April 20, 2020
Ohio Muskie Anglers,
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has taken a different approach to meeting our annual stocking needs for muskellunge during 2020 due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal of stocking 19,890 advanced fingerlings in nine reservoirs has not changed, but the way we need to go about it has.
This is obviously not a typical year and we have had to adjust in many ways. In a typical year, Division of Wildlife crews net adult muskellunge from Leesville Lake during early to mid-April to take and fertilize eggs for part of our muskellunge production. Then, additional fertilized eggs are obtained the Minor Clark State Fish Hatchery, operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), to augment our needs. Unfortunately, we could not collect eggs from Leesville Lake this year because the time period required to do so overlapped with the peak of COVID-19 ramping up, and, KDFWR did not take any muskellunge eggs this year for the same reason. Similar situations have occurred in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission believes that they may be able to provide our fish hatcheries with 55,000 2-3 inch fingerling muskellunge this June. These fish would be grown out in our hatcheries to advanced fingerlings to meet our annual stocking goal this fall. We are very appreciative of this generous offer and are hopeful that this approach works out. Fish production happens one step at a time and we will keep you posted as efforts progress.
Thank you for your understating and continued support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Executive Administrator, Fish Management & Research
ODNR Division of Wildlife
Phone: (614) 265-6554 e-mail: email@example.com
Thank you to the ODNR for helping insure the potential of a great muskie fishery on Lake Erie. Their hard work deserves more recognition for all that they do. The muskie destroyed was most likely in the four foot range.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has charged Szuch Fishery, Inc. with wildlife violations after investigators observed abuse and wanton waste of highly-prized game fish on March 31, 2020.
“This type of behavior is unexpected and unacceptable,” said Matt Leibengood, Law Enforcement Supervisor for the Division’s Lake Erie Enforcement unit. “I am proud of our investigators and officers working to protect Ohio’s natural resources.”
Division of Wildlife investigators observed and recorded Szuch employees intentionally injure a rare trophy-sized muskellunge after it was removed from a commercial fishing net in western Lake Erie. Employees were also observed removing numerous gar, a native fish important to the ecosystem, from commercial fishing nets and then breaking their spines and tossing the carcasses into the lake.
Szuch Fishery will appear in Oregon Municipal Court on charges of one count of causing intentional injury to a non-commercial fish species, 10 counts of stream littering and 10 counts of disposing of dead fish. Szuch employees Joseph Imre Jr., Holly Szuch, and Michael Szuch were each charged with one count of stream littering and one count of illegally disposing of dead fish.
If convicted, Szuch Fishery faces maximum penalties of $55,000 and a 30-day suspension of its ability to fish with commercial gear and to handle commercial fish or other fish at wholesale. The individuals face a maximum penalty of $750 and 90 days of incarceration.
Anyone can report a wildlife violation through the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) Program. Wildlife violations can be reported anonymously via phone call or text at 800-POACHER (762-2437).