High Water Eyes

By Spider Rybaak

Pennsylvania native Robert Entler with the 18 incher he took with a tube.
Cousin Staash called Thursday afternoon. “The rain just keeps coming,” he complained. “The National Weather Service has issued flash flood warnings for Oneida Creek until 7:30 p.m. That means the little creeks on the north shore should be roaring, drawing the walleyes in close.”

“Wanna go fishin’ tonight?,” I asked.

“Can’t,” he replied, and hung up.

He’s always been stingy, even with words, I think, and brush off the tinges of hurt and anger his curtness sends creeping into my head.

A couple hours later I’m at Cleveland Docks. Black Creek is high, its mouth roily; the boats in the harbor are rocking. The current is so strong, it sweeps my 3-inch Berkley Power Grub, tipped on a 1/8-oz jighead, a full 90 degrees, from east to south, by the time I work it in.

Still, the weight is enough to get it down and after about 15 minutes I’m into a 20-inch walleye. A half hour later, I’m into another but he gets off.

A group of bass tournament anglers from PA were renting the grey house with the pink shutters looming over the harbor. A couple of them see me land the fish. The heavy rains sweeping the area earlier discouraged them from going out to practice for the weekend’s bass tournament. But my fish spurs them into reconsidering.

They start throwing bass baits. Half an hour later, hitless, they leave.

Another couple of guys renting the house across the street come over. Hailing from PA, too, they’re there for the tournament as well.

One of ‘em, Robert Entler, a contractor, strikes up a conversation with me and casts a 3-inch tube parallel to the north shore. After a half dozen casts, he nails an 18-inch walleye.

I get another hit but lose it.

In the span of two hours, I land two walleyes and lose two; all from shore.

High water conditions like this don’t happen often and when they do, they don’t last long. After the smaller creeks return to normal flows the walleyes will move back into deep water. Large streams like Scriba, Chittenango, and Oneida creeks will remain high until the middle of the week, and their plumes should be loaded with fish.

A nice 20-incher that took a 3-inch Berkley Power Grub.