Starting my time on Cave Run Lake in late October

BY Chris Erwin

After leaving the writer’s conference on the main lake, I dropped my boat back in the water at Popin Rock Ramp Sunday afternoon and motored over to the flag point where I parked my boat. My daughter was waiting on me, we road double back up the hill to my cabin where I unloaded the truck brought in by Linda, my wife.
She helped me to get settled, and then she headed for home. I would be alone till Thursday when she would return along with my son Scott. Until then, I would be fishing by myself and trying to figure out just what the fish were doing on this end of the lake.

Scott Erwin of Ashland KY holding a 43 inch Muskie caught on a two-inch crankbait on Cave Run Lake Oct. 18th (photo by Chris Erwin)

I do this every year, stay alone in the fall, I find it gives me a chance to think about what is essential in life. I have been through a lot these last few years. Cancer, my house burning down with me in it. While I, for now, have beaten Cancer, the collateral damage has taken its toll. This test will give me an idea if I am really recovering or if I have a long way to go to get back to anything close to normal.

I started out fishing Monday at about 10 am after fixing some breakfast and getting my small cooler ready for the day. I plan to stay the entire day on the water. I headed up the river and started out trying to catch some crappie since the plan was to have a fish fry when they return on Thursday.
That went pretty well I managed to catch some crappie on 1/8 oz jigs tipped with Berkely Crappie Nibbles. Those fish went into the cooler and would be the only fish I plan to keep the entire week.

The rest of the week, I managed to catch bass on crankbaits and spinnerbaits; most of the fish were small. I did catch two Muskie both were in the 15 to 20-inch range and were quickly released.
The bass was near the bottom in standing trees and for the most part, inactive; however, in the low-light periods, they seem to turn on for a few hours each day. I spent a lot of time on the flats because I just knew the Muskie should be there. I did catch fish on the flats, but they all were white bass sometimes on every cast. They seem to be in little pockets.
I did this same routine each day, and I got the same results each day. I just couldn’t buy a big muskie. I threw big baits, spinnerbaits, jerk baits, topwater baits; all I could catch was bass the Muskie just didn’t seem to be there. Tomorrow was Thursday, and my son would be fishing with me. I had high hopes that my luck will change.
Thursday fishing with my son was a fun time, but the results were the same. That night we got to talking and decided the next day we would head up the river about three miles between the mouth of Northfork and Black Water. Some of you will know where this is. It is some of the most dangerous water to run in your boat; however, it’s also some of the least fished water on the complete impoundment.

The Next day we found ourselves casting in the channel near some of the deepest water in the river when Scott looks over to me “I got something big” he said, his rod was bent double as he leads the fish around the back of the boat, he brings it to the surface as it makes an end for end flip and dives right under the boat. We both look up at each other. You’re right; it’s a big fish. The fish looked to be in the forties, and he had it on a two-inch crankbait. The chances of this fish not biting the line off were thin. I got the dipnet and stood in the middle of the boat, waiting to see if he could bring it to the surface again.

I could see the fish coming up as it buckled and twisted against the line. You always try to dip a fish like this headfirst, excited fish don’t swim backward. I could see its head about to break the surface, I slipped the net under its lip and dove right in the net, breaking the line and pulling out the front set of hooks. The fish was in the net. After a picture, we released the fish unharmed. Next week I will cover one more big fish and the wrapping up of our fall trip on Cave Run Lake. Until next time keep your line wet and take a kid fishing.

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