OHIO OUTDOOR NOTEBOOK
By Laura Jones, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
May 24, 2001
HERES YOUR CHANCE TO SAMPLE THE FUN OF FISHING
If youve never been fishing before or if its been a long time since youve tried, Ohios Free Fishing Days offer is a deal you shouldnt miss. On June 2 and 3, Ohioans can fish any public waterway in the state for free. That means no license required and no strings attached except, of course, the one at the end of your fishing pole.
These two days, offered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), are aimed at introducing the public to the fun and excitement of sport fishing. Its an excellent time, too, for families and friends to get together for a weekend of camaraderie and relaxation.
Fishing is a fun, outdoor activity that can be shared by everyone and at every skill level, said Mike Budzik, chief of ODNRs Division of Wildlife. It provides an excellent opportunity to catch some fish and take home some wonderful memories.
Ohio's Free Fishing Days, established in 1993, provides Ohioans the opportunity to experience the thrill of fishing before buying a license. This annual event is open to Ohio residents only and extends to all public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
For all other times during the year, anglers must purchase a fishing license. Ohios annual resident license costs $15. A one-day fishing license costs $7 and may later be exchanged for credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license. There are exemptions; youth under 16 are not required to purchase a license and senior aged 66 and older can apply for a free license.
Fishing is an activity filled with flexibility. It can last as few or as many hours or days as you like. It can be an outing unto itself or a side-trip incorporated into your vacation.
You dont have to own an expensive rod or reel to experience Ohios great fishing, said Budzik. At some fishing holes a simple cane pole with a bobber and live bait is enough to hook a fish.
According to ODNR, Ohio ranks 11th nationally in the number of people who fish, with 1.3 million anglers. And, more than half of Ohio's anglers fish on Lake Erie.
Lake Erie consistently ranks among the best sport fisheries in the world, according to In-Fisherman magazine. And, it was recently named a Top 10 angling destination for walleyes, smallmouth bass and steelhead trout.
Of course, Lake Erie isnt the only place you can find quality fishing in Ohio. More than 6,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than 225 public inland lakes support a variety of popular species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, saugeyes, crappies, catfish and bluegills.
Fishing is not only a great outdoor pursuit -- it also positively impacts the states economy. Recreational sportfishing contributes an estimated $2 billion each year to Ohios economic well-being and helps support more than 22,000 Ohio jobs. Fees from fishing licenses are used to support and enhance Ohio fishing opportunities.
If you decide to go fishing, the ODNR Web page provides a weekly fishing report and other information you might find helpful. That site can be accessed at www.dnr.state.oh.us. Note, that while its a free fishing weekend, all fishing rules and regulations, such a size and bag limits, are still in effect.