Want to go ice fishing? Here's how to get an Ohio fishing license, safety tips and where to go

·2 min read

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that fishing has stopped across Ohio.

And its popularity doesn't surprise ODNR Division of Wildlife Executive Administrator of Information & Education Brian Banbury.

"Fishing in Ohio is a popular year-round activity, with wintertime being no exception," Banbury said in an email Thursday. "(From) boat, shore and when conditions are right, Ice fishing is a very popular activity in the buckeye state. Ohio has many inland lakes options for all anglers. Lake Erie is the Walley Capital of the World, offering both quantity and trophy opportunities regardless of the season."

But when it comes to ice fishing or any other activities, safety is strongly encouraged.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard in Michigan said ice on ponds and lakes needs to be at least 5 inches thick for fishing, skating and walking, and at least 8 inches thick for travel by snowmobiles and off-road vehicles.

"Understanding the risks of going out on the ice that may be dangerous" is the key yo safety, Bouchard said. He suggested following the most basic rule of thumb: "When in doubt, don't go out."

The fishing website Guidesly said the top fish targets in ice fishing include yellow perch, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, and pike.

Here are things to know about fishing during the cold months.

How much does an Ohio fishing license cost?

That depends. The costs are different for residents and non-residents, and how long the license is for (There are multiple options that include spans such as lifetime, annual, multi-year or daily.)

Options for Ohio fishing licenses
Options for Ohio fishing licenses

Free licenses are available (applications online) to disabled veterans and former prisoners of war and also to those with limited mobility, to blind persons and to those people who live in a county institution, charitable institution, or military home in Ohio.

Where can I get a fishing license?

The easiest way might be to buy it online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

But they are also widely available at local retailers such as Walmart. ODNR has a searchable map so that you can find a location.

Central Ohioans might be able to ice fish at Indian Lake or Buckeye Lake this winter.
Central Ohioans might be able to ice fish at Indian Lake or Buckeye Lake this winter.

What are some of the best spots to fish in Ohio?

Lake Erie, of course, is the granddaddy of them all. But Antrim Park in Columbus is a favorite spot, as is Hoover Reservoir in Westerville.

And an expert outdoorswoman who runs the online site Fishing Pioneer suggests others including Alum Creek in Delaware, Clear Fork Reservoir in Mansfield, Indian Lake in Logan County and Grand Lake St. Marys near Mercer and Auglaize counties.

Columbus Dispatch reporter Holly Zachariah and Detroit Free Press reporter Frank Witsil contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio fishing licenses remain in demand despite winter weather

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