March Madness

The lamb roared like the king of the jungle. Spring has literally exploded on the Alley. The records falled like dominoes as we've even had three days in a row of temperatures in the 80s. The trees have started to bud, toads filling the swamps with chorus of songs and of course my air conditioner rumbled to life after it's winter hiatus. My head is ready to explode from my allergies, my bracket for the NCAA tourney is fucked up, the office is screaming to get more work done and the rivers are polluted with fairweather fishermen. But the good times were coming to an end as a cold front was moving in for the weekend. We said goodbye to July weather and begrudgingly welcomed March back.


More rain and more of it is making the window on the Grand close more to the point of shutting it good for the season. The guys fished it in the morning and did well before the rising waters chased them off. Unfortunately, I had to work Saturday and I had a full docket. By the time I got home I thought tomorrow was going to be spent at home watching basketball. I watched the rivers start to creep up and I hoped for the best. I tied sacs regardless because like I said before there's always a place to fish somewhere on the Alley. I woke early to see the Conneaut get blown out and the Rock was still a tad too high, so that left the Chagrin the only stream left on the plate. Our brief summer weather was taking a hiatus as normal weather was returning. It was a dreary, foggy and chilly when I left early in the morning. I was somewhat happy to see the heat go away as the fish desperately need cooler water to survive.

The Chagrin was cloaked in mist as the surrounding woods was full of bird songs despise the chilly conditions. The river itself was slightly stained but feel very warm to the touch. Since the water was very warm I fished the faster well oxygenated water. The first fish of the morning was a large spawned out hen that ripped off a lot of line and fought furiously. Being mindful that a long fight could be the last one for this fish. But thankfully it was short and the hen was sleek like a torpedo. Probably a week ago she had a full belly of eggs and now she's slowly heading back to the lake and in the process shedding her winter colors for spring silver. I took a quick shot and she bolted back to the faster water. It was a quick morning as I catch several more dropbacks and that was it.

This section of the Chagrin is far from the lake therefore skippers are often absent. However this area is rich in gravel and often attracts a lot of fish. But I really couldn't see any fish on the gravel because the cloud cover was so low and thick. I didn't notice any dug out beds either. That was the case as I walked farther up - no beds or fish. None of the pools or runs produced any and I suspect that the majority of fish had dropped back or the bite was off. As I walk back and fished another run and I could see a group of four anglers. All of them chattering up storm and scanning the water for any fish. I'm thinking just chuck a fucking fly into the water and work the run - quit complaining. But I can still hear them bitch about not seeing any fish. They stood around looking clueless and decide to march on looking for fish. They walk by and one of them yells out "Any luck?" I grunt and give my standard response of nothing. The gang slowly walks around the bend and I have peace and quiet again. But boredom quickly settles in and I feel restless. I must move on to better water and my home waters are calling. I walk across where the gang was fishing earlier and I see one lonely male just waiting. I think poor bastard. 

I hopped back on I-90 and stop at the lower Rock. The river looks the same as the Chagrin did. I sat on the wrong side of the fence and should of fished it. Bubba was fishing below the bridge and I joined him. Not a lot of action and we moved downstream. I suggest fishing the chutes - a long slender run that hugs along the cliffs littered with rocks, holes and trees. It turned out to be a good call as we banged a lot of skippers. Another friend was fishing further up and we joined him. The sacs didn't seem to work and we figured that these fish have seen sac after sac after sac plus the gazillion shiners didn't help either. It was time to think small.

Switching to beads and the color of the hour was what everybody calls "snot". For the record I'm not a big fan of beads. They belong on jewelry not on a line. Do they work for sure but I'm old school and I prefer Poor Richards singles cooked in their secret recipe of muric acid. But I forgot my singles and I save them for special occasions - super clear water. The guys banged them pretty good considering the water was murky and the flow was ripping hard. These fish had a nano second to grab them beads as they flew by. I was very impressed.

Because of the warmer weather, the other residents of Lake Erie started making their runs -the smallmouth, channel cats, and white bass. But all of them were also following the moveable feast - shiners. But smallies are not a finicky bunch as I had one hit a white sac of steelhead eggs. The fish of the day was a small brown trout that hit one of Bubba's beads. A refugee from Pennsylvania and sporting one of the nastiest head wounds. Not sure what caused it as we had theories such as mergansers, gulls or some jerk that decided he wanted to mark the fish by chewing into its head. 

Hard to say how much longer our season will go on. This hot weather over the past 10 days hasn't helped and I fear that the majority of fish are done. We won't know until the next high water whether another run has commenced or all of them had bid us a farewell until this upcoming fall. 

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