Anglers get ready, Rainbow Lakes opens for season Saturday

FRANKLIN SQUARE – Rainbow Lakes opens Saturday for the 35th season under the ownership of John and Teresa Simonds.

Last year, some 60 anglers were out opening day and they were catching some big trout.

The lakes are located at 38027 old state Route 344, just east of Franklin Square and west of Leetonia and are stocked with rainbow trout, bass, crappie, pan fish and channel catfish.

The crappie are usually biting along the shoreline this time of year.

Rainbow Lakes charges $8 per day for each person casting a rod.

The cost allows people to fish from sun up to sun down.

The price was unchanged for over 11 years until two years ago when it was raised from $4 to $7. It was raised to $8 last year.

“In spite of drought situation out there, the lake’s a little low, but it’s recovering,” John Simonds said, explaining the lakes are spring fed.

“The fish survive in it … it’s been that way before and it’s recovering.”

The rainbow trout the lake is named for are imported from the Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania and Simonds said they are “very healthy,” explaining that “I used to go to pond and they’d feed (hand feed) like crazy but now they’re eating the natural stuff.”

“We have mostly rainbow … 13 to16 inches and a little bigger,” he said, adding he holds a “good many back to maintain the population … it’s interesting but not the easiest thing to do.”

Simonds noted there is a stout bass population.

“We’ve probably got the best bass population, 22-inch bass, that’s a five-pound bass that get thrown back in all the time along with channel catfish,” he said.

The bait shop sells worms and saw-fly maggots, which are not a like a meat maggot but more like a small grub, Simonds said, adding that trout have small mouths.

The front lake is stocked with trout and there are crappie in both lakes.

“I’ve seen big stringers of crappie many of times,” Simonds said, noting the crappies were put in the lakes years ago and they’ve developed quite a bit.

Larry Shields can be reached at