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Castalia trout find homes all over Ohio

Tom Jackson • Mar 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM

When Ohio releases almost 100,000 rainbow trout in 63 different locations this spring, the fish won’t have any “made in Erie County” tags on them.

But most of the 98,000 fish were raised at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery, a 90-acre facility at 7018 Homegardner Road in Castalia that produces rainbow and steelhead trout.

The rainbow trout are being stocked in various lakes and ponds.

Want to catch a rainbow trout?

Here are dates for planned trout stockings in locations near Sandusky:

•April 16, Norwalk Reservoir No. 1, Huron County.

•April 18, White Star Quarry, Sandusky County. 

•April 26, East Harbor State Park, Ottawa County.

The state says “special angler events” are planned for the releases at White Star Quarry and East Harbor State Park. 

“By stocking these ponds, we hope to create an opportunity for anglers to be successful, especially young anglers that might be fishing for the very first time,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

The Ohio summer is too hot for the rainbow trout, so they are being released with the idea that they will be ca ht soon, said ickJamison, a fish biologist who is the state fish hatchery program manager.

Jamison said the Castalia Fish Hatchery produces 80,000 rainbow trout each year, with a relatively small number also raised at two other fish hatcheries. The Castalia hatchery also raises 400,000 steelhead trout a year. The steelheads are released in five Ohio rivers that feed into Lake Erie: the Vermilion, Grand, Chagrin, Conneaut, and Rocky rivers.

Rainbow trout aren’t Ohio natives but are found naturally on the west coast of the U.S. They are considered very desirable sport fish, so they are raised and released in Ohio.

The ODNR has several specialized flatbed trucks for hauling the rainbow trout around when they are ready to be released, Jamison said. Each truck carries a tank that can be aerated to keep the fish happy, or at least alive. A truck can carry about 3,000 fish, he said.

Funding to pay for the cost of producing the trout, and other fish raised at state hatcheries comes from fishermen, Jamison explains. Some of the money comes from state fishing licenses, while other funding comes from a federal tax levied on fishing rods and tackle.

The ODNR says Ohio’s six state fish hatcheries raise sport fish such as rainbow trout, brown trout, steelhead trout, saugeye, walleye, yellow perch, muskellunge, hybrid striped bass, channel catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill, along with non-sport fish that are threatened or endangered.

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