Fish Ohio program rewards anglers for trophy catches

Fish Ohio pins

Anglers from 36 states and one Canadian province received 2012 Fish Ohio awards for big catches at Lake Erie, the Ohio River, inland waters and private ponds, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Fish Ohio program recognizes noteworthy catches among 20 individual species based on the size of the fish. Anglers who qualify receive a collectible Fish Ohio lapel pin and a certificate to signify the achievement. Those who reel in a qualifying fish can submit an entry to the Fish Ohio online registration at An individual who catches four different qualifying species in the same year receives a master angler pin. The master angler pin is similar to the Fish Ohio pin, except it is gold in color instead of silver.

Anglers submitted 12,642 Fish Ohio applications and 521 master angler applications in 2012. Lake Erie received the most Fish Ohio entries with 4,090. Private ponds were second (2,800) and the Ohio River was third (886).

Since Lake Erie was coined the “Walleye Capital of the World” by former Ohio Governor James Rhodes, it is worth noting that Lake Erie walleye received the most entries for one species in a single body of water (1,599) in 2012. Lake Erie also had the most entries for yellow perch, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass, rock bass, channel catfish, freshwater drum, carp and brown trout. The Ohio River yielded the most flathead catfish, hybrid striped bass, blue catfish and sauger.

The top inland lakes and rivers in 2012 were Mosquito Creek Lake (232 entries), the Maumee River (203) and Alum Creek Lake (175). Mosquito Creek Lake received the most entries for northern pike and crappie. Indian Lake was the top destination for saugeye, Rocky River produced the most rainbow trout, West Branch Reservoir had the most muskellunge and Portage Lakes had the most sunfish.

Crappie had the most overall entries in 2012, with 1,771, followed by walleye (1,727), sunfish (1,673), channel catfish (1,195) and yellow perch (972). Go to to see more information on the best places to catch big fish.

More than 450,000 anglers have received Fish Ohio recognition since the program began in 1976. The blue catfish was added as a Fish Ohio species in 2010, bringing the number of recognized species to 20. A crappie is featured on the 2012 Fish Ohio pin, and a brown trout is on the 2013 pin.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

back to top