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Ohio Free Fishing Days set for the weekend

Ohioans are encouraged to take advantage of "Free Fishing Days" on May 5-6.

For these two days only, anglers may fish in any of the state's public waters without buying a fishing license.

Ohio's Free Fishing Days were established in 1993 to promote fishing and to allow the experience of fishing before buying a license. The offer is open to all Ohio residents and extends to all of Ohio’s public waters including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

The “Free Fishing Days” weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of fishing. For anyone taking a young angler, there's nothing more rewarding than teaching a kid to fish. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Keep it simple. Consider the child's age and skill level. If this is their first time, shore fishing is recommended.
  • Kids like to catch fish. The size of the fish doesn't matter to kids. But catching a fish does. Choose a pond, lake, or stream where they will easily be able to catch a few fish.
  • Use simple tackle. A good rod and reel for kids costs between $15 and $30. A spin-cast reel is easy to use and after a few practice casts, the child usually has mastered it.
  • Bring along a camera. Children love to show off pictures of their "big catch."
  • Keep the trip fun and short. Let the child have a good time, even if it means taking a break. Take time out to enjoy the time together.
  • Be patient. Plan on spending some time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures of big smiles and wiggling fish. When people concentrate all of their attention on their young angler, they will likely be developing a fishing buddy for a lifetime.

During the rest of the year, anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters. An Ohio fishing license only cost $19 a year for residents.

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, can obtain a free fishing license at any license vendor. Residents age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, are eligible to obtain a reduced cost senior fishing license for $10. A one-day fishing license is also available for $11, an amount that later can be applied toward the cost of an annual fishing license. Fishing licenses are available at bait and tackle stores, outdoor outfitters, major department stores, as well as wildohio.com.

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