Outdoors: Cold, wet weather has affected fishing

This has been a strange spring, weather-wise. One day a couple of weeks ago the thermometer brushed the 80-degree mark and a few days later we had snow. And here we are approaching late April with temperatures struggling to get out of the 50s.

On top of that, we have had several big storms. These things have limited our activities outdoors, contributing to our winter-long cabin fever.

By this time, I would normally have a couple of those weekly fishing reports published, but after calling my sources at the various lakes, I figure what’s the use? Very few folks are fishing on the cold days.

And, with some exceptions, few fish have been biting. Even the warmer days have been followed by chilly nights.

High water has limited fishing and messed up fish cycles on all of the rivers and some of the lakes in southwest Ohio. One lake which floods a couple of times each year is Paint Creek. Leon Cole, who sells bait at Paint Creek and fishes that lake and Rocky Fork frequently, says Paint’s ramps are now open, but the lake is quite muddy.

This bad weather has messed up the spawning cycled for most fish species.

“It’s pushed everything back a couple of weeks,” said Marty Lundquist, fish management supervisor of District 1 of the Division of Wildlife. “Even if the water temperature remains cold, the photo period (length of day) comes into play. They have to dump their eggs eventually. But the water temperature is the main thing.’’

Water temperatures are rising little by little (40s and 50s) and should be at spawning range soon. Crappies spawn when the water temp hits the low 60s, followed by bass around 65 and bluegills in the low 70s. Walleyes have spawned during the past couple of weeks.

“I think fishing will keep getting better,” Cole said, “ … as long as we don’t get a lot more rain.”

All about birds: If you are an aspiring birder, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is offering free tours for beginners.

Tours are open to all ages and interest levels, with an emphasis on beginning birding. Tours will focus on increasing bird identification skills. Participants will learn about bird field markers, flight patterns and behaviors, which combined will help the beginning birder become better acquainted with Ohio’s bird species.

Tours will be held from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the following locations:

April 29 – Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, 13229 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor. Participants should meet at the west entrance of the boardwalk in the lake front parking lot.

May 20 – Pearson Metropark, 4600 Starr Ave, Oregon. Participants should meet outside in front of the Packer-Hammersmith Center.

June 10 – Maumee Bay State Park, 1400 State Park Road, Oregon. Participants should meet in front of the nature center.

Preregistration is required 5 days prior to each tour as spaces are limited. Register by calling Meredith Gilbert at (419) 429-8359. Tours will be held rain or shine.

Limits unchanged: My friend Travis Hartman, Lake Erie program administrator at the Division of Wildlife Sandusky Fisheries Research Station, tells me there will be no changes in bag or size limits for Lake Erie walleyes or yellow perch during the 2018 season. Walleye limits will be six, May 1 until March 1, 2019. The size limit remains 15 inches. The yellow perch bag limit is 30. For more information, visit wildohio.gov.

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