SPRINGFIELD, IL - An amended agreement has been adopted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources outlining regulations which allow licensed sport and commercial anglers from either state to fish in the Illinois-Kentucky boundary waters of the Ohio River.
Fishery administrators, biologists, and law enforcement officers from the two agencies developed the amended agreement to make it easier for sport and commercial fishermen to obey fishing regulations of both states.
“This new agreement updates those fishing regulations that are uniform to both states and those that vary somewhat between Illinois and Kentucky,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood. “We want anglers from both states and visitors to our region to enjoy their time fishing the Illinois-Kentucky boundary waters of the Ohio River, while at the same time help to protect and manage this great fishery properly.”
“This amendment clarifies and creates regulatory parity for the anglers utilizing this valuable resource,” said Dr. Jon Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Anglers are advised to review existing state fishing regulations for the Ohio River for both Illinois and Kentucky. Most existing state sport fishing regulations remain unchanged.
Highlights resulting from the amended agreement include:
• Each state recognizes the sport and commercial fishing licenses and permits of the other state on the main stem and from the banks of the Ohio River, excluding bays and tributaries where the Ohio River forms the state boundary.
• Provisions of the new amendment apply to sport and commercial fishing and do not include musseling.
• All anglers may continue to fish bank to bank on the main stem of the Ohio with a license issued by either Illinois or Kentucky. All fishermen must conform to the regulations of the state in which they are fishing unless regulations of their licensing state are more restrictive. In that case, anglers must conform to the more restrictive regulations.
• Anglers fishing from the Ohio River bank in either Illinois or Kentucky must obey the regulations of the state where the sport fishing is occurring.
• Snagging was not and still is not allowed from the Illinois bank of the Ohio River.
• Kentucky bow fishermen may not harvest paddlefish or catfish from Illinois waters.
• Illinois commercial fishermen (like Kentucky commercial fishermen) cannot fish within 50 yards of an outlet or inlet of an overflow lake or mouth of a river or stream on the Kentucky bank of the Ohio River.
• Illinois commercial fishermen (like Kentucky commercial fishermen) cannot fish above a line perpendicular to the end of the outer lock wall at Smithland Dam - or above a line perpendicular from the circular cell portion of the end of the longest lock wall at Dam 52 and Dam 53. In Kentucky waters, when wickets forming the dams at 52 and 53 are partially or totally removed, the restricted fishing area is enforced until the circular cell at the lock wall is totally submerged.
• Illinois licensed commercial fishermen fishing in Illinois waters of the Ohio River may fish the Illinois sturgeon season which is open from Oct. 1 through May 30. Illinois commercial anglers fishing in Kentucky waters must comply with Kentucky’s sturgeon season. The season in Kentucky is open from Oct. 15 through May 15.
• Kentucky commercial fishermen (like Illinois commercial fishermen) cannot fish trotlines under 24 inch spacing in Illinois waters.
• Kentucky commercial roe fishermen (like Illinois roe fishermen) fishing trammel and gill nets in Illinois waters must attend those nets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Standard Time and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daylight Saving Time from Oct. 15 through April 30. Other Kentucky commercial fishermen not roe fishing in Illinois waters must attend their gill and trammel nets during the period of Oct. 1 through April 30 from sunrise to sunset.
• Illinois commercial fishermen in Kentucky waters cannot remove the roe from sturgeon, bowfin and paddlefish. The roe must be left in the body cavity whole and intact while on the water or on the adjacent bank.
• Wildlife law enforcement officials from either state may inspect the licenses, harvest limits, creel limits and equipment of any person on the Ohio River subject to laws of either state.
Each state’s fishing regulations for the Ohio River and other waters are available from the respective agencies and on their web sites at http://dnr.state.il.us (Illinois) and http://fw.ky.gov (Kentucky).
For more information on the Illinois-Kentucky agreement regarding fishing privileges on the Ohio River, contact the IDNR Division of Fisheries, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/782-6424, or the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, phone 800/858-1549.