BOTKINS — Busch Family Fish Farm and Pay Lakes is located at 15030 Lock Two Road near Botkins. In 2017 fishing ticket sales increased 250 percent over previous years of operation. In 2018 we were down 20 percent in ticket sales from 2017 mostly because of poorer fishing weather in April and May. Nonetheless, it was another good year.
“Our facility has seven ponds (0.25-1.25 acres) stocked primarily with channel catfish, hybrid bluegill, and largemouth bass. Our largest pond also has some crappie in it. We maintain a clean, attractive, quiet, and safe fishing facility enjoyed by men, women, seniors and children. Our customers appreciate our spacious and clean pond facilities and are conscientious about keeping it that way,” said Rob Busch, owner.
His report continues:
We raise our own fish that have been naturally produced from fish in our ponds or fingerling fish purchased from commercial fish farms and raised to a harvestable size on our farm. With good pond management, supplemental feeding, and the use of barbless hooks by fishermen, we strive to maintain healthy fish and minimize fish mortality. Consequently, our fish survive in good numbers and continue to grow for years. Our customers often comment on how hard the fish fight for their size. Our largest catfish will run 15-18 pounds, but most are in the 2-14 pound range. Hybrid bluegill 1/2 pound or larger and large mouth bass in the 1-5 pound range are routinely caught here.
Our facility is different from many pay lakes in several ways. We do not buy and stock the very large commercially harvested channel, blue, and flathead catfish obtained from public rivers and lakes. We operate as a catch-and-release fishing facility, but we do sell live catfish to our fishing customers who want to keep them. We provide personal attention to those needing assistance while fishing if needed. Our facility is never uncomfortably crowded. We sell bait and a few concessions. Customers are allowed to bring their own bait (no live fish however), food and drinks. You do not need a fishing license to fish here. Fishing is by appointment only (937-693-3640). We do not allow alcoholic beverages or night fishing.
We are optimistic about 2019. We maintain a website (www.buschfamilyfishfarm.com) and a Facebook page (facebook.com/buschfamilypaylakes). Both have been instrumental in increasing our exposure and favorable reputation to prospective new customers. We think we have reached a critical number of satisfied customers who will continue to fish here and bring new customers with them. We have benefitted from outstanding word of mouth advertising. Our customer base has expanded from about a 25 mile radius of Botkins to a 100 mile radius.
What is on the horizon? We may host a tournament or two (preserving our facility rules and objectives) for a limited number of fishermen. We may offer fishing clinics for novice fishermen. We will strengthen our capacity to attract and accommodate more group events. We presently have indoor seating for 24 and a picnic shelter that seats 60 people. We have hosted family reunions, school groups, church groups, retirement parties, birthday parties, and community-sponsored fishing derbies for kids. Let us help you incorporate a fun-filled fishing experience into your plans for 2019. For more information, call 937-693-3640 or eEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org.