Changes in fishing regulations

People who fish in the Sandusky River should be aware of changes that took effect March 1, according to Sandusky County Wildlife Officer Matt Leibengood.

Because the Ballville Dam at Fremont was removed, he said the river downstream of Water Works Dam, south of the Ella Street Bridge, has the same fishing regulations as Lake Erie.

“Because the Ballville Dam came out, they had to establish a new landmark for the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District,” he said. “People will need to pay attention to the Lake Erie regulations if they’re fishing from the Water Works Dam in Tiffin downstream. All the Lake Erie regulations apply.”

Leibengood said one change to be aware of applies to the spring walleye run, March 1 through April 30.

“With the Ballville Dam down, we could have walleye up into Seneca County,” he said.

From Water Works Dam to the northern tip of Brady’s Island at Fremont, he said anglers can fish with only a single hook, and the hook can only be a half-inch long from shank to point.

“That includes any kind of lures, and treble hooks are prohibited,” he said. The regulation makes it more difficult to snag fish.

Spring walleye bag limits also are in place. From March 1 to April 30 the limit is four fish, and the rest of the year the limit is six walleye. The minimum size year round is 15 inches.

In addition, he said fishing is limited during the walleye run to sunrise to sunset.

Another change anglers should be aware of pertains to black bass.

“From May 1 to June 21 in the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District you can only take or possess one black bass of at least 18 inches,” Leibengood said. “The rest of the year the minimum size is 14 inches and the bag limit is five.”

Previously, he said the minimum size was 12 inches under general state regulations.

Leibengood said people who have out-of-state friends and family members who fish while they visit should be aware of changes to non-resident fishing licenses.

“Non-residents are required to have a Lake Erie fishing permit from Jan. 1 to April 30,” he said.

New to Ohio this year, he said the $11 permit applies only to non-residents, and the cost is in addition to the non-resident license fee of $50.96 per year.

Ohio residents ages 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish in the river. Licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one-day resident fishing license costs $11. A one-day license may be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.

Licenses and permits can be purchased online at and at participating agents throughout the state.

Leibengood said the new regulations divides the river at Water Works Dam. The new regulations apply downstream, while statewide regulations remain in effect upstream from the dam.

For more information on Lake Erie Sport Fishing District regulations or a list of participating license sales agents, visit