While anglers are readily familiar with gamefish, an amazing array of other fish species inhabit the area's watery environs.
Take, for example, the experience of Tom Kemp, a member of the Toledo Naturalists' Association and a science teacher at Anthony Wayne High School.
During the school year past, Kemp took his zoology classes on a field - make that stream - trip to Swan and Blue creeks behind the high school and to the Maumee River. They used seines to catch and identify no less than 20 species of fish - some familiar, some not-so familiar. (Not all small fish are "minnows." )
The teacher-naturalist noted that their stream-seining was conducted during a low-water period, so they were able to capture virtually every fish in some pools. Among the fish Kemp listed are the following, and they tell a colorful tale of diversity:
River carpsucker; logperch darter, grass pickerel, largemouth bass, blackside and greenside darters, white bass, channel catfish, spotted and redhorse suckers, and tadpole madtom.
Larry Goedde, fish management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District 2 at Findlay, said that historically the main stem of the Maumee River harbored up to 94 species of fish.
The numbers declined, presumably with the onset of pollution, but the diversity started to rebound with cleanup programs. By the 1990s the Maumee again was home to about 50 species of fish, Goedde added. The late Milton B. Trautman, the fish authority in Ohio for decades during his tenure with Ohio State University, listed about 160 fish species historically in Ohio.
Fishing report - If fish activity in the region continues at the good-to-excellent pace of the last few days, the long Fourth of July holiday weekend just ahead should be a fine one for anglers.
Walleye action on western Lake Erie lit up Monday and Tuesday in several offshore locales from Toledo to Port Clinton. Close to town, boats were taking walleyes anywhere from four to 12 miles out from the Cooley Canal-Metzger Marsh area.
"The whole spectrum from the Toledo Ship Channel to West Sister Island and down to Crane Creek has been good," said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road. "We look for a big weekend." Anglers are casting mayfly rigs such as Weapons and Wigglers or weight-forward spinners in gold or green-and-white, and trollers pulling crankbaits also have done well, Ferguson added.
Down "east," C-Can northwest of Niagara Reef has been producing as well, said Rick Catley at Rickard's Bait on Catawba Island. The best action, however, seems to be in Canadian waters off King George Reef north of Middle Island and below Pelee Island. Limits of big fish have been the tale there since over the weekend, Catley said. Anglers using worm harnesses have had the best success.
Walleye anglers using worm harnesses also are catching good numbers of smallmouth bass along with walleye off Pelee.
Yellow perch continue to produce off Green and Rattlesnake islands, though larger perch can be found on the east side of Kelleys Island, Catley said. Perch also are being taken in the Ship Channel-West Sister area.
Inland in northwest Ohio, activity also is perking up, said Larry Goedde, fish-management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District 2 at Findlay. Following are some of his suggested places to try:
Findlay Reservoir No. 2 for yellow perch, walleye, and some channel catfish; Veterans' Memorial Reservoir at Fostoria for perch, bluegill, channel catfish, and an occasional saugeye; Wauseon Reservoir for perch, bluegill and white bass, the latter on minnows and Willard Reservoir for perch on minnows and walleye in late evening. The state's Lake LaSuAn chain of lakes in Williams County also continues to produce good numbers of large bluegills.
In southeast Michigan's Irish Hills, fishing activity has been good, though no specific lake has emerged as the best, according to Tom Knutson at Hunting and Fishing Supply in Brooklyn. Crappie action has slacked off but walleye, bluegill, and bass action has been "real strong," Knutson said.
Drawings for special waterfowl hunting privileges at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in Ottawa County and Pipe Creek State Wildlife Area at Sandusky have been announced by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
A drawing is set for Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Magee, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor, for the early special teal hunting season planned to begin Sept. 1. Valid 2000 hunting licenses and state and federal duck stamps are required. Permits will be transferable.
A drawing for daily permits for the special teal season and for the general waterfowl seasons beginning in October at Pipe Creek are scheduled for Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Resthaven State Wildlife Area headquarters at Castalia. Licenses and permits also are required to enter the drawing.
For details on either hunt-drawing, call the wildlife management section at Ohio Wildlife District 2 at Findlay, 419-424-5000.
Also, applications for youth controlled waterfowl hunts at Magee, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and Mercer and Mosquito Creek state wildlife areas will be accepted through July 31.
Hunters ages 15 and under are eligible, to be accompanied by adults who may hunt as well. Magee and Ottawa hunts are planned for Oct. 7, and the two areas and Mercer as well will be hunted Oct. 14. A youth goose hunt is set at Mosquito for the first Saturday of the second split of the Lake Erie Goose Zone.
Applications for adults to hunt by drawing only at Magee, Ottawa, Mercer and Mosquito Creek also must be postmarked by July 31.
A $3 nonrefundable fee is charged to apply for each hunt. Hunters who applied last year should automatically receive applications by mail. Or they are available by calling District 2, or 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Mosquito Creek and Pickerel Creek and Killdeer Plains state wildlife areas will hold additional drawings at each area during the waterfowl seasons.
Steve Pollick is the Blade's outdoor writer.