If you've hear the question once, you've heard it a million times:
"Ya catchin' any?"
Whether you're knee deep in a trout stream, sitting in a lawn chair at a pay pond or pulling up to the dock in your bass boat, someone always seems to want to know.
Ohio River anglers will get that experience a lot this year. From now through Oct. 20, they'll be answering that question and a few more. Fish and wildlife agencies in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky have launched a three-state effort to find out what anglers fish for, how many they catch, where they live, how much they fish and how much they enjoy the experience.
The agencies have hired "creel clerks" to hang around popular fishing spots and ask anglers to answer about a dozen questions.
Chris O'Bara, the Division of Natural Resources research biologist who heads up West Virginia's segment of the survey effort, said the survey should only take a couple of minutes to complete.
"It will be single-answer questions," he explained. "For example, 'How many fish did you catch today?' 'How long were you fishing?' 'What were you fishing for?' and 'Where do you live?' We realize that when people come off the river, they want to go home - so we're keeping the survey short and sweet."
The survey will be nothing new. Fish and game agencies along the Ohio conduct similar surveys every 10 years or so. The last time it was done, West Virginia hired the clerks. Ohio will do the honors this time.
The clerks will wear uniforms, but not West Virginia or Ohio DNR uniforms. "The uniforms will be pretty low-key, and they'll identify the clerks as part of the Ohio River angler survey," O'Bara said.