New state record fish category opened for Blue Catfish
The Ohio Division of Wildlife recently removed the Blue Catfish from the state endangered species list, therefore making it legal to catch and possess.
According Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists, joint research conducted with the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources concluded that Blue Catfish populations in the lower Ohio River were substantial enough to warrant down listing the Blue Catfish from endangered to “species of special concern”.
“Our studies indicated that the numbers of Blue Catfish were more abundant then first thought,” said Rich Zweifel, fisheries biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. “Our sampling on the Meldahl pool found good numbers big Blue Catfish between 40 - 42 pounds, with a few over 50 pounds.”
Ohio’s largest populations of Blue Catfish are found in the Markland and Meldahl pools of the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Portsmouth. Blue Catfish can attain a weight of over 100 pounds. The current Kentucky State Record is 104 pounds and was caught from the Ohio River.
At one time Blue Catfish were common in the Ohio River, but after construction of the locks and dams their numbers were reduced significantly. According to biologists, populations of Blue Catfish in the Ohio River above the Greenup Dam are low in comparison to the populations in the Meldahl and Markland pool. Only West Virginia is currently rearing and stocking Blue Catfish.
The Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee, the organization responsible for Ohio’s state record fish program, has enacted a set of guidelines for submitting a potential new state record Blue Catfish. These guidelines were drafted after consultations with fisheries biologist and members of the State Record Fish Committee and go into effect January 1, 2008.
Regulations for submitting a potential new Ohio state record Blue Catfish.
*No entries will be accepted for Blue Catfish caught before January 1, 2008. All potential record fish must be caught legally using a rod & reel. Fish caught from bank lines, trot lines, jug lines, nets, snagged, grabbing, or other methods will not be accepted.
*All potential state record Blue Catfish are required to be weighed on state or county certified scales in front of two witnesses, whose name, address, phone number, and signature, must accompany the application.
*All potential state record Blue Catfish must be examined by a fisheries biologist from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
*A clear photograph showing the fish must also accompany the application.
*Fish will only be accepted from anglers with a valid Ohio fishing license caught from the main stem of the Ohio River within the state borders, any state of Ohio tributary, or from the shoreline of the Ohio side, or any Ohio public lake. Fish from “pay lakes” are not eligible. Fish caught from a Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia shoreline or tributary will not be accepted. A copy of the fishing license must accompany the application.
*Non-residents will be eligible for Ohio state record fish recognition providing they have a valid non-resident fishing license at the time the fish was caught.
*Blue Catfish entered into the state record fish list must be 45 inches in length.
*A downloadable application is available online at www.outdoorwritersofohio.org