15-inch minimum proposed for inland walleyes, saugeyes

Columbus – The Ohio Wildlife Council is considering a proposal
for a 15-inch minimum size limit on walleye, sauger, and saugeye on
16 inland waterways in 2011, according to the DNR Division of
Wildlife.

The 16 lakes or reservoirs that are being proposed include Acton
(Butler and Preble counties), Alum Creek (Delaware County), Atwood
(Carroll and Tuscarawas counties), Buckeye (Fairfield, Licking and
Perry counties), Caesar Creek (Clinton, Greene and Warren
counties), Ferguson (Allen County), Findlay 1 & 2 (Hancock
County), Indian (Logan County), Lake Snowden (Athens County),
Metzger (Allen County), Piedmont (Belmont, Guernsey and Harrison
counties), Pleasant Hill (Ashland and Richland counties), Rocky
Fork (Highland County), Seneca (Guernsey and Noble counties),
Tappan (Harrison County) and West Branch (Portage County).

This regulation is designed to improve the age and size
structure of walleye, sauger, and saugeye populations on these
lakes. This proposal would not go into effect until March 1,
2011.

The proposal is based on a decade’s worth of angler surveys from
1998 to 2008, said Ray Petering, fisheries administrator for the
Division of Wildlife. The lakes that were chosen for this rule, he
said, all show good growth among species, significant fishing
pressure, few older fish, and good geographic distribution.

Online angler surveys showed that 79 percent of the 4,500
respondents favor a 15-inch size limit, said Petering. On the water
creel surveys showed that 80 percent of the 4,000 respondents favor
it.

“There’s pretty solid support for this regulation,” Petering
said. “ … It looks like something that’s going to do good things
for us.”

A number of rules concerning the taking, possession and
propagation of native Ohio amphibians and reptiles have been
proposed. Two Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) sections that now deal
with these species would be combined into one OAC section for ease
of understanding.

In 2000, rules were implemented dealing with native Ohio
amphibians and reptiles. Since that time, Passive Integrated
Transponder (PIT) Tag technology has changed and the laws need to
be updated to reflect the new technology and record keeping.

Rules dealing with certain turtles and frogs were also proposed.
The daily bag limit for bullfrogs and green frogs would be raised
to 15. There will be no possession limit on these frogs. Those
pursuing frogs would still have to have a valid fishing
license.

Snapping and softshell turtles would have a minimum shell size
limit of 13 inches imposed for harvest. The closed season for these
turtles would be extended from May 1 through June 30. Currently,
the closed season for these turtles is May 1 through the second
Friday in June. The proposal allows continued turtle harvest for
food while restricting the take of the most viable breeding-age
female turtles.

All lands owned, controlled, administered or under agreement
with the Division of Wildlife would be closed to collection of
reptiles and amphibians, with the exception of bullfrogs, green
frogs, snapping and softshell turtles. This rule would take a
holistic approach to the management of amphibians and reptiles,
ensuring sustainable populations continue to persist on state
lands.

Open houses will be held on Saturday, March 6, in each of the
state’s five wildlife districts to provide the public an
opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping
regulations with state wildlife officials. For directions to the
open houses, please call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.com on the Internet.

A statewide hearing on all the proposed rules will be held at 9
a.m., Thursday, March 4, at the Division of Wildlife’s District One
office, 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus. After considering public
input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules
and season dates during its April 7 meeting.

Categories: Ohio – Mike Moore

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