Month: March 2013

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Ohio State Oarks Free Camping April 18th

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – Pull out the camping gear, grab the makings for s’mores and leave the wallet at home for a night of free camping with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The night of free camping will be available at 54 campgrounds within Ohio State Parks on Thursday, April 18.

“I want to encourage Ohioans to start their weekend early by camping at one of our Ohio State Parks campgrounds for free,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to explore new parts of Ohio and find out what is available within our state parks system.”

For this promotion, campers can make a free reservation for a stay that includes the Free Camping Day. To make the reservation, people must call the Ohio State Parks Reservation Call Center at866-644-6727. Customers can also reserve online but will pay the standard reservation fee. Walk-ins are also welcome on April 18, but space is limited.

For more information about Ohio State Parks campground availability, reservations and amenities, go to: http://bit.ly/freecamping.

This promotion will not be available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds Run State Park, as these are concession-operated campgrounds.

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

 

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2013 Walleye Migration Underway on Maumee and Sandusky Rivers

 

Daily bag limit is four walleye until April 30

COLUMBUS, OH – The annual appearance of migrating walleye in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers brings fantastic spring fishing opportunities,

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

An annual phenomenon in northwest Ohio occurs each spring when a portion of Lake Erie’s walleye population moves up the Maumee and Sandusky rivers to spawn. Although the fish caught represent a small portion of all Lake Erie walleye, the run brings hundreds of thousands of fish within casting distance of eager shore anglers.

Sunset on Lake Erie seen through a fishing net.

Walleye spawning normally occurs in these rivers anytime from mid-March through mid-April, but the peak activity usually occurs the first week of April when the water temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees. Moderately-high water also increases the number of walleye in the rivers, especially if river temperatures are warmer than lake temperatures.

The best fishing areas in the Maumee River are from Orleans Park in Perrysburg upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. Sandusky River anglers will find better success from Brady’s Island to Rodger Young Park in the city of Fremont. Fishing is prohibited upstream from Rodger Young Park to the Ballville Dam.

Anglers are reminded the bag limit for Lake Erie and its tributaries is four walleye until April 30. Anglers are also reminded that there is a year-round 15-inch length limit for walleye on Lake Erie and its tributaries to the first dam or designated landmark. Anglers can see the latest on the walleye biteor review the 2013-2014 Ohio Fishing Regulations at wildohio.com.

Fishermen who are wading also need to ensure they are prepared to experience an unexpected cold water immersion and should consider wearing a flotation device as well as fish with a partner. Though most anglers wade in the rivers while walleye fishing, some choose to fish from boats. ODNR advises boat anglers to always properly wear life jackets, take precautions against overloading their boats and capsizing, be well dressed to avoid the onset of hypothermia and be prepared to handle any emergency. Boats should never be anchored off the stern.

Special regulations are in effect for Maumee and Sandusky river walleye fisheries during March and April. Fishing is only allowed between sunrise and sunset in specified areas, and treble hooks are prohibited. Anglers may only use a single hook that is no larger than 1 inch from shank to point. Only fish that are hooked inside the mouth may legally be taken, and any snagged fish must be immediately released.

The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund ODNR Division of Wildlife fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.

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 and acquire and develop boat accesses.

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

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March 30th: Trout Season Begins in 18 Counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania

English: Man holding a rainbow trout (Oncorhyn...

