COLUMBUS — Ohio’s annual free fishing weekend provides all Ohio residents the chance to experience any one of hundreds of public fishing locations on Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
This will be the only weekend of the year in which Ohio residents 16 and older can fish public waters without purchasing a fishing license. During that weekend, Ohio residents can fish for free in any of Ohio’s public waters, including those of Lake Erie and the Ohio River. All other fishing regulations, size limits, and bag limits apply.
The Division of Wildlife hosts one free fishing weekend each year that aims to expand access to and participation in this cherished outdoor activity. The free fishing weekend is an excellent chance to get outside and experience the thrill of fishing at no cost. Anglers are encouraged to introduce someone new to fishing, especially youth, and make lasting memories on the water. An estimated 1.3 million Ohioans fish in the Buckeye State every year.
The free fishing weekend offers a unique chance for beginners and children to catch a fish. Here are some tips for those who might try fishing for the first time:
• Keep the trip simple by considering the person’s age and skill level.
• Choose a pond, lake, or stream where beginners can 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.
Ohio’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams offer extraordinary fishing opportunities. The Division of Wildlife manages the fisheries of 124,000 acres of inland water, 7,000 miles of streams, 2¼ million acres of Lake Erie, and Ohio’s portion of 481 miles of the Ohio River.
The Division of Wildlife works to improve spawning habitat, construct fish attractors and structures, implement fishing regulations, and stock upwards of 43 million sport fish annually. More than 200 locations statewide are stocked with species such as walleye, saugeye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish, and hybrid-striped bass.
There are many resources to make your fishing trip fun and unforgettable. Use the HuntFishOH mobile application or visit the Go and Do fishing page at ohiodnr.gov to explore public fishing destinations near you. If you are new to fishing and need help getting started, the Division of Wildlife has the resources to set you up for success. The Wild Ohio Harvest Community has online modules, events, learning opportunities, and recipes to get you started. Find information on special locations like Lake Erie and the Ohio River, fishing tips and tricks, and suggestions for targeting specific species on the Fishing License and Resources page at wildohio.gov.
If you are fishing outside of the free fishing weekend June 18-19, 2022, all anglers 16 and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs, and turtles. Licenses can be purchased at participating agents, at wildohio.gov, or on the HuntFishOH mobile application. Remember to check the 2022-2023 Fishing Regulations before you go.