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Ohio River Regulations

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Ohio River Daily Bag and Size Limits

Species

Daily Bag Limit

Minimum Size

Largemouth Bass

6, any combination of largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass

12 inches

No size limit on spotted bass

Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
Hybrid Bass

30, any combination of hybrid, white, or yellow bass

No more than four fish may be 15 inches or longer

Striped Bass
White Bass
Yellow Bass
Rock Bass

15

None

Blue Catfish

None

13 inches; no more than one may be 35 inches or longer

Channel Catfish

None

13 inches; no more than one may be 28 inches or longer

Flathead Catfish

None

13 inches; no more than one may be 35 inches or longer

Crappie

30

None

Muskellunge

2, any combination of muskellunge or tiger muskellunge

30 inches

Tiger Muskellunge
Walleye

6, any combination of walleye, sauger, or hybrid walleye

14 inches

Sauger
Walleye-Sauger Hybrid (Saugeye)
Shovelnose Sturgeon

None

25 inches

 

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.

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

Only the following can be used for sport fishing: an unlimited number of poles, hand lines, or free-float lines, and not more than 2 trot lines per individual. Each trot line can have no more than 50 droppers attached that are placed no closer together than 18” and have no more than 1 single or multi-barbed hook.

Trot lines must be checked at least once every 24 hours. Each set line and trot line must have affixed at least one legible tag marked with the name and address of the user or the individual’s DNR issued Customer ID number.

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

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

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

Asian carp, bowfin, buffalo fish, common carp, gar, shad, and suckers may also be taken with the following methods:

  • Long bow, compound bow, and crossbow with an arrow having one or more barbs and attached to a line.
  • 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.
  • Fish spear, spear gun, and underwater spear.

Where to Fish on the Ohio

Fishing within 200 yards below any dam on the Ohio River can only be done with a fishing pole or hand line. Fishing sites include:

  • J.T. Myers Dam (Uniontown Dam)– 15 miles southwest of Mount Vernon in Posey County, accessible at Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area
  • Newburgh Dam—in the town of Newburgh off State Road 66
  • Cannelton Dam—follow Taylor Street south from State Road 66 in Cannelton
  • McAlpine Dam—located at Clarksville
  • 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

Access fees may be charged at some sites. See map below for dam locations.

Minnows & Crayfish

Minnows and crayfish can be taken from the Ohio River by the following methods only:

  • A minnow trap that does not exceed 3 feet long and 18 inches in diameter and does not have a throat opening greater than 2 inches in diameter
  • A dip net no more than 3 feet in diameter
  • A minnow seine no more than 30 feet long and 6 feet deep that does not have a mesh size larger than ¼ inch bar mesh
  • A cast net not to exceed 20 feet in diameter that does not have a mesh size larger than ¾ inch stretch
  • Legal sport fishing methods listed on this page