English: Man holding a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 19)Anglers from 18 southeastern counties are gearing up for the March 30 opening of trout, which marks the unofficial start of the 2013 fishing season.
“The buildup to opening day is just as exciting as the day itself,” said John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). “Anglers are busy cleaning their gear, stocking up on supplies and hopefully buying a few new rods and reels. And stocking schedules are posted to the Commission’s website, so the last step for anglers is to pick the spots they want to fish that day.”
“I’ll be at Opossum Lake in Cumberland County to celebrate the reopening of the lake, and encourage the public to join us and try their hand at catching some of the rainbow trout we’re stocking there,” he added.
The 18 counties open March 30 include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York.
April 13 is the traditional opening day for the rest of the state.
Visit the PFBC’s website to see detailed stocking schedules, which can be easily sorted by county. The schedule shows what waters will be stocked, the date and time, and a meeting place where volunteers can gather to help with the stocking.
“While opening day is one of the biggest fishing days of the year, it’s also one of the biggest social events,” Arway added. “Research shows that when it comes to fishing, anglers like being together with friends and family just as much as they like catching fish.”
The PFBC’s “great white fleet” of stocking trucks has been busy since mid-February replenishing Pennsylvania’s waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout. Every year the PFBC stocks about 3.2 million trout in waterways across the state.
More than 850,000 anglers buy a fishing license each year.
For the first time this year, anglers can purchase multi-year fishing licenses, including a resident three-year license for $64.70 or a resident five-year license for $106.70. Resident three-year and five-year trout permits cost $25.70 and $41.70.
A one-year resident fishing license costs $22.70 and a trout-salmon permit is $9.70. A license is required for anyone 16 and older. Licenses can be purchased at sporting goods stores and online at www.fishandboat.com.
Also, a media resources page contains web banners, high resolution photos and radio public service announcements for graphic artists and reporters to use.
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Mentored Youth Trout Day Begins March 23 in Southeastern Pennsylvania

English: Rainbow trout

English: Rainbow trout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 18) — Young anglers and their adult mentors can get an early start to trout season by fishing one of 12 waters on March 23, the weekend before the regional opening day.
The 12 waters identified by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) are part of the Mentored Youth Trout Day, a new pilot project being launched within the 18-county southeast area that makes up the regional opening day.
During the day on these waters, kids under the age of 16 must register with the PFBC before joining a mentor angler, who must have a current fishing license and trout permit. They will then be able to fish on the Saturday before the southeast opener on the select waters from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Each person will be permitted to keep a combined species total of two fish, and the fish must be at least 7 inches in length. Other Commonwealth inland regulations apply on this day. It is unlawful to fish in waters designated under the Mentored Youth Trout Day without a valid fishing license or without being accompanied by a registered youth.
In partnership with Cabela’s, the PFBC is hosting a tagged-fish contest at all 12 waters during the Mentored Youth Day on March 23. Each tagged fish caught represents a prize package of a $20 Cabela’s gift card with a Zebco rod and reel special-edition set. All tags obtained during the day will need to be redeemed by mail using the PFBC’s tag redemption form. Only qualified individuals in the Mentored Youth Trout Day are eligible to participate. All tags to be redeemed must be mailed and postmarked by March 27.
The 12 Mentored Youth Trout Day waters include (by county):
Adams – Waynesboro Reservoir
Berks – Antietam Lake
Berks – Scotts Run Lake
Bucks – Levittown Lake
Cumberland – Children’s Lake
Cumberland – Doubling Gap Lake
Dauphin – Middletown Reservoir
Lancaster – Muddy Run Recreational Lake
Lebanon – Lions Lake
Lehigh – Lehigh Canal, Section 8
Montgomery – Deep Creek Dam/Green Lake
Schuylkill – Locust Lake
Registration will be accepted during March 23 at all sites, and on-line registration is available at: http://fishandboat.com/MentoredYouth.htm.
For Mentored Youth Trout Day contest rules, tag redemption forms and details, visithttp://fishandboat.com/MentoredYouthContest.htm.
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Lake Erie Birding Trail Comes Alive in Spring

COLUMBUS, OH – Spring migration will bring millions of birds to Ohio in the coming months, and the Lake Erie Birding Trail offers a great opportunity to view many rare and exciting species, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Lake Erie Birding Trail encompasses the Ohio shoreline and inland areas from Conneaut in the east to Toledo in the west. More than 80 primary birding sites are highlighted along the trail, which is divided into seven loops: Ashtabula, Cleveland, Huron and Lorain, Sandusky Bay, the Lake Erie Islands, the western Lake Erie marshes and the Oak Openings. The sites within each loop are similar in habitat and landscape. People can visit the entire trail in one trip or explore the trail loop by loop.

