By G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Writer
So spring is 26 days away.
Water temperatures will slowly rise to eventually reach the upper 50s to the mid-60s, when crappie, bluegill and bass, with the spawn in mind, will move to the shoreline.
Actually, those who study such things tell us that crappie move to the shallows to nest when the water temperature nears 56 degrees. Right now it stands at 38 degrees.
The eggs hatch in two to four days and the fry remain in the nest several days while the male guards them. It’s not until their second summer, sometimes the third, that these fry, as adults, will spawn. Their life span is no more than seven or eight years, but most die by the age of four.
Anyway, when they move to the shallows is when we’ll be able to catch a mess of fresh fish (you can’t buy them in the store, you know) with a little effort and a lot of fun.
THROUGH THE ICE
Some anglers, however, haven’t waited for the long, harsh winter to pass before enjoying that mess of fresh fish.
William “Gater” Washmuth of Portsmouth, who I ran into at a Portsmouth restaurant earlier this past week, told of recently driving a four-wheeler more than eight miles across the ice of Lake Erie, away out near West Sister Island, to where the walleye had congregated beneath the ice in 25 to 30 feet of water.
They augered holes in the ice and cranked up walleye exceeding six pounds.
A column I wrote Oct. 28, 2012 told of Gater, a son-in-law of Jack Bradley of South Shore, catching a chinook exceeding 30 pounds while plugging in the Manistee River, which flows into Lake Michigan.
The fish came at the end of a nine-hour drive from Portsmouth, and Washmuth said such a fish was worth such a drive.
AND IN INDIANA
My great-nephew, Joe Ray Wagoner, chopped holes in the ice on a body of water near his home at DeMott, Ind., and strung up some great catches of bluegill for the frying pan, with fish left over for the freezer.
I’ve still had no reports of ice fishing on any bodies of water in southern Ohio or northeastern Kentucky.
SOMETHING’S NOT WRITE
I’ve finally figured out why my attempts to write come out so sorry anymore.
Years ago, I quit partaking of tobacco in any form. I smoked a pipe for a few years, and it was a great inspiration – lent itself to the thinking process admirably.
The pipe was also great for stalling for inspiration to strike. Then I could continue transmitting great thoughts to the blank sheet of paper I had inserted into the typewriter.
Knocking, refilling and lighting was a ritual that prolonged the thought process.
I would blow out a great cloud of smoke and, with practice, a few wondrous smoke rings. Thanks to my pipe, I could easily kill a half hour to an hour without ever actually writing a word.
Later, when I went to work at the newspaper, my very first day I set the trashcan on fire by knocking out my pipe while a little fire remained in the bottom. A great cloud of smoke filled the news room, prompting someone to call the fire department. Several firemen rushed up the steps with axes in hand. Thankfully, there was no sprinkling system in place and things eventually returned to normal.
While writing and puffing, I ignored the coughing, hacking and complaining coming from non-smoking colleges seated on either side of me.
Later, with the demands of a deadline, I set aside the time-killing pipe and picked up a pack of Winstons.
My non-smoking friends finally complained so loudly that management stopped all smoking in the newsroom.
A special room down the hall with an exhaust fan in the ceiling was designated as a place for smoke breaks.
Without a cigarette curling smoke up from an ashtray on my desk, it became increasingly difficult to complete a sentence that made any sense. I could gain inspiration only by making a trip down the hall to the smoke room, but the thought had usually vanished by the time I got back to my typewriter (later a computer).
I eventually discovered that I could write a fairly decent sentence without blowing smoke.
Now I understand that smoke rooms have been closed and reporters must go down the steps and out into the alley to gain inspiration.
I’m left to wonder how that daily newspaper winds up on time in my paper box out front.
G. Sam Piatt can be reached at 606-932-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.