The Ohio Wildlife Council received several new fishing proposals at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, July 10, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. If approved, proposed regulations will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
The biggest change proposed would affect trolling for walleye on Lake Erie. 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.
• It was proposed that 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. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215. 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.
Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304.
The mission of the ODNR Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be bringing the great outdoors to the Ohio State Fair once again July 24 through August 4. The department’s 8-acre park features a variety of shows, displays, and interactive exhibits that will provide visitors with a glimpse into the many outdoor recreational activities Ohio has to offer.
This is a special year in the Natural Resources Park as ODNR celebrates Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday. One of the most popular Ohio State Fair traditions for guests of all ages is talking with Smokey, our 14-ft. tall animatronic bear who greets everyone by name and educates visitors about preventing wildfires. This year, fairgoers can use the new Commemorative Smokey Bear Snapchat filter to celebrate 75 years of preventing wildfires. It’s a great addition to your fair pictures or selfie with Ohio’s favorite bear. The gift shop, located near the information booth, offers a variety of items including 75th anniversary Smokey Bear souvenirs.
There’s so much fun and family-friendly entertainment to discover at the ODNR Natural Resources Park this year including: Amphitheater with free entertainment daily, such as lumberjacks, musical acts, Columbus Zoo animals, and retriever dogs, Kayak pond and personal watercraft simulator, Indoor air gun and archery building, Butterfly house and wildlife boardwalk, Kids fishing pond with bluegill, Geological walkway through Ohio’s history, and Camper Village and trail.
Located in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, the ODNR Natural Resources Park is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the Ohio State Fair with most activities starting at 11 a.m. All the activities in the park are free with admission to the Ohio State Fair.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.