YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It has been just under 10 months since Mill Creek Park lost hundreds of fish when storm sewers overflowed, contaminating the park’s lakes and waterways. Thursday, those lakes were being restocked.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife donated approximately 2,500 rainbow trout to Mill Creek MetroParks.
This fish were delivered and released Thursday.
Anglers immediately dropped their lines in the water and began catching the fish.
The Mahoning District Board of Health confirms that the fish at Mill Creek are safe to eat, however, the Ohio Department of Health advises everyone limit consumption of sport fish caught from all waterbodies in Ohio to one meal per week, unless there is a more or less restrictive advisory. All fish should be completely cooked.
Wildlife Officer Tom Frank says the state is hoping that the waters won’t get polluted again this year.
“I can’t speak for what the summer is going to be like. Many of the waters have wastewater treatment plants that are linked to them, so I can’t speak to that. But obviously, today the focus is on kids and folks who are out there enjoying the park,” Frank said.
Scott Fleisher brought his grandson to see the fish release Thursday.
“First year I brought my grandson, though,” Fleisher said. “So hopefully it will be a tradition for us.”
He says he doesn’t think the polluted lakes will hurt the fish.
“I’m not really worried about it because I ‘m going to catch them before they get sick. They’re only going to be in the water a few minutes,” Fleisher said.
Ryan Tekac, with the Mahoning County Board of Health, said people need to completely clean their catch and cook the fish thoroughly to kill bacteria.
“Make sure you wash your hands. Wash the utensils that you’re dealing with, and make sure you separate those,” Tekac said.
Rules for catching fish at Mill Creek Metroparks’ lakes are as follows:
- State of Ohio fishing licenses are required
- Foul-hooks are not permitted
- Five fish per person per day limit
- No fishing is permitted in the area directly adjacent to the Lake Glacier Boathouse
ODNR Division of Wildlife officials and Mill Creek MetroParks Police are authorized to check for current fishing licenses and to inspect all fish caught.