Ohio Sea Grant, Division of Wildlife launch ‘Erie PrOH’ certification for fishing guides

Sep 6, 2023 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Lake Erie anglers who rely on charter guides for fishing will soon have a richer experience out on the water thanks to a new certification program from the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) and Ohio Sea Grant.

The program, Erie PrOH, launched last month as a voluntary course that ensures fishing guides and crew members have detailed knowledge of fishery topics and can act as responsible stewards of the lake. A total of 59 guides have enrolled in the course and 47 had completed it throughout August.

“The idea is to empower guides to promote their industry and sustainable fishing in Lake Erie,” said Tory Gabriel, extension program leader for Ohio Sea Grant. “We’re helping guides be confident in the information they provide to their anglers while they’re spending a day with them out on the water.”

The online, self-paced course includes eight separate lessons on topics such as sportfish ecology, release and harvest, harmful algal blooms, aquatic invasive species, and guiding responsibility and safety. The course is not a substitute for the annual Lake Erie Fishing Guide license required by the ODOW to guide fishing trips on Lake Erie.

“The idea behind this was to develop a body of basic knowledge about Lake Erie packaged in a way so that everybody on the lake can speak the same language, have the same facts, and clear up any misconceptions,” said Angela Greene, education specialist for Ohio Sea Grant.

Fishing guides who complete the course are recognized as “Erie PrOH Certified” for five years and listed for anglers to find in a registry on Ohio Sea Grant’s website. They will receive a digital and print certificate, an onboard resource guide, and a vessel sticker. Through this certification, anglers can find guides that are environmental stewards, while guides can distinguish their business and enhance market visibility.

The program, modeled after a successful Florida Sea Grant program, was developed through a partnership between the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Ohio Sea Grant. A working team of experts from both institutions compiled information on lake issues that Angela Greene, OHSG education specialist, then translated into modules for the course.

For more information on the program, including a full list of contributors, visit go.osu.edu/EriePrOH. For questions about the course, contact Greene at greene.792@osu.edu.

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