Grab your poles and bait: Ohioans to fish for free this weekend



This weekend Ohioans can fish for free in any of the state’s public waters, including the Ohio River and Lake Erie.

The free fishing weekend is on Saturday and Sunday. It’s the only weekend Ohioans 16 and older do not need to have a fishing license to fish.

“All Ohioans are invited to enjoy the fun and excitement of fishing during our free fishing weekend,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Fishing is a great way to introduce someone to the outdoors and make some lasting memories.”

A few tips to keep in mind when fishing whether old, or young:

  • Keep the trip simple by considering a child’s age and skill level.
  • Choose a pond, lake or stream where children are 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.

Ohio has many great places to fish and enjoy the water, whether it is a river, lake or stream. The free fishing weekend will offer the opportunity for people to catch all types of fishes, and maybe the first catch for younger fishers.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife had six fish hatcheries stocked with 46 million sport fish in more than 200 locations in 2020, including walleye, saugeye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish and hybrid striped bass, according to ODNR.

An estimated 1.3 million Ohioans fish in the state every year. To find a public fishing location near you, visit ODNR’s Find a Destination page.

Remember to check the 2021 Ohio Fishing Regulations Guidebook if you plan to keep your catch. If you are interested in the free fishing weekend or just want to make some memories more information including future license information and more can be found at both and

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