By Dawn Kessinger
RUSSELLS POINT — Have you been itching to go fishing, but haven’t had the chance to get your fishing license yet? Here’s some good news: May 2 and 3 is Ohio’s free fishing weekend. You can grab your fishing poles and head down to Indian Lake or your favorite public Ohio body of water to fish without needing a license.
“It gives people an opportunity to go fishing, to check it out and enjoy it, and see what Ohio has to offer in the public waters,” said David Harshbarger, avid fisherman and owner of Lakeside Pro Bass Shop.
People enjoy Indian Lake because it’s clean, healthy, and has a lot of different kinds of fish – including crappie, bluegill, catfish, saugeye, large-mouth bass and perch, said Harshbarger.
“We have enough parks to accommodate people, and there are plenty of places to set up and enjoy picnicking and bicycle riding. It’s also a really good kayak fishing lake because we have marshland,” he said.
In addition to the group of fishermen who fish professionally in national bass tournaments, there are casual fishermen who fish for crappie, bluegill and perch.
“It’s fun and easy; you just use a bobber and some bait. It’s very simple and relaxing. You can read a book while you’re waiting for the fish to bite,” Harshbarger said.
His fishing tips for successful catching include keeping things simple.
“There’s nothing wrong with buying just the fundamentals: a pole with a bobber and some wax worms and maybe some
inexpensive crappie jigs. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to go fishing. We even sell cane poles for $4 with the bobber and hook,” Harshbarger said.
“Keep it simple, keep it basic and don’t overwhelm yourself, and then build on that. If you enjoy it, you can add to your tackle, your expertise and branch out into cat-fishing or trying to find those perch in the middle of the lake,” he said.
Follow Lakeside Pro Bass Shop on Facebook, where Harshbarger posts at least twice a week about fishing conditions and catches.
“We also have an 18-hole miniature golf course, and we’re right across the beach. So if you’re not fishing, you can play golf or swim. There are plenty of options,” Harshbarger said.
The 2015-16 fishing licenses are valid from March 16, 2015, through Feb. 29, 2016. You can buy your license online at www.oh.wilflifelicense.com. You must have lived in Ohio for at least six months and have a Social Security number. Prices include $19 for Ohio residents ages 16 through 65 and $10 for Ohio residents ages 66 and older. Fishermen must have licenses in their possession while fishing and show the license upon request.