Ohio trout fish­ing avail­able over win­ter

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Dave Golowen­ski out­doors@dis­patch.com

Up north, steel­head are shim­my­ing up­stream in Lake Erie trib­u­taries large and small from west of Ver­mil­ion to the state’s eastern bor­der.

Most steel­head, a lake-run rain­bow trout with Michi­gan roots planted an­nu­ally by the Ohio Divi­sion of Wildlife, at­tempt to spawn in the streams where they were re­leased as young­sters sev­eral years be­fore they re­turn as ma­ture fish to make their typ­i­cally un­suc­cess­ful run at pro­cre­at­ing. That means the bulk of ac­tiv­ity oc­curs in the Ver­mil­ion, Rocky, Cha­grin, Grand and Ashtab­ula rivers, and in Con­neaut Creek.

How­ever, enough fish miss their “home” mark to make steel­head fish­ing pos­si­ble, and oc­ca­sion­ally even pro­duc­tive, at sec­tions of streams and trib­u­taries that nor­mally hold fish no more ex­otic than the oc­ca­sional sucker. While steel­head can be caught through­out the win­ter, much of the spawn­ing ac­tiv­ity takes place dur­ing chilly spring.

Closer to Colum­bus, in Mo­hi­can State Park, trout afi­ciona­dos dur­ing the next few months can take a shot at a dif­fer­ent strain of rain­bow trout, al­beit smaller than the typ­i­cal spawn­ing Lake Erie steel­head. The wildlife divi­sion has stocked the Mo­hi­can River be­low Pleas­ant Hill Dam with 11- to 14-inch rain­bows meant to pro­vide catch­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at the park in Ash­land County.

While size doesn’t mat­ter, the daily bag limit is two.

Brown trout are stocked in the up­per sec­tion of Clear Fork, lo­cated in Rich­land County, and in the Mad River, which emerges from springs out­side of Ur­bana. The daily bag limit on both streams is two. No keeper may be shorter than 12 inches in length.

Youth hunt

Deer hunt­ing ac­tiv­ity be­gins to ramp up Satur­day and next Sun­day when the youth gun hunt, which is open statewide, draws a crowd around Ohio.

The two-day sea­son, a pre­lude to the week­long statewide hunt that be­gins Nov. 26, is open to hunters 17 years old and younger who are ac­com­pa­nied by a non­hunt­ing adult. Par­tic­i­pants need a li­cense and a deer per­mit and are re­quired to wear hunter or­ange.

Antler­less per­mits are valid through Nov. 25 in a hand­ful of coun­ties, in­clud­ing Franklin and Delaware in cen­tral Ohio.

Le­gal firearms in­clude shot­guns, muz­zleload­ers, hand­guns and spec­i­fied ri­fles that use straight­walled car­tridges. Deer taken dur­ing the youth hunt count to­ward sea­son lim­its.

Less-than-ideal weather dur­ing last year’s youth sea­son was among the fac­tors con­tribut­ing to a de­crease from the pre­vi­ous year in the num­ber of deer checked. The to­tal of 4,958 rep­re­sented a de­crease of al­most 1,000 white­tails from the 5,930 taken in 2016. Dur­ing 2015 youth hunt, 7,223 white-tailed deer were checked.

Deer hunt­ing hours run from one-half hour be­fore sun­rise to one­half hour af­ter sunset. Deer taken must be tagged on the spot where the an­i­mal fell, and they must be checked by noon the day af­ter the kill. A deer taken on the last day of a sea­son must be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. on the day of the kill.

The book­let Ohio Hunt­ing & Trap­ping Reg­u­la­tions 2018-19, which is avail­able on the Web at wildo­hio.gov, con­tains a com­pre­hen­sive list of reg­u­la­tions per­tain­ing to deer and to all other game.

Part­ing shots

Through early last week, Ohio’s deer har­vest stood at 38,326. A year ago at the same six-week point of the archery sea­son, hunters had checked 37,861 white­tails. … A cit­i­zens’ group known as the Lake Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion is at­tempt­ing to head off an ef­fort by the Ohio Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture to lift a pro­hi­bi­tion against the spread­ing of ma­nure dur­ing win­ter within the Grand Lake St. Marys wa­ter­shed. The runoff from ma­nure has con­trib­uted heav­ily to blooms of toxic al­gae that at times ren­dered the reser­voir un­us­able for recre­ational use, in­clud­ing fish­ing. De­tails and a pe­ti­tion against lift­ing the ban are avail­able at the group’s web­site, lakeim­prove­ment.com.

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