Trip to Greenbo cures cabin fever

G. Sam Piatt

The water temperature in Greenbo Lake this past Tuesday, March 8, was 45 degrees. I know, I was there.

So were a lot of other anglers bitten by the bug activated by an air temperature that reached the high 70s.

It was the most truck/trailers I’ve ever seen parked in the parking lot there. I managed to get the last one available.

Aaron Brown and I thought we might perhaps luck into a big bass on the prowl.

I had warned Aaron, my granddaughter Chelsea’s fiancee, that bass fishing so early in the 2016 season might prove futile.

And I was right.

Greenbo is a tough lake for bass fishing anytime of the year anyway.

I know there are big bass swimming there. Fish surveys conducted from time to time by personnel from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Services always shock up some largemouth in the 5- to 6-pound category.

And in the back of every Greenbo bass fisherman’s mind is a wondering if perhaps a state record might be swimming there.

It’s been almost 50 years since Delbert Grizzle, a night fisherman, boated the 13 and 1/2-pounder that stood as the state record for 18 years.

The current record is a largemouth that tipped the scales at 13 pounds, 10.4 ounces caught by Dale Wilson from Woods Creek Lake in 1984.

The Ohio record largemouth bass weighed 13 pounds, 13 ounces. It was boated by Roy Landsberger from a farm pound in 1976.

We tried casting the shoreline with floating, deep-running crankbaits and working them back to the boat to the edge of the underwater creek bank.

I won’t say it was time wasted. Just being out in the sunshine – which burned the tops of our exposed lower arms and hands – and casting with great anticipation was time well spent and good medicine for the cabin fever which affects us all through the long winter.

The only catching available featured rainbow trout, caught on the crankbaits trolled over 40 feet of water down near the dam.

These hatchery-raised trout were only 8 or 9 inches long, no doubt coming from the stocking by the department earlier this year.


My hope is that some member of the Silver Muskie Club of Kentucky will read this and accept the apology I offer here.

I was at the courthouse in Greenup late Tuesday evening, working for the Associated Press in covering the special election for state representative for the 98th District House seat. I bumped into my friend, Tom Clay, who asked me forthwith, “Where were you supposed to be Saturday night?”

I answered that I did not know.

Tom attended the annual awards banquet of the club held in Morehead. He said the program listed as featured speaker one G. Sam Piatt.

Oh, yes, lordy be, then I remembered the invitation I had accepted two months earlier. I had posted the date on my calendar, but then my faulty memory did not remind me to look at the calendar.

At any rate, Tom got me off the hook. They scratched out my name and penciled in his. And he, most aptly, I’m certain, filled in for me.


In the fall of 2008 Sarah Terry and her stepfather, Scott Salchli, had cast heavy lures for muskie on Cave Run Lake for hours without seeing a fish.

Sarah, at the time a 14-year-old freshman at Montgomery County High School in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, said she was starting to wear down.

At 4:30 in the afternoon, she made one more long cast with her lure, called the Double Cow Girl, toward the edge of a weed bed near the Claylick boat ramp.

She thought she saw a fish follow the lure and then duck under the boat.

Salchli, who sometimes guided on Cave Run for muskie for the late, great Crash Mullins, told her to get the lure back in the water and work it in a figure eight at the side of the boat.

She did, and WHAMMO! The big fish struck.

“It was a muskie. It was splashing, right at the boat. I kept saying ‘Oh my god! Oh my god!’ over and over,” Sarah said.

“I had no line out. My stepdad grabbed the net and netted it.”

Even though it was huge, they planned to release it. But when hey tried to do so, it turned belly-up.

On the scales at the Southern States store in Morehead, the 54-inch long fish weighed 47 pounds. That surpassed the previous state record muskie, which weighed 44.38 pounds and was caught from Cave Run by Scott Flat in 1998.

Sarah’s fish had its right pictorial fin clipped. Fred Howes, fisheries biologist for the department, said the last time the right fin was clipped on muskie stocked into the lake was 1994, meaning Sarah’s muskie was 14 years old.

Sarah, in an interview at the time, said she had attended Silver Muskie or “Muskie Inc.” banquets and “saw older people who fished for 50 years trying to catch this kind of fish.”

Ain’t it the truth?

G. Sam Piatt

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

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