While I can't help you with the shape RR is currently showing, I can add another question. Are the cicadas out in force near Rush Run? I'm off to fish tomorrow (Wednesday) and hopped to find someplace where the bluegills will be looking up - preferably a big orange eyed bugs!
BTW, Cowen was UGLY on Saturday with heavily stained water. I expect that RR will be similarly stained as its not a very clear lake on the best of days.
I may end up driving out to Conesville if the water around here doesn't look better in the morning.
Cowan in decent shape on Tuesday and again today. East end of lake stained, but west end near dam water was in good shape overall.
Winton woods lake is where the blue gill are going crazy after the cicadas! One hits the water and buzzes a few seconds - then a gill hits them. Also have some real nice crappies in there - 13 and 14 inch!
And now for something completely different... a carp fishing tale from Wednesday.
Wednesday delivered sunny and mild weather as I headed out to Hueston Woods and Acton Lake for a bit of bluegill fishing (hopefully). Acton Lake is managed as a quality largemouth fishery, is limited to 10hp motors and covers about 650 surface acres. My choice in Acton was based on the hope that Brood X cicadas would be thick there; they are conspicuous by their absense at my favored Cowen Lake. Arriving at Acton at 11AM I found to my delight that the cicadas were indeed thick - and the wind was howling out of the southeast at some 10 to 12 mph with gusts to 15 or so. Too much wind for my canoe on that lake. What to do?
Little Rush Run lake is just a hop,skip and a jump away. Covering only 35 acres, with lots of standing timber and a population of healthy gills, I made my choice. Away I went. Rush Run looked inviting, a couple cars in the lot and the pond as pretty as ever. It only took a few minutes for me to launch "The Other Woman" (my wife named my canoe for me) and realize that the wind was indeed a problem. I drifted parallel to the shore and fired a few tentative casts towards the shallows with a small streamer, looking for a errant largemouth.
A fellow fishing along a point commented as I drifted by his position that "The cicadas are horrible here. Is this pond any good for fishing? Its my first time here and I haven't caught a thing." I asked if he had seen the cicadas in the water. "Yes, there are bunches of them" was his reply. I asked if he saw any fish eating the cicadas. "Sure, giant carp and bass keep taking them right in front of me" he exclaimed. I suggested he grab a cicada and put it on his hook. The look I got was absolute surprise. The tone for my day was set.
I drifted along just about 30 feet from the shoreline in an area ripe with standing dead timber and a steep bank that drops to 8 feet of water quickly. I saw a cicada dissappear in a swirl just in front of the boat, so I lowered my anchor quickly. My 8.5 foot 5wth was stringed up with a 7 foot leader tapering to a 4X 6lb test tippet. A Madame X Midnight in size 6 was already tied to the business end. I shook about 10 feet of line out of the tip-top and rolled a quick cast to the spot where I saw the swirl. The bug lay still for 20 seconds or so then dissappeared. A fine 7" bluegill came to hand and I put it on a stringer in the hopes that 8 or 10 more would make for a great meal.
My second and third casts went ignored as the wind-driven feeding lane caused some drag in my fly line. I finally figured that I needed to toss a small reach cast to keep the leader loose and allow the fly to hang motionless to get attention. The rubber legs wiggled enticingly and provided all the attraction necessary. My fly disappeared in a much larger swirl as what looked like a Posidon class submarine tilted its nose out of the green-clear pond water. The fly line came tight and the hook found the fleshy mouth of a big carp; how big I didn't really appreciate till much, much later.
Line ripped off with undeniable power as the big fish moved into the standing dead wood. Certainly the fight was over as quickly as it began. Amazingly this was not the case! The line kept going until only two or three wraps of fly line were left on the spool. With all the dead wood in this pond that was a long, long line to work. The fish was strong but not fast - not panicked. I decided to do something silly. I backed the drag of my Orvis Battenkill to nothing and put the fly rod between my ankles, hoping like hell that a quick run wouldn't pull the rod from the boat. I then reached back to raise the chain anchor and release the canoe. Anchor in and the wind immediately starts me moving in the wrong direction so, carp on line and rod between feet, I paddled against the wind and in the general direction of the fly line. It must be a 10,000-to-1 chance that I took the same path as the carp and managed to get all but 20 feet of fly line onto my reel before coming tight to the monster again. The fish was still there, sitting. Not moving, Not panicked. Not succumbing to the pressure of the little rod. Not a good sign...
