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With the long days and nights of summer now upon us, it’s a good time to take in some early morning and evening fishing.

That’s what I’ve done the past few weekends, making two trips to Lake Erie and another trip to Portage Lakes in Ohio’s Summit County.

Different fish

The results have been mixed. I caught only weeds and sticks at Portage Lakes, although I think a lot had to do with the strong winds and a poor choice of days. I also need to take into account spawning for some species of fish. My trips to Lake Erie, on the other hand, have produced catches of walleye, yellow and white perch, white bass and a couple catfish.

And, I caught my limit of the overpopulated sheephead fish — a large and annoying drum fish for which there is no limit (see picture).

I’m not a big-time angler, and those who I fish with would quickly agree. I failed to set the hook hard enough to keep at least one of the walleye on the line, and he felt like a big one.

But I enjoy the trip to different parts of Ohio and the time spent pursuing whatever will bite. One of my favorite fish to catch is catfish, and I’ve only recently begun to plan a few trips to catch that specie. The thing about catfish is they’re generally nocturnal, so if you want to catch them, you have to spend some time fishing after dark and often well into the night and morning.

To do this, I take at least one Coleman Lantern, which provides enough light to see what I’m doing and to feel safe. And I sometimes use the lighted bobbers, which have small light bulbs inside so the fisherman can see when something attacks the bait.

And speaking of bait, I prefer to use something that may be a little disgusting: chicken livers.

Ugly fish, ugly bait

Catfish are kind of an ugly fish to begin with, and it takes some ugly, stinky bait to get them to bite. The chicken livers are sold at most large grocery stores and some people eat them for dinner. But I prefer them on a hook, set at or near the bottom of a lake for a catfish to come along and swallow.

In mid-June, I caught a large catfish from a boat near Put-in-Bay on just a nightcrawler, although I think the livers work even better.

Most of the fish I catch have the benefit of being released back into the lake. I do keep some, but I’ve found that it’s easier and takes less time to let them go. If I really want some fish to eat, I can buy some from the grocery store and not have to bother with the fishing, the filleting or the cooking.

Still, I find it a rewarding experience to be able to catch a few on my own, and the challenge just adds to the joy of the next catch.

Planning some trips

I have several vacation days to schedule before the end of this year, and I am relatively certain a few of them will be spent doing some fishing. I won’t say where, exactly, because I don’t want to give away the good spots. But it will be somewhere in Ohio, in a lake or a tributary, and I intend to have some fun at it.

The pictures shown here are of my most recent trip to Erie on Independence Day, with my brother (right) and a couple friends. We landed seven walleye (pictured) and several smaller fish. No records, but a good way to spend the holiday, even if I did have to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to join them.

If the remainder of the fishing season is productive, I may share another update, especially if I’m fortunate enough to land a few nice cats — short for catfish.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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