FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2011
Division of Wildlife Fish Management Team Improves Fisheries Resources & Habitats in 2011
Anglers, Fisheries Benefit From Numerous Northeast Ohio Projects
AKRON, OH - The ODNR Division of Wildlife manages the fisheries of more than 170 inland lakes, 40,000 miles of streams, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie, and Ohio’s portion of 481 miles of the Ohio River. In northeast Ohio, more than 40 lakes with 43,000 acres of water, two pools of the Ohio River, and numerous rivers and streams are monitored in part by Wildlife District Three fisheries management staff.
Over one million anglers spend more than 15 million days fishing on Ohio’s inland lakes. Through their work each year, fish management crews aim to conserve and improve fisheries resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. To fulfill this mission, fish management personnel in Northeast Ohio carried out the following projects in 2011.
Inland Lake Sampling
In 2011, a total of 35 fish population surveys were performed through the inland lake sampling program. Largemouth bass and bluegill were sampled in April and May, while walleye, saugeye, crappie, white bass, and catfish were sampled from September through November. Popular black bass fisheries in Northeast Ohio, such as the Portage Lakes and Mogadore Reservoir, are some of the top bass lakes in the state. The relatively new nine-inch, 30 fish daily bag limit for crappie should improve those populations in the lakes that were selected for these regulations; three of the better fisheries now are Berlin, Mosquito, and Tappan lakes. Two of our major walleye fisheries, Mosquito and Pymatuning lakes, are currently being studied to determine whether fingerling or fry stockings make the most consistent contribution to these populations, along with varying, but generally minor levels of natural reproduction that occur. This project aims to provide fisheries biologists with the information needed to alter stocking strategies, enact regulations, and better manage fish populations. This project also aims to provide anglers with the information needed to make successful fishing trips across northeast Ohio.
Every year the Division of Wildlife conducts angler surveys also known as "creel surveys" (“creel” refers to fishing) across the state. The surveys provide data on how many fish anglers are catching (including those fish kept and released). The surveys also provided information on how long it takes the average angler to catch a particular fish species, what percentage of people seek certain fish species, and the average length of certain fish species that are kept. We also ask specialized questions of anglers to get their opinions on anywhere from the lake that they’re fishing to a statewide perspective. In northeast Ohio five lakes and one pool of the Ohio River were surveyed in 2011. Lakes sampled were Mosquito, Pymatuning, Tappan, Turkeyfoot, and West Branch Reservoir. Also, the Pike Island pool of the Ohio River was surveyed.
Fish Attractor Placement
Anglers generally know which lakes are productive, what fishing method and lure work best to land a trophy catch, and when fish generally bite. Finding these fish on larger reservoirs can be a daunting task, however. The fish attractor placement project aims to introduce structures into lakes to produce areas where fish will concentrate so anglers can catch fish faster. In 2011, a total of 500 structures were introduced into five (5) different lakes within northeast Ohio. Collaborators on these projects include the Mahoning County Green Team, Portage Lakes Bassmasters, Erwine Middle School 6th Graders, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pymatuning Lake Association. A Google Earth KMZ file is available that allows anglers to view the locations of all structure placement efforts over the past few years. Please contact the District Three Fish Management Section for more details (330) 644-2293.
During September through November, fisheries staff completed electrofishing surveys to describe abundance and size of black bass, walleye and sauger populations within the Hannibal, Pike Island, and New Cumberland pools of the Ohio River. Anglers looking for smallmouth bass should direct their efforts in upstream tail-water areas of these pools. Good numbers of smallmouth bass are available with an opportunity to catch bass approaching 18-inches. Largemouth and spotted bass were collected in lower abundance and the larger fish were located in backwater or tributary habitats. Sauger and walleye surveys indicated that anglers can expect to catch an abundance of sauger; however, the majority of the sauger will be less than 15-inches. Anglers interested in larger fish should concentrate on walleye. In all tail-water areas, walleye approaching 25-inches were collected, although walleye were less abundant than sauger.
Brown Trout In Streams
We initiated a statewide three-year study in 2011 to evaluate the survival, growth, and movement of stocked brown trout in three inland Ohio streams. For many years, the Clear Fork of the Mohican River has been stocked with yearling brown trout (eight-inch average) to create a “put, grow, and take” type fishery. Trout may be legally harvested once they reach 12-inches. The Division of Wildlife is currently evaluating the efficiency and success of the program and seeking opportunities to improve this popular fishery. District Three fish management staff, along with other fisheries staff from across the state, sampled more than 4.5 river miles of the Clear Fork of the Mohican River during August. Higher summer abundances of brown trout were found upstream of Pleasant Hill Lake compared to the river section downstream of the lake. Trout were stocked in October throughout the Clear Fork of the Mohican River. Additional survey work will continue.
Youth Fishing Area
An alarming trend nationwide is that kids are not getting involved in outdoor activities and fishing is not an exception. The District Three Youth Fishing Area, which is located at the District Office headquarters of Portage Lakes in Akron, aims to reduce the barriers that keep kids from getting outside and introduce them to the great sport of fishing. From Memorial Day through Labor Day this past year, the youth fishing area attracted over 2,100 young anglers, who hoped to catch one of the “lunkers” that inhabit the ponds, which formerly were part of the old Akron Fish Hatchery. Also, close to 1,300 youths visited the area during weekdays with various organizations, schools, and clubs to be educated about Ohio’s fish and wildlife resources. The youth fishing area is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Hours are from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM and young anglers MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times. This youth fishing program is FREE! Rods and bait are available to borrow. Most fish are released, although one fish may be kept daily by each young angler. Groups interested in scheduling a program during the week should contact the District Three Fish Management Section for further details (330) 644-2293.
To further aid anglers in locating fish, the Division of Wildlife continues to create, update and expand upon our lake map inventory. These maps identify fish holding structure, such as points and drop-offs, as well as marking amenities like launch ramps. During 2011, maps of Aquilla, Jefferson, Punderson, Silver Creek, and Sippo lakes were released. These maps and other lake maps for District Three and statewide are available on-line at: http://www.wildohio.com.
For over 10 years, the Division of Wildlife and its partners used Wildlife Diversity tax check-off funds to reintroduce Ohio's native brook trout back into headwater streams in northeast Ohio to preserve one of Ohio's most beautiful fish. The reintroduction efforts have been completed and District Three fisheries personnel now monitor the success of these populations through natural reproduction. In seven of the fifteen stocked streams, self-sustaining brook trout populations have been established. Due to urbanization and associated habitat losses, the brook trout will never be abundant in Ohio. However, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts can still value the heritage of the fish and appreciate the cold, clean waters in which they reside.
For More Information, Contact:
District Three Fish Management Section
Division of Wildlife
Jamey Graham, Wildlife Communication Specialist
Division of Wildlife