Big Channel

Six-fish winning weight for the April Catmaster tournament at St. Marys was 61.95 pounds. Big channel cat weighed in at 20.30 pounds.

St. Marys Crappies

Local angler Tony Aldora shows a couple of the Lake St. Marys crappies caught by him and Dan Dawson.

Snowy Crappies

John Bruns holds a Lake St. Marys crappie taken during the recent snow.

March at Beaver Creek

Moving water in Beaver Creek turn on the fish during the annual draw-down at Lake St. Marys.

record catch

Doug Wehrley and Dean Smith caught this Catmaster tournament record at Lake St. Marys in 2013 with a 6-fish limit of over 65 pounds.

Grand Lake St. Marys Report

According to Grand Lake Bait & Tackle, the spring crappie fishing has started. Fishing pressure is evident around the lake as more fishermen appear to be taking advantage of the excellent pan fishing. The morning and evening bites seem to be the best. Harmons, Coldwater Creek, and Anderson’s are popular spots.

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Indian Lake Report

Lakeside Pro Bass Shop reports the spring season is off to a great start. The crappie fishing is excellent, and the milder weather is bringing the fishermen out in numbers.  Fishermen are using jigs and plastic tails. Wax worms and spikes are usually added to the combination. A number of crappie fishermen are fishing the pad areas.

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Lake Loramie Report

According to Spillway Bait and Tackle, fishermen are looking for and finding fish. More keeper crappies are showing up with some larger fish being reported. The areas around the 119 Bridge and the Luthman Bridge have produced some nice crappies. Fishing pressure has been steady. Fishermen are using small jigs tipped with plastic tails.

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Apr 20 2015

Outdoors with Forda Birds---By John Andreoni

The 2015 spring turkey season opens this Monday, April 20, and I won’t be one of the participants. It’s not that I have anything against the sport, I just never developed the skills it takes to bag a wild turkey. I grew up with upland game and waterfowl hunting and never bothered to adapt to the wildlife changes this area has had over the years. Today, deer hunters are the largest group in Ohio followed closely by turkey hunters. As an afterthought, many of them will chase small game and/or waterfowl. In terms of popularity, it could be argued that small game hunting still ranks at the top, especially if hunter-hours in the field were the benchmark. Gun hunters have a longer time to chase rabbits than they do deer. The same applies to turkey hunting. Either way, it’s expected that roughly 70,000 turkey hunters will be in the field at some point during the 28-day season trying to bag a bird from Ohio’s estimated 165,000 turkeys. Roughly one out of four will bring home a turkey dinner, and that’s probably being generous.

In my case, there are just so many hours I can spend enjoying hunting and fishing, and in the spring, I opt for fishing. Even then, I have to provide excuses to get on the water. Saturday, for example, I fished in a catfish tournament. It was a six-hour event, and if you add a couple of hours for preparation and getting off the water, that’s a full day for me. It would have been nice to find some big fish, but just being out had a lot of merit. On April 26, I’ll be fishing in the first tournament of the Grand Lake Crappie Series. That tournament runs from 6:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. A lot of fish should be caught since the fishing has been phenomenal, but in this case, size does matter. I’m guessing the winning weight per crappie will average a pound or more. Anyhow, another long day for an old guy.

Although I’ve never turkey hunted in my life, I do enjoy the bird and am impressed with the results of Ohio’s species-specific management programs. 50 years ago, no one would have ever expected that wild turkeys would be hunted in all 88 counties.  In terms of good turkey management and developing a viable turkey population, I have a decent idea of how hard it is to be successful. I personally know how easy it is to fail. Consequently, when management people seem to be dragging their feet when making decisions, I have a tendency to cut them some slack. Getting it right takes time and study. Cutting corners isn’t good science.

Read more: Turkey Season Opening Day
Apr 13 2015

Outdoors with Ford Birds---By John Andreoni

Over the years, I’ve learned a number of things about hunting mushrooms. First, hunting mushrooms is easy; it’s the finding part that’s hard. What’s the best time to hunt them? The experts say you should be in the woods right before the next guy starts. Finally, never ask mushroom hunters to share the location of their favorite spots. It just isn’t going to happen. Taking this information to heart, a person can easily see that gathering wild, edible mushrooms on a consistent basis is a challenge. Nature has to cooperate, and the hunter has to spend a lot of time searching. I didn’t even mention that a trained eye would be a big help.

According to the books, there are 2000 or more kinds of wild mushrooms in Ohio. Some are edible, some are poisonous, but no one knows for sure what category the majority of them fall under. These are the mushrooms that aren’t considered a food source because of their size, flavor, or texture. I’m not sure what brave souls did the taste testing to determine flavor, but they must have been pretty hungry to take the chance. Regardless, to simplify matters, most mushroom hunters in this area are searching for morels. They’re easy to identify, have a pleasant, meaty texture, and are considered a delicacy by many, and like many delicacies, there is usually an acquired taste. Once that taste is developed, satisfying it can almost become an obsession. I guess that’s why mushroom hunters are so secretive. They know that morels only show up for a limited time and chances are there won’t be an overabundance to store for a later date. Because of their natural scarcity, buying them from commercial sources is prohibitive, unless you can afford $30 dollars or more per pound.

There are many factors that need to fall into place to have a good mushroom year. Temperature, moisture, soil type, proper nutrients, and more play an important role. When conditions are just right, morels will fruit and become visible. When that time comes, the mushroom hunter wants to be on site ready to harvest. Standard rules call for searching around dead or dying trees. Ash, elm, and apple are commonly mentioned. Later in the season, the bigger yellow morels can be found around pin oak trees. The soil should feel spongey when you walk on it, and sloping ground is an excellent place to look. In flat areas found in northwestern Ohio, these slopes can be subtle and are sometimes difficult to pick up. The south side of slopes are generally warmer because they get more sunlight. This is important early in the season.

Read more: Mushroom Hunting is Easy

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