Fishing license is a good investment

One of the best $20 investments I made in 2017 expires next week, and I’ll gladly renew for another 12 months.

Actually, it’s only $19. It’s for my annual Ohio resident fishing license. The 2018 version is required on and after March 1.

For around the cost of lunch for two, Ohio residents can enjoy 365 days of fishing on favorite lakes and rivers, including some of the world’s best water for walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch and steelhead trout.

Revenue generated by Ohio fishing license sales supports the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife’s fish management and research operations. Over the past several decades, Ohio’s fisheries have improved, and credit must be given to the watchful supervision of the Division of Wildlife’s fish people.

So what do we get for $19?

For one thing, we are served by scientists who study the relationships between Ohio’s game-fish species and their food and habitat. Armed with numbers, our state’s fisheries bosses can tweak rules and regulations to preserve and protect the resources.

Remember those days not so many years ago that it was difficult to pick through the tiny crappies in our lakes to find a few to fillet? Research indicated a size limit would help crappies grow to “keeper” size. That research was funded by Ohio fishing license money.

We also get dedicated local biologists and support personnel who execute initiatives to improve fish management. Crews regularly work on such projects as adding fish-holding cover to Ohio reservoirs and other valuable work.

Ohio anglers also benefit from aggressive stocking programs.

Steelhead trout are stocked annually in Lake Erie tributaries. All along Ohio’s north coast, stocked steelhead migrate out into the big lake to feed on the abundant baitfish and return to the streams in the fall.

Anglers who experience the spectacular fight of an Ohio steelhead quickly appreciate the value of our state’s investment in stocking.

Anglers at Mosquito Creek Reservoir have benefited enormously from Ohio’s walleye stocking program. Millions of fish are stocked at Mosquito every spring, providing the foundation for a fishery that ranks at the top of Ohio’s walleye waters.

To catch a glimpse of Ohio’s fishing license revenue in action, visit the boat ramp at Mosquito State Park on the reservoir’s south end this March. Crews set nets out on the lake after ice-out and collect male and female walleyes to harvest milt and roe. Fertilized eggs are transported to Ohio hatcheries.

Production is so successful that Ohio actually generates a surplus of walleye that can be traded with other states.

Fishing licenses can be purchased at many retailers around the Youngstown-Warren area. We also can buy online at in a new system launched last year that enables anglers to obtain a free reprint of their valid license.

Stocking, management and watchful administration are all enabled by our license fees. And from my perspective, the investment we anglers have made continues to pay off.

The evidence is in the success we enjoy on the water, even as development around our lakes and angling pressure continue to increase. I believe fishing is better today in Ohio than it was 30 years ago, so I’ll be among the million or so anglers to buy a fishing license again this year.

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