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Ohio River Regulations

Fishing Regulations Indiana Freshwater Fishing

Ohio River Daily Bag and Size Limits

Species

Daily Bag Limit

Minimum Size

Largemouth Bass

6*

12 inches

No size limit on spotted bass

Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
Hybrid Bass

30*

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

Channel Catfish

None***

13 inches

Flathead Catfish

None**

13 inches

Crappie

30

None

Muskellunge

2*

30 inches

Tiger Muskellunge
Walleye

10*

None

Sauger
Hybrid Walleye (Sauger)
Shovelnose Sturgeon

None

25 inches

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.

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 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 hooks, 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 check 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 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.

Ohio River sport fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, yellow bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, white crappie, tiger muskellunge, northern pike, trout, and paddlefish.

Paddlefish may not be taken from any portion of 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.

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 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

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