Ohioans are encouraged to take advantage of "Free Fishing Days" on May 3-4 and experience the great fishing Ohio has to offer. For these two days only, Ohioans may fish in any of the state's public waters without having to buy a fishing license.
This special weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of fishing. During the rest of the year, anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters. An Ohio fishing license is one of the best recreation bargains available, costing only $19 a year for residents.
On Saturday, May 3, ODNR staff will be available to assist families at select locations from 10 a.m. until noon. They will provide instruction and a limited number of poles and bait will be available at each event.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has established locations that offer family-friendly fishing opportunities within Ohio State Parks. The designated family-friendly fishing areas are located at Sycamore State Park, Delaware State Park, Maumee Bay State Park and Caesar Creek State Park. These ponds will be open throughout the week and will be stocked with catchable channel catfish. Family-friendly fishing ponds are open to youths 15 and under. Those 16 and older must fish with a youth age 15 and under. See ohiodnr.gov/youthfishing for more information.
A fifth area for anglers 15 years and younger to enjoy is the Wildlife District Three youth fishing ponds. These fishing ponds will be open during the “Free Fishing Days” and then will reopen on the weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours of operation are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday as well as Labor Day, which is Monday, Sept. 2. Go to wildohio.com for more information on the youth-only fishing area.
Great fishing exists around the state and throughout the year. An estimated 1.3 million people fish each year in Ohio. In late winter and early spring, anglers reel in excellent catches of steelhead trout and walleye from northern Ohio streams. Spring also means great saugeye and crappie fishing. During the summer months, the fishing heats up on Lake Erie for yellow perch, walleye and bass, while anglers on the Ohio River enjoy excellent hybrid striped bass fishing.
Ohio's “Free Fishing Days” are designed to promote fishing and allow Ohioans to experience fishing before buying a license. The offer is open to all Ohio residents and extends to all of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
These family-friendly fishing areas are partially funded by the purchases of Ohio fishing licenses and federal contributions from the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) Fund.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.