Cast a line on the cheap in the coming weeks. Mark your calendars for a free weekend of fishing coming up the first week of May. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the free fishing weekend this year is Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5.
Get your fishing gear ready because this is the only weekend of the year that does not require anyone 16 years old or older to obtain a fishing license.
Kids under 16 never need fishing permits in Ohio.
ODNR invites all Ohio residents to experience the fantastic public fishing opportunities in Ohio without purchasing a license. All size and bag limits apply during these two days.
Ohio is known for its world class fishing, so this is your chance to get in on the action. The ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked more that 44 million sport fish in Ohio’s waters last year, including walleye, steelhead, rainbow trout, blue catfish, saugeye, muskellunge, brown trout, channel catfish and hybrid striped bass. That should certainly increase your odds of landing that big one.
Lake Erie is known as the walleye fishing capital of the world. The American Sport Fishing Association estimates that sport fishing expenditures at Lake Erie top $1 billion annually. Nearly 55% of fishing license holders fish Lake Erie annually, according to the Lake Erie Foundation.
It’s not every day that you run across something that is really free, so this is your chance to dust off that fishing gear in the basement and get out with the whole family and go fishing. Find a nearby river, stream, pond or lake and drop a line. Be sure to fire up your cell phone camera to take some selfies with your record big catch of the day. You’re certainly not going to be taken hook, line and sinker with this free offer. It is for real!
Ohio Free Fishing Days are open to all Ohioans and extend to all of Ohio’s public waters.
Book a camping spot
Ohio’s state parks are offering a camping discount during Free Fishing Days. Campers can get a 20% discount on campsites May 3-4 by using promo code19ANGLER at ohiostateparks.reserveamerica.com or calling 866-OHIOPARKS (866-644-6727).
Nearby public fishing waters
Here are some nearby public waters to drop a line: Kiser Lake, Melvin Miller Park (2-acre fishing pond), Pointe North Urbana (catch & release only), Great Miami River, Mad River, Indian Lake, Lake Loramie, Grand Lake St Marys , CJ Brown Reservoir, Clark Lake, Buck Creek, Alum Creek Reservoir, Delaware Lake, Stillwater River, Darby Creek, Little Miami River, Caesar Creek Lake, Madison Lake and Deer Creek Lake.
Tips for fishing at Kiser Lake
Kiser Lake is known for largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, channel catfish and crappie,
Try using red worms, nightcrawlers or wax worms in vegetated areas for sunfish and bluegill. Use minnows for crappie in those same areas. Chicken livers work great on the bottom for both stripers and channel cat.
The lake is also known for carp, yellow perch and bullheads. Channel catfish are stocked every other year by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife Division. Kiser Lake covers 396 acres of fishing waters and 5 miles of shoreline.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.