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Ohio offering weekend of free fishing May 4-5

Anglers young and old can fish for free in any of Ohio's public waters, including Lake Erie

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Grab your rod and reel! 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has set this weekend (May 4-5) as Ohio’s free fishing weekend.

It's the only weekend all year when Ohio residents 16 years or older may fish for free, without being required to obtain a license, in any of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. 

“Ohio has world-class fishing, and our free fishing weekend is a great opportunity to experience what the state has to offer,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in a statement. “I invite Ohioans to take some time to get outside with family and friends to enjoy our wonderful natural resources.” 

Ohio's Free Fishing Days were established in 1993 to promote fishing and allow Ohioans to experience fishing before buying a 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 plenty of opportunities for the estimated 1.3 million Ohio anglers. 

During the rest of the year, a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters is required. Fishing licenses are available from participating agents and at wildohio.gov.