COLUMBUS — Anglers are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous fishing opportunities as rainbow trout are stocked in 71 public lakes and ponds this spring, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The first stocking will occur on March 17 at Forked Run Lake in Meigs County. About 80,000 of these coldwater fish will be stocked in March, April, and May at various lakes. Other stocked lakes in neighboring counties will include Timbre Ridge Lake (March 25) and Vesuvius Lake (April 7), both in Lawrence County; Lake Alma (March 24) in Vinton County; and Dow Lake (April 21) in Athens County.
Rainbow trout are raised at Ohio’s state fish hatcheries and measure between 10-13 inches when they are released by the Division of Wildlife. A complete list of stocking dates is available at wildohio.gov, along with fishing techniques used to catch them.
ODNR fist biologist Matt Hangsleben told Ohio Valley Publishing, approximately 1,650 rainbow trout were requested for Forked Run Lake. Trout are stocked in Forked Run Lake once per year. Hangsleben said trout releases provide “unique opportunities” to get people outside after the cold winter.
All fish will be stocked during the date listed for each location. Some locations feature a special event on the day of the scheduled release, including youth-only fishing. Information about the trout releases, including a complete list of dates, any updates to the schedule because of weather, stocking locations, and event information is available at wildohio.gov or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
By stocking these water areas throughout the state, anglers of all ages have the opportunity to get out and enjoy quality spring rainbow trout fishing in a family-friendly environment. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout per angler with no minimum size limit.
Hangsleben said ODNR also stock catfish, saugeye, bass, perch and bluegill in rivers and lakes in the state.
Anglers age 16 and older are required to have an Ohio fishing license to fish in-state public waters. The 2022-23 fishing license is available now, and an annual license is valid for one year after purchase. An annual resident fishing license costs $25. A one-day fishing license costs $14 and may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license. Licenses and permits can be purchased online at wildohio.gov, through the HuntFish OH app, and at participating license sales agents.
Sales of fishing licenses along with the federal Sport Fish Restoration program support operation of Division of Wildlife fish hatcheries. The Sport Fish Restoration program is a partnership between federal and state governments, the fishing industry, anglers, and boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders, and motorboat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and assessment surveys, provide aquatic education, and secure fishing access.
Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham contributed to this report.