How to Get a Fishing License in Ohio

How to Get a Fishing License in Ohio

If you like fishing, you should know that Ohio’s wildlife regulations are a bit complicated and require most people to have a fishing license. Luckily, almost everyone above the age of 16 can buy this license from the Ohio Wildlife Department’s website.

Don’t worry, though, the process of purchasing a fishing license is very simple, with multiple options to choose from. Remember, though, you’re supposed to pay a fee to get your license. Whatever you pay is used to maintain fishing piers and conserve aquatic life in the state.

The increasing threats to the aquatic eco-system in Ohio have led the government to implement strict fishing laws. Now, you need an Ohio fishing license if you’re planning on catch fishes, turtles, and frogs from the Ohio waters. 

This license is needed for both the residents and visitors. Usually, a single fishing license applies both to freshwater and saltwater fishing throughout Ohio. The basic rule is that everyone over 16 years of age must have a permit for fishing. 

Read on to know more about this license and how you can get it.

Can You Fish Without a License in Ohio?

The answer to this question is a little tricky. There are a few exceptions that allow certain people to catch fish in Ohio without a license. Also, there is a specific age limit, after which one needs to get a fishing license under Ohio’s Fishing laws. Sometimes, fishing at a particular lake or pond may get you a license exemption too. Despite these exceptions, almost everyone needs a license or permit to catch fish in Ohio. 

When Do You Need a Fishing License in Ohio?

Below is a summary of some important Ohio fishing regulatory laws. If you fall under any of these categories, you must have a license to catch animals from Ohio waters:

Anyone taking turtles and frogs while fishing in privately owned waters in Ohio must have a fishing license. This rule applies to even those water bodies from where fish don’t migrate.

Many privately owned water reservoirs in Ohio have been made open to the public for fishing under an agreement with ODNR. Anyone fishing in such private ponds is required to have a fishing license.  

Anyone fishing at places where a license is required should have a license with them. You can also show your license’s digital copy. Not having your license with you at all can get you penalized. 

Exemptions under which you don’t need a fishing license in Ohio

You don’t need a license in Ohio if you fulfill the following conditions:

  • You’re under 16 years of age
  • You’re only catching non-migratory fishes from a pond or lake that you or your parents own 
  • You’re assisting an angler who already has a blind fishing or free mobility impaired license. In this case, you both should be fishing using just one line
  • If you’re associated with a water body from which your family is driving their agriculture business. In other words, you don’t need a license if you’re a resident of an area with a privately owned pond or lake
  • There are some “Free Fishing Days” in Ohio every year. If you’re an Ohio resident, you can easily fish without a license during those days
  • You belong to the U.S Army and are fishing during your duty days

What Do I Need to Get a Fishing License in Ohio? 

There are different types of fishing licenses in Ohio. Different people need different fishing licenses based on their residency and the nature of their fishing activity. 

The most common types of fishing licenses in Ohio are:

  • Resident Fishing License
  • Annual Non-resident License
  • 1-Day Fishing License
  • 3-Day Non-resident License
  • Lake Erie Fishing License

In any of the cases above, the necessary requirements to buy a fishing license from the Ohio Wildlife Division are more or less the same. If you purchase the license virtually, you’ll need your debit or credit card to pay. You will also need a Customer ID number to apply. This ID can be your previous license numbers, social security registration, or driving license. 

You will also need an instant printing facility to print out your new fishing license after you’ve paid for it. However, this is not required. In fact, many people like to keep their licenses in their mobile phones to easily show it whenever demanded.  

How to Get a Fishing License in Ohio

Fishing-related laws in Ohio are a bit complicated. Once you understand them fully, you can easily decide which fishing license best suits your purpose. From here onwards, the process of attaining a license is quite easy. There are many simple ways to get your hands on a fishing license in Ohio. You just need to be able to pay the fee and have a valid social security ID to buy your license from the authority’s website.

Some of the easiest ways to get your license include:

  1. Online: Anyone can easily get their fishing license from the Ohio’s Wildlife Department’s official website.
  2. Via mail: If you’re not good with the online system, you can call (614) 264-6300 or the Ohio wildlife’s helpline and request them to send you an application form via mail. Once you receive it, just fill it and submit it to the concerned department. You’ll then get your fishing license within a few days. 

Besides these two methods, you can also contact an official vendor at any local store to easily buy your fishing license. 1 and 3 days licenses can also be applied for by calling 1-866-703-1928.

How Much Does a Fishing License in Ohio Cost? 

Different fishing licenses in Ohio have different costs. Here are the average costs of the most common fishing licenses in the state:

  1. Resident’s Annual Fishing License and the 3 Days Non-resident Tourist’s Fishing License – $19
  2. Annual Non-resident Fishing License – $40
  3. Residents’ Reduced-Cost Senior Fishing License – $10
  4. Lake Erie Charter 1 Day Fishing License and the simple 1 Day Fishing License – $11


Knowing Ohio’s fishing laws and exemptions can help you buy a suitable license easily. The license-buying process is simple, with minimal requirements that won’t take you long. So, get your license and fish to your heart’s desire. 

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