Sauger waiting for the cold snap

Chris Dunham, PDT Sports Writer

October 27, 2012

G. Sam Piatt

PDT Outdoors Writer

This past Wednesday afternoon, in my bass boat in the middle of the Ohio River, I pulled off my sweatshirt and continued on in a T-shirt upstream to the Greenup Dam tailwaters.

Oct. 24 and 82 degrees. Wow!

A man just about has to go fishing on a day like that – either that or harbor that frustrated feeling all day.

If you didn’t get to go, here’s what you missed:

My son, Kelly, and I put the boat in at the Wheelersburg ramp three miles downstream from the dam. We wanted to determine if the sauger were involved in their fall run as yet.

There were 14 pickups with their boat trailers in the parking lot on top of the hill, telling us that others were wondering the same thing.

It was noon when we motored across the river to set the glass minnow trap off a gravel bar. A 30-minute wait saw just three shiner minnows, each about as long as your index finger, enter the trap.

We put them in a Styrofoam bucket and headed on upriver.

We found five fishing boats clustered around the bullnose – the rounded downstream end of the outer guide wall. Other boats fished the partly submerged rocks near the Ohio shore.

The depth-sounder showed the water to be just under 15 feet deep. In the course of the next hour, we saw but two small sauger caught by the other boats.

All of the other boats soon left and headed back down river to take out.

Kelly and I, using the three minnows around the bullnose, caught three hybrid striped bass – each less that a foot long.

We jigged the waters about 40 feet off the Kentucky shore with sonar baits and spoons.

No takers.

Later, trolling crankbaits on an upstream angle from the bullnose to the riprap on the Ohio shore, just downstream from the fishing pier, Kelly reeled in two sauger, one the size of a cheap cigar, the other a foot long.

There were only one or two anglers trying their luck from the fishing pier.

The water temperature was 65 degrees. It needs to be in the 50s in order for the sauger to really start hitting in the tailwaters.


Two weeks ago Curtis Tussey of Ashland decided to try his luck at catching a mess of trout on Greenbo Lake, where the state had stocked about 5,000 rainbows ranging from 8 to 11 inches.

He opened up a bottle of Berkley Power Bait, rolled some of the orange mixture into a little ball, and stuck it on his hook.

Was he in for a surprise. Something much bigger than a trout took the bait. After a strong and mighty battle, he reeled in a largemouth bass that turned out to be 22.5 inches long and weighed 8 pounds even.


William “Gator” Washmuth of West Portsmouth, son-in-law of Jack Bradley of South Shore, drove nine hours one way to catch a trout of a different color.

It was a dandy, going perhaps 30 pounds – one of the big steelhead or chinook trout that swim each fall up Michigan’s rivers from the Great Lakes.

Washmuth caught his fish from the Manistee River, which flows into Lake Michigan near the town of Manistee.

“I have a friend named Denny who lives up there who calls me when the fish make their migration runs up the river,” said Washmuth. “He’ll call and say, ‘Gator, get yourself up here. You can walk across the river on their backs!’ The thrill of fighting one of those big beauties makes the long drive all worthwhile.”

Fishermen also during October enjoy good catches of the fish as they make their way up the Au Sable River from Lake Huron on Michigan’s east coastline.

The fish are delicious when smoked, grilled, baked or saluted in the skillet.


This coming Friday, Nov. 2, from 1 to 2 p.m., I will be at the McKell Library in South Shore signing my book, “Men of Valor.”

The 310-page book, just out from the presses of the publisher, the Jesse Stuart Foundation, consists of World War II combat stories of veterans from this area. I interviewed as many of them as possible and wrote their stories between early 2008 and mid-2011.

These men, all in their mid- to late 80s, were teenagers just leaving high school when they answered the call to go and fight against an enemy on the far side of two oceans.

Across the nation these men were dying daily and taking their stories with them. The ones I reached agreed to tell what this terrible war was like – in battles on land, on the seas, and in the air – so that future generations will know and remember.

Sad to say, I’ve found at least 10 of them have died since I interviewed them.

The book is priced at $20 even.

If you can’t get by the library to get a copy, you can order one by making a check out to me for $26, which includes the cost of handling and mailing, and send it, along with the return address you want the book mailed to, to me at 50 First Street, South Shore, KY 41175.


Also, Soc Clay’s Mad Trapper Sourdough Baking recipe book is hot off the Catchall Press and ready for you to get a copy. It has a collection of some of the greatest Alaskan sourdough recipes available anywhere. It’s also sprinkled with homespun wisdom and sourdough baking history.

To get a copy, make a check to Soc Clay for $17.45, which includes the cost of handling and shipping, along with the address you want the book mailed to, to him at PO Box 514, South Shore, Ky. 41175.

G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.