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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fly Fishing Mertensia Springs Trout Club

Last year I received an invitation from Sam Brown to come down to Ludlow Falls, Ohio to fly fish at the Mertensia Springs Trout & Wilderness Conservation Club. The Club consists of 280 plus acres and several rather large spring fed waters ways, a beautiful stretch of Ludlow Creek, and borders one of the best Small Mouth Bass fisheries the state of Ohio has to offer in the Still Water River.

Yesterday I finally was able to make the short drive south and meet up with Sam for a tour of the property, facilities, and of course the fishing opportunities. As I followed Interstate 75 South I am trying to picture what a trout club in this area would be like? Is it going to be stocked trout in small ponds or Man made structures and improvisations to the stream? What? Well needless to say I arrived on property and at first glance the little guy on my shoulder said ' hey don't judge a book by its cover! The first view of the property for me personally was that of visual over load and the day dream of a fly fisher's Utopia became reality. I had to take look around to make sure I was still in Ohio.

Vast water ways with Large Mouth Bass, Grass Carp, and Crappie to name a few. All fun targets for the warm water fly fishing enthusiast.
After talking with Sam at the club house we were off to take a walking tour of the property. Along the way I observed 5 different inter connected water way lakes that continually feed each other with cooler water. The Club has even installed a large well that feeds additional supplies of cool spring water to the lakes during the hottest August summer days, and as of today and since the clubs formation this well has not been needed to cool the lakes. The clubs water ways are over 14 foot deep, well managed, and some real nice bass up to 20+ inches were seen. Through out the first part of the morning and having seen some nice fish, I was seriously craving the opportunity to throw a few bugs.
With the best still to come we headed over to Ludlow Creek. Sam seemed to have a constant smile on the walk over to the small tributary, and he knew I was a dedicated trout guy. My first glance of the stream made me very excited about the prospect of catching trout in Ohio, especially some where other than the few other well known rivers such as the Mad, Clear fork, and of course my beloved Erie tribs.

Ludlow Creek is stocked by the club annually, and holds trout year round.
After seeing the stream I walked down to the waters edge to look up and down stream. The water was undisturbed and unbelievably scenic. I had the chance to gear up at this point and explore the small stream for myself. As I walked up stream I checked the water temps in several locations with a high reading of 62 in the sun and at its coolest of 59 in the shade. Air temps yesterday here in the high 70's pushing 80! The river was untouched by human hands and has a full tree canopy over the stream keeping it in constant shade its entire length.
As I sat near the first pool I was going to put a cast through, I noticed that every spider wed along the stream was covered with hundreds of recently hatched brown drakes, and I could see a few decent trout hovering under each of the tree branches were the webs were located. The pool I was watching was also filled with small bait fish, and the entire stream was thick with cray fish and numerous caddis larvae and may fly nymph species. Pretty much a smorgasbord of food sources have been keeping the trout fat.
One of many tree branch spider webs full of drakes ( Click on photo for full view)
For a small stream the pools were deep, and averaged between 4 and 8 feet in depth. I decided to throw a little brown crayfish streamer imitation, and after a few cast it was fish on! The first fish was not a trout but a nice river Small Mouth around 15 inches that put up a great fight on my 4wt. After releasing the Smally I slowly took a few more steps upstream and casted across the pool again, I think I got three strips on the line before a fat 18 inch bow plastered my streamer. the fish then proceed to go air born numerous times and peeled of some serious line before I gained control. for the next couple of hours I was able to land some real nice small Mouth Bass, Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout from several different pools. I never did get to see the entire stream on this outing, and to be honest I didn't need to!

A Sample of a fat Mertensia Springs rainbow.

Another hard fighting Mertensia Springs Bow.

One of the nice browns from yesterdays outing.

Ludlow Creek, Mertensia Springs

As the day ended I sat under these trees over looking one of the water ways. I could deeply appreciate how much time, care, dedication, and effort that is going into maintaining this property. I was able to catch Large Mouth Bass, Blue Gill, Crappie, Brown Trout, Small Mouth bass, and Rainbow trout all in the same day, all on different water, all on the fly! Simply Fantastic!
Look for fly fishing opportunities at Mertensia Springs with us in the near future...
Tight Lines
Greg Senyo
Owner/Operator SAO

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