Weather cold, river fishing hot

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



The weather might seem a bit miserable out there to you right now, but to local winter fishermen who are having success it’s like balmy breezes around Miami.

And their success is coming on the Ohio River, which holds treasures untold for the year-round fisherman. Creighton Stephens, Bill Vansickle and a couple of visiting relatives from Indiana – Keith Caldwell and Ron Vansickle – boated some nice sauger and crappie, along with an occasional walleye — three of the main species Oho River fishermen go for at this time of the year.

Sauger and their cousin, the walleye, have dropped away from the tailwaters of the Greenup Dam to stage up near the mouths of feeder streams such as the Big Scioto, Little Scioto, and Little Sandy rivers, and Kinniconick, Tygarts and Turkey creeks.

Toward the end of February and early March, the sauger and walleye will move up these streams to spawn.

The sauger is identified from the walleye by dark splotches on its sides and black dots on its dorsal fin.

The action by these afore mentioned anglers came on live minnows fished near the bottom.

“We had some great action,” said Creighton Stephens. “And with the water temperature down in the 40s, the fish fight harder than warm weather fish.”


Another species winter-time anglers on the big river have success and enjoyment out of is the hybrid, a man-induced cross between the white bass and the striped bass.

There’s a generous 30 fish daily creel limit on hybrids, but only four of them can be 15 inches long and longer. Hybrids are caught all year-round in the tailwaters of the Greenup Dam and all up and down the river, on sandbars, around bridge piers, and at the mouths of the feeder streams. Ditto for the white bass.


Three species of catfish – blue, channel and flathead –swim in the Ohio River and are caught year-round. Probably nine of 10 caught are channel cats.

Anglers may keep only one blue and one flathead 35 inches or longer and only one channel 28 inches or longer daily. There is no daily creel limit on catfish measuring under those limits.

Thirty- and 40-pound blues and flatheads are battled in. In fact, a blue weighing 107 pounds and a flathead going 97 pounds has been caught from the river.


Muskie are not so plentiful on the main stem of the Ohio. This past weekend, Bill Carver, on Kinniconick Creek, plugging along between the railroad bridge and the mouth of the stream on the Ohio, boated a muskie exceeding three feet in length.


Bill Carver is noted for catching big fish, meaning that he paid close attention to that session of the class I taught in my younger years, titled “How to Catch Big Fish of the North American Continent.”

Creighton Stephens and Bill Vansickle graduated from my class, which covered the various species swimming from the Article Circle to the tip of Florida.

Bill Dance was one of my bigger graduates.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.