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Published: Tuesday, 3/23/2010

Area skipper lauded as charter captain of year

Skipper Paul Pacholski of Toledo has been named the charter captain of the year by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association.

Pacholski is vice president for environmental issues and a member of the board of directors for the association, which has some 200 members and with its affiliate associations represents some 800 skippers lakewide.

Rick Unger, association president, said the honor was "well deserved."

Pacholski has operated Deac's Retreat Charters for 27 years and is docked at Meinke's West Marina at Cooley Canal in Jerusalem Township. His current boat is the 30-foot Erie Hopper.

"We've been working on different [environmental] issues on the lake," Pacholski said, "and that's what this [award] is for."

Among issues he has been tackling are open-lake dumping of Maumee Channel dredgings in the lake, the fish impact of pumping at Bay Shore Power Plant, and possible improvements of the Maumee channel at Cullen Park. More on those another time.

Pacholski's experience goes much deeper than Lake Erie. He once was one of the hardy fishermen who braved the cold, icy seas off the coast of Alaska. It is the stuff that makes such engrossing video on cable television.

He served on the crew of a driftnet boat out of Bristol Bay, at the coastal head of the Aleutian Islands, in 1982 and 1983, fishing for sockeye and king salmon and herring. "It was hairy," he summed. "That's how I got into this [Erie chartering business]."

His wife-to-be, Jeannette, urged that he could keep fishing and much more safely on Lake Erie than in the cold northern seas off Alaska. He took her advice, then married her, and he's still here to tell about it.

The spring walleye runs on the Maumee and Sandusky rivers continue to improve though colder, windy weather has slowed fishing activity early in the week.

Many anglers are taking one to three fish from the Maumee, and the popular wading rapids areas at Buttonwood, on the Wood County side, and the Towpath and Blue Grass Island in Side Cut

Metropark, are starting to get attention, according to Gary Lowry at Maumee Tackle.

Anglers still also are frequenting the Orleans Park-Fort Meigs area downstream.

On the Maumee the lure preferences run to floating jigheads in No. 2 or, in higher water, No. 1/0, with black, red, or pink heads in combination with bright contrasting three-inch plastic grubtails in chartreuse, pink glitter, and orange, said John Jokinen at Jann's Netcraft.

He said that morning activity has been best until it becomes too bright, then action tapers off till about 4:30 p.m. to sunset, the end of legal hours.

Water temperature in the Maumee was 48 degrees, in the ideal range, and the flow was just about a foot above normal and dropping. Clarity remains poor.

The Sandusky at downtown Fremont was near normal flow and slightly muddy, but good catches of walleye were reported over the weekend, said Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply.

"Lots of larger fish are being seen," he said.

Anglers were using three-inch chartreuse plastic grubtails and quarter-ounce leadhead jigs between the downtown bridges.

"The walleye run in Fremont is off to a great start," said Brian Bury, state wildlife officer in Sandusky County. "Fishing on Friday through Sunday was the best fishing in years in Fremont. Fish are spawning already, although the recent cold front may put a stop to that. Some caught limits quickly, and only a few were going home empty handed."

The 10th annual Shreve Spring Migration Sensation, a popular program on birds and migration, is set for Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Shreve Elementary School, 598 North Market St. [State Rt. 226] in Shreve, Ohio, in Wayne County.

The event has many sponsors and offers self-guided tours of Killbuck Marsh, Shreve Lake, Brown's Bog, and Funk's Bottom wildlife areas, all of which constitute the state's largest inland natural wetlands complex at 5,512 acres.

The day also offers professional workshops, birding, wildlife and wetlands vendor displays, and family programs at the school.

For details visit ShreveMigration.org., or call the Wayne County Visitor and Convention Bureau, 800-362-6474.

Upcoming - Thursday, pond clinic, 7 to 9 p.m., Otsego Park, Stone Hall, 20000 West River Road, Bowling Green; sponsored by the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District; problem weed identification, 6:30 p.m.; principal speaker, Bill Cody, the "Pond Doctor."

Friday, annual fund-raising dinner, Fremont Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation; doors open 5:30 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.; firearms drawings, live and silent auctions; for tickets call Mark Gill at 419-603-8630.

Saturday, woodcock program, 7:30 p.m. Van Buren State Park, Nature Center, off State Rt. 613 east of I-75, Van Buren, north of Findlay; call naturalist Natalie Miller, 419-348-7679.

Saturday, western Lake Erie conference, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jolly Roger Sailing Club, 4961 Edgewater Dr., Toledo; for details visit online at westernlakeerie.org or call Sandy Bihn, 419-691-3788.

Saturday, wild game dinner, Oak Harbor Conservation Club, 975 South Gordon Rd., Oak Harbor, doors open 5 p.m., wild game, plus fish and spaghetti, raffles and auctions, call Keith Kralik for tickets 419-202-9544.

Contact Steve Pollick at:

spollick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6068.



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