Merry Christmas from the Crapahoga

Another year is finally coming to an end and I couldn't be any happier. This without a doubt so far has been the worst season since I've been here on the Alley. To add more salt to the wound, we were hit with an early cold snap that locked the rivers up several weeks before Christmas. That happens when the streams are barely moving. The down time was spent walking the various malls like a zombie looking for gifts. I buy a coffee and sit down, I couldn't get the thought of no fishing for weeks to come. What would I do? I thought of going into statis, but I had to smack myself. I guess I would have to man up and tough it out.

Then a light bulb went off in my head - the Cuyahoga River! The Hoga as the locals call it rarely freezes over and it isn't the result of periodic fires. I been in the national park numerous times and it's a green island surrounded by a urban sea. The river is slightly larger than the Grand and not to many fellow steelheaders I know fish it or they've kept it a secret. Over the years, I often talked about going there, but I never did and I always had an excuse. Since the power plant has been fishing terribly over the past few weeks, I fished it out of desperation.

The placed I decided to go was the first dam and when I reached it, the first thing I noticed was the sign posted by the state EPA about the how many fish a person should consume because of contaminates - just what every growing boy needs. The Hoga is a lot cleaner than it was 40 years ago, but there is still a lot of waste in the river due the cities of Akron and Kent. As I walked down, I noticed some of the rocks were littered with footprints and old spawn sac netting. I fished the dam and didn't get any hits. I started to walk downstream and fished and fished and fished.

I made several notes and I was impressed with the river. Some of the spots I fished were chock full of gravel and below that some nice cuts and runs to hold pods of steelies. The only bad note is the river isn't wading friendly, as the banks are high, deep in some spots and the vegetation nasty. This is the result of the river's meandering nature. It's a shame that the state won't stock it as it mainly runs through public land and has a lot of access.

To make a long story short, the fish (if there were any) played the role of Heat Miser, Scrooge and the Grinch. I didn't even sniff a take, but it was nice to fish water that I've never been on.