up the gear, and headed on out the door.

A view of Virginia's scenic Nottoway River

A view of Virginia’s scenic Nottoway River

It was 08:00 local boat ramp time when I arrived. There were 2 other cars in the parking area. Good! I was hoping the river wouldn’t be too crowded with fishing boats.

This is the second time I have been on this section. I had been here about a month ago, and the National Weather Service NOAA water gauge was at 6 feet. Today, it was running at 4 feet.

I paddled up stream for an hour or so, having to exit the kayak a few times to drag it across sand bars and over fallen trees. I was hoping that the cars in the parking lot all went down stream. I couldn’t see how anything other than a kayak or canoe could make it through the shallow water this far up.

Every now and again, I would see a Bald Eagle take flight from a perch overlooking the river. Every few minutes I would see him take flight. I guess I followed him upstream?

I managed to knock out over 3 miles in an hour of mostly easy paddling. It was now time to get a huge drink of water and get down to some fishing business.

I stopped at a small sandy bank to get out and stretch and noticed a tannin stained cold water spring flowing into the main channel.

A Nottoway River Smallmouth Bass

A Nottoway River Smallmouth Bass. He needs to grow a bit bigger.

Making a few casts, I lucked into a nice little smallmouth, not bad! After another 10 minutes of casting, I didn’t hook up on any of his buddies.

It was time to get back in the kayak.

It wasn’t long before I started catching. In total, managed to land a good number of pumkinseed and redbreast sunfish, a few redeye rock bass, and even hooked into a gar that got away.

I have been hunting for a trophy rock bass or red ear sunfish. Would I find any?

Over the 3 miles of drifting back, dragging my kayak through the same sandbars and over the same fallen trees, I counted 6 rock bass, the largest being 10 1/2 inches, the largest sunfish was 8 inches.

I also noted another Bald Eagle, this time going downstream. Flying from tree to downstream tree. Perhaps it was the same Eagle, curiously watching, wondering why I was tossing all of this good food back into the river?

A Nottoway River Pumpkinseed Sunfish

A Nottoway River Pumpkinseed Sunfish

I had thoughts of coming up for an overnighter camping trip, maybe a Nottoway fish dinner cooked over an open fire. Staying on a sandy beach someplace with views of far off places in the Milky Way.

I wasn’t too far from the ramp with I started hearing rumbles of thunder. Not having any rain gear with me, I hoofed it back to the ramp. It was close to 13:30 local boat ramp time when I arrived.

Holy cow, the parking lot was full of cars!

I must be missing the downstream action, and the downstream crowds.

Soon as I had the kayak strapped to the truck, the sky opened up, unleashing about 4 inches of rainfall over the remainder of the day. It was a slow drive back to the house, stopping a few times here and there when I had no visibility out of the windshield.

Overall, it was an awesome day! I caught a respectable number of fish. Had I been out looking for dinner, I would have a real feast on my stringer.

I didn’t catch any citation sized monsters this trip. I know they are here. A Virginia trophy citation redeye rock bass is 12 inches, a trophy citation sunfish is also 11 inches.

This section is definitely on my visit again list. Maybe with a tent and some cooking gear?

Nottoway River III