DIVISION OF WILDLIFE PROPOSES STATEWIDE CATCH LIMITS|
COLUMBUS, OH - The Division of Wildlife plans to reduce the statewide bag limit for walleyes, saugeyes, and sauger taken in Lake Erie and all inland waters beginning March 1, and to increase the minimum length limit for crappies taken in five lakes, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). New rules additionally are proposed for persons engaging in aquaculture, also known as commercial fish farming.
Under the proposed rules, which are formally being presented to the Wildlife Council August 23 and during a statewide public hearing on August 24 in Columbus, the Lake Erie bag limit on walleyes would be reduced from 10 to 6 during May through February. During the months of March and April, the bag limit would be further reduced to 4. These limits would apply only to Lake Erie and its tributaries to the first dam or riffle.
On all inland waters except the Ohio River, the bag limit on walleyes, saugeyes, and sauger, either singly or in aggregate, will be reduced from 10 to 6. This bag limit reduction will apply all year beginning March 1. On the Ohio River, where regulations are shared with West Virginia and Kentucky, no regulation changes are proposed allowing anglers to continue to take a daily limit of ten walleyes, saugeyes, and sauger.
"These proposed rules are designed to help preserve and support increased stocks of walleyes, saugeyes, and sauger statewide, but especially within the Lake Erie region. The daily limit of six walleyes, saugeyes and sauger is the same limit we had on Lake Erie prior to 1995 when the current limit of ten was implemented," said ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Mike Budzik.
Under existing rules, anglers may not take or possess a white or black crappie measuring less than nine inches from Delaware Lake, the Olentangy River from the lake upstream to the Waldo Dam and Whetstone Creek from the lake upstream to State Route 229. Under the proposed rule changes for next March, the 9-inch minimum length limit for crappies will extend to fish taken in Alum Creek Lake in Delaware County, Deer Creek Lake in Fayette and Pickaway counties, Tappan Lake in Harrison County, Seneca Lake in Guernsey and Noble counties, and Caesar Creek Lake in Clinton, Greene and Warren counties.
The Division of Wildlife said an evaluation of crappie populations in selected group of 16 lakes showed that only five of these lakes would benefit from the new 9-inch minimum length rule. The rule is designed to increase the average size of crappies taken by anglers and to improve the quality of crappie fishing in these five lakes.
The Division of Wildlife also is proposing rules that will modify existing regulations for persons engaging in aquaculture, or the commercial propagation and sale of fish. The Wildlife Council is expected to vote on these proposed rules changes at its September 13 meeting.
Persons who want to comment on the proposed fishing rules may attend the statewide public hearing to be held Thursday, August 24 at the Division of Wildlife District One office located at 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus. Written comments also may be sent to the Chief, Division of Wildlife, 1840 Belcher Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43224 no later than September 8.