I flexed the rod all the way to the cork handle and the fight was on. I saw a flash of gold significantly more than three feet long and a large forked tail swirled near the surface. The tail looked like it was a foot across. This was, without doubt, the largest carp I have ever hooked on a fly or any other tackle. My chest pounded as I tried to find a strategy that made sense. Quickly the carp took 50' of line to the left and sulked on the bottom again. I pressured her to the canoe and she just took the same amount of line in the opposite direction. I glanced at my watch and noted that it was 12:55 and the fish had been on for about 5 minutes.
Back and forth, back and forth the fight raged on. The fish was in control. Absolute control. While I could change the direction she swam in, I certainly couldn't move her if she didn't want to go. This wasn't going to be a battle of strength, this had to be a test of subtle strategy if I was going to win. At this point my hopes were, rightfully, very slim.
The tug-of-war went on for another half an hour as the light fly rod stayed bent in a "C" and the carp shook its head close to the bottom in a small clearing measuring no more that 75' in diameter. One long run and game over. One brush against the dead wood and a parted line would be the result. But I wasn't gainging an inch and the carp was clearly not working too hard. My arms ached and I recalled the words of fishing partner Dave Votaw who commented that fishing like this wasn't a battle, it was a relationship! With almost anticlimactic punctuation the fly line went limp. I glanced at my watch. It was 1:40. The knot between my flourocarbon tippet and the taper of my leader had broken from the long sustained pressure and I saw a huge boil as the big fish decided that maybe those orange-eyed bugs were best left alone.
A couple minutes of cussing was all it took to re-rig and get myself back into position in the feedling lane where the wind blew parallel to the wooded shoreline. Hundreds of screaming bugs twitched on the waters surface and huge snouts broke the water regularly as big carp hoovered the delicious bugs off the surface. I cast another deerhair but and hooked yet another big carp. The battle lasted seconds as the fish powered into dead timber and broke me off in seconds. I determined that bringing only a 5 wt. was probably not the best decision I had ever made.
Again and again I hooked carp, each time feeling the stregth of the fish only for seconds - at most minutes - before the line found a rough spot in the wood and parted. Five fish hooked, five fish lost. One lonely bluegill on the stringer. Time to move on and find something my own size to pick on. I paddled around the pond looking for more bluegill - amazingly I didn't see any beds! Is it possible the bluegill haven't nested yet? Each likely spot I visited demonstrated the same dynamic. Bluegill, bass and carp all focussed on the top looking for swimming cicadas. No underwater presentation would entice, no more 'gills would come to hand. I returned to my original location.
My first cast in this spot was taken with a splashy swirl. I waited a split second and strip-set the hook. Line pealed off the reel in a display of speed and strength I have never experienced in fresh water. For a second I felt like the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights. 90 feet of fly line dissappeared from the spool of the reel as the fish tore across open water, never diving more than three feet below the surface! What kind of animal was this?
Again I dropped anchor and gave chase. I worked the little fly rod to the point where I was sure it would burst in a crack of exhausted graphite, fighting my canoe to the fish rather than vice versa. This fish flashed silver and was fast, very fast. The battle stayed near the top of the water. I wondered if this was one of the white amur (grass carp) the state had reportedly stocked in Rush Run. My hopes were rewarded as I brought the fish closer to the canoe. The grinning mouth set high on the wide head, the silver scales; all this promised my first amur! Back-and-forth, back-and-forth the fight went on. Clearly this battle I had a chance to win and I promised myself to play it safe, keep the pressure steady. A lucky break and I managed a thumb in the mouth of the prettiest carp I have ever hooked. One hoist and fish, water and fly line ended up in a soaking mess in the boat.
I paddled breathlessly against the wind for the 400 yards back to the launching ramp. Jumping from the canoe I am quite sure the folks bank fishing were wondering if I was suffering the effects of a Mexican food lunch, but in a flash I was back with my digital camer. I wanted to get a shot of the fish and get it back in the water before she became so stressed that my desire for a picture brought about an untimely death for the great fish. A friendly sun-worshiper took on the responsiblity of pushing the buttons on the little Nikon 4500. The grass carp was recesutated for about 15 minutes before swimming away under her own power. And I collapsed on the bank, gulping down cool water as I recounted a most memorable afternoon to a few amused folks who had watched a lunatic in a pretty canoe paddle-and-reel-and-paddle-and-reel during the course of the afternoon.