Bad behavior leads to ice fishing closure
Camp Perry, the Ohio National Guard base on western Lake Erie west of Port Clinton, will be closed to ice fishing this winter, thanks to bad behavior by ice fishermen last winter.
“Due to facility damage incurred as a result of excessive use during the 2014-15 ice fishing season, Camp Perry officials have determined it necessary to prohibit public use of the area for ice fishing from this date forward,” stated Debbie Paul, a spokesman for the Camp Perry Lodging and Conference Center.
Paul said that very limited parking access to ice fishing, should proper lake-ice conditions develop, may be allowed but only to guests staying overnight in a Camp Perry Lodging facility. Parking in designated areas will be authorized by display of facility-issued parking permits only. All others will be towed at the owner’s expense.
The foregoing is yet another tale of how acts of carelessness and vandalism by some members of the outdoors community spoils the game for all. And in a way Camp Perry is just the tip of the iceberg.
Not far west along the lake at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, the Crane Creek beachfront, which was ground zero for fishing access last winter, was trashed and littered and tracked to a sickening degree during the frenzied ice fishing of last winter. The lasting “calling cards” left by ice fishermen for other Magee Marsh visitors to later see left the message that ice fishermen are pigs and vandals.
Careless, selfish parking of rigs along the long, narrow, diketop beach-access road also became so bad at one point public safety authorities feared they would be unable to reach the beach in an emergency.
In any event, a coming “El Nino” weather pattern for this winter may preclude formation of enough safe ice allow for western Lake Erie ice fishing. But the bad behavior of some ice fishermen will leave long memories among those public agencies that had to endure the mess left behind last winter, and clean up afterward.
Ice fishermen have no one to blame but themselves for the outfall of slovenly, destructive behavior, and the loss of lakefront access for their sport.