Friday, July 19, 2013

Creeks: Here, There, and Everywhere

In the last three weeks we have had way more rain than a typical summer in Southern Ohio. Creeks have been high and muddy for nearly 3 weeks straight, which would keep most people off of the creeks..... not us. We've been on the water nearly every day, however the fish haven't cooperated. The trips have been un-blogworthy for the most part.


We tried to focus our fishing efforts below low head dams since water levels were less affected here than everywhere else. As the water rises it flows over a dam, if there's a dam on the downstream side it has no choice but to flow over the next dam. Above is a picture of a small dam that typically has no flow whatsoever, this time around it was raging. We quickly discovered that although the water levels may only fluctuate a half a foot or so, the water was really moving. It was quite the experience, we had a blast playing in the swift water but it seemed the fish had disappeared.

We did spot some wildlife on a couple of the floats. The first thing we noticed was an osprey perched in an old dead tree.

On a separate float we also found a young great horned owl. It appeared to have something wrong with one of its wings. I tried not to get too close so it wouldn't get excited and cause more harm to its wing. Here's the best pic I could get. You can see it sitting under the overhanging branch.

We took one float on Rocky Fork Creek in Highland County, Ohio since the water was high. This creek is nearly unfloatable when the water is low, so we took the opportunity to hit it. It carves its way through the limestone bedrock of the area, and makes for an incredible experience. At some points during this float you are literally floating in between 2 cliffs of limestone walls that stretch at least 100 yards above the water. Breathtaking, humbling, amazing, beautiful, etc. are all words that could be used to describe this stretch of creek. At one point Jake, my little brother, made the remark that he felt like Indiana Jones. I could relate, with an environment like what we were in, it definitely felt like we were in a movie. I didn't take nearly as many pics as I should have, partly because I was in awe and that I wanted to see what these limestone boulders were holding under, behind, and around them.

As always the water was moving.

The water was still pretty swift even after several days of dry weather. In fact the water was so swift that I missed a lot of spots that I would have loved to fish.

The lowlight of the trip was when we got to the take out vehicle, the vehicle we use to go get my car and trailer with. We get within 100 yards of the take out when Amanda informs me that she doesn't have the keys to her car. I was speechless, it was after 9pm and we had less than 30 minutes before dark. Jake and I checked our phones to find out that we had no service. At that point I turned and looked upstream. I told them I don't think I can get back upstream. They quickly remind me of several points in the creek that I wouldn't be able to get up. Jake then offers to walk back, I remind him that he'll have nearly 8 miles to walk. At that point Amanda checks her phone to find that she had just entered into service. A few minutes later she got a hold of her mom. At 10:30pm Amanda's Mom and Stepdad had brought us the keys to her car and my car.  I was very glad to have that evening over with.

Thanks Theressa and David.

Wednesday the water had dropped enough for the fish to cooperate for the first time in a long time. We floated a 6 mile section of creek after work. We quickly figured out that the "Put In", the place where we put our kayaks in, was very skinny. In fact we ended up dragging our kayaks through grass, under trees, over trees, etc. for nearly 3/4 of a mile before we got to the main branch of the creek. It didn't take long for us to find fish. Rylan found a 16.25" smallmouth on one of his first casts in a logjam under a bridge. It went 1lb 13oz.


A few hundred yards downstream on a rock bar I got a smallmouth that would have served as a good twin to Rylan's bass. Mine only went 16", a quarter inch shorter, but it was an ounce heavier than Rylan's bass. It went 1lb 14oz.

The immediate success had overshadowed the exhausting 3/4 mile drag. We fished the next few miles only to find that the smallmouth wanted to chase baits up to our kayaks. Rylan had two bass right at his kayak that he thought were bigger than his first bass. In hindsight we should have tossed a rattletrap or crankbait to see if we could pick those fish up. Maybe we will find some fish tomorrow.

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