How to Get an Ohio Fishing License

Fishermen on the artificial reef in Cleveland, OH. Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline, as well as the state's many rivers and inland lakes, offer excellent fishing opportunities, but first, you must get an Ohio fishing license. It's easy and affordable. Learn how here. Note: Ohio generally offers a weekend of free fishing (no license required) in early May each year for Ohio residents.

Who Needs a License?

All fishermen and women in Ohio need a valid license, except the following:

  • Anglers under 16
  • Anglers in a private pond
  • Anglers assisting a disabled fisherman
  • Those fishing on their own land
  • Tenants fishing on the land where they live
  • US Armed Forces personnel on leave or furlough
  • Anyone fishing on Ohio free fishing days (usually the first weekend in May)

How Much Does an Ohio Fishing License Cost?

Residents of the State of Ohio (with at least six months residency) pay the following fishing license fees (2016 prices). Licenses are valid from March 1 until the last day of February each year.

  • Standard License (ages 16 - 65) - $19.00
  • Senior License (ages 66 - 70) - $10
  • Age 70 and older - no charge (but you still need a license)
  • One-Day Fishing License - $11
  • Lake Erie Charter License -- $11 (for residents AND non-residents)
  • Duplicate resident license (for one that has been lost or stolen) - $4

All of the above prices include the required $1 processing fee.

What Are the Fishing License Fees for Non-Residents?

Visitors from other states (and other countries) pay the following licensing fees:

  • One Year Non-resident License - $40
  • Three-day Tourist License - $19
  • Duplicate non-resident license (for one that has been lost or stolen) - $4

All of the above prices include the required $1 processing fee.

Who Qualifies for a Free License?

In addition to fishermen and women age 70 and older, the following people qualify for a free Ohio fishing license:

  • Disabled Veterans
  • Former POWs
  • Residents of State and County Institutions
  • Physically Disabled Persons
  • Active members of the U.S. armed forces on leave or furlough. (Active service members stationed in Ohio must purchase a fishing license.)

Where Can You Buy an Ohio Fishing License?

Ohio fishing licenses may be purchased online via the Ohio Wildlife website. Alternately, you can purchase a license at one of the hundreds of outlets throughout the state. These are listed on the same website. License bureaus accept cash, Visa, Mastercard and Discover card as payment. Proof of residency is required for an in-state license.