COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife today announced that May 4-5 will be Ohio’s free fishing weekend, when Ohio residents may fish for free in any of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
It is the only weekend all year when those 16 years old or older are not required to obtain a fishing license to fish in the state’s public waters.
“Ohio has world-class fishing, and our free fishing weekend is a great opportunity to experience what the state has to offer,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “I invite Ohioans to take some time to get outside with family and friends to enjoy our wonderful natural resources.”
The Division of Wildlife’s six fish hatcheries stocked more than 44 million sport fish in public waters in 2018, including walleye, saugeye, steelhead, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish and hybrid striped bass, which will provide opportunities for the estimated 1.3 million Ohio anglers.
Ohio State Parks is also offering a camping discount during Ohio’s Free Fishing Days. Visitors can receive a 20 percent discount on campsites May 3-4 by using the promotion code 19ANGLER. Make a reservation by going to ohiostateparks.reserveamerica.com or calling 866-OHIOPARKS (866-644-6727).
The Free Fishing Days weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of catching a fish. Here are some helpful tips for taking a youngster out fishing:
Keep the trip simple by considering a child’s age and skill level.
Choose a pond, lake or stream where children will be able to easily catch a few fish.
Use live bait to increase the chance of catching a fish. Live bait is also more interesting for children.
Bring a camera and snacks.
Be patient — plan on spending time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures.
Most of all, keep the trip fun.
Anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters when not fishing on Ohio’s free fishing weekend. Fishing licenses are available from participating agents and at wildohio.gov.
The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration program, continue to fund the Division of Wildlife’s fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.