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Below the Dam Fishing

February 12, 2015

By Chris Erwin

When the local lakes are frozen or the fishing gets very slow, it’s time to think about fishing below some of our local dams. Cave Run, Grayson, and Yatesville all have spill-way fishing. However, the Ohio River is king of the dam fishing in our area.

This past weekend, I took my camera and headed out to see what it looked like below the dam. At the same time, I wanted to talk to a few people to see how they were doing. I would have taken my rod and reel, but I had promised my dad I’d take him, and he didn’t want to be in the weather long, but at 95, he still gets cabin fever and wanted to see what was going on too.

That same day, Carrie Stambaugh sent me a picture of Greenbo Lake. Her and her husband Carl had just been there. The DFWL had stocked 5,500 trout in Greenbo Lake the day before, and they had been trying their luck. I was sure from all reports that the lake was frozen; however, in the picture she sent me of the ramp area it was easy to see that that part of the lake was open. They caught their limit in about two hours fishing Berkley Power Bait on a small treble hook in the stocking area. I also talked to Travis Elliott, who had been to the Wild Game Dinner at Greenbo Lake the same day. As I was heading to the dam, he told me the upper end of Greenbo near the lodge was indeed frozen.

A local fisherman trying his luck at fishing the forward wall at the Greenup Dam on the Ohio side of the river. (Photo by Chris Erwin)

A local fisherman trying his luck at fishing the forward wall at the Greenup Dam on the Ohio side of the river. (Photo by Chris Erwin)

It was a nice day, and I figured they would be some anglers out there giving it a try, so I went by picked up Dad and headed for the Ohio side just below the Greenup Dam. As I crossed the Jesse Stuart Memorial Dam, I could see some cars and trucks parked at the top of the hill. I just knew someone had a good stringer worthy of a picture.

I pulled the truck into a parking spot where dad could see without him trying to walk down the hill. I got out and headed over the hill. I could see a few guys fishing. I could also see the water was a little high and over part of the walking area. So I couldn’t get all the way to the water without scaling down the rip-rap.

The water was boiling out from under the discharge area by the locks as it normally does and one guy was fishing right up next to the forward wall. I asked him how he was doing, but he told he wasn’t getting a thing. “Not one strike”! I could tell he was a little disappointed.

I turned to the downstream area where a group of guys were fishing. I could see them coming up from the water. OK I said, “Who has some fish, I’d like to take a picture for the paper”? they just looked at each other as they managed to top the hill packing their fishing gear. “Not today”! One of them proclaimed, “It’s been tough today.”

I asked them what they were fishing with, and if they fished here often. As it turned out, these guys were regulars to the area. One of the told me “Hey Man! I’m a sauger fisherman and I usually limit out in a few hours, but today they seem to have lock-jaw”! They were fishing with jigs and spoons, none of which were producing that day.

I asked them if the water level could be the problem, and I got mixed answers. While some of them said they had caught fish when the water was much higher than it was that day; others said they do the best when the water is down about another two feet, which would have uncovered the walking area now swimming in water.

I will follow up on the dam in a couple of weeks, and try to take my tackle and give it a try myself so maybe then I can pass along a few more tips.

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