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Published: Friday, 2/25/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

COMMENTARY

Irish Hills ice fishing still hanging on

BY STEVE POLLICK
OUTDOORS


ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
The erratic weather in the last 10 days or so has all but ended reasonable ice fishing prospects, with the possible exception of southeast Michigan’s Irish Hills lakes.

Western Lake Erie is “iffy” at best, said John Hageman, a veteran guide at Put-in-Bay. That is a good indicator of the way things are. Area rivers are open and pouring relatively warm water into the near-shore lake currents as well, further destabilizing the conditions.

If ice is locked in anywhere, it is off the west side of South Bass. The South Passage between the island and Catawba Island peninsula on the mainland has been showing open water, said Travis Hartman, a state fisheries biologist at Sandusky.

More than one ATV has dropped through the ice off the islands, a bad indication as well. Time to stay inside and start oiling reels and spooling up fresh line on the freshwater rigs in anticipation of the jig-and-minnow season.

Hageman said the remaining anglers on South Bass are “tucked in close,” fishing for limits of yellow perch. “Walleye remain scarce,” he said. Adds the state’s Hartman: “It looks like it is pretty well over.”

The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s official weekly fishing report for the western basin reads thusly: “Recent weather conditions have damaged much of Lake Erie’s ice, making conditions very treacherous. Check with local bait shops or ice guides before venturing out on Erie’s ice.”

Both Hageman and fellow local guide Bud Gehring on South Bass Island have pulled their shanties. Be advised.

The ice up in southeast Michigan’s Irish Hills lakes remains at about a foot or so thick, though spearing holes cut in recent weeks have opened up and pose a threat, according to Knutson’s bait shop in Brooklyn. Nonetheless, diehard ice anglers are doing well on bluegill, picking up a few crappies, and taking some good-sized northern pike, the shop said. The recent thaw, however, has discouraged many anglers.

Northwest Ohio’s inland impoundments and ponds likewise remain very problematic and fishing them is not recommended.

Schreiner’s 50th game feed marks last chapter

“There comes a time,” said Fostoria’s beloved Mel Schreiner from the kitchen of his recent, 50th annual — and last — wild game dinner. “The boys are going to keep it going, but it’s my last one,” said Mel.

He has assembled a terrific cadre of cooks and helpers. It takes him and his crew a week to make preparations. But this time around, come cooking and serving day, Friday, “we had everything done by noon.” Ground the game meat and made meat loaves, wrapped them and more roasts in foil for the charcoal cookers, the works — even to making headcheese and souse for snack-time.

The dishes served at the Schreiner feed have been gourmet quality and this year was no different. Antelope, goose, duck, deer, elk, moose, buffalo, turtle, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, frog legs, shrimp, “and all kinds of hours d’oeuvres.” Much of the meat was donated by fellow hunters.

In recent years, as this one, the guest list has been cut back to about 180 from 225-plus, just for elbow room.

Mel over the years typically has personally invited each attendee — either face to face or by phone. Men from every walk of life, factory workers to politicians, men of average means to the wealthy are equally welcomed.

Some years, special charity cases have drawn welcome collections for needy individuals. The feed is a measure of the man. That Mel and his exemplary, kind, giving, big-hearted character has shined through it all.

So, a tip of the outdoors hat and a crisp salute to one of the best among our region’s fine friendly outdoorsmen.



The Maumee Valley Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation, has set its 22nd annual fund-raising dinner for March 4 at Holland Gardens Banquet Hall, 6530 Angola Rd, Holland. Doors open at 5:30pm. Dinner, gun raffles, live and silent auctions, will follow. For tickets and raffle packages, call Jeff Wright, 419-467-4187, or e-mail him at wrighlo1@frontier.com.

At the recent Ohio state NWTF chapters awards dinner, the Maumee Valley outfit faired very well, receiving the following awards, according to Skip Markland, regional NWTF director:

World Slam award for dinner improvements; 20-year service award; top regional chapter with highest net dollars raised and third highest in the state; the Golden Gobbler award for 50 percent net performance; best overall Wheelin’ Sportsman Program event in Ohio, 2010, with Toledo Express Airport receiving the outstanding partner award; Wheelin’ Sportsman volunteer of the year award, the chapter’s Brad Christensen, and Golden Hen award for 74 participants, third in the state, for the Women in the Outdoors program.

Contact Steve Pollick at:
spollick@theblade.com
or 419-724-6068.



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