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Locks and dam: A day to remember

January 19, 2012

By Chris Erwin

I thought I would take you along this week on a trip to the Greenup Dam to get a good look at the Sauger fishing.

When I arrived, the picnic area was completely blocked off. I’m not sure if this was because of the terrorist threat or just because of the time of the year it is, but parking in that area was out of the question.

There is a gravel road that comes in from the back side, where you can still get access to the area, but it’s pretty rough. While my truck is a four-wheel drive, once I got close I decided I’d better walk the last leg of the road to see how bad it was.

My wife Linda stayed in the truck; she had decided to come along and take some pictures, so I told her I was going to walk down the road to see if we could get closer with the truck.  It didn’t take long to see it was just too rough and wet to drive the truck on down to the river.

By Linda Erwin. The author, Chris Erwin, makes his way through the mud to fish for Sauger in the Ohio River.

As I turned to head back, I faced a mud hole that spans the road. I had walked around it coming in but looking at it from the other end, it appeared I could stay in the center where a big hump seemed dry enough for me to walk down the center and stay out of the weeds, which grew on both sides.

I stepped into the center of the hump. All seemed fine, for about three seconds. Then  the hump caved in on me, and the next thing I knew my feet was higher than my head, and my hind quarters felt the splendor of January water running up my back side.

“Ohooo! #$*&! Whew!!”  And other words I can’t print here were flying out of my mouth as I scrambled to get to my feet. This, by the way, was not an easy thing since everything my feet hit was either mud or water. As I glanced up my Strike King hat was floating across the mud hole like a sail boat on a windy day, and my pockets were filling with water faster than a sinking ship!

After I got to my feet, I made it back to the truck where Linda was laughing louder than the front row at a Larry the Cable Guy show. I managed to change into some dry clothes. Yes, I had a change of clothes…

At this point Linda was asking me through the tears of laughter if I was ready to go. Now any normal person would have just packed up and went home, but I wasn’t going to let a little mud and water stop me from getting a story about fishing below the dam.

We moved the truck around by the substation where we could walk to the water without going back down this road. I loaded my pockets with jigs and stinger grubs, grabbed my fishing rod and headed off walking toward the water, while Linda followed me with the camera.

Once I got to the water, I could see that it was still high. I headed down the hill to the small lock section. I could also tell that the water had been falling. I headed on down the hill – my Nike tennis shoes now looking like a pair of mud logs. I wanted to get close to the wall by the small lock, a place where I had caught many fish in the past.

By Linda Erwin. The author, Chris Erwin, fishing for Sauger at the Greenup Locks and Dam.

Six feet from the water the bank was so muddy and soft, I started sinking again. I was starting to feel like Wile E. Coyote, my surrounding was plotting against me!

On about the sixth or seventh cast, I hooked a sauger and I fought the little thing back to the bank. By the time I got it up the bank where I was, it looked like a little brown mud log with teeth. It was so mud covered I couldn’t even take a picture and there was no getting to the water’s edge to wash it, so I removed my jig, pitched the fish back in the water and headed for home.

Editor’s Note: This column first appeared in the Greater Ashland Beacon. 

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