We are certainly living through some trying times. And in these days of self-isolation and stay at home recommendations, it can make winter’s cabin fever look like a walk in the park.
One of the few bright spots, however, is that we are getting hints of spring. The grass is starting to grow, the birds are starting to nest, and the fish are starting to bite. Fortunately, there are many things that we can do outdoors this time of year to help make the time pass a little easier and give your soul a breath of fresh air that only Mother Nature can provide.
One of the best things you can do, and even the governor recommends, is to do some fishing. The walleye bite at Lake Erie really started to heat up this past week. The water temperature is in the mid 40’s and the females are on the move towards their spawning grounds. Those fishermen that are trolling are harvesting limits with bandit crankbaits and the hair jig bite on the shallower reefs is starting to pick up as well.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have your own boat suitable for Lake Erie, then it can be tough getting out and doing it safely in the times we live in. To be safe, the charter boats are currently shut down and the mayor of Fremont has closed the public parking areas due to too many fishermen showing up trying to catch the spawning females on the Sandusky River.
There are also reports that local authorities are upset with the number of out of state vehicles showing up to park in the public launch areas around Catawba. However, if you have your own boat and fish with those in your family, you can practice safe social distancing and still take advantage of the hungry migrating walleye.
If you don’t have a boat suitable for Lake Erie and a safe access point, the local waters are warming up enough to turn on the crappie and bass bite. Find yourself a quiet bank by yourself and take advantage of the spawning crappie. The local lakes are on fire right now and a skillet full of fish will do wonders to brighten your day and make your stomach happy as well.
Another great way to enjoy the outdoors and practice safe social distancing is to start scouting for turkeys. Turkey season is only a few weeks away and the toms are already gobbling and strutting for the ladies. A few early morning trips to your favorite woods to learn where the birds are roosting and strutting can give you a major advantage once the season gets here.
We are also hopefully only a few warm rains away from the mushrooms starting to pop. Getting some fresh air and exercise while looking for those tasty morels can be a great way to get out of the house while safely practicing social distancing.
Obviously, times are different and hopefully, this too shall pass and we can return to enjoying our normal activities. Until then, take care of yourself and get outdoors when you can and let your mind and body take a break from the stress that it’s under.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.