Caught a fish

Gianna Mckinney is all smiles after catching a fish in 2016.

COLUMBUS — Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) has announced that Ohio’s Free Fishing Days event is this weekend, May 4 and 5.

Ohio law requires individuals to purchase a license to fish in the state’s lakes, reservoirs and streams. However, on May 4 and 5, everyone has the opportunity to fish free of charge and without buying a license.

“I love to fish with my daughters, and the Ohio Free Fishing Days event is a wonderful opportunity to introduce beginners to the sport of fishing or plan a fun event that everyone can take part in,” Obhof said.

The Ohio Senate passed legislation last year, which Obhof co-sponsored, to improve access and affordability for Ohio’s hunters and anglers. Ohio law now allows fishing licenses to be valid for a full year from the date of purchase, and the requirement to purchase a license every year was removed by establishing options to purchase three-year, five-year and lifetime license options.

To find local fishing areas, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ website at www.ohiodnr.org. Licenses can also be purchased online.

Free Fishing Days are open to all Ohio residents and extends to all state public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

The Free Fishing Days weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the joys of fishing. Consider introducing a child, neighbor, or coworker to fishing during this time. Choose a pond, lake, or stream where the person can easily catch a few fish. A spin-cast reel is usually easier for a beginner to pick up and use.

Bring plenty of patience! Keep the trip short, and helping the person dehook their fish, bait their lines, and taking pictures just might land you a new fishing buddy.

Consider purchasing a fishing license after the Free Fishing Days weekend. The sale of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration 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.

Find a place to go fishing near you:

Ohio Lake and Reservoir Maps.

Interactive Fishing Map.

Fishing in Ohio State Parks.