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Published: Tuesday, 4/12/2011

Fish are jumpin'

Anglers having no problems reaching daily Walleye limits

For the last several days, fishermen have packed the Maumee River in Maumee, hoping to land their daily limit of four walleye. For the last several days, fishermen have packed the Maumee River in Maumee, hoping to land their daily limit of four walleye.
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Spring walleye fishing was ablaze on western Lake Erie and on the Maumee and Sandusky rivers over the weekend, especially on Sunday, when action was as hot as the summerlike air temperatures.

Rick Serres of Holland shows off his walleye caught Monday in the Maumee River. The good fishing is expected to continue as long as there is no dramatic change in the weather. Tuesday is expected to be in the 50s and sunny. Rick Serres of Holland shows off his walleye caught Monday in the Maumee River. The good fishing is expected to continue as long as there is no dramatic change in the weather. Tuesday is expected to be in the 50s and sunny.
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"They're blowing them up today, everybody's catching limits," said D.J. Sturm Sunday afternoon at Maumee Tackle in Maumee. State wildlife officers working the Sandusky River at downtown Fremont likewise said action had lit up by mid-day Sunday and the near-shore areas of western Lake Erie "are on fire."

Swanton resident Gary Shaver shows the walleye he pulled from the Maumee River. Swanton resident Gary Shaver shows the walleye he pulled from the Maumee River.
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Monday was no different on the Maumee, with lots of limit catches, especially from the Towpath, White Street Access, Orleans Park, and Fort Meigs. Most colors of leadhead jigs and tails and Carolina-rigged floating jig and tails were working. "It was fantastic," summed Brittany Lowry, niece of shop proprietors Gary and Jan Lowry.

On the Sandusky at downtown Fremont Monday, fishermen also were seen taking walleye all day long, with most of the activity focused toward the Miles Newton Bridge on the south end of town. Fish have not moved to popular sites at the parks just upstream. Water clarity was moderately muddy.

State wildlife officers had on the full-court press and were writing tickets for some of the usual -- keeping foul-hooked fish, no license, exceeding the four-fish daily creel limit, and fishing before sunrise or after sunset.

On the lake, the shallows from 8 to 12 feet, and even skinnier water was producing fish from Maumee Bay east to the Davis-Besse area and beyond, said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road. He expected decent fishing to continue "as long as Mother Nature doesn't fool us."

Action on the lake toned down somewhat by Sunday afternoon, mainly because the wind had kicked up so strongly.

Southerly winds and warmer air temperatures triggered the bite, and it should continue as long as winds are moderate and do not shift to northerly quadrants, according to Ferguson. Purple and green hair jigs, dressed with minnows or not, were taking walleye limits.

Speaking of which, that is four fish a day until May 1. And don't keep any fish under 15 inches, unless you want to visit a judge. Another reminder: No treble-hooks are allowed in the prime river zones and the inner reaches of Maumee and Sandusky bays until May 1.

Trollers also are being heard from, according to Dan Baker at Butch and Denny's Bait on Corduroy Road. He cited the experience of skipper Randy Eyre of the Fowl Obsession, who guided his party around Cone Reef, trolling Gale Force spoons. The parties respectively reeled in 20 fish weighing 80 pounds on Saturday, one fish was a 9.8-pound, 28-inch female, and 11 fish weighing 65 pounds on Sunday, a 28- 1/2-incher at 7- 1/2 pounds, and three 27s at 7.4, 7.1, and 6.3

Frank Kapler, work unit leader of the Willow Point Fisheries Work Unit, retired at the end of January with 34 years of service to the people of the state of Ohio.

Kapler started at the Willard Marsh Work Unit in Huron County. He moved to the Willow Point Work Unit a few years later and became the work unit leader where he stayed until his retirement. He was instrumental in the development and maintenance of the Dempsey, Mazurik, and Portage access sites along Lake Erie. He played a large role in the Musky project, which collected millions of musky eggs for stocking in Ohio reservoirs over the last 30 years. With his retirement he takes with him a vast knowledge of these areas and fisheries management in general.

"Frank's abilities did not stop with biology," said his supervisor and friend Mike Wilkerson, "Frank had an uncanny ability to build or fix just about anything.

"Kapler saved the state untold thousands of dollars with his skills in repair and fabrication of specialized equipment used in fish management. His hard work will be remembered for years to come."

In other Ohio Wildlife District 2 news, Toledoan Brent Allan, 23, has been assigned as the new Hancock County Wildlife Officer. Kevin Russell, former state wildlife officer assigned to the county, was promoted to wildlife officer supervisor in December.

"Brent is an enthusiastic wildlife officer who is ready to tackle wildlife law enforcement and issues in Hancock County," Russell said.

Allan is a 2006 graduate of Whitmer High School. In 2008, he received an associate's degree in wildlife and fisheries resources from Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio. He was an intern at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in Ottawa County prior to being accepted as a cadet in the state wildlife academy. He graduated from the academy in July, 2009, and was assigned as an officer-at-large in District 2 until his promotion to Hancock County.

Upcoming -- Thursday and Friday, Buckeye Nationals Disabled Shooting Championships, Vienna Fish & Game Club, Vienna, Ohio, north of Youngstown; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, open to public, call Dick Dietz 440-582-8643.

Friday, lecture on birding at Maumee Bay and author reflections by Kenn Kaufman, renowned birding authority and field-guide author, 7 p.m., Maumee Bay State Park, conference center, tickets at the door; program part of 44th annual meeting of the Environmental Education Council of Ohio, Thursday to Sunday; call Brenda Metcalf 740-653-2649.

Saturday, wild game dinner, Morenci Sportsmen's Club, 9151 West Mulberry Rd., Morenci, Mich., doors open 4 p.m., benefits Michigan United Conservation Clubs; for details and ticket information, call Scott Kallenberg 419-350-8062.

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



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