Inland Fisheries Management
Nearly one million anglers fish Ohio’s inland waters each year with an annual economic impact of approximately $1 billion to Ohio’s economy. Management of fisheries in public waters is the responsibility of the Division of Wildlife, whether on inland lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, or the Ohio River. Sportsmen pay for these conservation activities primarily through the purchase of fishing licenses and excise taxes placed on fishing tackle and related items through the Sport Fish Restoration Act
. No general revenue funds, or state income tax dollars, are used for these purposes.
Ohio’s inland waters provide a diversity of opportunities. These include over 60,000 miles of rivers and streams
, 451 miles of shoreline that border the Ohio River
, and numerous lakes and reservoirs. Ohio has very few natural lakes because it was only partially inhabited by glaciers during the ice age, unlike states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Near the end of the last ice age, as glaciers retreated, large deposits of ice were left behind in hollows that later melted to create lakes. Therefore, only 110 natural lakes of 5 acres or greater are found here, with 69 of these lakes less than 25 acres and 41 between 25 and 345 acres, for a total of 4,658 acres. Many of Ohio’s natural lakes are privately owned and few have not been modified with water control structures, such as dams.
Artificial lakes, also called reservoirs, represent a greater portion of Ohio’s inland lakes. To meet Ohio’s needs for transportation, water supply, flood control and other uses, a variety of man-made reservoirs have been built since the early 1800s. Today, 112,536 acres of water are available for public fishing in over 170 reservoirs of 25 acres or greater.
The three primary types of reservoirs are canal lakes, tributary reservoirs, and upground reservoirs. The canal lakes were built to provide water sources for transportation canals of the 1800s. Tributary reservoirs were built by creating dams on major streams to provide flood control or water supply. Upground reservoirs were built above ground and used primarily for water supply. None of these reservoirs were constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, so the quality of fishing can vary considerably from one to the next depending upon the uses of the reservoir, operation of its dam or water control structure, and the quality of the land surrounding the lake, or watershed.
The Division of Wildlife uses a variety of basic tools to provide fishing opportunities in inland waters, whether on rivers and streams, the Ohio River, or lakes and reservoirs. These include:
Questions About Inland Fisheries?
Our website provides a wealth of information, including fishing forecasts and reports, fishing maps, and fishing advice on when, where, and how to catch your favorite fish. However, if you cannot find the information that you are looking for on our website, don’t hesitate to contact us. E-mail inquiries can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .