Article Posted: May 24, 2003

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Families visiting South Bass Island on Lake Erie
this summer are encouraged to enjoy a tour and some fishing at the Aquatic Visitors Center. The former historic state fish hatchery is an aquatic
education attraction operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
(ODNR) Division of Wildlife to provide fun, educational displays about
Ohio's fishing resources. Outside the center, visitors can fish from a
large dock where rods and reels are available for loan and bait is provided.

Visitors should note that the hours of operation have changed this
year. The center is open May 27 through Labor Day weekend from 10 a.m. to 5
p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission is
free of charge, but anglers 16 and older must have a valid Ohio fishing
The Aquatic Visitors Center houses live fish displays and hands-on
informational exhibits highlighting Ohio fish species, fisheries management
projects, the historic hatchery, and the wealth of angling opportunities
available on Lake Erie and inland waterways. Children's activities include
a fishing game, coloring activities, and puzzles.
The entire family can enjoy fishing from the center's large dock
overlooking Put-In-Bay harbor. Fish most often caught include yellow perch,
sunfish, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. Benches and a
small picnic area are provided, and courtesy docking is available for
boaters visiting the center.
The Put-In-Bay State Fish Hatchery was one of the oldest hatcheries
in the United States until operations ceased in 1991. It was established in
the late 1800s in Sandusky and moved to Put-In-Bay in 1907. The original
building, a wood frame structure, was destroyed by fire in May 1914 and the
present two-story brick building was built in its place the same year.
In its earliest history, the hatchery produced walleye, sauger,
whitefish, herring, and yellow perch. Fish raised in later years included
coho salmon, chinook salmon, and rainbow trout. The historic facility
continues to play an important role in Ohio fisheries today by educating
visitors about Ohio's aquatic resources.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife's Aquatic Visitors Center is located
at 1 Peach Point Road, approximately one mile west of downtown Put-In-Bay at
the west end of the harbor. For more information, contact the Aquatic
Visitors Center 419-285-3701.

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