Fishing heating up in Ohio
Spring is here and so is the fishing season. The walleye are biting up north and locally the crappie and bass are being taken on a regular basis.
Normally for late March, we are just now catching a few fish if the weather is warm and sunny but with this crazy March we have had, Mother Nature is clearly a month ahead of schedule. If you haven’t gotten out much yet, you have to fast forward your fishing methods a few weeks ahead of normal.
Whatever species you try to catch this spring, please be aware of the current laws. Our state now has a lot of variances in terms of minimum size limits and daily bag limits for each species depending on what body of water you are fishing so be sure to check that out before you bring any fish home.
• These record high temperatures have the turkeys on fast forward as well. The birds are split up into their breeding groups and the toms are gobbling and strutting hard. I am sure that the actually breeding season will be way ahead of schedule this spring if it hasn’t started already.
It could make for an unusual opening week for the turkey season but my biggest concern is that if we ended paying for this nice weather in May and we end up with a lot of cool and wet conditions, it could make for a tough hatch. We have already had back to back subpar hatches and we can’t afford another one. My fingers are crossed that this weather pattern holds at least near normal for the rest of spring and we don’t get paybacks in May.
• The ODNR Division of Wildlife invites anglers, hunters and trappers to visit www.wildohio. com to take a new online survey. The online survey asks fishing and hunting license buyers to provide feedback on their experience with the newly implemented license sales system. Deer and turkey hunters will also be given the opportunity to provide their input on the automated game-check system.
The online survey is available now and will run through April 30. Responses to the survey are confidential. Information provided by anglers, hunters and trappers is important to the successful management of Ohio’s wildlife resources. The Division of Wildlife encourages all sportsmen and women to participate.
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that testing of Ohio’s deer herd has found no evidence of chronic wasting disease for the 10th straight year.
CWD is a degenerative brain disease that affects elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. According to ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, state and federal agriculture and wildlife officials collected 549 samples last year from hunter-harvested deer from 36 counties, primarily during the deer-gun season that ran Nov. 28 – Dec. 4. All CWD testing is performed at ODA’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.
In addition to CWD, 561 of the hunter-harvested deer samples were also tested for bovine tuberculosis. Results found no evidence of this disease in Ohio deer as well. Additional CWD samples are being taken from road-killed deer, but those test results are not yet available. Sampling will continue through April.
Since 2002, ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, in conjunction with the ODA’s Division of Animal Industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife and Veterinary Services, has been conducting surveillance throughout the state for CWD and bovine tuberculosis.
While CWD has never been found in Ohio’s deer herd, it had been diagnosed in wild and captive deer, moose, or elk in 15 other states and two Canadian provinces. Since CWD was discovered in the western United States in the late 1960s, there has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.
ODNR’s Division of Wildlife continues to carefully monitor the health of Ohio’s wild deer herd throughout the year. For the latest information on CWD, visit www.wildohio.com or the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance at www.cwd-info.org.
• Just a friendly reminder as you take the boat out on the local waters that Ohio law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to show proof they have successfully completed an approved boater safety education course before operating any powered watercraft greater than 10 horsepower. More than 12,000 Ohioans annually complete an approved boating safety education course.
The Division of Watercraft and its boating partners, including U.S. Power Squadrons, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and other local community organizations, together are offering more than 80 approved boating safety education classes through the end of May, with more classes being offered during the summer months.
Boating safety officials say the time to take a boating safety education course is before the summer boating season begins. Having the knowledge, proper skills, following basic safety tips such as wearing a life jacket while boating and obeying all boating rules goes far in ensuring boaters and fishermen stay safe on the water.
For a list of available boating safety education classes in Ohio and to register for a class, visit the Division of Watercraft’s website at www.ohiodnr.com/watercraft or call toll-free in Ohio at 877-4BOATER.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!