Introducing a new fish to pond illegal, harmful

Al Smith - Guest Columnist

Through nearly 40 years writing about the outdoors, I’ve encountered numerous amateur fish biologists or been a victim of their work.

It seems some anglers would like more variety of species in the bodies of water they fish than the kinds that were originally stocked. Over the years, people sometimes have “stocked” a species they prefer by tossing them into their favorite fishing places.

Two major things are wrong about this.

First, it is against the law. Second, introduction of some species can harm the fishery.

For example, flathead catfish fishing has been popular in my area for several years. At its height, some anglers kept flatheads and dumped them into their ponds. After a couple of years, some of these pond owners wondered why they didn’t have many bass or bluegills left. They forgot flatheads are big fish that do not eat minnows and tiny fish. They eat whatever they can and quickly can ruin a small fishery.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s(DOW) Mike Wilkerson, fish management supervisor in Wildlife District Two, explained: “As for the time it takes a flathead to eat its way through a lake depends on a lot of variables. First, the size of the reservoir and the fish composition in the reservoir. However, generally one or two flatheads in most reservoirs would not be a problem, but in a pond situation they could cause havoc with fish populations in a year or two.”

The fisheries biologist added that DOW personnel have seen numerous examples of anglers adding fish to lakes.

“We have seen smallmouth in reservoirs that shouldn’t have them, and we have seen saugeye in walleye lakes. Usually, the addition of just one or even a handful of fish doesn’t turn into a problem, but it can,” Wilkerson said.

On the detrimental side, he cited Oxbow Lake, a 40-acre lake in Defiance County, and especially also Veterans Memorial Reservoir in Fostoria.

“A number of years ago an angler deliberately added white perch or they entered via a bait bucket,” Wilkerson said of the Fostoria reservoir. “Unfortunately the white perch were able to reproduce and are now a permanent part of the fish community. In this case, the angler introduction has caused problems with our fish management.”

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A one-time drawing for controlled archery deer hunts on the Mercer Wildlife Area near Celina will be held Saturday (Sept. 17) at 10 a.m. at the wildlife area headquarters, located at 6115 Ohio 703. Drawing participants must be at least 18 years old and must register prior to10 a.m. and show a valid 2016 hunting license and deer permit. Participants should arrive at the area by 9:45 a.m. to allow enough time to register.

The hunting session dates are Oct. 1-23 and Jan. 7-29, 2017

Drawing winners will receive their permits by mail. The chosen hunter may designate a partner for the hunt. The permit is transferable. Antlerless permits are valid for the controlled hunts.

Archery hunters may harvest a total of 2 deer during each controlled archery hunt session. A total of only one antlered deer can be taken during the controlled hunt session.

For more information contact Wildlife Management at 937- 372-9261 or Mercer area manager, Sean Finke at 419-236-8838.

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The Ohio state parks photo contest is open through Nov. 1.

Gift cards, free camping nights and more are offered as prizes for winners in six different categories. They include: camping and cabins; hiking and trails; outdoor activities and fishing; places of interest/scenic views; wildlife, animals and pets; and boating in parks.

To enter, people should go to, choose the appropriate category and location and upload their photos.

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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