Tuesday, March 16, 2010

'Tis the season (Watching, waiting)

March is the mud-growing season where the gooey produce clings to boots and lathers the dogs' coats with a layer that will cake and dry.

That is, after Jenny Lynn's and Berry's paw prints march across the home's hardwood floor. If not cleaned up quickly this dried mud will turn to dust, thereby clogging the furnace's filter and making my wife, Bev, and me sneeze.

Still, this is an interesting time of year and my trip into Ashtabula County yesterday was accommodating. I needed to check on the taps inserted into various sugar and silver maple trees in order to see if there was enough sap for collection. There wasn't, however, and due in exclusive measure to the recent warm weather that stopped (temporarily I hope) the pumping of sap.

The dogs frolicked and got themselves thoroughly muddy, even on the run through The Club's dog-training area. (You might want to look at next week's outdoors as it relates to dog training, by the way.)

In any event, this was a scouting mission. Not only did I want to see if the sap was flowing but if the turkeys were active in the now-exposed corn fields. Even more importantly I needed to see if the smaller streams were becoming fishable for steelhead.

The Grand River was not,though, and by the way the stream was flowing, I figured it wouldn't in my lifetime. The Grand was running wild. It will take some time before this river drops enough and clears enough to permit good trout fishing.

However, Big Creek at Helen Hazen Wyman Park should be ready for fishing by Wednesday while its tributary - Kellogg Creek - will probably be fishable by later today.

I saw an angler each at the mouth of Kellogg Creek where it entered Big Creek and upstream underneath the Rt. 86 bridge. However, I thought they'd be better off fishing for whales in a bathtub since both streams yesterday were still too high and too muddy to expect much in the way of good steelhead fishing.

But times they are changing and before we know it the latter days in March are going to be blessed with good enough weather and decent enough stream conditions to offer anglers an excellent excuse to be out.

Of course, these streams are also going to experience a crush from anglers with pent-up demand to get started. That's price Northeast Ohio pays for a world-class steelhead fisheries.

Just be careful out there. The river edges are still pretty muddy.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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