Hatchery fish catch on with young anglers


Success is a coveted companion when you take a kid fishing. You plead for patience and ask them to trust you, that somewhere under the surface of that water really is a fish just waiting to bite on their hook, knowing all along that the “catching” part of fishing is what closes the deal.

If a kid catches fish on those early outings, he or she is likely going to have a long-term relationship with the sport. Learn to enjoy fishing at 8 and you will still be fishing at 80.

With that theme in mind, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is stocking 63 public lakes and ponds across the state this spring with more than 98,000 rainbow trout that hopefully will be cooperative parties in a number of kids’ fishing events.

Scott Zody, the chief of the Division of Wildlife, said the formula does not involve rocket science.

“By stocking these ponds, we hope to create an opportunity for anglers to be successful, especially young anglers that might be fishing for the very first time,” Zody said. “Trout fishing provides the ideal introduction to the outdoors for our children and can help foster a lifetime love of fishing.”

The trout come from the state operated hatcheries at London, Kincaid, and Castalia, with the recently renovated and improved facility along Cold Creek at Castalia providing the bulk of the fish, according to Nick Jamison, the fish hatchery program administrator for the Division of Wildlife.

The state-raised trout are stocked in public waters. The private trout clubs in the Castalia area either acquire their fish from other sources or raise their own trout. The historic Rockwell Springs Trout Club southwest of Castalia has its own hatchery where it raises rainbow trout, along with brook, brown, and tiger trout for stocking in the stream on club property.

The rainbow trout raised at the Division of Wildlife hatcheries are considered ready for stocking when they reach 10-13 inches in length.

Not all of the state-stocked rainbow trout will go to ponds or lakes in advance of youth fishing days, but many of the stockings are scheduled to coincide with such events. Some facilities limit fishing to kids only for several hours or for the initial day or weekend of the release.

The lake at Pearson Metropark in Oregon will be reserved for youth under 16 years of age on the weekend of April 19 after it is stocked with rainbow trout. The park is located between Starr and Navarre avenues, just west of Wynn Road.

Olander Lake in Sylvania will be stocked for its kids fishing derby on April 26. The 28-acre, spring-fed lake in Olander Park is located at 6930 Sylvania Ave. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. with the kids’ fishing event running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The derby is free for Sylvania school district residents, with a $5 per-car admission to the park required for nonresidents.

East Harbor State Park in Ottawa County will be stocked with rainbow trout for its kids fishing event, which also will be held on April 26, at the pond located near Lockwood Shelter. Fishing is limited to 16-and-under anglers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., then open to all ages after 2 p.m.

White Star Quarry in Sandusky County will hold a “family fishing day” on April 18 following the delivery of hatchery trout. Families are encouraged to take advantage of the angling opportunity, but there are no restrictions on who can fish that day. Giertz Lake in Hancock County will hold a special fishing event on May 3 for kids ages 4-15 who are accompanied by an adult. The event runs from 8-11 a.m. with open fishing following that.

Several of the early stockings were postponed as winter refused to loosen its grip on the Buckeye State. The trout stockings at Adams Lake in Adams County and Barnesville Reservoir No. 3 in Belmont County were delayed because both bodies of water were still ice-covered earlier this month, with their shorelines blanketed in heavy snow. The planned stocking at Monroe Lake in Monroe County had to be rescheduled because the hatchery truck could not use the access road to reach the lake.

Anglers are reminded that the daily catch limit for trout in Ohio’s inland lakes is five. Fishermen age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish in public waters. The sale of fishing licenses, plus funds from the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, which collects an excise tax on the sale of fishing equipment, help sustain the operation of Ohio’s fish hatcheries. No state tax dollars are used in the stocking program.

WILD GAME DINNERS: The Oak Harbor Conservation Club will hold its annual wild game dinner Saturday at the club, located along the Portage River at 975 S. Gordon Rd., southeast of Oak Harbor and just off County Road 18. The social hour begins at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 and auctions and raffles at 7:30.

There will be a wide selection of items up for bid, including guns and prints. Tickets are $15 at the door, with children under 10 free. There will be venison, elk, pheasant, rabbit, duck, goose, fish, muskrat, and spaghetti served. For more information contact Keith Kralik at 419-202-9544.

The Cooley Canal Yacht Club will feature venison, buffalo, hog, beaver, and fish, plus a number of big raffles, at its wild game dinner on April 12.

The doors open at 4 p.m. and tickets are $25. The club is located at 12235 Bono Rd. in Curtice. Call the club at 419-836-3500 for more information.

SAFE BOATING CLASS: The YMCA at 306 Bush St. in Toledo will be the site for a one-day class offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 5. Pre-registration is preferred. Registration is $20, or $15 for YMCA card members. For more information and pre-registration, contact Phil Wesley at philbedford@bex.net or 734-847-8580.

RIVER UPDATE: As of Thursday, the Maumee River was at 36.5 degrees, still running high, with chunks of ice stacked along the shoreline and on the Orleans Park ramp. Wading to Blue Grass Island is not feasible at this time. Very few fish were being caught, but the walleye run action should pick up with warmer days and rain in the forecast.

The Sandusky River in Fremont was at 40 degrees Thursday, with the flow at about normal rate. A few walleye were being caught, and warming water should increase those numbers in the coming days.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.