XENIA, Ohio – Young anglers in southwest Ohio can enjoy free fishing all summer courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife office in Xenia. Former hatchery ponds have been converted into a youth fishing area to help budding anglers create memories and get hooked on fishing.
Youth 15 and younger can fish for free in the ponds. Equipment is available for use and Division of Wildlife staff are on-site to teach fishing skills to participants. The youth fishing area is open every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this summer through Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3, 2022.
The Division of Wildlife youth fishing area is located at 1076 Old Springfield Pike in Xenia. Parking, restrooms, and seating are available for guests. Young anglers must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Adults are not permitted to fish in the youth area but may assist young anglers. Parents and guardians do not need a fishing license to assist youth.
Fishing is by reservation only; walk-ins will not be admitted. Anglers and accompanying parents or guardians can reserve one of three 2-hour sessions each day: 8-10 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon, or 3-5 p.m. There is a limit of 10 reservations per session. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) to reach the Division of Wildlife’s District Five Headquarters.
Anglers may keep only one fish per day at the youth fishing ponds, although catching and releasing fish for the duration of the visit is welcome. Equipment, bait, and Division of Wildlife staff assistance are provided at no charge thanks to the purchase of Ohio fishing licenses and federal contributions from the Sport Fish Restoration Fund. Visitors may bring their own tackle but should note that barbless hooks are required to support catch-and-release opportunities.
Species that can be caught include bluegill, bass, and trout. The fishing area ponds are spring-fed and stay cool throughout the summer, supporting catchable rainbow trout 10-13 inches in length that are stocked annually. Rainbow trout are exciting to catch and give first-time anglers an excellent opportunity for success. Read more about where to fish, how to target certain species, the popular Fish Ohio program, and more by visiting wildohio.gov.
Organizations interested in visiting with a group may schedule visits during the open fishing hours by calling the Division of Wildlife’s southwest Ohio office in Xenia at 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.