Ohio River Daily Bag and Size Limits

Largemouth Bass 6 (any combination of largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass) 12 inches
Smallmouth Bass No size limit on spotted bass
Spotted Bass
Hybrid Striped 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 Unlimited 13 inches; no more than one may be 35 inches or longer
Channel Catfish Unlimited 13 inches; no more than one may be 28 inches or longer
Flathead Catfish Unlimited 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
Walleye-Sauger Hybrid (Saugeye)
Shovelnose Sturgeon Unlimited 25 inches


Ohio River Fishing Regulations

Understanding the Jurisdiction

The Ohio River presents a unique fishing jurisdiction, managed cooperatively between Indiana and five other states. Specific rules and regulations are tailored to the main stem of the Ohio River, distinct from other Indiana fishing laws. These rules are exclusive to the main stem and do not extend to tributaries or embayments governed by general Indiana regulations.

License Reciprocity between Indiana and Kentucky

A significant agreement between Indiana and Kentucky allows mutual recognition of each state's fishing licenses specifically for the main stem of the Ohio River. This arrangement permits anglers to fish from bank to bank on the Ohio River with a license issued by either state, enhancing the fishing experience and accessibility. However, to fish the embayments or tributaries of either Indiana or Kentucky, an angler must possess a license from the respective state. It is crucial for anglers to adhere to the licensing regulations of the state they are licensed by, except when fishing from the bank, where they must follow the host state's regulations.

Fishing Equipment and Trot Line Regulations

Anglers on the Ohio River may use an unlimited number of poles, hand lines, or free-float lines, and are permitted up to 2 trot lines per individual. Trot line regulations are precise:

  • Each trot line may have a maximum of 50 droppers, spaced at least 18 inches apart.
  • Each drop line can have only one single or multi-barbed hook.
  • Trot lines must be checked at least once every 24 hours.
  • Each set line and trot line must have a legible tag marked with the user's name and address or DNR-issued Customer ID number.
  • Attachment of trot lines is restricted to certain natural features like tree limbs or banks.

Fishing Methods and Restrictions

Certain methods and practices are prohibited or restricted on the Ohio River:

  • Snagging is completely prohibited as a sport fishing method.
  • Paddlefish cannot be taken on a sport fishing license from any part of the Ohio River's Indiana waters.

Special Provisions for Invasive and Other Species

For invasive species such as carp, bowfin, buffalo fish, common carp, gar, shad, and suckers, specific methods are allowed:

  • Bows including long, compound, or crossbow with barbed arrows attached to a line.
  • Gigging is permissible from February 1 to May 10 with pronged or barbed instruments attached to a rigid object. Gigging from a boat or platform is prohibited.
  • Fish spears, spear guns, and underwater spears are allowed for taking certain species.

Prime Fishing Spots Along the Ohio River

Selecting Your Fishing Destination

The Ohio River boasts several prominent fishing sites, particularly near dams. However, anglers should note that within 200 yards of any dam, fishing is restricted to using a fishing pole or hand line. This rule is a safety measure due to the turbulent waters found near these structures. Below are some of the most notable fishing locations along the Ohio River, each offering unique features and access points.

Notable Fishing Sites

Indiana Ohio River Fishing Regulations

  1. J.T. Myers Dam (Uniontown Dam)

    • Location: About 15 miles southwest of Mount Vernon in Posey County.
    • Access Point: Accessible at Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area.
    • Features: This site offers a diverse fishing experience with the potential for various species.
  2. Newburgh Dam

    • Location: In the town of Newburgh off SR 66.
    • Access Point: The dam is easily accessible and provides a scenic backdrop for fishing.
  3. Cannelton Dam

    • Location: Follow Taylor Street south from SR 66 in Cannelton.
    • Access Point: This area is known for a variety of fish species and scenic views.
  4. McAlpine Dam

    • Location: Located at Clarksville.
    • Access Point: The area around McAlpine Dam is frequented by anglers due to its abundant fish population.
  5. Falls of the Ohio State Park

    • Location: Accessible boat ramp located at George Rogers Clark Homesite in Clarksville.
    • Additional Access: New Albany off of Water Street in Jaycee Riverfront Park.
    • Features: Besides fishing, the park offers educational and recreational activities.
  6. Markland Dam

    • Location: Near Markland in Switzerland County.
    • Access Points: Accessible at DamVue River Camp or Vevay boat ramp.
    • Features: The area is known for its beautiful natural scenery and good fishing spots.

Access Fees and Regulations

While exploring these fishing destinations, be mindful that some sites may charge access fees. Always check the latest information and regulations of the specific area you plan to visit. Fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of these fishing sites for future enjoyment.

Harvesting Minnows and Crayfish on the Ohio River

Permissible Methods for Capturing Minnows and Crayfish

When fishing or collecting bait such as minnows and crayfish in the Ohio River, specific methods are legally sanctioned to ensure sustainable practices and environmental protection. Below are the approved means for taking minnows and crayfish from the river:

  1. Minnow Trap:

    • Dimensions: Cannot exceed 3 feet in length and 18 inches in diameter.
    • Throat Opening: The entrance cannot have a diameter greater than 2 inches.
  2. Dip Net:

    • Size: The net should not exceed 3 feet in diameter.
    • Usage: Typically used for quickly scooping up minnows near the surface or edges.
  3. Minnow Seine:

    • Size: Must be no more than 30 feet in length and 6 feet in depth.
    • Mesh Size: The mesh should not be larger than ¼ inch bar mesh.
  4. Cast Net:

    • Diameter: Should not exceed 20 feet.
    • Mesh Size: The mesh cannot be larger than ¾ inch stretch mesh.

Legal Sport Fishing Methods

In addition to the specific gear and methods outlined for capturing minnows and crayfish, anglers should also adhere to legal sport fishing methods as designated on the Ohio River fishing regulations page.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.