Man’s best friend and bank fishing

G. Sam Piatt

I never knew that one of God’s four-legged creatures could love a man the way Belle loves me.

This little 15-pound terrier mix seems to worship the ground I walk on. She takes every step I take around the house, begging for just a few minutes on my lap, which I gladly give her.

She eats well, thanks to me, but I don’t believe that’s the reason she adores me. She eats mostly chicken breasts from Short Stop, which I cut into bite-size pieces and warm up for 15 seconds in the microwave oven.

She fancies herself as my protector. I believe she would charge a grizzly if it threatened me.

She sleeps in my bed, but if I don’t join her, deciding instead to sleep in my easy chair, she’ll slip out of bed and snuggle in on my lap.

Just prior to Christmas 2014, when I spent a week in SOMC with double pneumonia, she saw the crew wheel me out of the house on a stretcher. I’m sure she thought I had died. For three days she refused to leave my chair or take food.

When family members brought her to my hospital room, she looked around at others in the room, then finally spied me in the bed. With a mighty leap beyond belief she sailed onto the bed, covering my face with kisses.

She’s going on 11 years old, but still has days when she wants to play like a pup.

I don’t know, of course, which one of us will die first, but it’s going to be rough on the survivor, whichever way it goes. I’ve owned other dogs, but never one that captured my heart like Belle has.

A mortician friend of mine told me the story of a man and his little dog who were in the same situation as Belle and I.

When the man died, his wife, believing that the little dog would grieve its self to death without him, had the dog put to sleep and placed in the coffin at her husband’s feet.

Will there be dogs in Heaven?

I firmly believe so.


You can bank on catching some nice fish below various dams right now.

The breezes of March are approaching, bringing a movement of warm weather and a movement of fish in Kentucky and Ohio waters.

I fished Green River Lake in south central Kentucky June 20-22, 2014, with fellow members of the Kentucky Outdoor Press Association.

Chris Erwin, secretary, fished one day with guide David Jones for crappie. They caught more than 60, culling 37 keepers which provided 74 fillets for the frying pan.

Creighton Stephens, currently promoting the Gospel in the Philippines, and I fished from my boat on our own and found several nice largemouth bass.

But I did not know then of the excellent fishing to be found in the tailwaters of the dam. There are big walleye and some heavy sauger, according to Lee McClellan, nationally award-winning associate editor of Kentucky Afield magazine.

“You drive to Campbellsville and head south on Ky. 55 to the Tailwater Recreation Area below Green River Lake,” McClellan said.

And you don’t even need a boat. These fish can be caught now from the bank.

A population sampling there on Jan. 15 brought up walleye going to 8 pounds.

“It was really impressive,” said David Baker, stream fisheries biologist for the department. “We didn’t see as many sauger (as walleye) but the ones we saw were large.”

McClellan said bank access is first-rate. He recommends starting with jerk baits colored grey, silver and black. Cast them out and work them aggressively.

Live minnows rigged on a No. 2 hook attract both walleye and sauger, McClellan said. Clamp enough split shot to the line about a foot above the hook to allow the bait to be bounced off the bottom.

He said the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam is another excellent bank fishing spot for big walleye and sauger.

The fish congregate below the dam in late February and early March to feed on threadfin shad and alwives, which get pulled through the dam outlet and into the river.

Medium-sized live shiners or large crappie minnows fished on the bottom score some good catches.

Right now, anglers are catching good stringers of sauger from the bank in the tailwaters of Kentucky and Barkley lakes, McClellan said.


Sauger and walleye fishing is good, too, in the tailwater areas below the Ohio River dams, such as Greenup Dam.

But not right now. The river is at flood stage, having roared from its normal 15 feet to a level of 50 feet or more.

The fish, however, might be concentrated in the backwater behind the landwall on the Kentucky side and available from the bank.


Efforts are underway by Eighth District Wildlife Commissioner Gary Greene and members of the Northeastern Kentucky Fish and Game Club to organize a chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society encompassing the northeastern and central areas of the state.

The season is under way in these areas in Kentucky through the end of this month. It closed at the end of January in Ohio.

Kentucky offers a four-bird daily limit. But hunters in both states are finding grouse numbers way down from what they used to be.

For more information call Roy French as (606) 739-6396 or write him at [email protected]

G. Sam Piatt

Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or [email protected]

Reach G. SAM PIATT at (606) 932-3619 or [email protected]

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