It’s so easy. To empty out unused minnows at the end of a fishing trip, you often just dump them in the lake. And that’s illegal. So don’t do it anymore!
I never thought much about it. At the end of every fishing trip, I’ve always carried the minnow bucket to the water’s edge and dumped all of our unused minnows back into the lake.
I figured I would let the little critters live a while longer. I mean if they’ve survived the rigors of my minnow bucket, sitting in the sun and being dunked back in the lake now and then. And since they’ve survived the scoop of death that took their pals off to life and death on a steel hook, the little critters should get the chance to swim free once again. Right?
Wrong, wrong wrong!
The Ohio Division of Wildlife is telling us not to empty that minnow bucket in the water. Dump the water out and throw the unused minnows in the trash.
“It’s a violation to throw them back in the lake. You can’t introduce any fish into Ohio waters. It’s a citable offense,” said Trent Weaver, Montgomery County officer for the Division of Wildlife.
“If a mother and little child decided to empty their goldfish bowl into a lake, that would be a violation. Do we write them (a ticket)? No, but something like that could be harmful to state waters,” Weaver added.
The whole thing goes back to Asian carp. Officials are taking every precaution to keep them out of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. That’s commendable. And while they’re at it, they want to keep all other invasives out, too.
I’ve done a fair amount of bait fishing and I can honestly say I have never encountered anything weird in my minnow bucket. I have had a tiny catfish from time to time, but that’s it.
Gene Marciniak has been selling minnows at his bait shop on Indian Lake for more than 25 years. “The only things I have seen have been an occasional crawdad or tadpole. And there are catfish now and then,” he said.
Don Sawmiller of Grand Lake Bait & Tackle Wholesale out of St. Marys, delivers minnows to area bait dealers. He, too, has never seen an Asian carp minnow among those he has sold. “You get frogs and crawdads now and then. The minnows I sell were all farm-raised in Arkansas,” he said.
An individual could seine minnows out of a tributary of the Ohio River and possibly capture some tiny bighead or silver carp. In fact, Sawmiller said tiny silver carp look a lot like shiners. So that’s why taking minnows out of the Ohio River or its tributaries is a no-no, especially if you go fishing at another lake or river. The law states it is illegal to possess a live bighead or silver carp. That means having it in a minnow bucket or live well.
“The state inspectors were just in here last week,” Marciniak said. “So they’re keeping an eye on it.”
Free Dove Workshop Set
The public is invited to attend a free dove hunting workshop on Aug. 22 at the Spring Valley Wildlife Area Range, 3450 Houston Road, Waynesville.
Topics to be covered by Division of Wildlife personnel include identification, habitat, equipment, techniques and regulations. After the discussion, participants will be able to shoot trap at the Spring Valley Wildlife Area Range. Equipment will be supplied.
The workshop will begin at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required by Aug. 21, as space is limited. Contact Brittany Kessler at (937) 372-9261 or by e-mail at Brittany.Kessler@dnr.state.oh.us.
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