Went down to a few different spots around noon – Skillet fork, John’s Branch and Fulton Creek. Still bottom fishing, hoping for a few for my list – Black Bullhead, Yellow Bullhead, White Suckers, etc.
Right off the bat, caught a creek chub
Now, this is the first “large” creek chub I caught – I’ve only ever caught them via Microfishing.
The rest of the afternoon was very fast action on green sunfish and longears.
Ran into three snakes, first two I didn’t get a good look at – but I am pretty sure they were young Northern Water Snakes – I think this is a rat snake of some sort, but I am not even close to a snake expert.
Unfortunately, my cellphone was dead. I had left “location” on, and ever since the last update my phone drains rapidly when location services are on – and gets hot to the touch.
Anyway, Rich Crouse and I went to a private pond with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. We caught a silly amount of bluegill – some where pretty good sized. Rich tried out the microfishing, and had a good time. There are some very large stocked catfish there, we may go back and try for them later!
I headed out for some sunrise fishing at Kaskaskia River. It was overall a pretty slow bite, with random hits. Carp were really out sunning in the backwaters near the Suspension Bridge.
I did end up catching a handful of small channel, drum, and bluegill. Down in the main channel, I also caught a small green sunfish on micro gear.
It was nearly time for me to leave, so I started walking back to the truck. On a whim, I through out a curly tail one last time and caught a new lifer / 2015 species. I’ve caught many black crappie, but this was my first white crappie:
5/24 – Skillet Fork
Skillet fork held a large number of micros of various kinds, but I didn’t have any tenago hooks with me to go after them. I set up a Carolina rig – this spot holds suckers, gar, yellow bullhead and lots of other backwater species. I couldn’t do anything but catch longear and green sunfish – they hit about every cast. I was also visited by a small group of ducklings, snapping turtles, and a northern water snake.
Woke up early Monday Morning – Dad and Mark Collier came to Sandoval, and we loaded up. We made good time to Port Clinton, saw lots of “Himalayan” deer (Him ‘ a ‘ layin’ – as in on the side of the road). Rained most of the way up. After we checked in, we hit the portage river. Our hotel had access directly behind it, and we were close to the pier.
Mark picked up a HUGE Freshwater Drum, I’d never seen one so big. We ended up catching a lot of drum over the trip, and started looking for spots where we wouldn’t catch drum by the end of it. I caught a few fairly nice ones, but his had to be around 30″ long.
Over at the pier, I immediately picked up a few White Perch – they are closely related to White Bass – Easy way to tell is that they lack stripes. This one had a good size bite taken out of it’s dorsal fin. I felt something hit it hard on the way in.
I left some worms to soak on one pole, and started drifting waxworms on a small #12 circle hook. I really wanted to pick up Northern Sunfish and Pumpkinseed while I was up that way, but I’ll have some more chances at those later. When the waxies would drift close to the shore I would pick up a few gobies.
I fished pretty stinking late, but kept only catching Drum, White Perch and Gobies. Rain was moving in, had a fair bite – but only one new lifer – and two new 2015 species.
Juls picked us up early Tuesday morning, and we went after some breakfast. It rained pretty much the entire six hours we spent out on the water, but we picked up quite a few Walleye – Average was 26″, but we caught our first 30″ of the week – ended up catching a fair amount of 30″+ fish all week long. We ended up with 54 lbs of Walleye.
That afternoon I tried bottom fishing some in the Little Portage River Wildlife Area. The fish were not having it in the main river. My time was running out, since I needed to pick Dad and Mark up for Dinner – So I hit smaller spots on the way out. I got a good bite on a small pond, but couldn’t hook anything – so I downsized my hook and caught a goldfish.
On the drive out, I stopped at a ditch that fed into the Little Portage river, and found a swarm of Golden Shiners – Including this fat female who laid eggs all over me. Didn’t notice until I got them everywhere.
Later that night, I went to a small pond near the hotel – a few dead channel cat were floating in it, and the sunfish bite was lite – but I caught a few. They were bluegill and green sunfish, which I already have caught this year.
