portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Grayson hybrids getting bigger

June 14, 2014

G. Sam Piatt


PDT Outdoors Columnist


GRAYSON, Ky. – Grayson Lake, located off Ky. 7 about 10 miles south of here, has several nice attractions, including a state park with a campground with RV hookups and a top-rated 18-hole golf course.


If you didn’t trailer in your own boat, you can rent a pontoon boat at the marina just upstream from the 120-foot high dam, and enjoy scenery that includes high cliffs where clear waterfalls trickle down from a hundred feet up.


If you get caught in a sudden summer rainstorm, there are rockhouses you can pull into and stay dry.


The 45-year-old, 1,512-acre lake offers decent fishing for black bass, crappie, bluegill and some prodigious catfish.


And hybrids – the fish produced by biologists from a cross between a striped bass and the white bass.


The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources stocked hybrid fingerlings into the lake quite a few years ago, but they’ve never seemed to take off in terms of size.


Debbie Mills, however, proved last week that there are some big hybrids swimming in the lake.


She was fishing for bluegill from the 60-foot houseboat she and her husband, Mike, have lived on almost around the four seasons for the past 14 years.


“I had on 4- to 6-pound test line and a little bluegill hook, so I was surprised when something very powerful hit and took off,” Mills said. “It drove down under the boat, under the dock, bending my rod like a horseshoe. I know I fought that thing for a good 25 minutes.”


Finally she got the fish up where she could see it was a hybrid. It was hooked in the corner of the mouth, and she knew she would probably lose it if she tried to lift it on board with the line.


“They are powerful fighters, but he had worn himself down. I opened the gate on the houseboat and managed to reach down and get my hand under its gills.”


She got it in, got it in a cooler, and then posed for a few photos by her father, Lon Conley.


The fish measured just under two feet and was estimated to weigh 6 pounds, perhaps more.


“I had caught some hybrids out of here before, but nothing much over 10 inches. This is by far the biggest hybrid I’ve seen come out of Grayson,” Mills said.


The hybrids go through the motions of spawning, but apparently do not reproduce.


Hybrid striped bass can reach weights of 20 pounds. We ran a photo in the May 25 column of Todd Virgin with a 13-5-pounder he caught from the tailwaters of the Greenup Dam on May 15.


BEARS ON THE MOVE

Last year, at last 74 different black bear sightings were confirmed in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.


There were 158 reported sightings of black bears in 35 counties, most of them in the northeast and southeast parts of the state.


“Confirmed” sightings are those verified by officials by tracks, scat (yes, wild bears do poop in the woods), or pictures that provide proof of bear activity.


Such sightings are expected to rise as the summer of 2014 unfolds.


“Dispersal of sub adult male bears occurs annually, typically a result of being driven off by their mother as she prepares for the breeding season,” said Jim Hill, wildlife management supervisor for southeast Ohio. “Young females have smaller ranges and seldom venture as far as males to establish territory.”


Some bears, always hungry, come out of the woods and make a nuisance of themselves, knocking down bird feeders, overturning garbage cans, or going for pet food left out around the property.


People should put bird feeders out of reach, remove uneaten pet food, leave garbage inside until pickup day, and cleanup after grilling out, Hill said.


The black bear is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and protected by state law.


Monitoring wild bear activity is paid for through the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund. It gets its money from the sale of Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, the state income tax check-off program, and the purchase of cardinal license plates for vehicles.


More information is available at www.wildohio.com.


G. SAM PIATT can be reached at gsamwriter@twc.com or (606) 932-3619.