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Fishing Information

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Indiana’s Statewide Size and Bag Limits



Daily Bag Limit

Minimum Size




Redear Sunfish3



Black Bass (in lakes)2

5 singly or in aggregate1

14 inches

(exceptions: see Bass Regulations)

Black Bass
(in rivers and streams)2

5 singly or in aggregate1
(no more than 2 over 15 inches)

12 to 15 inch slot limit

(exceptions: see Bass Regulations)

Black Bass (in Lake Michigan)2

3 singly or in aggregate1

14 inches

Yellow Bass



White Bass,
Hybrid Striped Bass

12 singly or in aggregate1, no more than two fish may exceed 17 inches


Striped Bass



Rock Bass






Walleye-Sauger Hybrid,

6 singly or in aggregate1

For Walleye and Walleye-Sauger Hybrid: 14 inches (exceptions: see Walleye Size Limits)

No Sauger size limit

and Tiger Muskellunge

1 singly

36 inches

Northern Pike


20 inches

Yellow Perch

None (15 on Lake Michigan only)


Catfish: Channel, Blue,
(in streams)


10 inches

Catfish: Channel, Blue,
(in lakes, reservoirs)

10 (exceptions: see Channel Catfish Bag Limits)





Shovelnose Sturgeon


25 inches (fork length)

1 Singly or in aggregate means that the daily bag limit includes any combination of the species.

2 Black bass includes largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.

3 Daily bag limit for sunfish at J.C. Murphey Lake (Newton Co.) is 25 singly or in aggregate.


Illegal Stocking, Aquarium Release

It is illegal to take any live fish (native or non-native) and release it into any other public waters without a stocking permit. Fisheries biologists in the DNR approve stocking of fish only after careful consideration of the potential impacts of new fish on the existing habitat and fish population.

Hooks for Hand or Pole Fishing

You may not fish with more than three poles or hand lines at any one time. Each line may have no more than two single or multi-barbed hooks, two artificial baits or two harnesses for live bait.

Single- or multi-barbed hooks may be used for hand or pole lines, float or jug fishing, limb, drop or trot lines. Special hook size and barb regulations apply to Lake Michigan and its tributaries. Refer to Hook Restrictions for hook information for these waters.

Gaffs, Grab Hooks and Landing Nets

Landing nets, gaff hooks or grab hooks may be used only to assist in the landing of a legally caught fish. They may not be used as the method of catching fish.


You may use no more than one snare to take suckers, carp, gar and bowfin. Snaring these fish may be done only between sunrise and sunset.

Limb Lines

A limb line (or drop line) involves suspending a fishing line from a limb extending beyond the bank of a body of water. You may fish with no more than 10 limb or drop lines at any one time. Each line may have no more than one single- or multi-barbed hook attached to it. Each line must have a readable tag showing the name and address of the user. All lines must be checked at least once every 24 hours. It is illegal to use a limb or drop line within 300 yards of any partial or full dam structure on any stream, river, ditch, canal or reservoir.

Snagging Fish

It is illegal to snag fish from public waters in Indiana, including the Ohio River. Foul-hooked trout or salmon (fish not caught in the mouth) must be released to the water and not kept. Snagging is the practice of dragging or jerking a hook (or hooks), baited or unbaited, through the water with the intention of snagging a fish on contact.

Trot Lines

A trot line (also called a set line or throw line) is a fishing line with smaller lines attached to it extending out into the water from a fixed point, such as a boat dock or tree. You may fish with no more than one trot line at any one time. The trot line must have no more than 50 single- or multi-barbed hooks. Each drop line on a trot line may have only one hook. Trot lines must bear a readable tag clearly showing the name and address of the user, and be checked at least once every 24 hours. It is illegal to use a trot line in Lake Michigan or within 300 yards of any partial or full dam structure on any stream, river, ditch, canal or reservoir.

Float Fishing

Float or jug fishing is the use of any buoyed container (made of any material other than glass) that suspends a single fishing line and a single- or multi-barbed hook.

As many as five floats may be used, but only one hook may be attached to each float line. Each float must be marked with the user’s name and address, and all lines must be in constant visual contact. Float fishing is not allowed on lakes and reservoirs for public safety reasons.

