ODNR Spring trout stocking and fishing lottery

CWF03232014ODNRtroutThe author showing a typical ‘stocker’ trout catch

A sure sign of spring is the release of the ODNR trout stocking schedule.  Whether you agree in philosophy or not of this type of ‘put & take’ fishing, it is a lot fun and I always see plenty of kids attending the venues where this is done.  It allows for some guilt free catch & keep, one of the few times of year where I smoke a good number of fish.  The fishing can even be a challenge at times, proving for a little more sport than what one might expect.

So here it is, the 2014 Spring Rainbow Trout stocking schedule;
http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/trout-stocking-dates

Another announcement is the Castalia trout fishing lottery.  The application process is only open until the end of March each year, so don’t delay.  I have never been fortunate enough to win, but always am excited to apply for my annual denial.

Lottery information can be found here;
http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/fishing-events

Plenty of ice in 2014, very little fish

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI think this was my only catch so far, but it may have been my bait

For once, we have had an amazing amount of cold winter temperatures to actually have an ice fishing season.  While this is great for creating all kinds of safe (relative term) ice, it has done nothing to make me a more proficient ice fisherman.  On several trips out, the above miniature Largemouth Bass at Willard Reservoir is all I have to show for my effort.  It is rather embarrassing to admit how bad I am at ice fishing, but I am reminded of the feedback saying people enjoy my honesty and that my blog doesn’t read like a lecture and I’m an expert on everything.  This certainly holds true with my lack of skill on the ice where it is an over statement to call myself a novice!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere actually was a farm pond under the snow 

Along with Willard Reservoir, I made it out to a farm pond with my friends Darrin and Leo.  We proceeded to get a good work out drilling holes and pushing a vehicle stuck in the snow, but there was no fishing action.  Fortunately, good conversation and an adventurous spirit still have value.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWallace Lake in Berea, Ohio

I attempted to improve my odds by fishing at the recently stocked Wallace Lake, which provided no change in fortune.  At least with this I can honestly say there were 25 fisherman within eyesight, and I saw one (1) single fish caught.  Many are theorizing as to why the fish aren’t biting, maybe they still haven’t acclimated to the new environment or maybe problems with the dissolved O2 levels.  My theory is that my ice fishing reputation proceeded me – so sadly my arrival doomed and jinxed everyone else.  If word gets out, I expect to see “No Adam Zone” signs posted.

On the positive side of things, those anglers who head out in Lake Erie are doing incredible on Walleye.  I have too many different sources saying the same thing for it not to be true, best ice fishing season in a decade or more.  I wanted to master ice fishing on the small water before heading out on the big pond, but I am thinking I need to reach out to one of the experts and tag along.  Knowing how good the action is, and that this is likely the safest ice you will ever have, I should get out there.  Once again, clearly with the help of some of the local ‘pros’.  I will post soon, if I can make that happen.

A trip to Bass Pro Shops in Rossford, Ohio

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAfter posting about Cabelas, it only made sense to write a little about Bass Pro Shops in Rossford, Ohio.  This store opened in 2008, after I had moved away from Toledo, so I haven’t been to it as much as I have Cabelas, despite it being closer.  I had always had the impression that it was the ‘stepchild’ to Cabelas, the lessor of the giants if you will.  A recent trip changed this opinion and now I view it as equal, if not superior, in some aspects.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA portion of the entrance wall decor

The lobby of Bass Pro is nothing short of amazing.  It has a few lounge chairs and couches that are surrounded by numerous displays with vintage fishing tackle, as well as, photos and mounts.  You feel like you have stepped back in time and somehow stumbled upon something no one has seen in years.  This is quite a feat considering you are in the entrance of a giant retailor.  While I was looking at the antique photos connecting to my ‘brotherhood of anglers’ of years past, the only thing that snapped me out of it was the friendly employee greeting me and asking if I needed help finding anything.  I hope this wasn’t a disguised effort to keep me from loitering in the lobby any longer, and if it was, they did a great job convincing me they just wanted to help.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA nice sized aquarium with good fish diversity

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA Longnose Gar was one of the many species I didn’t expect to see

While not nearly as large or a singular attraction to make the trip like at Cabelas, the aquarium at Bass Pro did have some features that were notable.  I like how it is set into a scene, looking like it was a pool that naturally formed at the base of a rocky ledge.  What I liked the best though, was the diversity of the fish species that were represented.  One might think Bass Pro, would be focused largely on bass.  What I didn’t realize, is just how much they embrace all the species.  This was evident not only by the aquarium that had Longnose Gar, Freshwater Drum, Channel Catfish, Common Carp and buffalo, but also by, numerous photos around the store that highlighted different species.  I was told by a staff member that some of the mural photos on the walls were of the owner and his family… and it was notable that these sometimes included ‘rough fish’.  I was impressed.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA bright, clean and well organized Fishing Department

The store is well organized and the majority of the staff are eager to help you.  I have found a few of the people quick to talk about the local fishing scene or share a story or two.  I had a few not so easy to find items on my shopping list this visit, and it was easy to find everything I was looking for.  A few items, such as a package of 1/64th oz. hair jigs, were priced well below what I was expecting to pay.

I do want to caution about an area that is set designated for signing up for a raffle for a free fishing vacation.  It always is portrayed as a special event, but every visit it has been going on.  I had made the mistake of filling out the card on my first visit, and my cell phone received numerous calls trying to sell me a fishing vacation packages for well over a year.  This continued to happen for quite awhile after my request to be taken off the list and not to be called.  Read the fine print, if you fill out a card.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA quote that I liked on one of the murals

Overall, my opinion of Bass Pro was raised after this recent visit where I was looking to scrutinize or compare against Cabelas.  I love the décor and how the designers gave it a quaint fishing cabin feel, yet it is a massive store.  I dispelled some myths in my head that Bass Pro was uniquely focused on bass.  While there was everything you could possibly want for bass fishing, it was evident by the diverse mounts, pictures and murals, and the items the store chooses to stock… that they care about and can equip the most savvy of multi species anglers or people that focus on something other than bass.

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