Looking Forward to 2020

Outdoors with Forda Birds—By John Andreoni

I started writing an outdoor column in 1969. I hope that figures out to 50 years ago. Regardless, for most of them I’ve written a late December piece about the year that was or the year that might be. Whenever I tried to predict the future, I usually got it wrong, but that never seemed to stop me from trying. Later on, I wised up and talked about both. That way I was right at least part of the time. For example, the weather was impossible last winter, spring, and summer. It got hot, then cold, then wet, then dry, and the farmers had a terrible planting year. I planned on fishing a bunch of tournaments last year, and that didn’t work out for whatever reason. I didn’t catch a big flathead catfish at Indian Lake because I didn’t try. I failed to hunt anything this year because of medical issues I earned from being stupid. Other than that, 2019 fell within the parameters of a typical year. I almost forgot, I had to put my dog down the day after Christmas. That didn’t help make 2019 one of my most favorite years.

Now that I’ve recorded some simple historical facts, I’ll venture into the future and make some predictions. Maybe predictions isn’t the right word. How about I look into the future and tell you some things on my wish list. First, although some disagree, I’d like to see saugeye in GLSM. The only thing preventing this stocking is the East Bank bulkhead’s inability to keep the fish from getting into the St. Marys River. According to the word I got from the ODNR, the bulkhead will be investigated to determine its current condition and to determine what modifications are possible to allow the spillway to function as required. From my understanding, controlling invasive species is supposedly part of the requirements but evidently not necessarily a deal breaker. Either way, ODNR anticipates the investigation for the East Bank spillway to be complete sometime in winter 2019-2020. I’m hoping that the eventual stocking of saugeye and a timeframe can be made definite after this investigation. Local fishermen deserve that much information for being patient.

Ever since the Division of Parks and the Division of Watercraft were combined, there appears to be less and less enforcement personnel to take care of the surrounding lakes and parks. It’s my understanding that the focus of the new Natural Resources Officers is basically land based. Because of the resulting decrease in staffing, these officers are limited to the amount of time they can be on the water. From what I’ve seen since the change, the absence of water enforcement makes boating after sunset a dangerous venture. I understand that this situation will be remedied to some extent starting in 2020. Hopefully, that’s the case because the current chemistry is perfect for some serious accidents.

I’d like to fish the Crappie U.S.A. Super Tournament in 2020. Last year, the water was extremely high, the winds were horrendous, and it was cold. That’s what can happen in late April if Mother Nature develops an attitude. This year, the GLSM Crappie USA tournament is scheduled for May 15 and 16. Maybe the weather will cooperate for a change. One thing for sure, if lake and weather conditions are decent, expect to see some phenomenal weights. Seven-fish limits over eight pounds could be possible. Regardless, the tournament calls for two days of hard fishing. I’d like to be in good enough physical shape to take part. That’s a challenge I’m working on.

Blue/green algae issues will once more make the press in 2020. Hopefully, what they have to say this year is positive. A lot of good things are happening at the lake, and according to some reliable numbers, there has been an improvement in the GLSM water quality. With all of the money being poured into Ohio’s water quality problem through the new H2Ohio program, positive results are expected, especially at Lake Erie. One would think if Lake Erie gets good press, Lake St. Marys should likewise benefit. This would be especially true if some of the scheduled monies eventually made its way to this neck of the woods. The bottom line is that continued monitoring and reclamation efforts should keep another 2010 HAB catastrophe from happening…or not.

I still want to catch that big flathead at Indian Lake. I’d like to catch some pound crappies. Placing in a catfish tournament would be nice. I might even try to fool a bass or two. Finally, I will have the final book of my “Going Wild with Forda Birds” series available in early 2020. The five-book series covers a lot of interesting information from 50 years of columns. I also plan to make FordaBirdsOutdoors.com more efficient, informational, and up-to-date. Both are tall orders for this old boy. Hopefully, 2020 will cut me some slack.