BOTKINS — One of the best kept secrets for family fishing fun in Shelby County is Busch Family Fish Farm and Pay Lakes located at 15030 Lock Two Road near Botkins.
“We have seven small ponds stocked with channel catfish, hybrid bluegill, and largemouth bass,” said owner Robert Busch. “We provide an attractive and safe environment for both children and adults. Fishing is by appointment only (937-693-3640). You do not need a fishing license to fish at our facility.”
His report continues:
We are a catch-and-release facility, but patrons can buy any fish they want to keep. We require barbless hooks to protect both the fish and fishermen. We provide barbless hooks, or our patrons can modify their own hooks. We provide personal attention to those needing assistance while fishing. We sell bait and rent fishing equipment.
We raise our own fish. We do not buy river catfish for stocking. With good care and feeding our fish are healthy and continue to grow larger each year. Our customers often comment on how hard the fish fight and how easy hook removal can be. Our largest catfish are in the 12 to 15 pound range now. Many of our hybrid bluegill are 0.50 pound or larger, and bass in the 1to 5 pound range are routinely caught.
We had a 20 percent increase in ticket sales in 2016. This increase is attributed to repeat customers, excellent word of mouth advertising, and more group events. We are optimistic that 2017 will be another good year as our customer base grows.
Nearly every customer carries a smart phone, and pictures of their latest catch are on their way to family and friends in a matter of minutes after catching a nice fish. More and more people are also planning events here.
We hosted the Botkins Fishing Derby for several years. This fishing derby had been an annual event for local children for about 40 years. The local civic group would purchase catfish each year and place them in a local pond before the scheduled event. As many as 100 kids would fish with cane poles for two hours and trophies were presented to winners in selected age groups.
As the pond aged, fewer and fewer fish were caught each year. In some years only 10 or 12 fish might be caught in the event. In the early 2000’s fish were purchased and placed in the pond but all the fish died before the scheduled event and it had to be canceled.
When we built our facility, the civic group contracted with us to host the event. We provided essentially a “turn key” set up for them and in two hours kids typically caught fish in the hundreds during the two-hour event.
We have hosted family reunions, FFA groups, retirement parties, birthday parties and church groups. We can accommodate small business picnics with fishing. We have indoor seating for 24. We have an outdoor picnic shelter that easily accommodates 60 people. While we can not guarantee fishing success on a given day we do all we can to maximize your chances of catching fish in an attractive and quiet setting and forming memories for a lifetime.
For more details please see our website, buschfamilyfishfarm.com or check us out on facebook.