Annual trout lottery for Cold Creek now open
OK, OK, so it is not the fabled Steelhead Alley. It is a hatchery run. They are not the reel-stripping, cartwheeling silver bullets of lake-run rainbow fame.
They are post-hatchery breeders, and they are not picky. But tell that to the crew of new or inexperienced anglers into whose hands you have placed your extra fly rods, tipped with a nondescript black woolly buggers and whose eyes are lit up like Christmas trees as they try to handle the electricity of their first fly rod trout.
You can do this – help encourage new anglers and the sport of fly fishing – if you are one of the fortunate anglers who are picked in the state lottery to fish on Cold Creek, one of Ohio’s most unique streams. A half-mile section of the creek, located at the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, will be open to a limited number of anglers on certain days between May 1 and Nov. 30.
Just submit an application form and a nonrefundable $3 application fee by March 31 to enter a random drawing next month. Applications may be completed online at wildohio.gov or call 800-WILDLIFE for a paper form, which must be returned via mail.
There are two seasons, one for adults (May 1–Nov. 30) and one for youth (June 12–Aug. 11). Applicants of the youth lottery must be at least 4-years-old and under 16 when they apply. About 90 adult and 90 youth permits will be issued. Those selected may bring two adults and three youths under the age of 16 (no more than six people total).
Results of the adult drawing will be posted at wildohio.gov. Successful youth applicants will be notified by mail. This year, all permits will be mailed.
This is catch-and-keep fishing, no releasing allowed. The creel limit will be five trout per angler. Sessions will be 7 a.m. to noon for adult events. For the youth events, there will be two sessions per day (7 a.m.–11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.). All anglers age 16 and older will need a valid 2017 Ohio fishing license.
Like many of you, I keep applying and have not been picked yet. But one year a friend, who knows I fly fish and “have rods, will travel,” got selected. She asked me and my fly rods to join her, a friend, and three youngsters. We had a great morning and took home 30 fine trout. Maybe one or two of them took home dreams of Steelhead Alley one day, too.