Home News Celebrate Father’s Day Weekend with Ohio’s Free Fishing Days on June 15-16

Celebrate Father’s Day Weekend with Ohio’s Free Fishing Days on June 15-16


COLUMBUS, Ohio – This Father’s Day weekend, Ohioans have a unique opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors without the usual constraints. On Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16, residents can fish at any public waterway without needing a fishing license, courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Governor Mike DeWine encourages families to take advantage of this special occasion. “Free fishing days give Ohioans the opportunity to create special moments outdoors with their families,” said DeWine. “Ohio is the heart of adventure, and I encourage everyone to pick up a fishing rod and enjoy what our state parks have to offer.”

This free fishing weekend includes all public lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers across the state, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. It’s the only weekend of the year when residents aged 16 and older can fish for free. Anglers under 16 can always fish for free and do not require a license. While the license requirement is waived, all other fishing regulations, size requirements, and bag limits still apply.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz emphasizes the importance of exploring Ohio’s outdoor recreational opportunities. “These free fishing days allow anglers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy Ohio’s rivers, lakes, and streams together,” said Mertz.

Tips for Beginners

For those new to fishing, the Division of Wildlife offers some helpful tips:

  • Consider the age and skill level of participants and keep the trip simple.
  • Choose locations where beginners have a good chance of catching fish.
  • Use live bait to increase the odds of success.
  • Take plenty of photos and bring snacks.
  • Be patient and prepared to spend time untangling lines, baiting hooks, waiting for bites, and landing fish.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

“A weekend of fishing is the perfect way to celebrate the start of summer and spend time outdoors with friends and family,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “With hundreds of public locations to choose from, the Buckeye State offers anglers the chance to cast a line close to home or at a coveted destination.”

Ohio’s waterways, including Lake Erie, the Ohio River, and numerous inland lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and streams, offer exceptional fishing opportunities. In 2023, ODNR stocked nearly 41 million fish in Ohio waters, providing ample opportunities for a fruitful fishing trip.

For more resources to make your fishing trip enjoyable and successful, use the HuntFish OH mobile application or visit the Go and Do fishing page at ohiodnr.gov. The Division of Wildlife also offers online modules, events, enhanced learning, and recipes through the Wild Ohio Harvest Community to help beginners get started.

Outside of the free fishing days on June 15-16, anglers aged 16 and older must have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs, and turtles. Licenses can be purchased at participating agents, at wildohio.gov, or on the HuntFish OH mobile application. A one-year resident fishing license is $25 and offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. Be sure to check the 2024-25 Fishing Regulations before heading out.

This Father’s Day weekend, make lasting memories with your loved ones by participating in Ohio’s free fishing days. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a beginner, Ohio’s public waterways offer a perfect setting for a fun and rewarding fishing experience.