Anglers have the chance to see fish hatchery operations firsthand when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) hosts an open house on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at St. Marys State Fish Hatchery. The event is free and open to the public.
“We are excited for people to see how a state fish hatchery operates,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “We want to inform people about what we are doing to keep Ohio’s fish populations healthy and thriving.”
A number of activities will be held to entertain kids, including a free youth fishing event hosted by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and held in conjunction with Ohio State Parks and the Auglaize County Pheasants Forever chapter. All bait will be provided. Fishing poles are available, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own fishing poles. Anglers between the ages of 16 and 17 must have a valid Ohio fishing license. Anglers under age 16 are not required to purchase a fishing license in Ohio.
In addition to the youth fishing event, other youth activities will include:
- Opportunities to view the electrofishing boat;
- Archery activities for youth in attendance; and
- An interactive wildlife learning area featuring Ohio’s bald eagles.
Walleye, saugeye, largemouth bass, yellow perch and channel catfish are raised at St. Marys State Fish Hatchery by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, and these fish are stocked in more than 78 reservoirs and lakes throughout Ohio. The hatchery also provides 8,000 pounds of fathead minnows, which are used as forage food for muskellunge raised at the London and Kincaid state fish hatcheries.
The St. Marys Fish Hatchery collected more than 50 million walleye and saugeye eggs from the Maumee River in 2012 and produced 8.3 million walleye fry and 8.4 million saugeye fry. Production efforts also resulted in 3.2 million saugeye fingerlings, 1.2 million walleye fingerlings, 371,381 yellow perch fingerlings, 89,000 channel catfish yearlings and more than 4,000 catchable channel catfish.
St. Marys State Fish Hatchery is located at 01735 Feeder Road, St. Marys, Ohio 45885. To learn more about the open house, call 937-372-9261. Find more information about all six of Ohio’s state fish hatcheries at wildohio.com.
The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund the operation of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s fish hatcheries. No state tax dollars are used for this activity. This is a user-pay, user-benefit program.
The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education and acquire and develop boat accesses.
Image courtesy Ohio DNR