White bass are the name of the game in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers this week, with some anglers taking cooler-bursting catches.
Which brings up Maumee angler Roger Streiffert, who recently sent along a photograph of one man with a huge stringer of white bass along with some sobering commentary, to wit:
"Yum! White bass fried, white bass baked, white bass grilled, white bass smoked, white bass casserole ... and my all-time favorite - white bass thrown back into the river."
Streiffert, who describes himself as a "minimalist angler" who tries to keep tackle to a minimum and at a reasonable expense, gets big credit here for making a solid conservation point, one that army cooks a long time ago repeatedly hollered at us recruits in the mess hall: Take all you want, but eat all you take.
It is wanton waste to turn white bass into mere rose-bush fertilizer. These feisty game fish deserve better.
"I'm always amazed when I see someone keep that many fish," says Streiffert. "How many fish can you reasonably clean and how many can you reasonably eat?" Another thing: The white bass will taste best on the table if you put them on ice immediately upon landing them. Hanging them on a stringer and dragging them around in warmish water or air all day is what has given them a sometimes unsavory reputation.
That said, plenty of fish remain in both the Maumee and Sandusky rivers. Gary Lowry at Maumee Tackle reports some female white bass weighing two pounds-plus apiece. John Jokinen at Jann's Netcraft said he also has seen quite a few stringers of fish being taken at Swan Creek at the step-dam at Highland Park. He reports some northern pike and largemouth bass taken above the park as well.
Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply in Fremont says boat anglers are doing well behind the old sugar plant below downtown, and good wading action from Hayes Bridge to Rodger Young Park. Evenings have been most productive.
Stream and Lake Erie anglers as well need to remember that possession of both smallmouth and largemouth bass in the lake and all tributary streams to the first dam is prohibited until June 27 to protect spawning stocks. All bass caught must be released immediately.
On the big lake, walleye action was very good to excellent through mid week, with gold and copper Weapons, or hybrid mayfly rigs, plus worm-harnesses off bottom-bouncers all doing well. Jig and minnow activity has all but ceased.
Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait in Jerusalem Township said boats are scattered throughout the western end, with some of the periodically productive sites including the Toledo Harbor Light, outer buoys of the Toledo Ship Channel, chart area marked Gravel Pit, and Toledo Water Intake.
"Find the ones [fish] who are ready to eat when you're there," said Ferguson.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife reports the more consistent action to the east continues to be around the island complex, including north of North Bass Island, between South Bass Island and Kelleys Island, north of Kelleys Island, and north of Kelleys Island Shoal, and A-Can of the Camp Perry Firing Range.
Trollers have been taking fish on crankbaits, worm harnesses fished with in-line weights or bottom bouncers, and also on spoons fished with Dipsy Divers or Jet Divers.
Dan Baker at Butch and Denny's Bait on Corduroy Road said yellow perch bite has been "the bright side of things," with good catches coming to his shop from around the Harbor Light, Water Intake, from right above B-Can on the Camp Perry range, and Niagara Reef area. Further east, he added, anglers are doing well on perch at Ballast Island and off the airport at Kelleys.
The best smallmouth bass fishing reports have come from around Kelleys Island, but that again is a no-keep fishery until June 27.
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