COLUMBUS – Free Fishing Days on May 4-5 offers Ohio residents the opportunity to fish in any of the state’s public waters without buying a fishing license, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“It is important to introduce kids to fishing at a young age, and these free educational opportunities are a great way to get kids acquainted with fishing,” said ODNR director James Zehringer. “We want to ensure that this pastime continues as an important family tradition for our children and grandchildren.”
Ohio’s Free Fishing Days are open to all Ohio residents and extends to all of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. An estimated 1.3 million people fish each year in Ohio, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked 24 million fish in 2012 alone.
Some different species of fish Ohioans might hook include steelhead trout, walleye, saugeye, crappie, yellow perch, bass, bluegill and catfish.
The Free Fishing Days weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of fishing. Here are some helpful tips for taking a youngster out for Free Fishing Days.
• 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.
• A spin-cast reel is usually easy for kids to use.
• Bring a camera, and keep the trip fun and short.
• Be patient – plan on spending time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures.
Anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters during the rest of the year. An Ohio resident fishing license costs only $19 per year.
Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, can obtain a free fishing license at any license vendor or online at wildohio.com. Residents age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, are eligible for a $10 senior fishing license. A one-day fishing license is available for $11, an amount that can later be applied toward the cost of an annual fishing license. Fishing licenses are available at participating agents and wildohio.com.
The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund ODNR Division of Wildlife fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.