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Catch The Fishes of Ohio!
Mark Blauvelt Reviews A Most Important Book By Milton Trautman


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Have you ever caught a strange looking fish and wondered what it really was?  Maybe you wonder what a sand shiner looks like? Or have you ever asked yourself what’s the difference between a black and a brown bullhead? Maybe you're curious about which streams in Ohio hold which species of game fish?  Or perhaps you've wondered just how the lakes and rivers of Ohio were formed? If you've ever thought about any of these topics, this book's the one for you.

The Fishes of Ohio is the Ohio fisherman’s bible and if you are worth your salt, or think you are, this is a ‘must have’ in your fishing library. The book is so full of information that you could never get tired of picking it up and reading a few pages from its easy-to-read format.   Trautman's opus received glowing reviews such as “unequalled by any other study on the continent” and authorities called it the “classic regional treatise that was the most complete ever published”. Trautman had become a worldwide expert within the ichthyology field, known for his degree of precision and accuracy.


Milton Trautman (1899 - 1991) was Ohio’s leading Ichthyologist for most of his life and spent nearly 35 years studying and researching before publishing the 1957 edition.  It ended up being 683 pages of descriptions, drawings, distribution maps and habitat information for each of Ohio’s 172 known species of fish. In the 1960’s Milton, and his wife Mary, started the process of updating the first edition by adding ever more detailed notes and refining and adding to the original text. In 1981 the 2nd edition was released at almost 800 pages.  The newer edition includes detailed information on Ohio’s 179 forms of fish - 166 species and 13 sub species.

The book is laid out in several sections starting with the geologic history of Ohio and then detailing exact study and research methods.  His description of how this information was acquired which is quite fascinating. Then Trautman moves to a large section of maps and finally onto the best part of the book, an excellently detailed synopsis of each animal.  A fine drawing of each species, with call-outs for unique differences,  its general characteristics, preferred habitat and a map showing where his team had collected this type of fish is included.  In addition, Trautman covers the travails of each fish through the history of Ohio, including observations of how the fish has faired and its (then) current status. The book concludes with many pages of brightly colored plates of many of Ohio’s fine fish.

The Fishes of Ohio is available at some local Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores, as well as through several internet web sites. The first edition sold for $6.50; today, some bookstores list copies for up to $185.00. A quick Internet search turned up price ranges on the second edition from $90 to as little as $30 for a used copy. My personal copy was a birthday gift from my mother back in 1982, when I was just 16 years old.  It cost $35 back then and it's still one of the best gifts I've ever received.  Even today, 25 years later, it's my favorite fishing book and it gets plenty of use (don't ask to borrow it).  If you've ever wished you knew more than "the average fisherman", then add this gem to your library, You won't regret it!

The Fishes of Ohio is available from Ohio State University Press for $94.95.  ISBN:  0-8142-0213-6


Absolutely Outstanding!

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