EXPLORING FOUR MILE CREEK Four Mile Creek originates in the northern boundary of the City of Alexandria and flows in a northerly direction until it empties into the Ohio River at Silver Grove. In the summer months we claimed about a half mile of its total seven mile length. Our stretch of Four Mile Creek reached from Upper Eight Mile Creek downstream to von Stein’s (a.k.a. Steve’s, Bill’s, Charlie’s, Four Mile Inn, and others, depending upon who operated the tavern at any given time), a total distance of about a half mile. It may not seem like a long stretch of a waterway but it was ours and trespassers were frowned upon. The creek always flowed except for one summer in the 1980’s (draught conditions) and ranged in depth from 6” to about 4 feet, quite deep for young kids in a small world.
Our activities in the creek were simple, wading (what we called swimming), skipping rocks and fishing. Wearing gym shoes while walking (I mean swimming) in the creek was required for fear of stepping on broken glass or sharp rocks.
Fishing from Amberger’s bridge (directly across from Schuchter’s field and our house on Four Mile Road) was one of our favorite spots. The bridge spanned Four Mile Creek to the house of Joe and Benny Amberger. Thick wooden planks with spaces between them formed the floor of the bridge suspended by inverted V-shaped wooden logs on each side with rusted metal rods connecting the logs to the wooden planks for support. Varying gaps of 1” to 3” between weather-worn floor beams allowed us to drop our baited fishing hooks and floats into the clear water below. The depth of the shadowed water under the bridge was 12” or less and we could easily follow the swimming fish that we were attempting to lure onto our hooks.
Only once do I remember attempting to force a slightly too large fish through the slightly too small gap in the floor beams of the bridge. It was a big ugly black catfish with feelers as long as could be imagined. The solution was to snip the line, watch the ugly one plummet the 8’ to the creek and swim away with hook and line attached.
More than once did we find ourselves fishing from the banks of Four Mile Creek to be alerted by one of our fishing troop’s scream, “don’t move and look up”! There wrapped on an overhanging limb just above our heads was a giant (5’ long) snake sunning itself. The emergency would typically end when someone after a few attempts threw a rock close enough to the monster to have it slither away.
Bluegill was our most common catch of the day, day after day, all summer with an occasional catfish. After these early fishing adventures as a youngster, I never really fished again. Ironically, during the summer between high school and college I worked at Float Hi balsa fishing float company in Sun Valley near A.J. Jolly Park making floats similar to the ones I used in Four Mile Creek a half dozen years before.