There is a man who lives in Lebanon who spends most of his free time in and on the Little Miami River. He knows just about all there is to know about Ohio’s first National Wild and Scenic River. You could say he loves the Little Miami River.
In fact, Steve Coomer starts his new book – Little Miami River, Fishing, Facts and Folklore Galore! – with these words: “I love the Little Miami River.” That pretty much says it all.
“I was talking with somebody one day and I said, ‘You know, someday somebody should write a book about the river. There is so much that can be said. And he said, ‘You know that somebody should be you.’ So I thought about that for a while and started writing,” Coomer said.
He said he worked on the book “off and on” for a couple of years.
You see the problem with writing a book about the Little Miami River is instead of writing, he’d rather be fishing.
“My long term goal is to fish the whole river,” he said.
Coomer, 49, works as a printer, so his fishing time is limited to a couple hours in the evenings and, of course, days off. His house is about five minutes away from the river.
He has fished from the bank, boats, canoes and kayaks.
“What I like to do is kayak to a spot where I plan to fish, then get out and wade in the river. That’s how I catch most of my fish,” he said.
When you think about it, what better way to research what you are going to write about than to wade right in?
A good portion of the book is devoted to how he fishes for different species, baits he uses and some of the techniques. You can tell he has spent many hours going after all kinds of fish.
But it’s also obvious Coomer has completed countless hours studying and researching everything he could find about the Little Miami. The book is so comprehensive about all the aquatic life in the river and the creatures that inhabit the woods and fields along the shore. He has also compiled what has to be the most complete history of the river and the lands and towns along the way. He has stories and folklore galore, as he says.
The pictures, especially those of wildlife, are numerous and fascinating. Coomer told me he took about 90 percent of the photos in the book, which shows he is as good as a photographer as he is as a fisherman.
Another outstanding feature includes some of the best maps you will ever find about the Little Miami. In fact, it would be fun to bring the book along on a canoe trip of the river and check out all the fascinating stops. (Carry it in a sealable plastic bag.)
The book is selling for $25 at several tackle shops and stores in the area, including Fisherman’s Headquarters in Dayton, Great Miami Outfitters in Miamisburg, Spillway Party Supply at Caesar Creek Lake (Wellman area), New Miami Bait & Tackle in New Miami, B & B Carryout near Waynesville, ReelFliyRod of Dayton, Dixie Marine in Fairfield, Parkway Bait & Tackle in Middletown and the Clifton Mill Store, Clifton.