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Swine Creek Reservation

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Old 07-11-2010, 11:58 AM   #1
The Zodiac
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Default Swine Creek Reservation

For those that are unaware of this state park, it is located on Hayes Rd. in Geauga County in Middlefield, Ohio.

Aside from the beautiful property that contains numerous trails through the woods in which to walk & enjoy God's creation & the Swine Creek running through it that the park is named after; it also contains two ponds on the property.

When I first fished these ponds back in 1994 I found a virtually untapped population of largemouths & bull bluegill. The fishing was excellent for the first few years that I fished there. As a young kid & young teenager I found in this place a sanctuary for me to grow my new found love of fishing. Up until I was about 15 years of age I would spend well over 200 days of the year fishing these ponds from dawn to dusk. My grandparents would drop me off there & pick me up near dark. The solitary experience I was able to have learning the habits of the fish in the waters & honing my new found fishing skills was what founded deeply in myself the love of fishing that I now cherish.

This solitary time that I shared with nature alone was more than just fishing, it was also about "finding" myself during those questionable years of one's life where there seems to be so much uncertainty. This is where I forged my deep love for fishing small waters that I carried with me all of my life.

Those ponds were also where I met my first 5 pound largemouth. I can remember that day with the clarity of events that seemed to of transpired only yesterday. It was September 9th, 1996 in the early hours of the morning when I was fishing for bluegill off of the bridge that crosses one of the two ponds that is known as the "Lodge Pond". I hooked a bluegill on my ultralight outfit & was enjoying the struggle that 7" fish was giving me when all of a sudden I noticed that this big bass was chasing the bluegill on the end of my line with a skitsofrenic fury. My heart pounded like never before in my life as I watched the bass zig when the bluegill zigged & zagged when it also zagged. I knew that the tiny size #12 gold, aberdeen hook that was in the bluegill's mouth was insufficient to hook the bass that was in chase, so I decided to quickly pull the bluegill in & attach it to a larger hook on my bass rod. I then gently reentered the doomed bluegill into the water & the bass resumed its chase. I kept the bluegill just under the surface & it was very still either from being tired from the the previous fight it gave me, or from fear of the lurking bass, or perhaps a little of both factors. The bass was right under the surface within inches of the bluegill just staring at it. I couldn't believe that I was witnessing the biggest bass I have ever seen in my life (at that point), right before me. It seemed an eternity as I patiently dared not move myself or the bluegill, waiting for the bass to take the bluegill & answer my prayers. The bass then gently opened it's mouth & slurped the bluegill in with no commotion at all & then slowly swam off. I was literally shaking out of excitement & fear that I may not be able to hook the bass & waited for about 20 seconds before I drove the hook home. The bass gave me the fight of my life, but thanks to a little luck & my 30 pound spiderwire, I was able to land my first 5 pounder.

The most remarkable aspect of this story is that I returned later that evening, caught a bluegill & put it on my bass rod & caught the same exact bass again. The bass' length & girth were identical to the one I caught earlier that morning & was caught from the exact same location under that bridge. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world to of experienced such a "fishing miracle".

The best part about the catching of the bass that evening was that my grandmother, her friend, & her friend's mentally challenged husband were there to witness this. My grandmother's friend's husband was ecstatic & said that he was so happy to of seen me "catch such a whale". I felt like that experience was just as much for him as it was for me. He would pass away a few years later, & my grandmother would tell me how up until his death that he would still talk about that "whale". It made me feel so good to of been able to of given him an experience that meant so much to him.

A few years after all of this people fished the bass out of the "Lodge Pond" & it became what it is now, apparently barren of largemouth, as I have not seen or been able to hook any since then there. I stopped fishing there for many years because of this, but returned to "my fishing roots" this year traveling to Swine Creek. Now although the "Lodge Pond" is still seemingly barren, the other pond still has some good largemouths in it. I have seen a few bass around the 5 pound mark this year swimming the shallows & will continue to enjoy my childhood fishing mecca trying to emulate that great day in my life where I landed my first 5 pounder twice in the same day.

