The opportunities for aspiring outdoor writers continue to flourish here in Ohio, and no one is happier than Yours Truly to witness them. When the winner of the essay contest outlined below is named, I will share it here and invite the writer to be a guest on my radio show “Buckeye Sportsman with Dan Armitage” to discuss the topic and the author’s plans for a future in writing. I hope such encouragement allows a few more young writers to chase a vocation that is one of the most rewarding in the business. Good Luck!
WINNING WORK WILL BE PUBLISHED
Ten young Ohio outdoor writers will get to participate in the fun and hunt turkeys with a guide/sports celebrity in Muskingum County May 1 and 2, 2009 – including food and accommodations at Dillon State Park. One lucky winner will hunt with the governor. A parent or guardian must accompany the youth for the overnight trip but will not be part of the hunt.
To enter the contest, Ohio youths should write an essay on the following topic: What makes a good hunter?
The essay should be typed and be no more than 100 words. Please read the contest guidelines below carefully. All entries must be mailed to the Division of Wildlife. Email entries will not be accepted.
Youth Turkey Hunt Essay Contest Guidelines
* Essay must be 100 words or less
* Youth must have successfully completed an Ohio Hunter Education course prior to submitting their essay
* Youth must be 14-17 years old when they submit the essay and be Ohio residents to be eligible to enter
* Entry must be typed and have a title page with name of youth, name of accompanying parent or guardian, address and telephone number, year and county where hunter education course was completed, age and date of birth, year in school and school attended, and email address for notification if applicable
* A 2009 hunting license and turkey permit will be required
* Mail one paper copy of the entry to:
Governor's Celebrity & Youth Turkey Hunt Essay Competition
Ohio Division of Wildlife
2045 Morse Rd. Building G
Columbus, OH 43229-6693
* Entries must be postmarked by March 20, 2009
* Winning entrants will be notified by April 7, 2009
* Three alternate winners will be selected in case of cancellations
Judges will be selected by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, and judge’s decisions will be final. All essays become the property of the Ohio Division of Wildlife and may be published in Wild Ohio or other publications, including Ohio’s Country Journal.
For more information, visit: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/hunting__trapping/govturkeyhuntessaycontest/tabid/21504/Default.aspx
Meanwhile, anglers interested in learning to fly fish and use the tactic on a half-mile section of Cold Creek at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County are encouraged to enter a lottery this month for beginning fly-fishing clinics. One hundred and thirty-five slots are available for the popular program, which includes morning and afternoon sessions each Friday from April 24 to June 5, with the exception of May 22 & 29. Deadline for submitting a lottery entry is March 27.
In addition to fly-fishing instruction by Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) staff and members of Trout Unlimited, attendees will be able to test their newly acquired skills by fishing for the abundant rainbow trout found in Cold Creek. Anglers may also encounter an occasional brown trout. Instructors will offer sessions from 8 a.m. until noon, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 24, May 1, May 8, May 15 and June 5.
To apply, submit a postcard listing your name, address, and phone number. The applicant may bring one guest, but the guest’s name must be listed on the postcard at the time of submission. Only one postcard per applicant and guest is allowed and no duplicates may be submitted. Postcards should be sent to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840 Attention: Linda Ringer.
Successful applicants will receive an assigned session date and time. Permits are non-transferable. All anglers age 16 and older are required to have a valid Ohio fishing license.
For more information, call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit ohiodnr.com on the web. The Castalia State Fish Hatchery is located in Erie County off State Route 269, near Castalia.
The region’s best near shore opportunities for catching a limit of Lake Erie walleye starts soon and typically peaks in early April during the Maumee and Sandusky rivers' walleye spawning runs. Each spring, as water temperatures warm and days grow longer, a segment of Lake Erie's walleye population makes its way up the two northwestern Ohio streams to spawn. And although they represent a small portion of all Lake Erie walleyes, the run brings hundreds of thousands of the tasty fish within casting distance of eager anglers. Each spring some 40,000 walleyes were caught in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers.
Walleye spawning normally occurs in these rivers anytime from late-March through mid-April, but frequently the peak activity occurs the first week of April when the water temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees. High, fast-moving water also increases the number of walleye in the rivers, especially if river temperatures are warmer than lake temperatures.
Most of the river walleyes taken this spring will measure 18-22 inches, though some fish in both rivers will be much larger. The best fishing areas in the Maumee River will be from Conant Street Bridge in the City of Maumee upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. Sandusky River anglers will find greater success from Brady's
Island to Roger Young Park in the City of Fremont.
Though most anglers wade these rivers while fishing for walleyes, some choose to fish from boats. Anglers should always wear a life jacket, take precautions against overloading their boat and capsizing, be well dressed to avoid the onset of hypothermia, and be prepared to handle an emergency should one occur. Legal fishing hours through May 1 are sunrise to sunset and the daily walleye bag limit is four. Only fish that are hooked inside the mouth may legally be taken and any snagged fish must be immediately released. Additional fishing information and boating safety tips are available on the ODNR web page at ohiodnr.com or by calling 1-888-HOOKFISH.Good Luck! -- Dan Armitage