Take advantage of some super – and cheap – Ohio trout fishing
In the rush of things to do this spring season fishing-wise, it is easy to overlook a three-buck chance to enjoy some quick-fix lunker trout fishing for you and your friends.
This would be the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s annual lotteries for post-breeding trout at its Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County. A half-mile section of the famed “Blue Hole” stream, Cold Creek, fed by an underground river, will be open to a limited number of anglers on certain days between May 1 and Nov. 30.
I apply every spring – you have till March 31. I never have been drawn for this random lottery, but have been invited as a guest – mostly because I have a lot of spare tackle for newcomers to fly fishing. Experienced anglers will find that, while not quite like shooting fish in a barrel, it is fairly easy to land your limit in a stream loaded with trout. Which is why you need to bring interested, non-fishing friends and kids. Yes, always the kids.
Just submit an application form and a nonrefundable $3 application fee to enter a random drawing next month. To apply, visit the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System and click “Licenses & Permits.” You can also download, print, and mail in the application.
There are two seasons, one for adults (May 1-Nov. 30) and one for youths (June 12-Aug. 11). Applicants of the youth lottery must be at least 4 years old and under 16 when they apply.
Successful anglers will be notified by mail, or you can check your customer account in the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System. Approximately 100 adult and 90 youth permits will be issued. Applicants not chosen to participate will not be notified. Anglers chosen to participate will receive their permit and instructions, including the fishing date and times, in the mail in early April.
Permit-holders may bring two people over the age of 16 and three youths (under 16), and you may participate only once per season as either the permittee or a partner. Participants 16 and older must hold a valid fishing license.
This is catch-and-keep fishing, no releasing allowed. The creel limit is 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 2019 Ohio fishing license.
The permit to fish applies to the successfully drawn applicant and his/her partner(s) and permits are transferable. All participants must be properly licensed.
Anglers will be required to check in at the hatchery upon arrival and check out at the end of their session. Fishing sessions will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for adult events, except Fridays in May and June. For the youth events and adult events on Fridays in May-June, there will be two sessions per day (7 a.m.-11 a.m. and 11 a.m.-3 p.m.).