I saw my first robin in the backyard last week. He didn’t get a worm, though. How do those silly birds expect to get a worm through frozen turf?
As I write this Monday evening, the weatherwoman has predicted a low of 14 for tonight.
The early fisherman gets the fish.
Most fishermen prefer to wait for the shirtsleeve weather of mid-spring, but it’s a proven fact that fish – sometimes the rally big fish – start hitting while winter still has weeks to go to run its course. Early fishing can be enjoyed if you dress for the weather.
In last week’s column I mentioned the three- or four-foot “shadow” that checked my crankbait out on Kinniconick Creek but wouldn’t hit.
My son, Kendall, and Bill Vansickle hit the Kinny last Saturday. They slid Bill’s square-nosed aluminum boat from the bed of his truck into Kinny at a rocky ford. They floated a long pool, casting crankbaits.
Kendall put two muskie into the boat, one that was over the 30-inch legal limit and one just under it. A bigger muskie followed his lure all the way in to the boat without striking.
In due time the chilling winds of winter will give way to a sun so hot we’ll seek the shade. In the meantime, the fish are ready to cooperate for those hardy fishermen who go after them.
And REMEMBER, new fishing licenses became due March 1 in both Ohio and Kentucky.
It’s also time to check on registering your boat for the new season.
You can get licenses at KD’s service station and convenience store, next to Dollar General two miles east of South Shore, and at Mark Harris’s Market Street Toy Town Hardware in Portsmouth.
Harris, by the way, is now handling a full line of lures and gear for anglers, and plans to sell live bait – in fact, I believe he has live nightcrawlers now. KD also handles crawlers and crickets and mealworms and such.
The steelhead runs up chilly Lake Erie tributaries started two weeks ago. Anglers, wearing insulated waders, were taking them by floating spawn sacks on Rocky River.
Walleye, too, will soon start their runs up the rivers. Walleye fishermen are starting to turn out to line the banks of the Maumee and Sandusky rivers. The fish will be accessible without a boat for a few weeks.
Water temperatures on both rivers were in the mid-30s starting the last week of February.
The walleye will drop and fertilize eggs up the rivers, then be back on the main lake by mid-April.
There’s going to be some big walleye caught on Lake Erie this spring and summer. Ohio wildlife officials say the spring 2003 hatch was an exceptional producer, both of walleye and yellow perch.
Those walleye hatched six springs ago are expected to provide the bulk of this spring’s catch. That means most walleye you hook will be 18-26 inches long. Jumbo perch of a foot long or more are expected to be plentiful from their 2003 hatch.
I’m not certain what the life expectancy of the walleyes is, but officials are saying that a few larger fish will come from an excellent 1999 hatch, and some lunkers from the early 1990s should exceed 32 inches
The walleye catch has declined for sportsmen in recent years because the hatches of the five springs following 2003 have been below average.
The walleye daily limit dropped from six to four on March 1 but will go back to six on May 1. They must be at least 15 inches long to keep.
Spring smallmouth fishing on Erie is expected to produce fish measuring 15 to 22 inches and weighing 2-6 pounds. From May 1 through June 26, any smallmouth or largemouth black bass must be released. On May 27 a five-fish daily bag limit goes into effect. The length limit is 14 inches.
The daily bag limit on perch in the Western Basin remains 25 a day, with no size limit.
MORE ON CATS
An image has to be very impressive for the mind to remember it vividly for 20 years.
Bud Hamilton called with a comment on mountain lions after last week’s column about the spotting of an animal described as a black panther on Schultz Creek. It’s been about that long ago now since he and his wife, Diane, saw the big brownish-yellow cat in the Ohio River bottoms, about three miles upriver from South Shore.
“The game wardens can say what they want, but I know what we saw (from about 75 yards). We saw how long it could leap. We saw its long tail. There was no mistaking it for anything other than a mountain lion, or cougar.”
The Lewis County Deer & Turkey Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14, in the Lewis County Middle School gymnasium in Vanceburg, Ky. The price for admission and to attend all seminars is $5 a head.
Seminars include those by Mike Beatty, who brought down the biggest non-typical whitetail rack ever known a few years ago in Ohio; and Crash Mullins of Cave Run Lake, one of the top five muskie pros and guides in the country.
Deer racks will be scored free of charge.
I read your column titled “The black panther of Schultz Creek,” which was printed in the Sunday, March 1, 2009, edition.
I was attracted to the column by the headline since my mother has often told me a story about her grandmother swearing that a black panther had jumped onto her river barge on the Guyandotte River in Lincoln County, West Virginia, when she was young.
When I heard that story as a child, I tried to do some research into what my great-grandmother could have seen and asked my science teachers about it.
I came to the conclusion that she probably saw a fisher, which my Random House Dictionary calls “a dark-brown or blackish, somewhat foxlike marten of northern North America.” I had never heard of the animal before trying to find something that lives in West Virginia that might resemble a black panther. I remember, at that time, that my father, who was an avid hunter, had never heard of a fisher either.
I thought I would just write a short note to see if you think a fisher could be what people are seeing.
Public Relations Director
Huntington Museum of Art
A very interesting observation about the fisher and the marten, John Gillispie. Both seem to be too small though to fit the descriptions folks have been giving for black panthers and tawny mountain lions they swear up and down they have spotted here.
The World Book Encyclopedia says the marten is only about 2 feet long with a bushy tail and weighing about 2 pounds, while the larger fisher, related to the marten, weighs 15 pounds. It says the fisher is now nearly extinct.
Thanks for your comments.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606)932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.