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ODNR Announces Free Fishing Weekend

Today the Ohio Department of Natural resources (ODNR) announced that May 4-5 will be Ohio's free fishing weekend. Ohio residents may fish for free in any of Ohio public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

It is the only weekend all year those 16 or older are not required to have a fishing license.

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.

In addition to the weekend Ohio State Parks are offering a discount during the free fishing days. Visitors can receive a 20 percent discount on campsites.

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.

Fishing licenses are available from participating agents at

Photo courtesy of the Division of Wildlife

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