Licenses and Permits
Ohio and federal fishing laws are presented in a summarized form. Ohio laws in their entirety can be found by consulting the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) or the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC). These laws are subject to change. It is the responsibility of the angler to be aware of the most current laws when fishing.
Annual fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Annual and multiyear fishing licenses are valid from the date of purchase until the expiration date printed on the license.
A complete list of license options for fishing can be found in the current Ohio Fishing Regulations.
Multiyear Fishing Licenses (Ohio Residents Only)
A multiyear license allows an Ohio resident the opportunity to lock-in rates and avoid transaction fees for the length of the license. These licenses can be purchased for 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years. Permits and stamps must be purchased annually.
Multiyear license customers may pay additional fee for hard plastic license (Ohio Conservation Card) if desired.
Lifetime Fishing Licenses (Ohio Residents Only)
A lifetime license creates an Ohio tradition that lasts a lifetime! A lifetime license, purchased for yourself or as a gift, provides a lifetime of outdoors enjoyment, regardless of where they live in the future. The cost of the license offers considerable savings and convenience to the holder and supports conservation programs. Revenue generated by lifetime licenses provide long-term financial support for Ohio’s fish and wildlife.
All Lifetime license holders will be mailed a plastic card (Ohio Conservation Card) to serve as their license.
- A fishing license is required to take fish from Ohio waters.
- A fishing license is required to take frogs or turtles on public and private property.
- Persons fishing in privately owned ponds, lakes, or reservoirs that are open to public fishing through an agreement or lease with the ODNR Division of Wildlife are required to have a fishing license.
- Persons fishing must have their license in their possession while fishing and must show the license to anyone on request. Licenses can be displayed using a mobile device.
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty stationed in Ohio, but not on leave or furlough are required to purchase a resident license.
A fishing license is not required of persons who are:
- Less than 16 years of age. This includes frogs and turtles
- Persons fishing in privately owned ponds, lakes, or reservoirs to and from which fish do not migrate are not required to have a license to take fish
- Giving assistance to an angler who has been issued the free mobility impaired or blind fishing license, provided the two persons together are using only one line
- Fishing, or taking frogs and turtles, on land and water which they or their parents own, except where the land is in or borders on state parks or state-owned lakes
- Fishing, or taking frogs and turtles, on land and water where they or their parents are tenants on which they reside, and from which they derive the majority of their income from agricultural production on that land (except state-owned lakes)
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty while on leave or furlough
- On May 4 and 5, 2019, all Ohio residents may fish without a license as part of Free Fishing Days
Free License Eligibility
- Ohio residents born on or before December 31, 1937 can obtain a free license at any license outlet or online
- The following Ohio residents are also eligible for a free license, but must submit a formal application (Form DNR 9032), which is available by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543)
- Persons who are mobility impaired and required the assistance of another person to cast and retrieve
- Holders of veteran license plates displaying the international wheelchair symbol
- Certain veterans who are permanently disabled
- Residents of state and county institutions
- Former prisoners of war
Ohio's Wildlife Licensing System
Customers with internet access can visit the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System to obtain products or manage their customer account with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Purchase Licenses and Permits
Any license, permit, or a duplicate license can be obtained through the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System. Customers are required to have an account and update their customer record prior to making a purchase. Licenses and permits can be printed as required when payment is made.
Complete Game Check
Once the harvested animal is tagged, hunters have the option to complete the game check process online.
Lottery applications for controlled deer hunts, waterfowl hunts, and fishing opportunities can be purchased through the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System. Available opportunities will be listed on the license selection page when applications are accepted. Applicants will receive an email after lottery drawings have been completed.
Wild Ohio Store
The Wild Ohio Store is where customers can purchase non-license products from the Division of Wildlife. Available products include Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, Wild Ohio Magazine memberships, gift certificates, and donations.
Hunter and Trapper Education Classes
All hunters and trappers must complete an education course prior to purchasing any hunting license or trapping permit, except an apprentice license. Enrollment information and previous certifications can be viewed using the Manage Your Customer Account link in Ohio's Wildlife Licensing System.
Manage Your Customer Account
Customers have access to view and update their customer information by viewing the Manage Your Customer Account link in the Ohio's Wildlife Licensing System. Customers can also view their hunter and trapper course registrations, print their customer ID card which indicates their course certifications, view their licenses and game check for the current year, view their lottery applications and results, and view the status of their Wild Ohio Magazine membership and gift certificates. Please note only the current license year information is available. Please call 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543) if previous license or game check information is required or errors are identified.