New Rules on Cleaning Fish in Ohio

Ohio state officials say new regulations on fish cleaning and possession are a practical way to help prevent rulebreakers from overharvesting Lake Erie fish.

The new regulations require anyone cleaning fish to leave the skin attached until they reach their permanent residence.For fish cleaners, that means peeling skin from filets all the way down to the last inch or so, then bagging the filets with skin still attached.

The new regulations are part of an effort to make fish easy to inspect for wildofficers. The new rule covers anglers fishing in Ottawa County, and is not widely enforced elsewhere.

Wildlife officers inform most people they come across of the new rules. The only citations issued were when officers found people who were over the limit. In the past, wildlife officials have found some anglers keep far more fish than allowed under ODNR limits in the Western Basin.

Once fish are cleaned and cut, and sometimes frozen, it is nearly impossible for wildlife officers to know what type of fish they're looking at. The new regulations are meant to keep anglers from loading up freezers full of fish.