Nature Notes: State Fair, Chagrin River and more
ODNR hosts extensive State Fair activities
The eight-acre Natural Resource Park run by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will provide fair-going public with a pastoral escape from the midway through the last day of the fair, Sunday, August 12.
Live displays run from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and include lumberjack displays, Ohio wildlife and music. The Outdoor Adventure Center, near the center of the park, will help visitors plan their naturey activities for the coming year.
I suggest checking out this service. The main problem I hear with people not going outside is that they run out of time, have too much to do or don't know where to get started. (Of course, this is why I write the Venture column. Any help I can get in my nature-vangelism is most welcome.)
New this year: A walkthrough butterfly garden, an aviary and a sweet fishing pond stocked with bluegill and channel catfish.
Three-pound smallmouth bass in the Chagrin River
I didn't catch this fine fish, of course, but a guy on a spincasting rod close by did. A beautiful specimen that fought like the Dickens (that's pretty hard, I'm told). He had it on the line, and I couldn't tell what it was. When I was younger, I snagged an enormous, five-pound bullfrog in the Chagrin, and I thought he accidentally hooked a rat snake or something.
Northeast Ohio got tons of rain on Friday, so the fishing was decent over the weekend. I hooked a couple of smaller smallmouths this Saturday using a Sneaky Pete and an Old Joe popper. Top-water flies were working well in the morning, but tailed off at night.
The angler who pulled in the lunker Saturday at dusk said that bass are going crazy for crayfish - live and creature-bait paterns - bounced along the bottom. I didn't see many resident crayfish while wading around.
But he pulled in a three-pounder, and I didn't. So take his word for it.
I grew up within a three-minute drive of the river, near the intersection of Wilson Mills and River roads. [Region map] [Local map] The river has always fished well, though I've never tried for steelhead that run up from Lake Erie.
I will tackle that this fall.
Access: There's public parking at a Metro Park on Wilson Mills just west of River. Park there and walk east to the bridge. Before you reach it, look for some underbrush. A short path leads down to a rocky bank.
Hot spots: From the rocky bank, you can hit some holes along the bank, which this weekend held bass and bluegill. Your best shot is to walk under the bridge (veer right for shallow passage) and along the exposed rocks in the middle. About 200 yards downstream, there's a nice hole beneath a stoney bank.
Ohio bald eagle numbers increase again
The ODNR reports that numbers of bald eagle nests increased again, to 164. Of that number, 115 produced young eagles.