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Free Fishing Weekend

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Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

(COLUMBUS) – The free fishing weekend for Ohio residents is Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Ohio residents may fish for free in any of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio river, during this weekend. It is the only weekend all year when those 16 years old and older are not required to obtain a fishing license to fish in the state’s public waters.
“All Ohioans are invited to enjoy the fun and excitement of fishing during our free fishing weekend,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Fishing is a great way to introduce someone to the outdoors and make some lasting memories.”

Ohio offers extraordinary fishing opportunities in its lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. The Division of Wildlife’s six state fish hatcheries stocked 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. An estimated 1.3 million Ohioans fish in the Buckeye State every year.
The free fishing weekend offers the chance to experience the thrill 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 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.

Finding the perfect spot to wet a line has never been easier. Visit the Find a Destination page at to explore public fishing locations near you. If you are new to fishing and need a bit more guidance before getting started, the Division of Wildlife provides many resources to make your fishing trip fun and successful. Find information on fishing special locations, such as Lake Erie and the Ohio River, fishing tips and tricks, and suggestions on fishing for specific species on the Fishing License and Resource page at
Anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs, or turtles from Ohio waters when not fishing during Ohio’s free fishing weekend. A fishing license is available from participating agents and at Remember to check the 2021 Ohio Fishing Regulations Guidebook if you plan to keep your catch.