The St. Paris man who drowned in Kiser Lake on Sunday while fishing loved to spend time outdoors and had just caught a 28-inch striped bass the day before, his sister said.
Douglas J. Fiscus, 50, had been fishing from an anchored kayak on Sunday afternoon when he entered the water for an unknown reason, according to an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft report.
Witnesses reported hearing his cries for help but didn’t see him. His body was recovered in nine feet of water at 7:15 p.m. No personal flotation device or life jacket was found, according to the report.
His sister Jan Holcomb and her husband had been camping with friends at Kiser Lake for the weekend and he came out on Saturday to meet them and fish. That’s when Fiscus caught the large bass. He was proud of the fish, Holcomb said, and had his picture with it hung up at the state park.
The Holcombs came home on Sunday, but Fiscus was excited by his big catch and wanted to go back out to fish again.
“He just loved hunting and fishing,” Holcomb said. “Sometimes he’d be out on the lake an hour and sometimes he’d be gone five to six hours. So I didn’t think anything of it when he didn’t come home.”
Then a family friend called and said an overturned kayak had been found at the lake and the Holcombs went out there immediately.
“I just kept praying to God that it wasn’t my brother,” she said.
They waited for several hours until his body was found and he was identified. Investigators haven’t been able to tell Holcomb what might have caused him to drown. She wondered if he had snagged another big fish and it tipped the kayak as it tried to get away and Fiscus didn’t want to let it go.
No other drownings have been reported at Kiser Lake in the past 10 years, according to state records.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Atkins-Shively Funeral Home in St. Paris.
Fiscus is originally from Pennsylvania and from a large family of eight children. He had spent about 20 years in Florida before moving in with his sister in St. Paris a few years ago.
He had recently gotten a job at Trutec in Urbana, Holcomb said, and loved living in Ohio. He hoped to eventually retire, she said, and spend the rest of his days hunting and fishing.
Holcomb’s children adored their uncle, she said.
“He would take the the shirt off his back for you,” Holcomb said. “He would do anything for me and my kids and my husband. He got along with anybody … He was only 50 so it’s tough.”
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