Ice Fishing

When ice fishing, no more than three lines may be used at any one time. Each line may contain no more than two hooks (single, double or treble) or two artificial baits. Holes cut for ice fishing cannot be more than 12 inches in diameter. Tip-ups must be identified with the name and address of the user, and must be in constant visual contact of the person using them.

Ice fishing shelters must have the owner’s name and address in 3-inch block letters on the outside of the door. An unattended portable ice fishing shelter must have the owner’s name and address in 3-inch block letters on an exterior wall. Any ice fishing shelter or portable shelter left unattended, between sunset and sunrise, must have at least one red reflector or a 3-inch by 3-inch reflective strip on each side of the structure.

Ice shanties and portable shelters must be removed from public waters before ice-out.
If used before Jan. 1 and after Feb. 15, all structures must be removed daily.

Spear and Bow Fishing

Suckers, carp, gar, bowfin, buffalo and shad may be taken at the locations below with the equipment listed, and only during the hours noted. There are no bag limits for these fish. See Tributary Restrictions for restrictions on Lake Michigan tributaries.

Large Streams

  • White River from the Wabash River upstream to the junction of East and West forks
  • West Fork of White River, upstream to the dam below Harding Street in Indianapolis
  • East Fork of White River, upstream to the dam at the south edge of Columbus
  • The Wabash River, upstream to State Road 13 at the town of Wabash
  • The Tippecanoe River, upstream to one-half mile below its confluence with Big Creek (Carroll County)
  • The Maumee River, upstream to the Anthony Boulevard Bridge in Fort Wayne
  • The Kankakee River, upstream to State Road 55 bridge
  • The St. Joseph River (upstream from Twin Branch dam) in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties

Equipment: Fish spear, gig, spear gun, bow and arrow, underwater spear.

Time: All year, day or night.

Small Streams

Any and all streams or partial streams not listed above.

Equipment: Bow and arrow only.

Time: All year, sunrise to sunset.

Non-flowing Waters
(including lakes, ponds and reservoirs)

Equipment: Fish spear, gig, spear gun, underwater spear, and bow and arrow.

Time: All year, day or night.

Smelt Fishing

Smelt may be taken from Lake Michigan and Oliver Lake in LaGrange County from March 1 through May 30. Smelt may be taken only with a single seine or net. The seine or net may not exceed 12 feet in length and 6 feet in depth nor have a stretch mesh larger than 1½ inches. A dip net may not exceed 12 feet in diameter.

Wanton Waste

The intentional waste and destruction of fish is prohibited unless the fish is required by law to be killed. Fish must not be mutilated and returned to the water unless the fish is lawfully used as bait. Fish parts, including entrails, must not be discarded into any state waters, but should be disposed of in a sanitary manner that does not pollute the water or become detrimental to public health or comfort.

Sale of Aquatic Life

No fish, frogs, turtles or other reptile or amphibian taken under a fishing or hunting license may be bought, sold or bartered. You may keep fish that you catch for an aquarium if that fish meets legal size and bag limit requirements. If you give your catch away, it’s a good idea to provide the recipient a note identifying the fish you gave them. This avoids confusion with exceeding the daily bag limit or possessing fish without a fishing license.


It is illegal to collect or take live or dead mussel shells from public waters. A ban on harvesting shells has been in effect since 1991 to protect against a rapid decrease in the abundance and distribution of mussels. Please do not disturb living mussels or take dead shells. It is illegal to possess live the following aquatic invasive mussels: Asiatic clam, quagga mussel and zebra mussel.

Endangered Fish

The following fish species are classified as endangered in Indiana:

  • bantam sunfish
  • lake sturgeon
  • cavefish
  • northern brook lamprey
  • channel darter
  • pallid shiner
  • gilt darter
  • redside dace
  • greater redhorse
  • variegate darter

It is illegal to take or possess these fish at any time. Most of these species are small and would not be caught while angling.

However, these species could be encountered during baitfish collection. If captured, immediately return them unharmed to the water in which they were found. A listing of Indiana’s endangered species is available at

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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