Aside from sharing the above history of my love of fishing this place, this post has a question for my fellow OGFers. I went to Swine Creek Friday during the torrential rain showers & spent several hours fishing & getting drenched. But I seen in the shallows a 3 pound bass guarding a nest from invading bluegills. This blew my mind as I have never seen a bass on a bed this late in the season. My question is if any of you have ever seen one guarding fry this late in the year.
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:19 PM   #2
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Thanks for the post Zodiac. I share with you the love for fishing and developed it in a similar manner at a small lake in Mentor, Ohio. This story really bought back some memories of my past and reminds me why I have a love for nature and the things it has to offer us.
As for the answer to your question; I do know that bass, and many other species of fish spawn several times throughout the year. I do not know, however, when these spawns take place; if they are all in the spring, or if some occur during the summer or fall. I guess your observation answers this for me! I am a believer that evolution of the species has led most largemouth bass to spawn at 65? degrees, where they have the best chance for survival of their fry. However, variety is key in nature and there is no doubt in my mind that some individuals will spawn in the "off season."
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the post Zodiac. I share with you the love for fishing and developed it in a similar manner at a small lake in Mentor, Ohio. This story really bought back some memories of my past and reminds me why I have a love for nature and the things it has to offer us.
As for the answer to your question; I do know that bass, and many other species of fish spawn several times throughout the year. I do not know, however, when these spawns take place; if they are all in the spring, or if some occur during the summer or fall. I guess your observation answers this for me! I am a believer that evolution of the species has led most largemouth bass to spawn at 65? degrees, where they have the best chance for survival of their fry. However, variety is key in nature and there is no doubt in my mind that some individuals will spawn in the "off season."
I am glad this post sparked those memories for you. Fishing is truly an amazing thing.

I have heard of certain species spawning several times during the year as you mentioned, but I never heard of largemouths doing this. I totally agree with you that bass would choose to spawn during the most optimum water temperature as they certainly know that survival & perpetuation of the species is key.

I was fishing that same pond about 2 weeks ago & in that same location that bass was not that same bed, as that spot was vacant that day. I think that gives credence to what you mentioned about them spawning more than once on occasion during the year. lol He was definitely the lone soldier as I didn't even see any bluegills on any beds anywhere on the pond.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:10 PM   #4
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i was once told that bluegill will spawn a few times during the year when the water temp is right.... and that why they can over run a pond/lake so fast...

didn't think much of it back then... and can't remember what exactly was told about temp of water.... sorry...
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:41 AM   #5
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good story. I own a house and property the bordered the south side of the Swine Creek Reservation in the early 90s, funny thing is i never fished any of the ponds now almost 20 years later i`am finding out what i missed lol
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:25 PM   #6
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good story. I own a house and property the bordered the south side of the Swine Creek Reservation in the early 90s, funny thing is i never fished any of the ponds now almost 20 years later i`am finding out what i missed lol
Well, I wouldn't say all hope is lost on some potential good fishing there for you buddy. Funny thing is that back when I was younger in Swine's "glory days" I would be there all day & even though at times it seemed that half the county would come & go over the coarse of the day, very few stopped to fish. I guess I have the beautiful hiking trails & scenery to thank for that.

But within a few years it seemed like despite me keeping a lid on my fishing success, people caught wind of what they were missing & then descended upon my honey hole with feverish fishing frenzy by the car loads, & sometimes horse & buggy loads. Fisherman have a sixth sense about these things I think, or maybe they ascertained that this kid wouldn't be here constantly for no reason. Either way, the fishing pressure became unbearable for me & the fish. That is when I moved on to greener pastures.

Now that I have returned to Swine this year & fished it several times over the months I have noticed that the anglers must of followed my lead sometime after, as I have only seen others fishing the ponds once, & they were a caravan of handicapped folks that were enjoying the fast action of the numerous, yet small bluegill that encompass the small dock at the northern pond.

Grant it I havn't had any great success this year like the years prior, but I have seen some healthy looking bass in the 2 to 5 pound range in the northern pond, which gave me the inclination that all hope is not gone there. The last two times I was there I had a few large hits on my favorite texas rigged 10" lizard that I sadly didn't hook, but the hits were good indicators of what might be.

