Fish For Free Across Ohio June 15-16


Ohio’s annual free fishing days on Saturday, June 15, and Sunday, June 16, give all residents a chance to fish at any public waterway without a license, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. This includes Lake Erie, the Ohio River, and Ohio’s public lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers.

“Free fishing days give Ohioans the opportunity to create special moments outdoors with their families,” said Governor Mike 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.”

Ohio residents can fish for free on Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16, at any public lake, reservoir, stream, or river.

June 15 and 16 will be the only weekend of the year on which residents 16 years old and older can fish public waters for free without purchasing a fishing license. Anglers under 16 can fish for free year-round and are not required to hold a license. All other fishing regulations, size requirements, and bag limits apply.

“We encourage people to explore Ohio’s great outdoors with different recreational activities,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “These free fishing days allow anglers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy Ohio’s rivers, lakes, and streams together.”

Ohio’s free fishing days offer a unique chance to try fishing for the first time. Here are some tips for those just starting out:

  • Consider a person’s age and skill level and keep the trip simple.
  • Choose a pond, lake, or stream where beginners can easily catch a few fish.
  • Use live bait to increase the odds of catching a fish. Live bait is also more interesting for children.
  • Take plenty of photos and bring snacks.
  • Be patient. Be prepared to spend time untangling lines, baiting hooks, waiting for a bite, landing fish, and taking pictures.
  • 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 variety of waterways offers exceptional fishing. Including Lake Erie, the Ohio River, the thousands of inland lakes, reservoirs and ponds, and streams, Ohio is home to an abundance of fresh water and public fishing opportunities.

The Division of Wildlife works to improve spawning habitat, construct fish attractors and structures, and conserve fish populations through regulations. In 2023, ODNR stocked nearly 41 million fish in Ohio waters. More than 200 locations statewide are stocked annually with species such as walleye, saugeye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish, and hybrid striped bass.

There are many resources to make your fishing trip fun and unforgettable. Use the HuntFish OH mobile application or visit the Go and Do fishing page at to explore public fishing destinations near you. If you are new to fishing and need help getting started, the Division of Wildlife has the resources to set you up for success. The Wild Ohio Harvest Community has online modules, events, enhanced learning, and recipes to get you started. Find information on special locations like Lake Erie and the Ohio River, fishing tips and tricks, and suggestions for targeting specific species on the Fishing License and Resources page at

Outside of the free fishing days on June 15 and 16, all anglers 16 years old and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs, and turtles. Licenses can be purchased at participating agents, at, or on the HuntFish OH mobile application. A one-year resident fishing license is just $25 and opens the door to endless memories. Remember to check the 2024-25 Fishing Regulations before you go.

In 2022, anglers generated $5.5 billion in economic spending in Ohio. The research by the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates found that 18% of Ohio’s adults, about 1.7 million individuals, participate in fishing.

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.

In 2024, join ODNR as we celebrate 75 years of protecting Ohio’s natural resources and providing outstanding and award-winning recreational opportunities.

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