G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Writer
In an interlude from the wild turkey season, Creighton Stephens and I launched his boat Friday at the Burke’s Point ramp in Wheelersburg and set off with hopes of hooking a fish.
It started off a bad day for such hopes. It was a pleasant cloudless day to be on the river, with temperatures rising into the 60s.
But the river was falling, and that doesn’t always provide ideal conditions for good fishing. Then again, we didn’t get off until 11:30 a.m., not exactly a good time for fish to be feeding.
Creighton had worked the midnight shift at the motel in Ashland and I had a 10 a.m. appointment for a coumadin test at the KDMC facility on Scioto Trail in Portsmouth.
We had tackle boxes crammed with jigs and blades and spoons and plugs. Creighton had purchased three dozen lively minnows.
In less than five minutes after launch we were into the lower edge of the tailwaters of the Greenup Dam. The water was as rough as you’ll see it.
All nine of the giant gates were raised a bit in order to drop the level above the dam. The water poured under the gates with a roar, creating a choppy surface with swirling currents.
We dropped both anchors just downstream behind a rocky point on the Ohio side, where we could cast to the shoreline and also out into the edge of the rough water. We expected to find sauger here.
Not a strike.
We moved to the Kentucky side and anchored off the bullnose, the rounded end of the river-side guide wall. The river just outside the wall rolled by like the raging Missouri at floodstage. We fished jigs and curly-tail grubs and blades straight down in 23 feet of water.
Not a strike.
We motored about eight miles downriver to the big railroad bridge at Sciotoville. We dropped both anchors off the mouth of the Little Scioto River. We fished jigs adorned with curlytails and live minnows, hoping for sauger or crappie.
We motored up the Little Scioto for several hundred yards and fished around a fallen treetop.
Not a strike.
We motored on, more than three miles downstream to Tygarts Creek at South Shore.
There was a bank fisherman there that we didn’t want to disturb so we started up the meandering stream. We went under the railroad bridge, under the U.S. 23 highway bridge, and on to where a fresh-fallen tree blocked our route just behind the home of Dr. Adrian and Doris Collins.
The depth-sounder/fish finder had shown fish all the way up. Were sauger making their migration run upstream to drop their eggs? Everything seems to be running late this spring.
We drifted back with a healthy current for quite a stretch, fishing as we went. I boated one small largemouth bass. Other than that, we had….
…not a strike.
It was after 3 p.m. and we almost decided to call it a day, accepting the fact that some days fishermen just don’t catch fish.
But we decided to try the mouth of one more feeder stream. And there, by perseverance and keeping the faith that we could locate feeding fish somewhere, we hit the…well, for lack of a better word, jackpot.
For the next hour, we boated fish as fast as we could unhook them, drop them in the live well, and bait up and cast again.
Creighton used a jig and curlytail/minnow combination while I used a minnow under a sliding bobber set at about eight feet.
We caught white bass, black bass, sauger and hybrids.
We quit when the last minnow was gone.
FOR THE FRY
Back home, with help from my son, Kendall, we filleted the fish. We wound up with 50 fillets, which figures out, yes of course, at 25 fish.
We buried the remains behind the building. We put the fillets in the refrigerator for a later fish fry as my other son, Kelly, already had steaks on the grill.
So the moral to this little essay is, when you’re at the point of quitting after a bad day of fishing, if indeed there is such a thing, give it one more try.
Kentucky’s wild turkey season opened April 13 and runs through May 5. Results through Friday, the 13th day, showed hunters experiencing another good season with the statewide harvest for all 120 counties standing at 24,611.
Locally, Carter County was leading the way with 207 gobblers taken.
The tally for other northeastern Kentucky counties showed Lewis 192, Lawrence 171, Greenup 130, Elliott 127 and Boyd 85.
No results were yet available for Ohio, where the season opened this past Monday and runs also through May 5.
G. Sam Piatt can be reached at 606-932-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.