Controlled trout-fishing opportunities on Cold Creek, one of Ohio's most unique streams, await fly-fishing enthusiasts who may enter a special lottery conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
A half-mile section of the creek, at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, will again be open to a limited number of anglers during two seasons between April 4 and Oct. 28.
Anglers interested in fishing the stream must submit an application, along with a nonrefundable $3 application fee, before March 1 to be eligible for the drawing. Forms can be downloaded at ohiodnr.com. Postcards will no longer be accepted for the drawing. Completed forms and application fees should be mailed to: Castalia Trout Fishing, c/o Division of Wildlife, 2045 Morse Road, G-1, Columbus, Ohio, 43229. Successful applicants will be notified by mail of their dates.
There will be two seasons: one for adults (April 4 through June 3 and Aug. 22 through Oct. 28) and one for youths age 16 and under (June 6 through Aug. 19). Individuals selected may bring along two other adults and three youths under the age of 16 (six total).
Special fishing rules include prohibiting catch and release fishing, with wildlife officials requiring that anglers keep all fish they catch. The daily bag limit will be five trout per angler.
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 noon. Anglers age 16 and older will need a valid 2005 Ohio fishing license.
Youth clinic lottery
Youths interested in learning the art of fly fishing and practicing their skills on a half-mile section of Cold Creek at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County are encouraged to enter a lottery for a youth-only clinic, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
There will be 15 spots available for this program, which will be held June 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Topics covered will be elementary "bugology," fly-tying equipment, nomenclature, setup and casting. In addition to fly-fishing instruction by ODNR Division of Wildlife staff and members of the Clear Fork Chapter of Trout Unlimited, attendees will be able to test their newly acquired skills by fishing for the abundant rainbow trout found in Cold Creek. Anglers may also encounter an occasional brown trout. Kids will go home with their own fly rod and reel combo provided by The Clear Fork Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
To apply, applicants must submit a postcard listing their name, age, address, and phone number. Each applicant must be 15 or younger by the date of the clinic and be accompanied by a nonfishing adult. Postcards must be postmarked no later than May 1. No duplicate postcards may be submitted. Postcards should be sent to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840. Attention: Youth Fly Fishing Clinic.
For more information call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit ohiodnr.com on the Web. The Castalia State Fish Hatchery is located in Erie County off State Route 269, near Castalia.
TIP program providesnearly $3,000 in rewards
Twenty-one Ohioans recently received a total of $2,835 in rewards for reporting wildlife violations to the Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) Hotline of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. As a result of these calls, 33 people were convicted of poaching wildlife and fined a total of $12,748 by Ohio courts.
The TIP program allows Ohioans to call a toll-free number from anywhere in the state to report wildlife violations. Calls can be placed anonymously at 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437). The National Wild Turkey Federation, which lends financial support to the TIP Program, also awarded $320 to three tipsters for information that led to the conviction of three turkey poachers.
Begun in 1982, the TIP program is a private, nonprofit corporation administered through the Division of Wildlife. Program volunteers, representing the state's five wildlife districts, meet on a regular basis to review tips received and determine award amounts. Since the TIP program began, more than $125,000 has been awarded to 900 callers who provided vital information about state wildlife violations. Those calls helped lead to the arrest and conviction of 1,572 poachers, who paid a total of $533,139 in fines.
Records show that the average TIP call results in the conviction of two wildlife violators. The average TIP payment award is $139 and the average fine for those convicted of poaching is $339. For each dollar paid in rewards, $5.92 has been returned to the division for wildlife management and enforcement.
Renew registration online at ohiodnr.com
Ohio boat owners are reminded that watercraft registrations can be renewed conveniently on the Internet through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Web site at ohiodnr.com.
Renewal letters were sent out in late December to the nearly 130,000 watercraft owners whose boat registrations expire March 1.
Last year, nearly 7,000 boat registrations were renewed online. While address changes to registrations may be made online, inaccurate and outdated information must be corrected by visiting a watercraft registration agent. A listing of watercraft registration agents is available at ohiodnr.com or by calling the Division of Watercraft toll-free at (877) 4BOATER (877-426-2837).
Seeking input on deer
As the Pennsylvania Game Commission prepares to take its first step in establishing seasons and bag limits for the 2005-06 hunting seasons at its meetings this weekend, Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director, noted that the agency is gathering and listening to public input as the members of the Board of Game Commissioners go about their decision-making process.
Input will be gathered through April, when the Board will return for its April meeting to finalize 2005-06 seasons and bag limits, as well as establish antlerless deer license allocations. The exact dates of the April meeting will be set by the board at its January meeting.