DOW to conduct Waterfowl ID workshop

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

A couple of divergent learning opportunities are available for outdoor enthusiasts the next three weeks. One includes a free waterfowl identification workshop at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area in northern Ohio while the other is a beginning fly-fishing and fly-tying workshop in southwest Ohio.

Waterfowl hunters, bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts can learn waterfowl identification at the workshop scheduled at Pickerel Creek near Vickery from 8 a.m.-noon March 17.

This is an excellent opportunity to see the plethora of spring migrating ducks near Lake Erie. These fast fliers have always been difficult for me to identify. When viewing wildlife, it’s always nice to know exactly what species you are seeing. And for hunters, it is essential.

The basics of waterfowl identification and waterfowl life history are among topics that will be covered by Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) personnel.

Because the workshop will be held indoors and outdoors, rain or shine, participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and dress in layers, as weather conditions along Lake Erie can change quickly. Waterproof boots and binoculars also are recommended.

Since space is limited, preregistration is required by Thursday (March 15). Interested individuals can register by calling Kelly Schott at 419-898-0960 ext 21.

Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, located at 3451 County Road 256, Vickery.

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Since fly-fishing is my favorite form of fishing, I would recommend the workshop on this method and fly-tying slated for March 28-29 at the Wildlife District Five Headquarters at 1076 Old Springfield Pike in Xenia. Hours for the two sessions are 5:30-8 p.m.

While many people think fly-fishing is difficult, I can tell you it is not. One needs patience, a positive attitude and practice. Remember as a kid graduating from training wheels on a bicycle to going solo could appear difficult. Almost all of us overcame that aspect.

The fly-tying part is quite interesting and there is a certain excitement once you catch a fish on an artificial fly you made. Adding to the fun is the aspect that you can catch almost any kind of species on a fly.

DOW staff will provide the instruction at the workshop. All fishing equipment and tying supplies will be provided. Be prepared to go outside regardless of weather conditions. Participants should bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, water, etc. Attendees will be able to test their new tackle and fishing skills by spending a few hours fly-fishing on site.

Space is limited to the first 15 registrants and those registering must attend both sessions. Deadline for registration is March 26. Applicants must be 12 years of age or older. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. All anglers age 16 and older are required to have a valid 2018-2019 Ohio fishing license. Persons may pre-register by calling Brittany at the Wildlife District Five office at (937) 372-9261 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The workshop is for registered participants only - no guests or walk-ins.

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A half-mile section of the Cold Creek, located at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, again will be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates between April 14-Nov. 30.

Anglers interested in fishing the trout stream must submit an application and a non-refundable $3 application fee between March 1-31 to be eligible for the random drawing. Applications may be completed online at or by calling 800-945-3543 to obtain a paper form, which must be returned via mail. Only one application is allowed per person.

Anglers will be drawn in a special lottery to fish this unique stream. The lottery is conducted by the DOW. Approximately 100 adult and 90 youth permits will be issued. Only one application is allowed per person.

There will be one season for adults (May 7–Nov. 30), and one for youths (June 11–Aug. 10). Two bonus early-bird Fridays have been added on April 14 and April 21, with morning and afternoon slots to be filled. Morning and afternoon slots are also being filled on Fridays in May and June and during all youth event dates. Applicants of the youth lottery must be between the ages of 4 and 15 when they apply. Individuals selected to participate will be allowed to bring two adults and three youths under the age of 16 (no more than six people total). Participation is determined by a computer-generated random drawing, which will be held in early April.

The results of the adult drawing will be posted on the division’s website at Successful youth applicants will be notified by mail. This year, all permits will be mailed. Applicants not chosen will not be notified.

More information about the lottery can be found at or by calling 800-945-3543.

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

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

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

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