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Ohio River

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Sport Fishing on the Ohio

These regulations are the result of a cooperative effort by Indiana and five other Ohio River states. In many cases, these rules differ significantly from other laws and regulations in Indiana. These rules and regulations apply only to the main stem of the Ohio River and do not include any tributaries or embayments, where general Indiana fishing regulations apply.

A fishing license reciprocity agreement between Indiana and Kentucky allows that each state will recognize the license issued by the other state on the main stem of the Ohio River, excluding embayments and tributaries. This means you can fish the Ohio River bank to bank with a license issued by either state. To fish embayments or tributaries, you must obtain a license from that state. An angler must abide by the regulations of the state by which they are licensed except that when fishing from the bank they shall follow the regulations of the state in which they are fishing.

While fishing for sport fish, you may use only poles or hand lines, float-fishing methods, set lines with one single- or multi-barbed hook, or up to two trot lines with no more than 50 single- or multi-barbed hooks per line. These lines must be spaced at least 18 inches apart. Trot lines must be checked at least once every 24 hours.

Trot lines can be attached only to a tree limb, a tree trunk, a bank pole or the bank itself. Each trot line can bear only one single- or multi-barbed hook.

Snagging is now prohibited as a sport fishing method on the Ohio River.

Ohio River Sport Fish

  • largemouth bass
  • yellow bass
  • trout
  • smallmouth bass
  • black crappie
  • tiger muskellunge
  • spotted bass
  • white crappie
  • northern pike


Paddlefish may not be taken from any portion of the Indiana waters of the Ohio River on a sport fishing license. It is also illegal to take paddlefish from any other waters of Indiana on a sport fishing license.

Other Fish

All other fish, except those classified as threatened or endangered, may be taken with the same sport fishing methods described above, as well as with the following methods:

  • Long or compound bow with an arrow having one or more barbs and an attached line. Catfish cannot be taken with bow and arrow during nighttime hours ½ hour after sunset until ½ hour before sunrise.)
  • Gigging from Feb. 1 to May 10 with any pronged or barbed instrument attached to the end of a rigid object. You cannot take a fish by gigging from either a boat or platform.

Where to Fish on the Ohio

Much of the best fishing on the Ohio River is concentrated near dams; however, a person shall not take fish within 200 yards below any dam on the Ohio River except by fishing pole or hand line.

Access fees may be charged at some sites.

  • J.T. Myers Dam (Uniontown Dam), 15 miles southwest of Mount Vernon in Posey County, accessible at Hovey Lake FWA.
  • Newburgh Dam—in the town of Newburgh off of State Road 66.
  • Cannelton Dam—follow Taylor Street south from State Road 66 in Cannelton.
  • McAlpine Dam—located at Clarksville.
  • Access at Falls of the Ohio State Park. Accessible boat ramp located at George Rogers Clark Homesite in Clarksville. Access at New Albany off of Water Street in Jaycee Riverfront Park.
  • Markland Dam—near Markland in Switzerland County. Accessible at DamVue River Camp or Vevay boat ramp.



Minnows and Crayfish

You may take minnows or crayfish from the Ohio River by the following methods only:

  • A minnow trap not to exceed three feet long and 18 inches in diameter nor having a throat opening greater than one inch in diameter.
  • A dip net no more than three feet in diameter.
  • A minnow seine no more than 30 feet long and six feet deep nor having mesh size larger than ¼ inch bar mesh.
  • A cast net not to exceed 20 feet in diameter nor having mesh size larger than ¾ inch stretch.
  • Legal sportfishing methods listed on this page.

Ohio River Daily Bag and Size Limits



Daily Bag Limit

Minimum Size

Largemouth Bass


12 inches

No size limit on spotted bass

Smallmouth Bass

Spotted Bass

White Bass


No more than four fish may be 15 inches or longer

Yellow Bass

Striped Bass

Hybrid Bass

Rock Bass








30 inches

Tiger Muskellunge





Hybrid Walleye (Sauger)

*Singly or in aggregate means that the daily bag limit includes any combination of the species.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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