The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
SANDUSKY — The rainbow, brown, and brook trout that race through the spring-fed waters of Cold Creek while it cuts along the edge of the Millsite Trout & Gun Club southwest of here will have to wait a while longer to meet their new owner.
This rare Ohio fly fisherman’s paradise is still for sale.
The former Owens-Illinois facility that most recently was in the hands of developer Larry Dillin went on the auction block Thursday morning, but no offers met the minimum bid of $600,000 in the court-ordered bankruptcy sale.
The banks that are involved in the proceedings are considering an offer they have received that is for less than the published minimum bid, according to Michael Murray of Pamela K. Rose Auction Co. of Maumee, the auctioneer handling the property.
While that offer is being reviewed by the banks, Murray declined to put a figure on the offer or name the bidder.
The Millsite Trout & Gun Club, which sits several miles from the village of Castalia, is just downstream from the former O-I corporate retreat at Castalia Farms. That site was divided and sold at auction a week ago, with the 27.67 acre parcel that contains 4,400 feet of the Cold Creek trout stream, plus a historic lodge and a large guesthouse, fetching $620,000.
The Millsite property is a little more than 20 acres with about 3,800 feet of stream, a 1920s-era lodge with a large meeting room, a commercial kitchen, and five bedrooms, plus a 19th century, six-bedroom farmhouse with modern utilities.
“I’ve auctioned some really unique properties, but never anything like this,” Pamela Rose said Thursday while standing in front of the huge stone fireplace in the main lodge at Millsite. “In the thousands of auctions I’ve done, I’ve never sold a trout stream. This is the last gem in the chest — there’s nothing else like it.”
Thursday’s scheduled auction of the Millsite property, which is located off Heywood Road, attracted about a crowd of about 15, made up of potential bidders and curious onlookers. Bidders could also take part through live on-line bidding.
Castalia native Denny Grahl, a local real estate agent, said Thursday’s auction probably suffered from the fact the Castalia Farms property had just sold, possibly limiting the pool of potential buyers. He added that it is also very difficult to put a fair market price on a piece of property that is so unusual.
“What do you compare it to and what do you use as an accurate gauge of the value – I can’t answer that,” Grahl said.
The Millsite property was once owned by J. Preston Levis, the cousin of former O-I president William E. Levis, and at one time it contained a large amount of agricultural land where guests hunted pheasants. That farm ground was sold off previously, and what remains is a large, T-shaped parcel with a long, tree-lined drive, the complex of buildings, and the virtually straight course of the stream, which runs parallel to Homegardner Road.
There is a trap and skeet range and a large stone patio and fire pit on the Millsite property, but the trout stream is clearly this facility’s blockbuster selling point.
On its short run to Sandusky Bay, Cold Creek is fed by a continuous flow of 48-degree water that wells up from several aquifers in the area, primarily the Blue Hole in Castalia. This cold, clear water is essential for trout habitat.
MICHIGAN WOLF HUNT: As of Friday, hunters had harvested just eight wolves through the first week of Michigan’s wolf hunting season. The hunt is taking place in three designated areas in the Upper Peninsula. The season runs through Dec. 31, or until the harvest quota for each of these wolf management unit is met, towards a total harvest number of 43 wolves. Michigan’s wolf population in the U.P. is estimated at about 660 animals, and according to the Michigan DNR, the hunt is intended to reduce the number of conflicts between wolves, and livestock and dogs in the Upper Peninsula.
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6068.