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Free Fishing Days Weekend for Ohio Residents is June 20-21

The free fishing days weekend for Ohio residents is this Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of WildlifeOhio 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 or older are not required to obtain a fishing license to fish in the state’s public waters.

“Ohio offers extraordinary fishing opportunities in its lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “I invite all Ohioans to get outside and create lasting memories with family and friends during our free fishing days weekend.” 

Fish are plentiful in Ohio. The Division of Wildlife’s six fish hatcheries stocked more than 69 million sport fish in public waters in 2019, including walleye, saugeye, yellow perch, steelhead, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish and hybridstriped bass. An estimated 1.3 million Ohioans fish in the Buckeye State every year. 

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.

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 on Ohio’s free fishing days weekend. Fishing licenses are available from participating agents and at 

The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration program, continue to fund the Division of Wildlife’s fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.

For the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 safety guidance regarding fishing, please visit 

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

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