PORT CLINTON — After a few jokes, some good-natured ribbing and a boat ride out on Lake Erie under a sunny sky, Ohio Gov. John Kasich got down to business today at the 35th annual Governor‘s Fish Ohio Day.
The governor signed a memorandum of understanding to have Ohio work more closely with Canada and other Great Lakes states at shutting off pathways for more destructive exotic species from other parts of the world, such as Asian carp, zebra mussels, and sea lamprey.
The governor, known to have great affection for the lake but not exactly the fishing prowess of master anglers, didn’t get shut out during his 90-minute fishing expedition this afternoon in walleye-rich water near Port Clinton.
He caught two sheephead, also known as freshwater drum, and threw them both back. The walleye weren‘t biting for him, probably because by the time he drove up from Columbus and got on the lake it was already noon, Jeff Reutter, Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio State University Stone Laboratory director, said.
Larry Fletcher, Lake Erie Shores & Islands West executive director, kicked off the afternoon news conference by suggesting he was ready to tell some tall fish tales on behalf of Mr. Kasich.
“He got out on the lake and brought in some big fish...,” Mr. Fletcher said, only to be cut off in mid-sentence by an honest governor.
“...oh, let’s not exaggerate,” Mr. Kasich said with a smirk on the patio of the joint Ottawa-Erie county Lake Erie visitor center that Mr. Fletcher operates.
A crowd of about 150 people, many of them fishermen, laughed.
Mr. Kasich later noted that his press secretary, Rob Nichols, finally caught his first fish after four years of participating in Fish Ohio Days.
The agreement Mr. Kasich signed onto was drafted by governors from each of the Great Lakes states in recent months and agreed upon in principle in late April at a summit in Chicago. It is a non-binding agreement that sets goals for mutual cooperation against invasives.