Eventually, the weather will break, the sun will appear in the sky, and boaters will feel comfortable enough to pull the shrink wrap off their vessels and ready them for the much-anticipated boating season.
Once those craft reach the water, between trips out on the lake many of them will stay until the fall, moored at one of the many marinas that service the large boating contingents from Ohio and Michigan.
That flotilla is being called on to assist our Canadian friends in a renewed search for three scientific buoys that were ripped from their moorings out in the open lake sometime in 2012. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources first asked for help in December, but the buoys are still AWOL.
“We reissue our appeal to anyone walking the shoreline or soon to be boating on Lake Erie to report any unusual object that may look like a buoy,” said John Cooper of the ministry.
The buoys are packed with instruments that take hourly water temperature readings, and that information provides vital data for a number of on-going studies on the health of the lake. The missing buoys are about six-feet long, made of hard plastic, and were a bright yellow in color when placed in the lake.
Six of the data-collecting buoys were positioned in Lake Erie’s Western Basin last year, with three west of Point Pelee, and three to the east of Pelee, that long peninsula that forms the southernmost point on the Canadian mainland. The buoys anchored west of Point Pelee were successfully retrieved by the ministry, but all that was left of the three remaining buoys were the anchors.
The buoys and their connected chains with the valuable data loggers were gone, possibly torn loose during the violent weather that hit the lake as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The buoys were originally marked ‘TA 3,’ ‘TA 4,’ and ‘TA 5,’ and carried the “Ministry of Natural Resources” name and phone number, but given the amount of time since the buoys were determined to be missing, those identifying marks could have been scraped away by rocks or rubbed off by sand.
Cooper said he fears the batteries that operate the temperature loggers attached to the buoys are likely dead by this point, but retrieving the buoys is still a very high priority.
There was hope that one of the missing buoys had been found last December on a beach west of Cleveland, near Avon. But when Ontario officials traveled to the area and examined the buoy, it contained a "DND" stamp and turned out to belong to the Canadian "Department of National Defence"
Cooper said that buoy had been used to delineate the boundaries of an offshore shooting range on the north shore of the lake at Cedar Springs, between Erieau and Wheatley. Similar markers are used to outline the Camp Perry Firing Range on the Ohio side of Lake Erie, just west of Port Clinton.
The missing Canadian buoys could still be free-floating in the lake, or could be lodged in sand along the shoreline. Cooper asked that anyone who comes across a buoy on the lake or the shoreline contact fisheries supervisor Brian Locke at 519-825-7711 or at the email@example.com e-mail address.
FISHING REPORT: Maumee Tackle reports the river was at just over 581 feet above sea level on Thursday, down about four inches from the Wednesday level. The water temperature in the Maumee River was 34.1 degrees, a drop of nearly two degrees from the previous day. Water clarity was estimated at between three and four inches and fishing had improved just slightly, but was still slow.
The water level makes wading to Blue Grass Island possible, but extreme caution is advised. Most successful anglers have been working the Orleans Park area or accessing the river along the tow path. On the Sandusky River, the ODNR reports the water temperature at 36 degrees, and the water clarity remains poor. Fishing has been slow on the Sandusky as well, with limited success reported around the Miles Newton Bridge. Floating jig heads tipped with white or chartreuse twister tails have worked best on both rivers, but it is still very early in the run, with some walleye present in the rivers but their activity limited because of cold water temperatures.
FAILOR/IDITAROD: Ohio native and Ohio State grad Matt Failor recently completed his second run in the historic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, finishing 28th in a field of 66 mushers and teams. Failor, whose parents are both natives of the Toledo area, took 10 days, 13 hours, 39 minutes and 46 seconds to complete the rigorous 1,049 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness. Failor, who was born in Mansfield but now lives in Alaska, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from OSU in 2007. While in college, he worked the summers on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. As a rookie in 2012, Failor finished 47th the Iditarod. He also competed in the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race for the first time earlier this year, finishing 19th.
PHEASANTS FOREVER BANQUET: The Fulton County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its 18th annual banquet on April 6 at Founder’s Hall in Sauder Village on State Route 2 in Archbold. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:15. There will be a number of raffles and auction items, highlighted by a Honda four-wheeler. For tickets and information contact Jeff Harrow at 419-460-0341 or Steve Schnitkey at 419-446-2331 or Matt Rufenacht at 419-572-9827 or Chris Grime at 419-446-2391.
COOLEY CANAL DINNER: The Cooley Canal Yacht Club is hosting its 10th annual wild game dinner on April 13.
Doors open at 4 p.m. at the club at 12235 Bono Rd. in Curtice, with raffles and door prizes as part of the evening. Tickets cost $20. Tickets and more information are available from Leonard Smalley at 419-855-1020 or from Clyde Siefke at 419-276-4814.
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6068 .