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Bait Dealer/Collector Permit

Bait Dealer/Collector Permits are issued annually by the ODNR, Division of Wildlife through our online application system or through our District and Sandusky Fisheries and Enforcement Unit offices. Please refer to the Bait Dealer & Bait Collector Law Digest for information on the Bait Dealer/Collector Permit.

Additional Information:

REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE HARVEST, HOLDING AND SALE OF BAIT FISH, CRAYFISH, AND LARVAL AQUATIC INSECTS: 

  1. Any individual Bait Permit holder or company designee may take minnows, crayfish, hellgrammites, and other larval aquatic insects, suckers not exceeding 10 inches in length, common carp, skipjack herring, smelt, brook silversides, brook sticklebacks, gizzard shad, trout-perch, sculpins, darters, topminnows, and mudminnows from any waters in the state of Ohio at any time and in any number except as prohibited by this or other rules of the Ohio Administrative Code. A valid Ohio fishing license is also required of any collector. 

IT IS UNLAWFUL: 

  • For a permit holder or designated employee, agent or officer of such as person or company to possess minnows, fish, crayfish, hellgrammites and other aquatic insects at any place, except at the address listed on the application for a bait dealer’s permit, without having each receptacle containing fish, crayfish, and hellgrammites marked with the dealer’s name, address, and permit number in letters and numerals at least one-half inch high in the English language; 
  • For any person to take any fish not mentioned in OAC 1501:31-13-04(A)(1) by the aid or use of a net, trap, or seine; 
  • For any person except a permit holder or a licensed fishing guide providing bait to their customers to have in possession more than 100 crayfish or 500 in the aggregate of minnows, suckers not exceeding 10 inches in length, common carp, brook silversides, brook sticklebacks, skipjack herring, gizzard shad, trout-perch, sculpins, darters, topminnows, and mudminnows; however, smelt, hellgrammites, other larval aquatic insects, and preserved minnows may be possessed and sold in unlimited numbers except as stated in ORC 1533.57; 
  • For a permit holder to sell to any person, other than another permit holder, at any time more than 100 crayfish or 500 in the aggregate of minnows, suckers not exceeding 10 inches in length, common carp, brook silversides, brook sticklebacks, skipjack herring, gizzard shad, troutperch, sculpins, darters, topminnows, and mudminnows; however, smelt, hellgrammites, other larval aquatic insects, and preserved minnows may be possessed and sold in unlimited numbers; 
  • For a nonresident to collect/take minnows, crayfish, or hellgrammites without first obtaining a nonresident fishing license as prescribed in ORC 1533.32 and 1533.40. 
  1. Minnows and bait fish raised under an Aquaculture permit in private hatchery ponds, or legally acquired from within the state, may be sold to and possessed by permit holders in unlimited numbers. Such dealers and propagators may sell such minnows and bait fish to other bait dealers and propagators in and out of the state in unlimited numbers (except for item 3 below), provided they make and keep a record of each such sale. Records shall be on file in the place of business and shall be open for inspection at all reasonable hours. 
     
  2. Lake Erie emerald shiners (Notropis atherinoides Rafinesque) may be taken, sold, or possessed by permit holders in unlimited numbers, and such dealers may sell minnows to other bait dealers in and out of the state in unlimited numbers, provided they make and keep a record of each such sale, and provided that no shiners are moved south of the U.S. Route 6/I-90 line of demarcation, due to the VHS virus (see Ohio Dept. of Ag. guidance and OAC 901: 1-17-13 and 1-17-14). Records shall be open for inspection at all reasonable hours. 
     
  3. It shall be unlawful for any person to take crayfish and larval aquatic insects by any method, from nine p.m. to the following four a.m., except by trapping, angling or by hand picking. This provision does not apply to east and west harbors in Ottawa County, and such waters where fishing with nets is licensed by law. 
     
  4. It shall be unlawful for any permit holder to sell or offer for sale as bait: sunfish (bluegill, longear, green, orange-spotted, pumpkinseed, or redear sunfish) or bullheads (yellow, brown or black bullheads) unless those fish have been legally acquired from a person permitted under ORC 1533.40 or 1533.632 or legally acquired and imported from out-of-state.  Permit holders selling sunfish and/or bullhead must provide a receipt listing: 
  • The date and time of sale; 
  • The number of fish by species; 
  • The name and address of the seller. 
  • Customers possessing sunfish, and/or bullheads from this sale must possess a receipt from the seller bearing the same information. 
  1.  It shall be unlawful for any person to possess, buy, sell or offer for sale live skipjack herring within the Lake Erie drainage basin, except as provided for in ORC 1533.632. 
     
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person permitted under ORC 1533.40 or 1533.632 to fail to keep accurate daily records of all transactions with other bait dealers and aquaculture operations from inside or outside the state. Such records shall be for all sales or purchases of minnows, fish, crayfish, hellgrammites and other larval aquatic insects and shall include: 
  • The type of animal bought or sold; 
  • The amount of animals in gallons, numbers or pounds; 
  • The date of sale or purchase; 
  • The name and address of the buyer and seller; 
  • It shall be unlawful to fail to keep these records for a period of less than two years.

For more information on REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE USE OF MINNOW SEINES, MINNOW DIP NETS, FISH TRAPS, AND CAST NETS see the Bait Dealer & Bait Collector Digest on the right.

Transportation of bait fish are covered under the FISH TRANSPORTATION Permit. See Permit link on the right.

Please visit The Ohio State University's Aquaculture Program website or the Ohio Aquaculture Association website for information on keeping bait fish, fish culture methods, nutritional requirements, aquaculture system design and management, species selection, and water quality management for existing and prospective aquaculturists.