Many birds migrate north in the spring to reach their breeding grounds. Nearly 400 different species of birds have been spotted in these areas, and these sightings typically occur in spectacular numbers. A diverse group of migrant songbirds fill lakeside woodlands. Waterbirds pack marshes and the open lake waters, and secretive marsh birds breed in coastal wetlands.

Help protect wildlife and habitat when visiting the Lake Erie Birding Trail by following designated trails and respecting private property. Use binoculars or zoom lenses to get close to birds, and avoid chasing or flushing them.

Visit the Lake Erie Birding Trail website at lakeerieohiobirding.info for bird identification tips, checklists, events and facts on the Great Lakes. More birding resources are available atwildohio.com.

Birders and others who enjoy nature and want to help fund conservation in Ohio can now purchase the 2013 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. This year’s collectible stamp features a black-capped chickadee photographed by Sheffield Village resident Bruce DiVaccaro. The sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp benefits the Wildlife Diversity Fund, which is used to protect and manage wild animals and their habitats.

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New Fishing Regulations for AEP Ponds in Ohio

English: Largemouth Bass Fishing

English: Largemouth Bass Fishing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – New fishing regulations are now in place at American Electric Power (AEP) ponds and reservoirs, including AEP ReCreation Lands, Conesville Coal Lands and Avondale Wildlife Area for the 2013-2014 license year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Daily bag limits are enforced at all AEP ponds and reservoirs. The regulations apply to black bass and sunfishes in more than 350 ponds and lakes among more than 80,000 acres of AEP lands available for public fishing, hunting, hiking and camping in Ohio. New regulations are intended to help sustain the high-quality largemouth bass and bluegill fishing known in these waters.

The new black bass regulation is a 14-20-inch slot length limit developed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife that increases anglers’ chances of catching trophy bass. Anglers may keep two fish under 14 inches and one fish 20 inches or larger, for three fish per day (largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass, singly or in combination). However, anglers will not be allowed to keep any fish in the protected slot. This regulation applies to all AEP waters, and an angler’s daily limit will apply to all AEP lands collectively, and not just a particular pond or lake.

The new sunfish regulation is a 20-fish daily limit to ensure opportunities for a greater number of anglers to catch quality fish. This regulation will also apply to all AEP waters so an angler’s daily limit will apply to all AEP lands collectively, not just a particular pond or lake.

A permit is required to use AEP ponds and reservoirs. The permit is free and can be obtained from the AEP office in McConnelsville, AEP corporate offices, ODNR Division of Wildlife district offices, or any sporting goods and bait stores near the ReCreation areas.

New regulations were developed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife through review of data from fish surveys, creel surveys, consideration of management options, and extensive public input. More information can be found at wildohio.com in the 2013-2014 fishing regulations. Additional information about AEP lands is also available. An Ohio fishing license is required at all AEP ponds and reservoirs.

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

 

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Fishing Regulations Lifted on Meadow Grounds Lake in PA.

Fishing Pond in Fulton County, PA

Fishing Pond in Fulton County, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 5) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it has temporarily lifted all seasons, sizes and creel limits on Fulton County’s Meadow Grounds Lake in anticipation of the lake being fully drained within the next several months.
“We have chosen to temporarily lift the regulations in order to reduce the number of fish in the lake in anticipation of a fish salvage prior to a complete drawdown of the lake,” said Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management. “We want anglers to fish the water and make good use of as many fish as they can.”
The temporary regulations take effect immediately and will remain in place until further notice by the PFBC.
The PFBC announced on Feb. 25 that it would drain the lake because of deficiencies in the lake’s dam. During an inspection in December, the PFBC and the state Department of Environmental Protection found that existing seepage in the dam had become more severe.
“The condition of the dam’s structural integrity necessitates that a complete drawdown of the lake be performed so that further testing and analyses can be conducted,” said Andy Shiels, PFBC Deputy Director of Operations.
The drawdown began yesterday and is expected to take up to three months to complete. The lake will be drained at a rate of about two feet per week, depending on weather.
The lake will be drawn down indefinitely until funding can be identified and secured to make the necessary repairs. At this point, the PFBC does not have the money to make the repairs at this facility.
PFBC biologists are currently developing a fish salvage plan to remove and relocate as many fish as possible. Although fish salvages generally save a large number of fish, a significant amount will also perish.
“We will collect as many fish as we can through netting and electro-fishing, but it is impossible to capture all of them,” Miko said. “Fish die during any drawdown and salvage effort. Many hide around structures where we simply can’t reach them, and others become buried in the mud when they are slow to exit the lake with the remaining water. Anglers and the general public should expect to see this.”
The lake will remain open to public use until the water level reaches a point where it may be unsafe for anglers. At that point the lake will be closed and signs will be posting alerting anglers of the closing.
The 204-acre lake is located on State Game Lands 53 in Ayr Township, Fulton County. The dam and lake areas are leased to the PFBC by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
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Kids' Life Jacket Loaner Stations Needed

