Get 'hooked' during Ohio's free fishing days, no license required. Here's what to know

Cincinnati Enquirer

Is fishing luring you in? Or are you looking to get a friend hooked?

Well, get ready to cast a line -- Ohio's free fishing days are coming soon. No license needed.

Here's what you should know.

When are Ohio's free fishing days?

Free fishing days in Ohio are set for Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, .

It's the only weekend of the year when Ohio residents age 16 and older can fish the state's public lakes and rivers without a license. Anglers under age 16 are not required to have a license. All other fishing regulations, such as size requirements and bag limits, are in effect.

What fishing spots are open during free fishing days?

All Ohio public waterways -- including the Ohio River and Lake Erie -- are open to fishing this weekend.

“With hundreds of public locations to choose from, the Buckeye State offers anglers the chance to cast a line close to home or at a coveted destination,” Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said in a statement.

A fisherman pictured at Winton Woods Park in the suburbs of Cincinnati. Fishing licenses are required in Ohio to fish almost anywhere, except during the state's annual free fishing days. In 2024, the days are set on June 15 and 16.

How to find good public fishing spots

If you're looking for good places to fish, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has tools that can help.

ODNR offers an app, , that offers interactive maps and the latest hunting and fishing resources. Also, ODNR's offers an of public lakes, showing boat ramp location and what features in the lakes tend to attract fish, among others information.

New to fishing?

For those heading out with a rod and reel for the first time, ODNR has some advice:

  • Consider a person’s age and skill level and keep the trip simple.
  • Pick a pond, lake, or stream where beginners can easily catch a few fish.
  • Use live bait to increase the odds of catching a fish. Live bait is also more interesting for children.
  • Take plenty of photos and bring snacks.
  • Be patient. Be prepared to spend time untangling lines, baiting hooks, waiting for a bite, landing fish, and taking pictures.

ODNR's also offers guidelines on getting started, as well as events and recipes for your catch.

How much is a fishing license in Ohio?

If fishing has lured you in, you'll need a license, which can be purchased on the . Prices vary, depending on if you're buying a license for a day or a year, for example, but none exceed $25 for Ohio residents.