Ohio’s lakes and rivers offer a wide variety of fish, providing excellent fishing opportunities. However, to take any fish, turtles, or even frogs from Ohio waters, you must have an Ohio fishing license.

What Types of Fishing Licenses are Available in Ohio?

When fishing in Ohio, you should always carry your fishing permit and produce it anytime it’s requested by law enforcement officials. Fishing licenses are classified into two broad categories – sport fishing licenses and commercial fishing licenses.

Ohio sport fishing

Sport Fishing Licenses

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ONDR) offers fishing permits to both residents and non-residents intending to fish in Ohio’s waters for recreational purposes. License requirements are exempted to people under 16 years and those fishing on private ponds. The following is a list of possible recreational fishing license options you can choose from:

For Ohio residents

  • 1-day fishing license
  • 1-day license to fish at Lake Erie
  • 16 – 65-year resident fishing license
  • Senior resident fishing license (exclusive for people aged 66 years and above)

For non-residents

  • 1-day fishing license
  • 1-day license to fish at Lake Erie
  • 3-day fishing license
  • Annual fishing license for non-residents

Commercial Fishing Licenses

Ohio residents and visitors intending to profit from fishing are should get a commercial fishing license from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A fishing permit purchase can only be obtained through mailing a permit application to the headquarters of the department.

Commercial Fishing

To fill the application form you will have to include:

  • Your business name
  • Your contact details
  • Your check or credit card number
  • Your Social Security Number (SSN)

A commercial fishing permit can allow you to either handle fish at a wholesale point or transport fish in large scale.

Once you get an Ohio commercial fishing permit, you are required to abide by the commercial fishing rules and regulations of the ODNR in regards to catch sizes and fishing equipment.

Who Does Not Need a Fishing License?

Everyone fishing in Ohio needs to have a fishing license. However, some groups are exempted from this rule:

  • Anglers who are less than 16 years of age
  • Any person in Ohio during free fishing days (First weekend in May)  
  • Personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces on furlough or leave
  • People assisting fishermen with disabilities
  • Fishermen or women in private ponds
  • Tenants fishing on the land they reside

Where Can You Get an Ohio Fishing License?

You can purchase an Ohio fishing license from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.

You also can buy it in person by visiting an authorized local licensing agent near you or call the customer care center for help.

The license application steps of each option are explained in detail below.

How to Apply for an Ohio Fishing License Online


  1. Visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
  2. Click on “Wildlife,” then “Hunting and Fishing Regulations.”
  3. Go to the purchase icon, and fill in your credit card details. This is a government website, and you should not worry about the security of the information you key in.
  4. Wait to get a confirmation code and print out the license or wait for the state to mail it to you.

Looking for an Ohio Fishing License Vendor

To find a license vendor in your county:

  1. Visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and click on “Wildlife.”
  2. Go to “Fishing and Hunting Regulations”, and scroll down to “Find a Vendor in Your Location.”
  3. Key in the required details, and you will receive a list of vendors in that area.
  4. Reach out to a reliable license vendor and ask for a fishing license.

Many fishing license bureaus in Ohio accept Discover cards, Master cards, Visas, and cash as a means of payment. To get an in-state license, you must show proof of residency.

Application via Phone Call

You can call the wildlife department and ask for a mail order fishing license application. After this, you will wait for the mail to be delivered to your address, fill in the form with required details, and send it back. Your license will be sent to your address.

How Much Does an Ohio Fishing License Cost?

License charges differ based on residency and age. Below is a summary of amounts paid, inclusive of the $ 1.00 processing fee.

Charges for Residents

  • Individuals between ages 16 -65 (Standard license): $19.00
  • Ages 66 – 70 (Senior License): $10.00
  • 70 or more years of age: Free
  • 1-day license to fish: $11.00
  • A 1-day license to fish at Lake Erie: $11.00
  • Replacement license: $4.00


A visitor from another state or country intending to fish in Ohio is subjected to the following license rates:

  • A 1-day license to fish at Lake Erie: $11.00
  • A 3-day tourist license: $19.00
  • 1-year license: $40.00
  • Replacement license:  $4.00

License Purchase Terms and Conditions

  • An Ohio resident is anyone who has been residing in the state for the past 6 months consecutively. All others are considered non-residents and should purchase a non-resident fishing license.
  • Fishing permits and licenses bought from retail outlets need to be printed on white paper. The paper should then be trimmed and folded down accordingly. You are recommended to protect your license from wear and tear.
  • Operator-assisted short-term licenses can be accessed by calling the Department of Natural Resources any time from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. On these licenses, a fee of $5.50 is added.
  • Licenses bought online are emailed to customers once the transaction is complete. The license to fish at Lake Erie, however, cannot be purchased online and is only valid when printed.
  • Whether you are a resident or a non-resident, you can purchase a license in advance through a scheduled charter trip. Validating the license will require you to fill in the details about the trip – for instance, when it will start and how long it will take. In case your trip gets postponed, you can keep the invalidated license until a future rescheduled date.
  • The one-day license can be applied as a credit towards the payment of an annual fishing license. This cost is not inclusive of the writing fee.

Social Security Number Requirements

All fishing license applicants should provide their Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not have an active SSN number, you need to affirm your status at the time of application. You also should declare your residency, give your full name, gender, birth date, weight, height, address, eye color, and hair color.

After being recorded into the licensing system and issued a license, you may be called to update your information in the file in case your status changes.

Who Qualifies for a Free Ohio Fishing License?

  • Any resident who was born on or before 31st December 1938
  • Former war prisoners
  • State and county institution residents
  • Persons with mobility impairments who require other people’s help when fishing
  • Specific groups of veterans with service-connected disabilities

How Long is an Ohio Fishing License Valid?

Ohio fishing licenses are valid from the first day of March up to the last day of February every year.

How Can You Replace or Renew Your Fishing License?

If your license is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can get it replaced and issued a duplicate by a local vendor.

You also can apply for the same via the official website.

To avoid any inconveniences, it’s recommended to apply for a license renewal days before the expiry of your current license.

Fishing Education in Ohio

To improve your fishing knowledge and make better use of your Ohio fishing license, you can enroll in the ONDR’s fishing education program. The training is usually open to applicants of all ages. It offers hands-on fishing experience to people with different skill levels. Some of these programs include:

The Step Outside Program

Financed by state grants, this program aims at promoting activities like fishing, shooting, and hunting in Ohio. Any group intending to get involved in the program needs to apply 60 days prior.

The Passport to Fishing Program

The passport program aims at training amateur fishermen with the best fishing skills and techniques. It emphasizes on conservative fishing policies and is achieved through outdoor fishing workshops. If you are a more experienced angler, you can apply for a volunteering mentorship position on the program to share your expertise.

Get Your Ohio Fishing License Today

Obtaining a fishing license in Ohio is an easy and straightforward process. Don’t be on the wrong side of the law – get your license today.

Last update on 2021-10-23 at 12:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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