After months of snow and cold, the warm summer weather appears to be here to stay which means outdoorsmen from around the Ohio Valley will be gearing up for another season of fishing.
For much of the fall and winter months state agencies prepare the upkeep of the rivers, streams, and other tributaries. While all the fun in the sport of fishing takes place during the warmer months of the year, there would be none of that if it wasn't for the conservation, revitalizing, and stocking of the Ohio waters.
Each year the Division of Wildlife stock these waters with over 30 million fish which are bred, hatched, a raised in one of six hatcheries from around the state. Some of the most common breeds that are stocked each year are the hybrid Striped Bass and Channel Catfish. Others include walleye, saugeye, perch, muskellunge, and even some steelhead and brown trout.
There are actually many different reasonings for stocking fish around the state. Many people would assume just to keep the population up since many of the fish are taken or die off each year. The process though is a little more complex than just dumping fish into the waters. During the fall and winter months, strategic plans are developed to place the correct amounts of each species in many different locations. Wildlife workers scour the state finding streams to 'restart' certain areas that have become less desirable fishing areas. Overpopulation and under-population can be combatted as well just by stocking certain species in this delicate and massive ecosystem.
Before all this fun can begin and you get your line wet for the first time this year there are some things that must be in order beforehand such as a fishing license and proper safety precautions.
Fishing licenses can be purchased at many retailers around the state, or even online at ohiodnr.com. This is very important to take care of before you head out to avoid potential fines and also to give back to state to help fund the hatcheries along with the process of stocking. Without the funding from the licenses, there would be no stocking nor any fish to stock. Adult license can be purchased for under twenty dollars for Ohio residents that have resided here for the past six months.
Once you have completed these proper steps, its time to start thinking about gearing up to leave. There are a few things that should be paid close attention to since you may be visiting a remote location and close to a larger body of water which sometimes may present dangerous situations. It's best to know the area that you plan to visit, and always have a companion in case something unexpected were to happen.
Lastly, it's important to care for all your catches. If you're not keeping them, the Ohio Division of Wildlife stresses the importance of proper catch and release techniques to ensure the populations so they can survive without just restocking each year making it possible for this to be done in 'restart' areas.
Fishing is a sport that can be a lifelong opportunity for those who enjoy it. If you have the chance, pass along these concepts to the younger generations.