Historical Information - Ohio Rivers & Creeks

Discussion in 'LOCAL OHIO TALK' started by RetiredToFish, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    I just purchased the book, "Fishes of Ohio", by Milton B. Trautman. (Revised edition 1981). For those of you that are not familiar with Trautman, he is considered the top most authority on fish in Ohio. The book covers every fish known to be in Ohio, up to the time of publication and it is well illustrated.

    What I am held spellbound by is the historical information (from 1750 to 1980) about the streams and rivers and the quality and quanity of fish during this period, especially the early periods.

    Just to give you some astounding facts: All rivers in streams prior to the early 1800s were all crystal clear with gravel or bedrock bottoms. it wasn't until after the early 1800s when man began clearing the land that the clays and other silts began forming on the bottoms.

    The Ohio River even well into the late 1800s was such that during drought times that there were several places the water was no more than 3 feet deep from bank to bank and could be easily crossed. Also noted was the fact the that during winter and spring rains the Ohio could raise more than 30 feet in a very short period of time. Also noted that between 1774 and 1792 there were 3 floods on the Ohio that crested more than 60 feet. Begining in 1883 and series of 53 locks and dams were constructed with the last one finished in 1929. That large numbers of fishes of every kind were in abundance and could be taken by spearing, gigging or in basket traps. It was reported in 1793 that a catfish so large was caught, that 7 people ate on it for 2 days and then what was left was given to the Indians.

    The Muskingum was clear and shallow and teamed with fish. The Muskingum could only be traversed by boat when the water was high and in 1836 the first dam and lock was constructed and the last one of eleven was constructed in 1841 raising the level of the river so it could be traveled by boat and connecting to the Ohio canal near Dresden. This was the first of such systems built in the U.S. Prior to the dams construction it was crystal clear and fish of every kind was in abundance. Two men traveled from Waterford to Marietta by canoe and would take from 400 to 600 pounds of fish by spearing and gigging them. One observer stated of seeing very large flathead catfish laying at the end of riffles with their mouth open waiting for suckers and othe fishes of a pound or more to swin close and then they would grab them. Fishes such as Muskellunge, drum, walleye, sauger, spotted bass, sturgeon, buffalo fish, carpsuckers, flathead and channel catfish were in great abundance. In 1792 a 96 pound flathead catfish was caught.

    The Great Miami River was also clear and filled with fish and it is report that in 1794 that a regiment of soldiers buit a funnel fish dam across the river near Hamilton and Butler Counties and on September 3, "we caught 2500 pounds of fish, and about as many on the 4th, which makes about 5000 pounds in 2 nights."

    There is so much more in this book, but thought maybe a brief climpse of how man has screwed things up over time would be interesting to some.

    If anyone has a spcific interest in any information about a specific fish, bait or game send me a PM and I will see what I can find in the "Book".
     
  2. Capt_Culver

    Capt_Culver Member

    Messages:
    53
    State:
    Ohio
    Very interesting. Thanks for posting. I can believe it. Just look to the west where the land is not tillable. Places like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have crystal clear rivers and streams. These areas have been virtually untouched by man.
     

  3. joadb

    joadb Member

    Messages:
    286
    State:
    Clinton, Ohio,
    thanks for the info-just looked it up,i'll have to ask my wife to increase my allowance to afford that one,lol!another book that is nice for ohio guys is Fishing the Ohio River by mark hicks.i found that one at the library and it was so good i had to accidentally "lose" it.
     
  4. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    there is still part of the historical canal left in Dresden, very interesting to see if anyone is down my way. thanks garry for the great thread, and sharing the information. I think alot of us younger generation guys don't ever get to know the beginnings or, the whole story of our hometowns, or historical resources... i enjoy your posts, they are always filled with facts and info. thanks again brother...rollo
     
  5. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    Thanks Rollo ... always worth my time when someone can gain something from it .... BTW ... is there still a piece of the old canal called Monroe Basin still around or have they filled it in? My uncle used to take me there fishing when I was just a small fry ... it is one of the first places I ever remember fishing .... probably around 1946 or 47 .... I know ... most of you guys weren't even a gleem in your daddy's eyes yet .... :smile2: The last time I was there was probably 1957 or 58.
     
  6. 72hdflh

    72hdflh New Member

    Messages:
    262
    State:
    West Salem, Ohio
    Garry,
    Great post, Love the facts and info. Keep them coming, as long as you have the time, Good weather will be upon us soon.(I hope)!!! Thanks Joe
     
  7. tbull

    tbull New Member

    Messages:
    3,318
    State:
    SW Ohio
    Thats a really cool post I'll bet thats an interesting read..:wink:
     
  8. smokey869

    smokey869 New Member

    Messages:
    966
    State:
    frederickt
    really great post, thanks im going to have to go find that book now lol, just wish the land was still unspoiled but what can we do but wish....:eek:oooh:
     
  9. prostreetS10

    prostreetS10 New Member

    Messages:
    898
    State:
    ohio
    Great info man. I would like to get that book. Bet theres alot of neat stuff to learn thanks for sharing .:cool2:
     
  10. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    For those of you that are interested in getting a copy of "The Fishes of Ohio" book, there is the first edition, printed in 1957, the revised edition, printed in 1981 and now there is a currant printing of the 81 edition printed in 1986. The 1981 and 86 edition has about 100 pages than the 1957 edition. It is available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and the Ohio State University Press. The price runs from about $71.00 to $95.00. The latter 2 printings has 782 pages. Keep checking with eBay as it does appear on there once in a while. There is listed on eBay now a copy of the first edition for $40.00. I can't tell you what was added to the first edition to give so many more pages.
     
  11. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    State:
    SW Ohio
    Garry, good info, I got my copy when it came out in 1981, its my favorite book, cost then was 29 dollars and I had to beg my mom to spend that kind of money for my birthday. I still reference it daily and wrote up a book review on it a while back on flyfishohio.com

    Yup, your local Barnes and Noble carry them in stock, or at least are supposed to always keep one in stock last time I checked, if not,they will get one in in a few days for you.

    Ever fishermen in Ohio should have this book.
    Salmonid
     
  12. jg_gmc

    jg_gmc New Member

    Messages:
    66
    State:
    west virginia
    i cant pm yet, i dont have enough posts.. but i was wondering if your book gave locations of old wicket dams in the ohio river.
     
  13. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    jg_gmc .... I couldn't really find anything in the book about wicket dams ... so did a google search and found 12,500 pages of info ... here is just one ...
    http://marionky.biz/local1373/LOCK/index.html there seems to be quite a bit of info out there ... you might have to do some reading to what you want ...
     
  14. jerryb

    jerryb New Member

    Messages:
    551
    State:
    Ohio
    Lots of interesting info there, Garry!

    Sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to ya at the breakfast...
     
  15. RetiredToFish

    RetiredToFish New Member

    Messages:
    1,186
    State:
    Newark, Ohio
    Thanks Jerry .... Well, there will more get togethers, I hope .... Always to many people when you are meeting everyone for the first time ....