The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has announced that it is getting ready to release 100,000 rainbow trout in 64 Ohio public lakes and ponds, and that means the annual Kids Trout Derby at Rocky Fork Lake is just around the corner.
The scheduled date for trout to be released at Rocky Fork is Saturday, April 1, but that usually takes place a day or two earlier so the trout can be somewhat accustomed to the lake water for the trout derby.
Around 1,500 trout are usually released into a netted area at Rocky Fork, then the Highland County Rod and Gun Club, Rocky Fork State Park and ODNR Division of Wildlife put on an event that includes fishing, archery, shotgun shooting, prizes and food for kids 15 years old and younger.
Last year an estimated 450 kids took part in the event.
The state’s first rainbow trout release is scheduled for Friday, March 3, at Adams Lake in Adams County.
Other area releases include Caldwell Lake in Ross County on March 17, Yoctangee Park Lake in Chillicothe on April 8, Turkey Creek Lake in Scioto County on April 4, Eyman Park in Washington C.H. on May 6, and Stonelick Lake in Clermont County on May 6. All those events except the ones at Adams and Caldwell lakes have special events scheduled with them.
For a list of trout stocking dates and locations, go to wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/trout-stocking-dates.
The trout releases will take place across Ohio from March 3 to May 21 as long as areas are ice-free and accessible to anglers. Information about them, including updates to the schedule due to weather and stocking locations, is available at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
By stocking these water areas throughout the state, opportunities are created for anglers of all ages to get out and enjoy quality spring trout fishing in a family-friendly environment, the ODNR said in a news release.
Rainbow trout are raised at Ohio’s state fish hatcheries and measure 10-13 inches before they are released. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.
Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish in state public waters. The 2017-18 fishing license is now available and is valid through Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one-day fishing license costs $11 for residents and nonresidents. The one-day license can be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.
Licenses and permits can be purchased online at wildohio.gov and at participating agents throughout the state. A complete list of participating license sales agents can be found at wildohio.gov.
Sales of fishing licenses, along with the federal Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund the operation of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s fish hatcheries. No state tax dollars are used for this activity, according to the news release.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.