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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
- fishing image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com