Fortune in fly fishing opportunities awaits lottery winners

Matt Markey
Matt Markey

CASTALIA, Ohio — The Powerball lottery jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing is about $400 million, give or take a few million, depending on how many folks opt to buy tickets.

The chances of winning are about 1 in 175 million, if I did the algebra and trigonometry correctly, and used the right factors and logarithms to arrive at that staggering figure.

Regardless, you probably just threw a couple of bucks away, but there are better lottery options — they offer much better odds with a priceless payout. If a delicate fly rod engaged in a tug-of-war with a robust five-pound rainbow trout is a jackpot in your mind, then this is your lottery.

Trout fishing is difficult to find in most of Ohio, where many of our streams are too warm and too turbid.

Good trout fishing is an even tougher deal in most of the state, because we lack the many miles of streams and semi-wilderness with minimal pressure it often takes to produce sizable fish.

Outside of the cold weather steelhead fishery in certain northeast Ohio waterways, trophy trout are out of the question, unless you belong to a private club ... or you win the lottery.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife holds a drawing each year to give 120 very fortunate anglers the opportunity to get introduced to fly fishing on the state-owned, half-mile stretch of Cold Creek near here that shelters more than a few monster rainbow and brown trout.

After a brief tutorial, the lottery winners get to test their skills on this crystal clear waterway, which sends the output of the area’s blue hole aquifers toward Lake Erie. These very fortunate anglers will likely never encounter such a concentration of large trout on public land, with fly rod in hand, anywhere else in the country.

The big rainbows were stocked there after being raised in the state fish hatchery on the grounds, located in western Erie County, a little southwest of Sandusky. The wily browns are the former brood stock from the hatchery facility at London, while the brook trout are likely migrants from the private trout clubs in the area.

The Castalia trout fishing lottery awards instructional fishing sessions to be held in the mornings and afternoons on Fridays in September and early October. To enter, send a postcard with name, address, and phone number to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Ave., Findlay, OH 45840, Attention: Linda Ringer.

Applicants entering the lottery are permitted to bring one guest, and the guest’s name must also be listed on the postcard. Only one postcard per applicant is allowed, and no duplicates are permitted.

The deadline for submitting an entry is Aug. 20, and the winners in this lottery will be assigned a date and time to receive instruction, then fish Cold Creek.

States and provinces also frequently use lotteries to award a limited number of hunting and fishing permits that also provide the angler or the hunter with highly sought-after opportunities. Entering these lotteries usually requires a fee, which is nonrefundable.

Alaska recently staged a lottery to provide nonresidents an extremely rare chance at harvesting a Kodiak bear. Many entered, and less than 40 were drawn for permits. Of the first six names drawn, one hunter comes from Mexico, one from British Columbia, and one from the Philippines. They’ll pay $300 for a hunting license and $600 for a bear tag, and they are required to hire a guide. It becomes a very expensive proposition, with no guarantee of success.

Alaska also offers a lottery for a unique opportunity to view or photograph brown bears at the McNeil Game Sanctuary, where the summer salmon runs attract one of the largest gatherings of brown bears on the planet.

Michigan uses lotteries to distribute its very limited number of bear and elk hunting licenses. More than 52,000 entries were received in the lottery for the bear hunt, with a very small percentage of entrants receiving the option to purchase a license.

The elk tag lottery in Michigan is even tougher, since it is not open to nonresidents, and out of more than 32,500 entries in the most recent lottery to hunt a bull or cow elk, only 60 licenses were awarded.

For information on Michigan hunting and trapping licenses, permits, and lotteries, visit the​dnr Web site.

For information on Ohio’s hunting and trapping opportunities available through periodic lotteries, and for more information on the Castalia fly fishing lottery, visit the​wildlife Web site.

Every charity auction needs a star of the show, and the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society has a beauty to lead its lineup of about 100 items for Saturday’s sale. It’s a 1934 Lyman Runabout, a 15-foot wood beauty in great shape that illustrates the fact that company co-founder Bernard Lyman had his background in making fine cabinets. The Lyman is just one of about 50 items in the auction that have a historical link to the islands or the lake. One of the more unusual items in the sale is a bar constructed from timbers salvaged from the famous sailing ship “Success.” This ship was reportedly once used as a prison while moored in Australia during its more than a century on the water, and was later moved to Port Clinton, where it ran aground. After being battered by Lake Erie storms, the ship was torched in 1946 and burned to the water level. The auction will also have mementos from the Hotel Victory, a South Bass Island destination for aristocrats in the early 1900s. The auction preview periods will take place from 4-7 p.m. Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday. The auction takes place Saturday at the Niagara Event Center at Put-in-Bay beginning at 4 p.m. The sale benefits the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society and museum, which is displaying a large collection of items related to the Battle of Lake Erie and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The bicentennial of that pivotal battle in the War of 1812 will be celebrated Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 with a variety of events on and around the Lake Erie Islands.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: or 419-724-6068.