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CELINA — The fish are biting at Grand Lake St. Marys.
During Saturday’s Lake Improvement Association meeting, Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Brian Miller told members anglers along the lake are hauling in a wide variety — and number — of fish. Bass, catfish, crappie and carp are among the species local visitors are catching in the lake.
“If you haven’t been fishing, you should because we are getting to the tail end of crappie fishing,” Miller said. “Believe it or not, crappie fishing has still been good this week ... Bass fishing has been phenomenal — we’ve had some of the highest bass weigh-ins we’ve had in a couple of years and the cat fishing is great.”
Miller also gave a brief update of the Memorial Day weekend at the park. Miller noted all but six of the campsites — which were nonelectric sites — were filled for the holiday weekend.
“Memorial Day weekend was huge for Ohio state parks,” Miller said. “It was a beautiful weekend and it was hot and we had just a nice little chop on the lake. We saw numbers we haven’t seen in some time. Memorial Day weekend is always feast or famine — it could be snowing or raining or beautiful. It was a huge success.”
John Kaiser, who works for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water, updated LIA members on some of the new regulations in effect for the Grand Lake watershed, specifically regarding its distressed watershed designation. Kaiser said he has helped scores of area farmers develop nutrient management plans to help combat the problem.
“All farmers within the watershed that produce or utilize in excess of 350 tons of solid manure or 100,000 gallons of liquid manure have to have a nutrient management plan,” Kaiser said, noting there are 157 farms in the watershed that meet the requirements for a plan.
“The nutrient management plan is basically a plan to balance out the nutrient use on the farm — whether it’s commercial fertilizer or organic fertilizer.”
Kaiser also noted what happens if farmers violate land application rules within the watershed. He reviewed the enforcement process, noting it involves a three-strike process that includes authorized letters and chiefs’ orders.
“Right now, for the six violations we’ve had in the watershed, five of them are at strike one and one is at strike two,” Kaiser said.
Inspections also are a part of the review process. Kaiser said staff members visit facilities and make sure there are no other agricultural pollution abatement violations, such as run-off going into a tile.
“Those inspections will start between June 15 and June 30,” Kaiser said.
LIA members also heard details on a pair of local fundraisers slated to help the organization. Starting at 10:30 a.m. June 9, a bicycle poker run will be held along the Montezuma bike path.
Registration will be at Bayview Pub from 10:30 a.m. to noon and cyclists should return to the establishment at 4 p.m. The cost is $5 and proceeds will go toward the LIA. Kozy Marina is raffling off a boat, valued at $30,000. Tickets are $20 each and the winner will be drawn during the Governor’s Cup Regatta in August. For more information, call 419-394-8797.
The next meeting of the LIA is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 7 at the Celina Moose Lodge.