NEW LEXINGTON – The wait for the annual trout stocking at New Lexington Reservoir 1A is almost over. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife (DOW), more than 81,000 rainbow trout will be stocked in 67 public lakes and ponds across Ohio. The New Lexington Reservoir will receive its trout during the week of April 2.

Until the pandemic hit in 2020, the exact date for each lake to receive trout was posted by the DOW.

Posting the exact date would always result in anxious anglers crowding the shorelines wherever rainbow trout were to be stocked. As it did last year, the Division of Wildlife has decided to post the week for each lake to receive the rainbows, but not the exact day. However, the DOW says the stockings will be available by the Friday of the week for the planned stocking.

The closest lakes to Perry County receiving rainbow trout are Dow Lake in Athens County, and Blue Rock Lake in Muskingum County. Both lakes will be stocked the week of April 2. Morgan County has a pair of lakes in the Jesse Owens State Park that will receive trout for the first time. Hook Lake has an upper and lower pond that will be stocked sometime in May. The DOW has yet to determine the date for the Morgan County lakes.

The 10- to 13-inch rainbow trout to be stocked this spring are raised in Ohio’s state hatcheries. The daily limit for trout is five with no minimum size limit. Anglers 16 and older must have a valid Ohio fishing license. An annual resident license is $25, with a one-day license costing $14. Licenses can be purchased online at www.wildohio.gov, through the HuntFish OH app, or at participating license sales agents. An annual license is valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Whitlatches Bait & Carry Out sells fishing licenses as well as a full line of lures and prepared baits specifically for trout. Small Rooster tail spinners and Berkley trout bait in various colors are usually the top choices for the rainbows. Spinning tackle spooled with light line from 4- to 8-pound test is a good choice.

Fishing tactics vary from casting and retrieving small spinners to tightlining bait on the lake bottom to using a slip bobber to fish stationary bait suspended off the bottom. All three techniques can be effective depending on how hungry the trout are after the bumpy ride from the hatchery.

While trout stocked in most Ohio lakes do not survive the summer when water temps become too warm for the cold-water trout, a few anglers have reported catching trout from the New Lexington reservoir throughout the summer.

Without an exact date for the trout stocking at the reservoir, savvy anglers will have their tackle and bait ready to go as soon as the Division of Wildlife hatchery is spotted crossing the Perry County line.

Don’t forget your fishing license, because the one guy in Perry County who knows the exact day trout are to be stocked in the New Lex “Rezzy” is our county’s state wildlife officer.

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