The Ohio Wildlife Council received a proposal to allow a maximum of three lines while fishing statewide during its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 13, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. If approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, the proposed rule change would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
If approved, Wednesday’s proposal would align statewide rod and reel regulations with those already in place for the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District, Ohio River fishing units, and Pymatuning Lake by increasing the limit to three lines. This change was proposed to streamline fishing regulations.
An additional proposal would remove site-specific catfish regulations for Hoover Reservoir and align the popular fishing destination with statewide rules. Currently, regulations for Hoover Reservoir protect all catfish between 18 and 28 inches, with a 4-fish split daily limit. Statewide catfish regulations limit an angler to one blue catfish 35 inches or longer and one channel catfish 28 inches or longer, with no restrictions on shorter fish.
Additionally, the Ohio Wildlife Council received a proposal that would specify that an annual shooting range permit would expire one year from the date of issue. Under current regulations, an annual shooting range permit, required of those 18 and older to shoot on Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C ranges, expires on the last day of February each year.
A complete list of proposals is available at wildohio.gov. Additional information on current regulations can be found in the latest hunting and trapping or fishing booklets.
• The ODNR Division of Wildlife and the National Shooting Sports Foundation are partnering to host Free Range Day at five of Ohio’s premier public shooting ranges on Saturday, Aug. 20.
Visit one of the following public shooting ranges on Free Range Day to gain hands-on experience and instruction with firearms at no charge from certified instructors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Deer Creek Wildlife Area, corner of State Route 207 and Cook Yankeetown Road NE, Mt. Sterling 43143; Delaware Wildlife Area, 1110 State Route 229, Ashley 43003; Grand River Wildlife Area, 6693 Hoffman Norton Road, Bristolville 44491; Spring Valley Wildlife Area, 3570 Houston Road, Waynesville 45068; Woodbury Wildlife Area, 41384 State Route 541, Warsaw 43844.
On-site staff will provide equipment, ammunition, ear protection, and eye protection at no charge. Class A shooting ranges offer supervised rifle and pistol target shooting. Class B facilities offer unsupervised rifle and pistol target shooting, while Class C ranges host unsupervised clay target shotgun shooting.
The shooting range permit requirement is waived on all Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C shooting ranges on this date. Outside of Free Range Day, all persons 18 and older shooting on Division of Wildlife Class A, B, or C ranges are required to purchase a shooting range permit, available at all hunting and fishing license outlets, wildohio.gov, or the HuntFish OH mobile app. Daily permits are available for $5, or an annual permit can be purchased for $24.
• The excitement of the great outdoors is back at the Ohio State Fairground. Families can find fun and free activities at the Natural Resources Park open to all in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, every day from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Children can stop by to receive a personal greeting from Smokey Bear before they go exploring. The current Smokey animatronic character was installed in 2015 and continues his mission to teach fairgoers how they can prevent wildfires.
The Division of Parks and Watercraft is introducing a new Virtual Reality exhibit allowing visitors to paddleboard or kayak through some of Ohio’s most breathtaking water features. Participants will begin by choosing their watercraft and between the locations of Alum Creek, Lake Erie, Miami River, and the Ohio River. Guests will be fitted with life jackets, an Oculus headset and two controllers which simulate paddles. Video monitors will allow viewers to see what the participants are experiencing.
The Division of Parks and Watercraft has also added a brand-new nature center. Like what you’d see when visiting one of Ohio’s 75 state parks, the nature center will be home to live animals, interactive games, and educational information about Ohio’s wildlife. Located near the Division’s camper, yurt, and display about state park lodges, the nature center will be open to visitors throughout the day.
This year also marks the Ohio State Fair debut of the ODNR Division of Oil and Gas fully accessible playground. Children can navigate through a maze of towering barrels or search for fossils at this easy-access area that will provide amazing, and low impact entertainment.
Other new sights and sounds inside the Natural Resources Park this year include upgraded structures along the Division of Wildlife boardwalk and a restored wetland area where families can learn about Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative.
Popular attractions, including the kayak pond and youth fishing, will be brought back this summer. The amphitheater will come alive with free shows every day of the Ohio State Fair. Guests can anticipate the must see, Great Lakes Lumberjack Show, featuring chainsaw carving, log rolling, and a whole lot of laughs. Educational opportunities are located throughout the Natural Resources Park.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.