Gone Outdoors

Places to Fish in Ohio Without a Fishing License

by Tony Oldhand

Fishing is a fun activity for many, providing hours of enjoyment. Fishing in Ohio, however, is regulated, and you should expect fines if you're caught fishing without a license in the wrong area. You can protect yourself from poaching charges by knowing where the areas are to fish without a license, and knowing where the Ohio Department of Natural Resources requires a license.

Personal Exemptions

Any person under 16 years of age is exempt from having a license. As good practice, all children should have a state-issued identification card, since a conservation officer or game warden might want to see proof of age in case a child's age is questioned. Any person born before 1937 is required to have a license, but the license fee is waived. A disabled person is required to have a license (fee waived), but the Assistant does not need a license provided only one line is in the water. Military personnel on leave or furlough do not need a license, but it would be wise for them to carry documentation proving they are on leave. If you are an active military person stationed in Ohio, but not on annual leave or furlough, you must purchase a license.

Ownership Exemption

No license is required for fishing in a private pond. This, of course, assumes the fisherman has the pond owner's permission. No license is required when fishing on the land and water owned by the fisherman or his parents. No license is required when the fisherman or his parents are tenants of the land and water. However, if they are tenants, then the majority of the fisherman or his parents' income must be from agricultural production from the land and water they are fishing on. In all other cases, if the body of water is state-owned, then a license is required.

Date Exemption

Free fishing days are offered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on a yearly basis, with no license required to fish on any state-owned body of water. These days are posted by the ODNR, and are publicly announced through various media, at many sporting goods stores, and at the state's public information office.

Carriage Hill

Carraige Hill Metropark offers fishing without a license in Cedar Lake and North Woods Pond. Bass must be caught and released. Some other fish taken include Sunfish and Crappie. Ice fishing is permitted, but ice conditions are not monitored for safety. Carriage Hill MetroPark 7800 E. Shull Road Dayton, Ohio 45424 (937) 278-2609 http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/CarriageHill

Possum Creek Metropark

No license is required at Possum Creek's ponds and Argonne Lake. There is a 10-inch minimum size on bass and a six-fish limit per day. The ponds are regularly stocked with catfish and trout. Only non-motorized boats are permitted on Argonne Lake. Ice fishing is allowed, but ice is not monitored for safety. Possum Creek MetroPark 4790 Frytown Road Dayton, Ohio 45418 (937) 276-7062 http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/PossumCreek

Twin Creek

No license is required in Dogwood Pond and Lake George, but the lakes only allow catch-and-release fishing for unlicensed fishermen. If you intend to keep what you've caught, then all ODNR license regulations apply. Fish found in Dogwood Pond and Lake George include bass, carp and bluegill. Twin Creek MetroPark 9688 Eby Road Germantown, Ohio 45327 (937) 275-7275 http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/TwinCreek

About the Author

Tony Oldhand has been technical writing since 1995. He has worked in the skilled trades and diversified into Human Services in 1998, working with the developmentally disabled. He is also heavily involved in auto restoration and in the do-it-yourself sector of craftsman trades. Oldhand has an associate degree in electronics and has studied management at the State University of New York.

Photo Credits