No rainbow trout being released by ODNR in Jackson, Vinton countiesFree Access

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has announced that anglers will have numerous fishing opportunities for rainbow trout as the fish is stocked in 90 public lakes and ponds this spring. Sadly, neither Jackson nor Vinton counties will receive any trout due to recent changes.

According to Ted Witham, the State Wildlife Officer assigned to Jackson County, the decision to cease trout stocking locally came after the Division of Wildlife started taking a more in-depth look at where the fish were being placed.

“These trout are raised for ‘put-and-take’ fishing, meaning we’re not trying to jumpstart a population of trout,” Witham stated via phone. “We put them in, and we want people to catch them.”

The Division of Wildlife’s fishery biologists have thus decided that changes were necessary – the most notable being primarily limiting trout stocking to lakes or ponds 25 acres or less in size, and with 75 percent or more shoreline accessibility.

Further adjustments to the program include redistributing stockings among more populous counties to “reach a more diverse group of anglers.” In other words, counties where more fishing licenses are sold are given higher priority. The new system considers all 88 Ohio counties as being priority 1-5, with 1 being the highest priority for trout stockings, and 5 being little to no priority. The only three counties considered priority-1 are Hamilton, Franklin, and Cuyahoga, while 42 counties are considered priority-5, including Jackson and Vinton counties.

No lake or pond in Jackson or Vinton counties made the list for 2023 rainbow trout stocking. In the past, Hammertown Lake (Jackson City Reservoir) in Jackson County and Lake Alma in Vinton County had been stocked.

The Telegram has reviewed the list and included neighboring and nearby counties below:

  • Rio Grande Reservoir in Gallia County will be stocked on March 17. (This location is new)
  • Caldwell Lake in Ross County will be stocked on March 17.
  • Penrod Lake in Athens County will be stocked on March 31. (This location is new)
  • Pike Lake in Pike County will be stocked on April 3.
  • Rose Lake in Hocking County will be stocked on April 7.
  • Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake in Scioto County will be stocked on April 22.

ODNR reports that around 84,000 rainbow trout are expected to be released during the months of March, April, and May across Ohio public lakes and ponds. The trout are raised at Ohio’s state fish hatcheries and measure between 10-13 inches when they are released.

By stocking these water areas throughout the state, anglers of all ages have the opportunity to get out and enjoy quality spring rainbow trout fishing in a family-friendly environment. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout per angler with no minimum size limit.

As a reminder, anglers aged 16 and older are required to have an Ohio fishing license to fish in-state public waters. The 2023-24 fishing license is available now, and an annual license is valid for one year after purchase. An annual resident fishing license costs $25. A one-day fishing license costs $14 and may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.

Licenses and permits can be purchased online at, and at participating license sales agents.

(Writer’s Note: Telegram Associate Editor Phillip Buffington contributed to this report.)

3 responses to “No rainbow trout being released by ODNR in Jackson, Vinton counties”

  1. James says:

    Noble County feels your pain.

  2. Thomas says:

    Don’t you think there’s a little favoritism in the stocking program 13 stockings for Franklin co.

  3. Mike says:

    More opportunities
    Yeah, for the same select ones
    Living in a rural county you always a low priority and just outright dismissed
    BTW, Rio reservoir is nothing more than a small pond
    Table scraps

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