Is a Fishing License Required for Kids in Ohio?

Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Ohio? 2024 Update

As the summer of 2024 approaches, many families in Ohio are gearing up for outdoor adventures, including fishing trips. For parents planning to take their children fishing, a common question arises: “Do kids need a fishing license in Ohio?” In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the fishing license requirements for children in Ohio, highlight free fishing days, and provide essential information to ensure a fun and compliant fishing experience for the whole family.

Ohio Fishing License Requirements for Kids

What is the age requirement for a fishing license in Ohio?

In Ohio, children under the age of 16 are not required to obtain a fishing license. This means that kids can enjoy the thrill of fishing without the need for a permit, making it an accessible and affordable outdoor activity for families.

However, it’s important to note that while children under 16 don’t need a license, they must still adhere to all other fishing regulations, such as daily catch limits and size restrictions. By teaching children about responsible fishing practices from a young age, parents can help foster a lifelong appreciation for the sport and the environment.

Are there any exceptions to the fishing license rule for kids?

While the general rule is that children under 16 don’t need a fishing license, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind:

  1. Fishing in privately owned ponds, lakes, or reservoirs: If a child under 16 is fishing in a privately owned body of water that is not open to public fishing through an agreement or lease with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, they do not need a license.
  2. Fishing on land owned by the child’s parents: Children under 16 can fish without a license on land and water owned by their parents, except where the land is in or borders state parks or state-owned lakes.
  3. Fishing on land where the child’s parents are tenants: If a child under 16 is fishing on land and water where their parents are tenants, reside, and derive the majority of their income from agricultural production on that land (except state-owned lakes), they do not need a license.

It’s crucial for parents to be aware of these exceptions and to ensure that their children are fishing in compliance with all applicable regulations.

Free Fishing Days in Ohio

When are the free fishing days in Ohio in 2024?

Ohio offers two free fishing days each year, typically over Father’s Day weekend. In 2024, the free fishing days will be on June 15-16. During these designated days, all Ohio residents, regardless of age, can fish in public waters without purchasing a fishing license.

Free fishing days provide an excellent opportunity for families to introduce their children to the joys of fishing without the added cost of licenses. It’s also a great time for experienced anglers to share their knowledge and passion with younger generations.

Do bag limits and size restrictions still apply on free fishing days?

Yes, even during free fishing days, anglers must adhere to all other fishing regulations, including daily bag limits and size restrictions. This means that while a license is not required on these specific days, everyone must still follow the rules set forth by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the enjoyment of the sport for years to come.

Parents should take the time to familiarize themselves with the current fishing regulations and use free fishing days as an opportunity to teach their children about responsible angling practices.

How to Get a Fishing License for Kids in Ohio

Where can I purchase a fishing license for my child?

Although children under 16 don’t need a fishing license in Ohio, parents or guardians may choose to purchase a youth license for their child. A resident youth lifetime license is available for Ohio residents under the age of 16 at the time of purchase.

Fishing licenses can be purchased through several convenient options:

  1. Online: Visit the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s website ( to purchase a license online.
  2. Mobile App: Download the HuntFish OH mobile app to purchase a license directly from your smartphone.
  3. In-Person: Visit any authorized license sales agent, such as sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, or Ohio Division of Wildlife offices.

By purchasing a youth lifetime license, parents can provide their children with the opportunity to fish in Ohio waters for their entire lifetime, even after they turn 16.

What documents do I need to get my child a fishing license?

When purchasing a youth lifetime license for a child under 16, proof of age and residency will be required at the time of purchase. Acceptable forms of identification may include a birth certificate, passport, or state-issued ID card.

If purchasing the license online or through the mobile app, parents will need to have a valid Ohio driver’s license or state identification associated with their account.


In summary, children under the age of 16 are not required to obtain a fishing license in Ohio, with a few exceptions for certain private properties. However, they must still follow all other fishing regulations, such as daily catch limits and size restrictions.

Ohio’s annual free fishing days, which will be held on June 15-16 in 2024, offer a fantastic opportunity for families to enjoy fishing together without the need for a license. Parents can use these days to teach their children about the joys of fishing and the importance of responsible angling practices.

For those who wish to purchase a youth lifetime license for their child, licenses can be easily obtained online, through the HuntFish OH mobile app, or at authorized license sales agents.

By understanding the fishing license requirements for kids in Ohio and taking advantage of the available resources, families can create lasting memories on the water while fostering a deep appreciation for the great outdoors.

So, grab your fishing gear, round up the kids, and head out to one of Ohio’s many beautiful lakes, rivers, or streams for an unforgettable fishing adventure in 2024!

Additional Resources

For more information on fishing in Ohio, visit the following official websites:

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