Ohio Department of Natural Resources proposing new fishing regulations

The Ohio Wildlife Council received several new fishing proposals in July, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. If approved, proposed regulations will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

“Ohio offers many opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy a fishing or hunting trip,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “These proposed regulations are designed to protect our fish and wildlife resources so that future generations can enjoy them in the same way.”

The Division of Wildlife proposed to increase the number of lines per angler to three while fishing in Ohio’s portion of Lake Erie, including areas immediately upstream in creeks, rivers, and tributaries. Under current regulations, an angler can fish with up to two lines simultaneously statewide.

On the Ohio River, it was proposed to reduce the combined daily bag limit of sauger, saugeye or walleye to six fish. An additional proposal would establish the sauger, saugeye, and walleye length limit at 14 inches in the western fishing unit – South Point west to the Indiana state line. These proposals are designed to align Ohio River fishing regulations with bordering states.

It was further proposed to move Ohio’s free fishing dates to Father’s Day weekend, annually. The current free fishing dates are the first Saturday and Sunday in May. Father’s Day is on the third Sunday in June.

Additional regulations proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday:

• Existing fishing regulations at American Electric Power’s ReCreation Lands are proposed to remain at Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area.

• Access to Eagle Creek Wildlife Area in Brown County would be by special permit only from Sept. 1 through May 31, annually. No access permit would be required from June 1 through Aug. 31, annually. It was proposed that Eagle Creek Wildlife Area will be reserved as a space where beginning hunters can participate in mentored hunts, and access will be granted through a drawing system.

• Sloan’s crayfish was proposed to be removed from Ohio’s list of threatened species. A strong population of Sloan’s crayfish has been documented within its native Ohio range.

• Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area reservoir has been drained and proposed to be removed from site-specific regulations.

A complete list of proposals is available at wildohio.gov. A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 9 a.m., 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus.

For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted online at wildohio.gov. The online form will be available in August.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9.