Ohio Fishing License 2024: Types, Costs and How to Buy

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Ohio has Lake Erie frontage and miles of rivers and streams, so it is no surprise that it is a great fishing destination.

From walleye and bass to crappie and trout, there’s great variety in the fishing on offer in Ohio.

But you need to make sure you have the right Ohio fishing license. In this article, we explain the cost of an Ohio fishing license, which license you need for your situation and where to buy a license.

How Much is An Ohio Fishing License?

A one year fishing license in Ohio will cost you $25 as a resident. For non resident anglers, a one year license will cost you a bit over $37.

There are a variety of costs for different types of Ohio fishing license. We’ve summarise all these details in the tables below in this article.

See also: How Much is a Fishing License Costs in all 50 States

Who Needs a Fishing License in Ohio?

Everyone over the age of 16 needs a license to fish in Ohio, even if you’re fishing with a guide or charter. This applies to both residents and nonresidents.

  • A fishing license is required to engage in fishing in 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 Ohio Division of Wildlife are required to have a fishing license.
  • Persons must have their license in their possession while fishing and must show the license to anyone on request. Licenses may 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.

Here is the license fees page: https://ohiodnr.gov/buy-and-apply/hunting-fishing-boating/fishing-resources/fishing-licenses

Who Is Exempt From Needing a Fishing License in Ohio?

A fishing license is not required of persons who are:

  • Less than 16 years of age (see here for info on at what age you need a fishing license in other states). 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 or 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 or 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 June 17 and 18, 2023, all Ohio residents may fish without a license as part of Free Fishing Days.

Ohio Fishing License Cost and Types

Ohio Fishing License Image
Ohio Fishing License Image

There are two basic types of licenses that you need to procure depending on the purpose that you intend to do or where you wish to catch a fish. 

  • Ohio State Fishing License – required to catch fish in all freshwater across the state. 
  • Lake Erie Fishing License – required of NON-RESIDENTS who wish to cast their lines at Lake Erie between January 1 and April 31 of every year.

Resident Fishing Licenses

An Ohio resident is a person who has resided in the state of Ohio for the past six consecutive months. All others are considered nonresidents and must purchase a nonresident license.

License typeCost
Resident 1-Day License$14.00
Resident 1-Year Upgraded from a 1-Day License$12.00
Resident 1-Year License$25.00
Resident 3-Year License$72.11
Resident 5-Year License$120.18
Resident 10-Year License$240.36
Resident Lifetime License$599.04
Resident Senior 1-Year License$10.00
Resident Senior 3-Year License$27.04
Resident Senior 5-Year License$45.07
Resident Senior Lifetime License$84.24
Resident Youth Lifetime License$430.56

Residents can purchase an annual license, which is valid for 365 days after the purchase date. Annual and multiyear fishing licenses are valid from the date of purchase until the expiration date printed on the license.

Non Resident Fishing Licenses

License TypeCost
Nonresident 1-Day License$14.00
Nonresident 1-Year License Upgraded from a 1-Day$37.44
Nonresident 3-Day License$25.00
Nonresident 1-Year License$50.96

Who Can Purchase Discounted Ohio Fishing Licenses?

Ohio residents born on or before December 31, 1937 may obtain a free license at any license outlet, or online at wildohio.gov.

The following residents are also eligible for a free fishing license, but must submit a formal application, which is available by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543):

  • Persons who are mobility impaired and require 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.

Check out these links for our guides to exemptions for veterans, seniors, and the disabled in all states.

Special Fishing Licenses in Ohio

Resident children under the age of 16 are not required to purchase a fishing license, but can still get a discount on lifetime licenses.

The Ohio Conservation Card (a durable plastic card) is included with the purchase of

a lifetime license. The card may also be purchased for $4.00 with a multiyear license.

License TypeCost
Resident Youth Lifetime License$430.56
Resident Ohio Conservation Card $4.00$4.00
Duplicate License(Free reprints are available at wildohio.gov)$4.00

Where Can I Buy an Ohio Fishing Licence?

There are several methods that you can choose when purchasing an Ohio fishing license. You can choose any of the following convenient ways to submit your license application:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

You can obtain a fishing license in person at ODNR offices across the state. Check the official website for a list of office locations.

You can also call 1-800-WILDLIFE and ask to receive a Mail Order Application Form.


Both residents and non-residents can apply for their Ohio fishing license online. All relevant requirements need to be submitted to the state’s online license sale platform

Walmart and other Retail Outlets

You can also purchase an Ohio fishing license from hundreds of accredited and official license vendors across the state, from local hardware and tackle stores to big chains like Walmart. Please check the Official Vendor Locator Map to find the nearest vendor in your area.

What Happens With Ohio Fishing License Fees?

Ohio fishing license fees are used to support various programs and initiatives related to fisheries management, conservation, and recreational opportunities within the state. These fees play a crucial role in funding the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and its efforts to sustain and enhance Ohio’s fish populations and aquatic ecosystems.

Does Ohio Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

The following Ohio River fishing regulations are the result of agreements between the fish and wildlife agencies of Ohio, Kentucky (more here on Kentucky fishing licenses), and West Virginia. Some regulations differ between the Ohio–Kentucky border (Western Unit) and the Ohio–West Virginia border (Eastern Unit). Anglers must abide by each state’s specified regulations for information not specified below.

  • It is illegal to snag fish in the Ohio waters of the Ohio River for any species during any time of the year.
  • A maximum of three lines are permitted statewide, including the counties that comprise the Ohio River fishing units.

Source: https://www.eregulations.com/ohio/fishing-regulations

Does Ohio Offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

Ohio offers lifetime fishing licenes for residents, providing the convenience of fishing without the need for annual renewals. 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.

A multiyear license on the other hand allows residents 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.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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