Cleveland kayak fishing… again

CLEVELAND, OH – I had so much fun that was documented on the last post… I had to go back and do it again!  Sure enough, plenty of cooperative fish with multiple Walleye, Rock Bass, Freshwater Drum, and even a Common Carp caught.  There really isn’t any additional commentary to add, just that I enjoy this venue a lot.  There is a substantial amount of boat and wave runner traffic, but this setback does not outweigh the good fishing and neat urban environment.

A freshwater bonefish, AKA Carp from the Lake Erie near shore

  A small Rock Bass at the marina

Lots of small throwback Walleye in the lake this year

This Walleye went 14″, the best of the day, but still not a keeper

The pictures speak for themselves at how fun of a day it was, but I did want to acknowledge one thing I noticed.  My PFD was not on.  I was fishing very close to shore and was hot, most often I do wear my PFD and would always recommend that.  I can assure everyone the PFD was right behind me, not even an arms length away.

Fishing the Rocky River’s West Branch

CWF070614wbrockyThe view from the Water Street Bridge

With the family moving recently, it has required some time devoted to researching new waters to fish.  It seems each year I have a goal of fishing new places, the move has made this a necessity, whether motivated to do so or not.  Overall, this is a good thing, and I just need to be patient with my expectations of instant fishing success.  Today’s trip was unique in not only that it was my first time at the West Branch of the Rocky River at Olmsted Falls, Ohio, but also in the fact that I only took fly fishing gear.  This is a personal goal of becoming more proficient with the fly rod and it seems if I take my spinning gear, the fly gear ends up sitting in the vehicle.  I didn’t allow myself to let this happen today.

CWF070614carpA rather large carp was cruising the shallow water

Whenever I manage to make it to new water, especially if it is a venue plagued by shallow water, I always worry about the presence of fish.  Obviously, catching a fish makes that worry go away, but certainly even seeing a fish is reassuring.  Before making my way down to the river, I started by looking down from a bridge to see what it would reveal.  Along with some nice scenic views (including the photo to start this post), I was able to spot some fish.

CWF070614fishpairA carp with a mystery companion fish

Thanks to a good decision to bring both of my cameras, including the one with the 27x optical zoom, I was quite surprised at how well the photos turned out.  The photo above was my favorite, as I didn’t even notice the smaller mystery fish until I was at home reviewing on the computer.  I don’t have any idea what species it is, anyone have thoughts?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI spent the majority of my time fishing this area below the dam

I eventually stopped looking at the fish, reminding myself I was there to try to catch them.  Making my way down to the water, I realized just how popular the dam was.  While some creative cropping yielded the desired affect of pristine untouched water, the reality was that this area was very popular.  Along with several fisherman, there were five times as many people just wading and splashing around in the water.  In a day and age where most kids are glued to the television or video games, it was difficult to be mad that they would cause the fishing to be more challenging.  At least a few parents out there see value in prying their kids out of a chair.  It was refreshing and reassuring to see.

As expected, the fishing was tough.  Every time I found a decent hole, someone would walk through it or close enough to scare everything away.  When I finally reached an area a little less populated, a group of kayakers decided to have a water fight and take respite on rocks right by where I was intending to fish.  I forced myself to simply enjoy the scenery and work on my fly casting.  After all, this was a beautiful place to practice.

Eventually, I found a spot under the dam that was unmolested from foot traffic.  At this point, any catch would have made my day and I was thrilled to bring to the net two little Smallmouth Bass and a Rock Bass.  I did have to ‘cheat’ and I won’t really consider it a fly fishing catch, as I used a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp! Minnow.

As a final note, the area I was at today is named David Fortier River Park.

First “Fish Ohio Award” of the year

CWF05242014carpCall me crazy, I think it’s a nice looking fish

CWF05242014brycecarpThat’s my boy, never pass up an opportunity to get in a fish photo

 A trip to my parent’s home today, meant a chance for the family to do some fishing.  We were on the Sandusky River, north of Fremont, targeting White Bass with minnows.  The action was okay, but quite a bit slower than what I was expecting.  In order to generate a few more bites, I opted to use Nightcrawlers on the second rod.  I figured two different kinds of bait might get us a few more strikes.  This would be especially important to keep Bryce’s attention.  The decision ended up being a good one, as I ended up reeling in a rather large Common Carp.  The hard fighting fish took me about 7 minutes to bring in and went 30″ on the tape.  It has been quite awhile since I caught a Fish Ohio Award qualifying catch and it was fun that Bryce was right there getting to see and touch (actually hugged) the fish.

The carp was the showstopper today, but plenty of White Bass, Sheephead and White Perch also were caught by day’s end.  Bryce has gotten pretty comfortable around the fish and became increasingly insistent on being able to handle them.  Jill did a great job getting some photos of him trying to be patient and taking instruction from me.  He was very happy to hold a fish on his own and even throw it back in the water for his first ever unassisted catch & release.  His form could use some work but at least he enjoyed letting them go.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAttempting to show him how to lip a fish, but he just grabbed it

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHe was fortunate the dorsal spines stayed down, or bye-bye smile

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe release

So there you have it, a memorable day with the family on the Sandusky River.  I appreciate everyone’s tolerance as I am sure I will post every ‘first’ that Bryce does as it relates to fish and/or fishing.  What can I say, I love my boy!, and I know other dad’s understand.