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Ohio Fishing Licenses

Ohio fishing licenses are required for anglers taking fish from the state’s waterways. Ohio fishing permits are available to most individuals, regardless of whether or not they reside in the state. However, residents are afforded the privilege of a reduced rate for their Ohio resident fishing licenses. Additionally, there are special reduced-rate licenses for certain groups of people, such as military veterans, senior citizens and disabled individuals. A license to fish can be obtained for various time periods, from one-day licenses to annual licenses. To get started on the Ohio fishing license application process, visit the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife website. There, you will find links to Department of Natural Resources offices where you can apply in person or over the phone. You can also apply for fishing licenses online, directly through the DNR website on your home computer or mobile device. Online purchases will be emailed to you directly so you can print them at home, making online transactions a more efficient method of getting a fishing license in Ohio. Fishing licenses purchased in person or over the phone may be subject to certain transaction fees. In some situations, recreational fishing licenses can also be issued to certain groups of individuals at no cost. To find out more about buying a fishing license in Ohio, read the sections outlined below. To get an Ohio fishing license, you must first choose which type of fishing you will be doing and apply for one of the following fishing licenses accordingly:

  • Recreational fishing license
  • Commercial fishing permit


New Ohio Fishing Licenses

An Ohio recreational fishing license is required of any individual who would like to fish for their personal enjoyment and consumption. To get a license in Ohio, you must complete a fishing license application and submit it to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. When submitting your application, you will need to establish your identity and residency status with Department of Natural Resources officials. To do so, present them with a valid Ohio driver’s license or state-issued photo ID. Additionally, OH resident fishing license applicants must submit their Social Security Number with their application.

Ohio fishing licenses are valid for varying periods of time, depending on which license you purchase. Currently, there are options for one-day licenses, three-day non resident fishing licenses and standard annual licenses. Fees for resident fishing permits are slightly reduced when compared to those of nonresidents.

Additional options for a license to fish in Ohio include reduced-cost resident senior citizen licenses, as well as resident-status licenses for active-duty military members stationed in the state. The Department of Natural Resources also offers free licenses to individuals who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Ohio residents born on or before December 31, 1937
  • Physically impaired individuals
  • Military veteran license plate holders with the wheelchair symbol
  • Permanently disabled military veterans
  • State/county institution residents
  • Former POWs

Note: Children younger than 16 years of age do not require a license to fish in Ohio.

To buy a fishing license in Ohio, visit the Department of Natural Resources website and purchase one online. You may also visit a local Department of Natural Resources office in person, print and mail in the Mail Order License Application Form (available online), or call the Department of Natural Resources toll-free license application number to apply for licenses over the phone (one-day and three-day licenses only).

Ohio Commercial Fishing Licenses

Commercial fishing licenses in Ohio are required for individual anglers in the state who rely on fishing for financial gain. If you plan on fishing in Ohio and selling your catch to the public, you will need to buy a commercial fishing license, as opposed to the recreational fishing license. Commercial fishing licenses in Ohio are regulated more strictly than other types of licenses.

Issued annually, an Ohio permit to fish commercially is a seasonal permit that allows commercial anglers to catch state-sanctioned wildlife during the commercial fishing season, from March 1 to December 10 each year. The Department of Natural Resources issues commercial licenses to fish on a limited-entry basis. You may buy a commercial fishing license under the following circumstances:

  • You already hold an Ohio commercial fishing license in reserve.
  • You were licensed to fish the previous season.
  • You possess a transferred license to fish commercially.

Additionally, there are regulations on the type and amount of fish you may catch commercially in Ohio waters. To get a commercial fishing license, visit the Department of Natural Resources website and complete the Commercial Fishing License Application. You can also check the website for a list of approved fish species.

Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Oftentimes you can buy a fishing license through your state’s fishing department website. You will most likely need to create an account on the webpage and have a printer nearby to finalize your transaction. Make sure to also have a valid credit card on hand, as no other form of payment is accepted by state departments online. Take note that, as proof of your residency, you may be required to enter your driver’s license number.
In a general sense, a good number of states offer the following types of fishing licenses: a regular fishing license and a commercial fishing license. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to get a saltwater license to fish, if you are by coastal waters. In addition to these permits, you may be required to buy a fishing stamp, depending on the specific type of fish species you intend to catch.
A regular fishing permit is often valid for the period of a full year. However, you may also have the option to obtain a license to fish that is good for 24 hours or 72 hours, for example. In some instances, a weekly fishing license or a lifetime license may also be available. Lifetime licenses to fish are the most suitable option for those anglers who intend to fish for the duration of their lives. Keep in mind that if you would like to continue fishing after the expiration date of your current licensure, you will be required to get a new permit to fish.
The fees related to a state fishing license may vary, depending on a few factors. But senior residents and military veterans can usually get a fishing license that is free of charge, as long as they can present official documentation that supports their residency or military service. Resident licenses to fish are often more affordable than nonresident licenses. The most costly licenses are for those who would like to get lifetime credentials.
In the event that you have lost your fishing license or it was stolen, the most common way to obtain a duplicate is through your state’s fishing department. You may be required to make an in-person visit to a nearby office or to contact a licensed agent directly. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to order a fishing permit replacement online. But, to be sure, it is important that you double check with your state department first, as you may also need to bring in certain documentation, such as your driver’s license or ID card.
This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.