Ohio trout fishing available over winter
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.
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.
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.