Life Jacket (PSF)

Life Jacket (PSF) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 1, 2013 — The sad truth about boating and kids is that children don’t always wear a correctly sized life jacket, and some kids even go without simply because of poor planning. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a life jacket loaner site in your area, boating parents can borrow a properly fitting life jacket for the day or weekend at no cost. If you operate a waterfront business, organization or government agency, you can help by applying to become a new loaner site for the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids.

The largest and longest running free nationwide life jacket loaner program offers a range of child and teen-sized life jackets at over 500 loaner sites nationwide. Since the program began nearly twenty years ago, at least three children’s lives have been saved by wearing a BoatUS Foundation loaner life jacket and each year life jackets are loaned out over 140,000 times. The boating non-profit is looking to add at least 40 new life jacket sites this year.
There is no cost to host a loaner site, but applications will only be accepted until March 31st, 2013, and those that meet the program’s guidelines will be posted to the Foundation’s Facebook page for public voting. “We want applicants to help spread the word about keeping kids safe with our life jackets, and also draw positive publicity to their business or club,” said Outreach Manager Alanna Keating.
After public voting, each location that is accepted into the program will receive a life jacket loaner “kit” – a protective container that holds various sized life jackets for kids, signage, promotional materials and easy-to-use sign-out sheets to track usage. The program is simple for those hosting a location as well as for boaters, anglers and sailors needing a kid’s life jacket. “All we ask for in return is that the life jackets are available for free to the boating public in a readily accessible but secure location, and hosts periodically let us know how the program is going,” added Keating.

To apply or for more information on the program or the life jacket laws in your state, visitwww.BoatUS.com/Foundation/LJLP.

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Apply Now for Ohio Wildlife Officer Training

Antrim Lake Trout Stocking (4)

Antrim Lake Trout Stocking (4) (Photo credit: gsbrown99)

COLUMBUS, OH – Applications are being accepted through Sunday, March 24, for the next wildlife officer training academy, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The ODNR Division of Wildlife is seeking to fill approximately 18-20 new wildlife officer positions throughout Ohio.

“We are looking for individuals who possess a passion for law enforcement, wildlife conservation and public service,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Wildlife officers have statewide jurisdiction to enforce wildlife regulations, investigate allegations of waterway pollution, protect state property and make arrests. They conduct educational programs, perform fish and wildlife management duties and advise landowners about wildlife. Wildlife officers also serve an important role as a point of contact with law enforcement and other agencies on topics of mutual interest, providing assistance and expertise.

To be considered for the wildlife officer training academy, applicants must be at least 21 years of age by April 1, 2014, and have a valid driver’s license. An associate degree or completion of an undergraduate core program in fish and/or wildlife management, criminal justice, environmental law enforcement or related fields is required by the end of August 2013.

Applicants must also be able to demonstrate physical fitness according to standards developed by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Commission, as well as pass a swimming test.

Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be invited to take a state proficiency examination May 4 in central Ohio.

Top scoring candidates will then undergo interviews and pre-employment evaluations. Those selected as cadets will attend the wildlife officer training academy for about six months. During the academy, cadets will study law enforcement, fish and wildlife management techniques and learn informational and educational skills. The academy will commence in early January 2014.

Visit wildohiocareers.com for more information.

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

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New Ohio Bass Regulations in Effect

COLUMBUS, OH – 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.

 

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


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