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Fish Stocked At 239 Ohio Locations In 2023

Columbus, OH– The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife stocked 40.8 million fish of 11 species in Ohio waters in 2023. Fish were stocked during spring, summer, and fall at 239 locations statewide. These annual fish stockings play an important role in providing excellent fishing for Ohio’s 1.7 million anglers. 

The Division of Wildlife operates six state fish hatcheries that raise sport fish for stocking in Ohio waters, enhancing recreational opportunities for anglers. Ohio’s hatcheries raise saugeye, walleye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, steelhead trout, brown trout, muskellunge, hybrid-striped bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, and bluegill.

The majority of Ohio’s fish populations are sustained through natural reproduction; however, stocking expands and diversifies fishing opportunities in waters where existing habitats do not support some fish populations.

The 40.8 million fish stocked in Ohio last year were of five life stages: 29.6 million fry, 10.3 million fingerlings, 237,740 advanced fingerlings, 131,178 catchable fish, and 483,597 yearling fish. These life stages included the following sport fish: 

  • Fry (less than 1 inch long): saugeye (11.5 million), walleye (12.5 million), yellow perch (3 million), and hybrid-striped bass (2.6 million).
  • Fingerling (1 to 2 inches long): saugeye (5.5 million), walleye (1.6 million), yellow perch (2.3 million), bluegill (6,890), and hybrid-striped bass (954,260).
  • Advanced fingerling (6 to 12 inches long): blue catfish (130,153), channel catfish (88,264), and muskellunge (19,323).
  • Yearling fish (7 to 12 inches long): brown trout (18,699), and steelhead trout (464,898).
  • Catchable fish (6 inches or longer): channel catfish (12,748), bluegill (9,273), brown trout (421), and rainbow trout (108,736).

ODNR Division of Wildlife’s current and historical fish stocking records can be viewed via the DataOhio portal in the Fish Stocking Database. Use the dataset to explore stocking locations and plan your next outing. Anglers ages 16 and older are required to hold a valid Ohio fishing license on all public waters. Check the current fishing regulations booklet before your next trip.

Ohio’s state fish hatcheries are open to the public and offer activities such as birding, hiking, and archery. Each fish hatchery will host an open house this spring. Dates for the open houses are March 23 (St. Marys), April 6 (Hebron and Senecaville), April 13 (Castalia and Kincaid), and May 4 (London).

In 2022, anglers generated $5.5 billion in economic spending in Ohio, according to a recent report released by the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates. The research found that 18% of Ohio’s adults, about 1.7 million individuals, participate in fishing.

Since 1950, the Sport Fish Restoration program has dedicated permanent funding to fishery conservation through federal excise taxes on sport fishing equipment, import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats, and the portion of the gasoline fuel tax attributable to small engines and motorboats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annually apportions these funds that the Division of Wildlife uses to produce and stock fish, acquire habitat, conduct research and assessment surveys, provide aquatic education, and secure fishing access.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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