By Okon Ekpenyong, Grace Washington, and Stephanie Barnes
Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Wildlife and the InnovateOhio Platform, has launched four new fishing tools on the DataOhio Portal.
At the “Where to Fish on Ohio’s Free Fishing Days” media event, Lt. Governor Husted shared that Ohioans can now access the Where to Fish, Sport Fish Report, Angler Survey and Waterbody Report tools.
These resources include interactive maps, graphs, and table surveys that allow users to customize their search based on criteria most important to them. The announcement of these new tools comes just before this year’s Ohio Free Fishing Days.
On June 17 and 18, 2023, all Ohio residents can fish for free in public waters. A fishing license is not required; however, fish size and limits will still apply.
“The best places to fish are usually kept secret, but not in Ohio,” said Lt. Governor Husted.
“Now anglers can find out where the fish are through the DataOhio Portal that provides data-driven guidance on the best fishing opportunities across the state. This tool is designed to take you where the fishing is the best, but figuring out how to catch them is still on you.”
The Where to Fish tool equips anglers with a guide on where they are most likely to find the best fishing opportunity based on their interests and criteria. Users can enter the radius in which they are willing to travel, their sport fish species of interest, and their preference of population abundance or size of fish. The tool will filter the user’s selection to identify waterbodies nearby that match their preferences.
The Sport Fish Report tool displays relative abundances (catch per effort) based on a user’s selections of species of interest. Users can identify differences in abundance based on their elections of sport fish species, and whether they search statewide or by a specific location in Ohio.
The Angler Survey tool combines the outcomes of angler surveys for a waterbody and year of interest. Users interested in where anglers go most often to catch fish and how many are caught per hour can use this tool. Each summarized fish species, time spent fishing, the percentage of anglers who fished for that species, and their catch rates are displayed.
If a user is interested in identifying the sport fish in their favorite reservoir, stream, or pool of the Ohio River, they can use the Waterbody Report to select their favorite location and see changes in the sport fish abundance, size, and structure throughout time. In addition, they can view the average length-based growth data by species based on location and year or years of interest.
“We strive to provide the best and latest information to anglers before, during, and after they go fishing,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Ohio has a multitude of locations that are waiting for exploration. These online tools help get anglers to those areas.”
These tools join ODNR’s Ohio Fish Stocking Records, the most popular dashboard on the DataOhio portal with over 63,000 views. Announced by Lt. Governor Husted in 2021, the “Ohio Fish Stocking Records” contains records of fish stocked by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources dating back to 1970. Users can access these records and the new fishing tools by using the keyword “Fish” to search the Data Catalog.
The four new dashboards may also be found on the DataOhio Portal’s homepage under “Featured Datasets.”
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