Now I am no professional fisherman, but like many fisherman that fish for a specific species 99% of the time I have become adept at being fairly consistent at least in drawing some good strikes from my favorite "prey" the largemouth bass each outing "on the water", or in my case "on the shore". I have about zero experience in fishing large bodies of water that people consider lakes & reservoirs, as I have made it my fishing life's work to know small water ponds like the back of my hand. This endeavor of mine is mostly based on the fact that ponds spark a childhood joy in myself that I simply cannot find in large lakes & reservoirs, & I am sure I am not alone in that regard. I am not blowing my own horn here, as anyone can hone their craft to high levels through the constant absorption of years upon years of trail & error experiences.

I am not preaching anything new here, but the reason I mentioned the above is that i wanted to share with you & fellow OGFers my conclusions about the ponds at Swine Creek so that hopefully you can have a little better success than you would if you just started to fish these ponds as they can be a bear. I have met a lot of people in the past that scoff at needing any insight in a pond, as they usually retort that "it's a pond, even a kid can catch fish in a pond".

Hopefully I havn't bored my fellow OGF members with the above paragraphs, but I have been enlightened a great deal from the member's posts here on topics I was lacking in education & wish to do my part in adding my 2 cents & hopefully enlightening someone else in return. Now on to the two ponds.

1. The "Lodge Pond" (south pond).

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This pond was my favorite by far in the glory days & I spent nearly 90% of my time there as it is more secluded & offers more scenery than the North Pond, & less people frequent this pond with non-fishing pursuits than the North Pond. This pond is also where I caught my personal fabled first 5 pound largemouth I mentioned in the original post.

The southern end is clearly the deepest portion of this pond with a maximum depth of at least 6 to 8 feet deep, but possibly deeper. Weed beds are sporadically abundant in this area & the shore lines on both the western & eastern shores south of the bridge are littered with one of my favorite vegetations the lily pad. The bridge in the center of the pond is a mainstay for generous schools of bluegills, with some being rather large in the 8 to 9 inch range as many people will feed them with bread. The northern end is shallower than I would like but has quite a good supply of downed timber structure in the form of both large trees that storms fell, as well as smaller limbs with spider webbed finger branches that attract the smaller food sources as well as many of my hooks of the past. I was told by park staff many years ago that this pond is spring fed, & although I have never been able to locate the actual source for this pond, I believe that they know what they were talking about.

This pond contains or at least did contain largemouths, bluegills, & crappie in the past. I only fished this pond once in the beginning of the year & didn't even provoke a strike, nor did I even see any fish activity. It appeared barren, but I must say that this doesn't mean that it is void of fish & is still worth a shot, especially for someone that has never fished it before, as it is a beautiful pond & has a good history of great fishing for me. The most unique aspect of this pond is the fact that it contains to this day the largest population of newts that I have ever seen anywhere period. Literally hundreds can be seen swimming in the shallows in the spring. I have never seen a pond that had newts in it ever & that alone makes this pond very special for me.

2. The North Pond.

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I barely fished this pond when I was younger, because it is less secluded & I had no need to fish it since the fishing in the Lodge Pond was so great. But the more I fished the Lodge Pond, the more wary my adversary became & I opted to test the waters north. What I found there was potentially a better population of largemouths as the size is greater than the Lodge Pond & I am sure it is deeper. I am not sure if it is also spring fed or not, & I lean toward it not being spring fed slightly since I feel that the Lodge Pond being spring fed has something to do with the great colonies of newts it contains, & I have never seen a single newt in the North Pond. The deepest portion of the North Pond is obviously the center of the pond, & there is the steepest sloping from the southern end from the small dock out towards the center, with weed beds being the primary, if not only structure in this pond. The north west, north, & north east portions of the pond extend into suitable spawning flats that house the greatest concentration of weed beds.

This pond contains some nice sized largemouth with a few in the 5 pound range at the very least, as well as plenty of bluegills that are a little below average in size, but perfect feeder 'gills for the bass populations. In the past I have seen people catch a few channel catfish, but I am uncertain if any remain to this day as I have never fished for them there.

