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 (ODNR).
Statewide, a new 12-inch minimum length limit 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) and
- Wolf Run Lake (Noble 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. Visit wildohio.com for more information.
Image courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources