BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
When the walleye, yellow perch, channel catfish and smallmouth bass are biting around Western Lake Erie, pickup trucks towing fishing boats from around Ohio and around the country can fill the Mazurik Access Area on the Marblehead Peninsula. It is rated one of the busiest Ohio Department of Natural Resources launch areas along the Ohio shoreline.
Weekend regulars know to arrive well before the crack of dawn or risk waiting in long lines to launch.
The ODNR has promised to make some of its Lake Erie launch ramps more user friendly, and has already begun construction on permanent restroom facilities at Mazurik, replacing portable facilities. What anglers will appreciate most, though, is the installation of a state of the art Barracuda Fishing Cleaning Station.
The Barracuda Station solves the thorny problem of what to do with fish parts — heads, guts, skin and bones — that are often left in dumpsters, garbage cans or tossed where they don’t belong. Motels and marinas are plagued by the stinky waste.
The Barracuda stations are outfitted with garbage disposal type grinders, and fish waste is gobbled up and flushed into sewer lines. The units can handle six anglers at a time.
The first Barracuda station was installed by the Cleveland Metroparks in 2020 at Cleveland Lakefront State Park in Cleveland Harbor. The ODNR will also create permanent restrooms and Barracuda Fish Cleaning Stations next year at the Avon Lake and Huron public launch areas.
“The Barracuda Fish Cleaning Station in Cleveland Harbor has been busy since the day we installed it,” said Michael Dukalec of the Cleveland Metroparks. “The unit itself costs about $40,000, and the needed infrastructure is expensive. With industrial strength grinders that are designed to last forever, it was well worth the investment.”
The ODNR will pay for the launch area upgrades at Marblehead, Huron and Avon Lake with one-eighth of a percent of the gasoline fuel tax allocated for fishing and boating access around the Buckeye State.