The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) hopes to reach out to residents in the State of Ohio who have an interest in fishing, but do not currently have a fishing license. Thousands of Ohioans use the state’s various rivers, lakes and streams throughout the year improving their angling skills, while enjoying a time of fellowship with family and other loved ones.
On Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8, 2016, the State of Ohio will allow any Ohio resident to use the state’s waterways to fish, whether they have a fishing license or not.
“It’s an opportunity for people to get outside,” ODNR Wildlife Communications Specialist Lindsay Rist said. “Maybe they haven’t tried fishing before, or maybe it has been years since they have been out fishing, so by removing that license requirement they can just pick up their fishing tackle to give it a try and see if it is something they would enjoy.”
The annual Free Fishing Days event will give any Ohio resident the opportunity to try fishing without having to go out and purchase a fishing license. The ODNR hopes the two-day event will give individuals a chance to experience the many lakes, rivers and streams while generating an excitement toward fishing.
Rist and the ODNR also hope many residents will use the free two days of fishing to experience their home state.
“It’s also an opportunity to get people outside and enjoy nature, and everything Ohio has to offer,” Rist said.
There is not a concrete number of how many Ohioans take part in the annual event, but Rist acknowledged there is a noticeable increase in use during the Free Fishing Days weekend.
Ohio State Parks are adding an incentive to entice Ohioans to take advantage of the annual event. For Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7, 2016, all state parks will offer a discount for Ohio residents wishing to stay at a state park during the Free Fishing Days.
Those staying at Ohio State Parks during the weekend can receive up to a 20 percent discount for their stay Friday and Saturday nights, May 6 and 7.
“We’re encouraging people to camp at a state park this weekend and take advantage of the free fishing,” Rist said.
After the Free Fishing Days event has concluded, all individuals, aged 16 years and older, wishing to continue fishing in the state are required to have an active fishing license. Licenses cost $19 for a year, which begins March 1, and concludes on the last day of February.
Anyone interested in obtaining an Ohio fishing license can purchase one at participating retail outlets, or on the ODNR website, www.ohiodnr.gov. A list of participating retailers can also be found on the ODNR website.
The 2016 Free Fishing Days event is only open to Ohio residents to fish in the rivers, lakes, and streams located in the state. Rist did confirm Ohioans are allowed to fish in the Ohio River during the two-day event.
Additional information on the Free Fishing Days as well as the camping discount may be obtained by calling Shawnee State Park at 740-858-6652.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.