Though Ohio is not famous as a trout fishing state, springtime anglers increasingly are taking advantage of a put-and-take program by the Ohio Division of Wildlife in which more than 80,000 rainbow trout are to be stocked starting later this month.
Forty-five lakes and ponds are scheduled for plantings, including nine in northwest Ohio. The rainbows, some of the annual surplus produced at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery, will be 10 to 13 inches long.The daily creel limit for inland trout is five, and normal fishing-license requirements apply.
The annual inland trout fishery has become very popular with anglers, especially families, and many youth-only events are planned immediately after stocking some of the waters.
Following are tenative stocking dates for the region:
White Star Quarry, Gibsonburg, Sandusky County, March 25; Pearson Metropark pond, Oregon, Lucas County, April 2, with youth-only fishing set for that day; Delta Reservoir No. 2, Delta, Fulton County, April 7; Schoonover Lake, Lima, Allen County, April 8.
Also, Van Wert Reservoir No. 1, Van Wert, Van Wert County, April 16, for a youth event; Olander Lake, Sylvania Township, Lucas County, April 23 with youth-only fishing until 1 p.m.; Lake McKarns, St Joseph River State Wildlife Area, southwest of Montpelier, Williams County, April 28; Geirtz Lake, at Riverbend Recreation Area east of Findlay, Hancock County, May 7, with youth-only fishing until 11 a.m.; East Harbor State Park pond, Lakeside, Ottawa County, May 8, with youth-only fishing until 4 p.m.
On the rivers - The early runners among walleye are starting up the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, though fishing action is not expected to pick up until the weather moderates somewhat.
The Sandusky River at downtown Fremont was running high Tuesday, said Brian Bury, state wildlife officer in Sandusky County. "[But] when the water goes down the run will be on." He added that fishing action may pick up "possibly by Friday."
Bury said that a research team from Ohio State University sampled the river last night via electrofishing, taking 25 fish. The sample included one female walleye in "hard" condition, that is, still unready to spawn.
The Maumee River above Maumee-Perrysburg was still chilled with runoff at just 37 degrees yesterday, and was more than three feet above normal but falling, according to Gary Lowry at Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle.
The first walleyes of the spring were brought to his shop on Sunday, with more coming in Monday, mainly females in the five to seven-pound range and two to three-pound males, or jacks.
On western Lake Erie, the ice fishing season is winding down off South Bass Island, where ice typically is strongest and lasts longest.
A handful of anglers, fishing with experienced ice guides, are continuing to make good catches but guides generally have pulled their clusters of shanties and are carefully moving about, often fishing in the open from overturned buckets.
"The six to 10-inch ice that we have left is old, pitted above and below, dirty, and significantly honeycombed," reported guide John Hageman yesterday. "Thinner spots exist over shoals and reefs. This ice will be ready soon to give way under the right conditions of a warm, sunny afternoon or a strong east wind."
Some of the last of the catches Hageman's customers landed, however, bode well for the soon-to-arrive open-water season. Eric Hirzel, of Genoa, took home an 11-pound walleye of nearly 30 inches on Monday, and Jerry Baumbauer, of New Bremen, took a limit of 30 yellow perch of 8 to 12 inches, plus two walleyes, 17 and 19 inches, on Tuesday.
Tomorrow and Saturday - Saturday - Annual maple syrup day, 8 a.m. to noon, Gillette Building, Williams County Fairgrounds, Montpelier, begins wih pancake and sausage breakfast, then tree tapping, sap boiling, chain-saw carver, educational programs; call the Williams Soil and Water Conservation District, 419-636-9395.
Saturday and Sunday - Midwest Fly Fishing Expo, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; Macomb County Community College, 14500 Twelve Mile Rd., Warren, Mich.; featured speaker fly tyer Jerry Regan; other speakers include Chris Helm, award-winning fly tyer from Toledo; also displays, exhibits, gear, lodges, and more; sponsored by the Michigan Fly Fishing Club, Livonia; call Dan Gasparotto, 810-225-9960 extension 230.
Saturday through March 20 - 68th annual Cleveland Sport, Travel, and Outdoor Show, I-X Center, 6200 Riverside Dr., Cleveland, next to Hopkins International Airport; call 1-800-600-0307 or visit the show's Web site www.sportandtravel.com.
Saturday - Safe boating courses: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Maumee American Legion Post, 320 Illinois Ave., Maumee, sponsored by Flotilla 11-01, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, call 419-536-BOAT or 419-698-8543; also 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Whitmer adult education program, at Washington Branch Library, 5560 Harvest Lane, call 419-473-8334; also, Northwest State College at Archbold, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call Pete Wilhelm 419-267-5511.
Sunday - Toledo Muzzle Loaders, hawg shoot, 11 a.m. Clinton Boothby Memorial Range, 875 Schwamberger Rd.; call Diane Jendruch 419-666-9674.
Sunday - Bowshoots: Carleton Sportsmen's Club, register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 14100 Sumpter Rd., Carleton, Mich., 30 3-D targets, call Jeff Georgic 734-654-9267; also, Maybee Sportsmen's Club, register 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 11490 Hoffman Rd., Maybee, Mich., 30 3-D targets, call Jim Lloyd 734-529-8205; also, Lincoln Bowmen, register 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 26245 King Rd., Romulus, Mich., 30 3-D targets, call Matt Gibbons 734-283-5465; also, River Raisin Sportsmen's Club, register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of Rouger Road and Bradley Highway, Blissfield, Mich., 30 3-D targets; call Russell Bilby 517-486-3715.