COLUMBUS, OH – Changes to the 2019-2020 fishing season were among the regulations proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Several other changes presented to the council were voted on which had previously been presented to the council earlier this year. These changes were approved and become effective later this month.

Black Bass Fishing

Several changes were proposed for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass) in the Lake Erie sport fishing district. Currently, the season for black bass in the Lake Erie sport fishing district is closed from May 1 through the last Saturday in June. It was proposed to remove this closure to provide a year-round open season for black bass, providing anglers with more opportunities. Additional proposed rules would establish a daily bag limit of one black bass with an 18-inch minimum size limit from May 1 through the fourth Saturday in June to continue to protect the fishery. Outside of this period, the existing black bass regulations of a five-fish daily limit with a 14-inch minimum size limit would still apply.

Crappie Fishing

Changes were proposed to crappie size and bag limits at certain waters. It was proposed that the 30-fish daily bag limit and the 9-inch minimum size limit for crappie be removed at the following lakes and reservoirs: Acton, Cledening, Hargus, Highlandtown, Knox, Madison, Nimisila, Rush Creek and Springfield lakes; C.J. Brown, Clear Fork, Griggs and West Branch reservoirs. Removal of these regulations is expected to improve the crappie fisheries at these locations as well as provide anglers more opportunities to harvest fish from these areas.

Additional proposed rule changes include allowing camping at K.H. Butler Wildlife Area in Gallia County; increasing the annual fee for watercraft docking permits at ODNR Division of Wildlife owned docks; and changes to ginseng harvest requirements.

A complete list of proposed rules changes can be found at wildohio.gov.

River Otter Trapping Approved Changes

New counties were approved to open for river otter trapping, as the species is now prevalent in many areas. All counties formerly in Zone “A” have been moved to Zone “B.” In addition, several counties were moved from Zone “C” to Zone “B.” These counties are: Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Perry, Scioto and Vinton. All three river otter trapping zones season bag limits have not changed. Total river otter trapping season bag limits are zero otters for Zone A, one otter for Zone B and three otters for Zone C.

Additional approved rule changes include increasing quail hunting opportunities at Tri-Valley and Crown City wildlife areas and allowing the use of range finders and other devices that utilize non-visible light when hunting with a longbow or crossbow.

A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.

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. 10.

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. For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted online at wildohio.gov. The online form will be available in August.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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