National Fishing & Boating Week is June 1-9 and there are plenty of public options for young anglers across Ohio to get hooked on fishing.

Ohio’s conservation team of teens

By Dan Armitage, outdoor writer

You’ve got to like this program: Ohio teenaged conservationists are invited to join a team of high school leaders for the 2024-2025 Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC) — but you need to get your applications in quickly. Highly motivated students who are interested in natural resource conservation, outdoor outreach, wildlife, or simply making a positive impact in their state would make the perfect applicants, according to host Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“ODNR has spent the last 75 years creating a legacy of conservation,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “ConTAC is a way for teenagers to build upon that legacy and become future leaders who address issues that face our great outdoors.”

ConTAC gives students a chance to meet new peers from across the state with similar interests. Through monthly meetings and project work, members will develop and implement innovative and practical ideas that empower young people to protect and preserve Ohio’s natural resources. They will also provide feedback and make recommendations to enhance outdoor outreach. Council members also get the chance to explore careers in the natural resources sector and develop valuable networking and leadership skills.

Students must be entering grades 9-12 for the 2024-2025 school year to apply. Selections of the 2024-2025 ConTAC class will be made early this summer, so get your application in by June 5. Additional questions can be directed to William Armbruster at william.armbruster@dnr.ohio.gov.

Ohio’s wild turkey season results

Wild turkey hunters across Ohio checked 14,377 birds through this writing, May 12 of the spring 2024 season. The running statewide total represents 23 days of hunting in the 83 counties comprising the south zone, 16 days of hunting in the northeast zone (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties), and the 1,785 turkeys harvested over the two-day youth hunting weekend April 13-14. The 10 counties with the highest totals for wild turkey harvest so far in the 2024 season: Belmont (421), Monroe (417), Tuscarawas (416), Ashtabula (383), Gallia (381), Muskingum (380), Washington (380), Meigs (363), Guernsey (355), and Jefferson (353).

During the 2023 spring turkey season, hunters checked 14,279 birds in the Buckeye State through the corresponding date. The three-year average (2021 to 2023) for turkeys taken in the same time period is 12,781 birds. Find more information about Ohio’s wild turkey hunting at wildohio.gov.

Spectrum sailing hosts camps in Toledo

Spectrum Sailing, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides maritime education, programming and outreach for autistic individuals, has launched a new three-day sailing camp in Toledo June 11-13, hosted by North Cape Yacht Club. The free program covers general sailing knowledge with professional instructors, including lessons on:

• Water safety rules

• Wind direction and points of sail

• Boat parts

• On-the-water conditions

• Knots and rigging/de-rigging

For more information, visit spectrumsailing.org

ACE Act reauthorization

Members of the United States Senate voted in favor of the bipartisan America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Reauthorization Act (S. 3791). The critical legislation includes many priorities for the sportfishing industry, including funding for fish habitat restoration, pollution reduction in the Chesapeake Bay, invasive species management, and the protection of traditional tackle.

“The ACE Reauthorization Act will bolster America’s $148 billion sportfishing economy through funding for programs such as the National Fish Habitat Partnership, Chesapeake Bay Program, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act,” said Mike Leonard, Vice President of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “We applaud Senators Carper, Capito and the 14 additional bipartisan cosponsors for their leadership on this issue and their commitment to enhancing angling opportunities for America’s 54.5 million anglers.”

The ACE Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) and increases funding for the program to $10 million per year. NFHP is a voluntary, non-regulatory, and locally driven program that has funded more than 1,300 on-the-ground aquatic habitat improvement projects since 2016.

The legislation also protects the use of traditional fishing tackle by prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating lead-based fishing products through 2030.

Akron kids’ angling area closed for renovations

The Ohio Division of Wildlife youth fishing area in Portage Lakes is closed for renovations. Young anglers are encouraged to visit nearby Little Turtle Pond at Firestone Metro Park to fish this summer. Renovations to the Division of Wildlife’s youth fishing area will continue through 2025.

Options include Firestone Metro Park, located at 2400 Harrington Road, Akron, 44319. The location is less than 4 miles from the Portage Lakes youth fishing ponds. Little Turtle Pond is open for fishing year-round, with hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The pond is stocked with channel catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and sunfish. Only anglers 15 years old and younger may fish at this location.

This summer on select dates, Division of Wildlife staff is partnering with Summit Metro Parks to host youth fishing events, which include equipment and instruction. Visit wildohio.gov or summitmetroparks.org for more information.

All young anglers must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, but adults are not required to have a fishing license. Adults are not allowed to fish in the youth area; however, they may assist young anglers. Each young angler may keep only five fish per day at the youth fishing ponds. Catching and releasing fish for the duration of the visit is welcome.

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