New regulations for bass fishing are in effect
New statewide and specific site bass fishing regulations are now in effect for the 2013–2014 license year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Statewide, a new 12 inch minimum has been implemented by the ODNR Division of Wildlife on all public waters for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass where there are no other special regulations. The daily limit of five fish per day remains in effect for black bass, singly or in combination.
Some reservoirs that previously had special regulations were changed to the new statewide 12-inch length limit. The 12–15 inch slot length limit was removed from Timbre Ridge Lake, and 15-inch minimum length limits were removed from: Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton and Greene counties), Kenton Lake (Gallia County), Lake Milton, including the Mahoning River connecting Berlin Lake and Lake Milton (Mahoning County), Lake Vesuvius (Lawrence County), Monroe Lake (Monroe County), Monroeville Reservoir (Huron County), Pike Lake (Pike County) and Sippo Lake (Stark County).
Two new regulations have been incorporated to increase the size and number of bass. These special regulations include a reduced number of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass that anglers may keep per day and split daily limits, where anglers may only keep a specified number of fish of a certain length.
The first regulation is a special 15-inch length limit with a four fish split daily limit. Anglers may keep two fish under 15 inches and two fish 15 inches or larger, for four fish per day. The split daily limit allows limited harvest of bass less than 15 inches to promote growth of bass to larger sizes. This regulation is referred to as a “15, 2-and-2.”
It is in effect at these reservoirs: Acton Lake (Preble and Butler counties), Findley Lake (Lorain County), Hargus Lake (Pickaway County), Highlandtown Lake (Columbiana County), Lake Snowden (Athens County), New Lyme Lake (Ashtabula County), Paint Creek Lake (Highland and Ross counties), Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County), Silver Creek Lake (Summit County) and Upper Sandusky No. 2 (Wyandot County).
The second split daily limit is referred to as a “Super Slot,” a 14–20-inch slot length limit intended to increase the chance of catching trophy bass. Anglers may keep two fish under 14 inches and one fish 20 inches or larger, for three fish per day. However, anglers are not allowed to keep any fish in the protected slot.
This regulation will be limited to the following waters: All American Electric Power (AEP) ponds and reservoirs, including AEP ReCreation Lands, Conesville Coal Lands and Avondale Wildlife Area, with all ponds and reservoirs included in each daily limit per angler (Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum, Morgan, Noble and Perry counties), Belmont Lake (Belmont County), Guilford Lake (Columbiana County), Killdeer Plains Reservoir (Wyandot County), Kiser Lake (Champaign County), Long Lake (Summit County), Oxbow Lake (Defiance County), Spencer Lake (Medina County), St. Joseph Wildlife Area ponds (Williams County), Tycoon Lake (Gallia County), Wingfoot Lake (Portage County.
These adjustments in regulations were developed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife through an analysis of historical fish surveys, creel surveys and angler-reported tournament results, an evaluation of management options and fisheries objectives as well as extensive angler input through online surveys, creel surveys, open houses and meetings with sportsmen and women.
Ohio has other special regulations for black bass at a number of waters around the state that remain in effect. These include traditional 14-inch, 15-inch and 18-inch minimum length limits, and 12–15 inch slot length limits, all with five fish daily limits on Lake Erie and inland waters, and six fish daily limits on the Ohio River. Visitwww.wildohio.com for more information.
• More than 98,000 rainbow trout will be released this spring at 63 Ohio public lakes and ponds. The releases will take place between March 1 and May 3, and the stocking of these public lakes and ponds are excellent opportunities for families to fish together. Fishing for catchable-sized trout is a great way to introduce young people to the outdoors. Rainbow trout are raised at state fish hatcheries and are 10–13 inches before they are released by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.
Some locations will feature special angler events, including youth-only fishing, on the day of the scheduled trout release. Contact the nearest wildlife district office for specific information. Additional information about trout releases is available at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish state public waters. The 2013–2014 fishing license is available now and is valid through Feb. 28, 2014. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one–day fishing license costs $11 for residents and non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.
Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold. Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, and have resided in Ohio for the past six months are eligible to purchase the reduced-cost resident senior license for $10.
Sales of fishing licenses along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program continue to fund the operation of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s fish hatcheries. No state tax dollars are used for this activity. This is a user-pay, user-benefit program.
The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education to youth and acquire and develop boat accesses.
• Now that spring is arriving, the chances of seeing more wildlife will increase. Just today, I saw a skunk feeding on a carcass as I traveled down the road. Ohio wildlife biologists are frequently contacted by concerned residents who spot coyotes. Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that are regularly viewed by humans throughout the state.
Here are a few steps to keep in mind when you encounter a coyote in the Buckeye State. 1. Understand that coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties and are even regularly seen within city limits. 2. There are no wolves living in the wild in Ohio. 3. If you spot a coyote on your property, make sure to remove all “attractants” to deter the coyote from returning. This includes removing garbage and pet food before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill. 4. Coyotes prey primarily on small mammals such as rabbits and mice. However, interactions with domestic pets do occur sometimes. Keep small dogs and cats inside or leash them when outside. 5. Occasionally, an inquisitive coyote will stay put and watch you curiously. Clap your hands and shout; the coyote will likely move on at this point. 6. If the coyote visiting your yard does not respond to harassment techniques such as loud noises or is presenting a conflict even after removing attractants from your yard, contact a nuisance trapper.
For a fee, these nuisance trappers use highly regulated techniques to reduce urban wildlife conflicts. Coyote populations in rural areas can be managed through legal hunting and trapping methods. Consult the yearly “Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations” digest for more information.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!