Any day now, perhaps even as you read this, the first walleye of the spring runs will be landed from the Maumee or Sandusky rivers.
"Conditions are perfect," summed Gary Lowry, proprietor of Maumee Tackle, who takes daily readings of the river conditions during the runs. No fish had been reported at the shop as of mid-day yesterday.
The Maumee is running about four feet above normal and water clarity was just a few inches, because of snowmelt and runoff. A few fringes of ice remain along bayback banks.
But the water temperature has edged up to 42 degrees, right into the prime range for fish movement upstream. Because of the high flows, Lowry recommends that early-season anglers try the typical high-water locales, including Orleans Park and Fort Meigs on the Perrysburg side of the stream, and the White Street Access on the Maumee side.
Updates on the run are available online at maumeetackle.net.
On the Sandusky River at Fremont, the flow is about two feet above normal and - like the Maumee - it is muddy, according to Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply in Fremont. No fish had turned up as of mid-day yesterday, but Whitt said that he will update his message line, 419-332-6071, as conditions change.
Little to no jig-and-minnow action is reported in western Lake Erie. The Ohio Division of Wildlife's station at Sandusky said because of warmer weather, remaining ice is deteriorating and that open water access is limited by near-shore ice. A few small boats have been fishing off the tip of Catawba Island peninsula at Port Clinton, but safe open water access will still be limited for another week or two.
Releases begin today of more than 80,700 rainbow trout, each measuring 10-13 inches long, in 45 Ohio lakes and ponds, according to wildlife officials. The releases continue into mid-May
The trout are surplus fish from the Castalia State Hatchery, which supplies lake-run rainbows, or steelhead, for Lake Erie and tributary fisheries. The extra fish provide a popular annual put-and-take inland fishery. Anglers are reminded that the daily catch-limit for inland lakes is five trout.
Some locations will feature special, youth-only angler events on the day of the scheduled releases. Anglers, age 16 and older, must have an Ohio fishing license to fish the state's public waters. Once the youth-only events have concluded, all other anglers may fish.
Additional information about spring trout releases is available by calling toll-free 1-800-WILDLIFE or from Division of Wildlife district offices in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay, and Xenia. The Findlay office can be reached at 419-424-5000.
In northwest Ohio, trout releases are scheduled as follows:
Delta Reservoir No. 2, Fulton County, April 2; East Harbor State Park pond, Ottawa County, April 24 youth only first day; Giertz Lake, Hancock County, May 1 youth only first day; McKarns Lake, Williams County, April 25.
Also, Olander Lake, Lucas County, April 24 youth only first day; Pearson Metropark pond, Lucas County, April 10 with an April 11 youth event; Schoonover Lake, Allen County, April 15; Van Wert Reservoir No. 1, Van Wert County, April 24 youth only, White Star Park Quarry, Sandusky County, April 2.
The annual Midwest Fly Fishing Expo by the Michigan Fly Fishing Club is set for tomorrow and Sunday at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center, at 14500 East 12 Mile Road in Warren, Mich.
The Expo offers newcomers to the sport the chance to try out equipment and hear from fly anglers who have fished for virtually everything that swims. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults. Youths age 16 and under are admitted free. Parking is free.
The event features three organizations that employ fly fishing as therapy. One is the Toledo-based Reeling and Healing Midwest. It uses fly fishing to help cancer victims cope. A similar program is offered by Reel and Heal.
A third program, run by the MFFC, is Project Healing Waters. It is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.
The schedule includes more than 100 exhibitors, conservation organizations, authors, fly tiers, casting and fly tying demonstrations, and a Kids Korner, among other features. For other details visit online at mffc.org.
Contact Steve Pollick at: