While the fishing isn't what it used to be, the beauty is still there. I'm into paddling as much for the pleasure of being out as I am getting to the fish.
The fish kills were awful. 80% of the adult smallmouth dead three years in a row. So for those 100 fish days you used to have, after the first year you'd have had only 20, after the second year you'd have had only 4, after the fourth year you might get one fish every couple/few trips. Since then, there's been a lot of recruitment and there's tons of 8" and 10" fish. Not near as many as used to be, but lots more than just a few years ago. So long as whatever killed off the adult fish then (my guess was and remains chicken poop) doesn't kill off these fish as they mature, there's going to be a big mess of 14" to 16" fish in the river in a few years. I'll be eager for that!
In the meanwhile, continue to support Shenandoah Riverkeeper and his efforts to encourages sensible use, working with farmers to implement safe practices to protect the water without harming their production, and busting the bad guys who think the river is a sewer.
- Big D
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
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