We went out with Juls that morning, but only picked up 2 small ‘eyes totalling 5 lbs. It was super foggy, and you couldn’t see much…but you could sure hear the foghorns of ferries and barges. You don’t really want to get ran over by those, so Juls graciously allowed us to move the hours to different days.
Right after we called it quits, Juls shared a sorta-publicly-know Morel spot with us. The morels had come and gone at home, but these were just starting. Greys and Yellows, and a few random blacks.
The fog never really cleared off, but we hit Cold creek later in the afternoon. Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout frequent the stream. Dad caught a small rainbow, but they weren’t really biting. However, the emerald shiners were thick. Also managed to pick up a silver shiner upstream below a riffle.
Days 4 and 5 really made up for the fog and rain! Day 4 was the day of heavy fish – 74 lbs total, 14 fish. 5 “Fish Ohio” qualifying Walleye – greater than 28″, and two 30″ fish at the same time on both sides of the boat.Afterwards I hit the Little Sandusky River down at a bridge below the main wildlife area. I caught a new lifer – a bowfin. It was a crazy fight, it was a fairly large fish, and I was looking for sunfish – so it was a #12 circle hook, 4lb test, and a waxworm. I fought it forever, finally worked it up the bank. It thrashed me good when I was handling it, I fell, it fell, and it went back into the water. So no pic. He must have been the guard dog for this muskrat.
Never caught another bowfin that day, but managed to pick up a few little bass.
I went and picked Dad and Mark up and we tried Cold Creek again. I caught a carp, but it managed to shake off the hook while I was pulling it out of the water – another lifer missed in one day. I may be cursed! Steelhead were running up and down the creek – we harassed one terribly. Dropped nightcrawlers, red wrigglers, egg sacks, powerbait, and wax worms in front of her face, and she wasn’t having any of it. Very lethargic, I wonder if she had just spawned?
We didn’t catch Walleye as big today, but they sure were coming in waves. We were running 6 boards, the bottom bouncer was in time out for not catching any walleye. At one point, we had only one line out, we caught 5 fish in 10 minutes. Three at once. These fish only weighed in at 45 lbs total, but they were all eaters.
Overall, we caught 178 total pounds of fish – 41 keepers. We divided the meat in thirds, 120 pounds of finished meat. At $12.50 / pound in the fish market – About $1,500 dollars worth of fillets.It was a great day to finish out the week’s Walleye fishing.
I took a nap – the week was really catching up to me, but afterwards we headed to revisit the bowfin spot. I had seen a big channel pulled out the previous day. Luckily, I had better luck this time. Found several nests of bullhead.
Didn’t get a channel as big as I had seen – but managed to pick one of those up too.
We had to really work to get the hook out, so I just took the picture while dad was holding it. I’ve caught way bigger catfish, but it felt nice to finally catch one this year. Right afterwards, dad caught a buffalo of some sort, didn’t see it as he was throwing it back. Then, finally, a bowfin.
Wasn’t quite as big as the previous one, but fought well and had nice color.We were getting ready to head to Steak’n’Shake for some Frisco Melts, but I decided to throw in my fish-finder rig one more time. The guy on the page I linked to gives them a little hate, but it’s made the biggest contribution to the number of catfish I have caught than any other rig. I hate to think of how many hundreds (or thousands) of 15+ pounders my dad has caught on this rig. Anyway, I decided to load the bottom hook up with corn. Right when I was getting ready to reel in and leave, I caught this Common Carp!
He put up a drag-screaming, multi-run fight. But luckily, I had brought the big guns out this time – my Nightstick catfish rod and Daiwa DF100A reel, loaded with 500 yards of 15lb mono. It may have been a little overkill.
We ended up frying up some of the Walleye and vacuum sealing the rest of it on Mother’s Day. We had a great trip, and there is already talk of making a Striped Bass trip…so I’ll have to start researching some new spots