State promoting fishing on river that once caught fire

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cuyahoga River, known for catching fire when an oil slick burned in 1969, is now clean enough for catching steelhead trout.

It's the first time since the fire that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is promoting two places along the Cuyahoga as good spots for steelhead trout fishing.

The state Route 82 dam in Brecksville and the Gorge Park dam in Cuyahoga Falls were once among the most polluted areas on the river. Their newfound fishing endorsement is listed on ODNR's Web site.

"This is a historical event," said Don Killinger, research supervisor for the Cuyahoga County Health Board. "There has never been any recommendation by any agency to fish on the Cuyahoga River, especially in the Cuyahoga County area because of the conditions of the river in the past and all the pollution."

After years of cleanup efforts, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency study found 62 species of fish in the Cuyahoga River when there were none nearly three decades earlier.

"This indicates we are cleaning up the river and things are getting better," said Steve Madewell, an Ohio EPA environmental scientist.

The steelhead trout is native to the West Coast. They were introduced in Ohio in the 1800s.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)