Both ponds can be tricker than a lot of ponds & sometimes frustrating when trying to actually catch some bass. The bass in these ponds seem a little more picky than normal & seem to revolve around the bluegill populations almost exclusively. The largest bass I have caught from both ponds have all come from fishing live bluegill which can be exceedingly frustrating as it seems that the bass take their sweet time when taking in these bluegills & requires more patience than I want to employ sometimes. The best place to try the bluegills for bass is at either the bridge at the Lodge Pond or the dock at the North Pond. In the Lodge Pond I have tried many times using the newts, but have only caught one bass on them & it was only around a pound. This baffles me as I felt certain the newts would absolutely slay them here since they were so abundant & a natural forage base. I have caught a few above average 'gills on the newts though. If you can keep minnows alive for the trip, they have been deadly on catching numbers of bass in both ponds in the past.

As far as artificials go, I have had the best luck with texas rigged soft plastics & jitterbugs at night. Something to keep in mind here is that the bass see many people around the shores on a frequent basis, especially at the North Pond since it has a paved walkway almost encircling the pond, & there has been heavy fishing pressure in past at both ponds. This obviously makes the early morning hours & early evening hours the most productive.

If you test your luck at Swine Creek, good luck & make sure you post your experience here as I would love to hear how you made out. This post has been lengthy, but I hope it helps anyone that has never fished these ponds before enjoy them as much as I have.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:27 PM   #7
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A few years after all of this people fished the bass out of the "Lodge Pond" & it became what it is now, apparently barren of largemouth, as I have not seen or been able to hook any since then there. I stopped fishing there for many years because of this
You've got me scratching my head on this one. You've basically indicated that fishing pressure ruined this location years ago but it's bouncing back a bit. So you posted that info with directions and aerial photos on the internet?

I don't understand why you would want to do that.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #8
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You've got me scratching my head on this one. You've basically indicated that fishing pressure ruined this location years ago but it's bouncing back a bit. So you posted that info with directions and aerial photos on the internet?

I don't understand why you would want to do that.

i agree with jc- now the lurkers will be out,wasn,t swine creek a part of the lake county metro park system? never heard it was part of ohio state park system,just courious...
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:03 PM   #9
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You've got me scratching my head on this one. You've basically indicated that fishing pressure ruined this location years ago but it's bouncing back a bit. So you posted that info with directions and aerial photos on the internet?

I don't understand why you would want to do that.
Firstly, I do not mind sharing with others a fishing hole, even if they are lurkers. Second, it is a public area that an exceedingly large amount of people already know about & have known about for over a decade. It is hardly a secret.

The "Lodge Pond" was the only pond that seemed to of been fished out. I can only assume that was the case. It is illegal to harvest any fish there & if I would of actually seen people harvesting, the ranger station is only about 100 yards from the ponds, & I would of taken down license plates & reported them. Also, the ranger makes pretty frequent patrols of the grounds, as well as the Geauga county sheriffs office, not to mention the numerous staff that is almost always around doing maintenance.

The reason I assumed it was fished out was because I never once seen a fish kill there. And again, just because some jackass breaks the law doesn't mean that I think respectful fisherman should not get to enjoy this place if they are unaware of it existing. Innocent until proven guilty.

The fishing is usually pretty tough in broad daylight, even in the North Pond despite being able to see good fish populations during the day. Swine Creek holds many reunions & other "public" events that bring a lot of people to enjoy the waters without fishing them, which is why I stated that during the day the bass are mostly uninterested in your lures because they deal with a lot of human contact that doesn't involve fishing. For example many times you will see people bring their dogs for a swim, which really shuts down fishing to the dismay of any angler present.

I never said it was a hot spot for fishing. Many years ago it was, but that was back in 1994. I challenge anyone to go there & fish for a few hours, then decide to come back again just for the fishing, because most will not. It is a beautiful park & offers much in the way of scenery besides fishing, so I didn't think it was that bad of an idea to share something that has brought me a lot of joy over the years with others that may not of been there. It is a great place to bring your children for their first fishing experiences with bluegills & nature walks. Not to mention the beautiful Swine Creek that runs through the property, where small suckers & crayfish can be found & observed by children.

When I want to do some serious fishing I go to one of my favorite private ponds. When I want to recapture the experiences of my youth & the beauty this park provides, I head West to Swine Creek, which is in the Geauga Park District to be specific. I used "state park" as a generalization.
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