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Trout Regulations

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Indiana anglers have two options when it comes to trout fishing — inland waters and Lake Michigan.

The DNR stocks several inland streams and lakes with rainbow trout each spring, and the Northeast Indiana Trout Association adds to the mix with supplemental stocking of brown trout under a DNR permit.

The following information covers special regulations for inland trout fishing, as well as Lake Michigan trout and salmon regulations.

Inland Trout

Lakes: No closed season for taking trout from inland lakes except March 15 to April 1 for:

  • Island Lake on Minnehaha FWA, Sullivan County
  • Greene-Sullivan State Forest

Streams: The opening day of trout season for inland streams, other than Lake Michigan tributaries, is the last Saturday in April and runs through Dec.31.

The starting time is 6 a.m. local time.

Catch-and-release applies to all trout streams from Jan.1 through April 14. See below for special tributary restrictions and closure information for Lake Michigan streams.

A closed season for selected trout streams (see below) runs from April 15 to the last Saturday in April (opening day), when the hatcheries complete the annual trout stockings.

  • Pigeon River and Pigeon Creek in LaGrange County from the Steuben County line to C.R. 410 E (Troxel’s Bridge). This does not include the impoundment known as Mongo Mill Pond.
  • Harding Run, Curtis Creek, Bloody Run and Graveyard Run (tributaries of Pigeon River) in LaGrange County.
  • Turkey Creek north of C.R. 100 S in LaGrange County
  • Rainbow Pit located on Pigeon River FWA, approximately one mile east of Ontario in LaGrange County.
  • Little Elkhart River and Rowe-Eden Ditch in LaGrange County
  • Solomon Creek and Cobus Creek in Elkhart County
  • Little Kankakee River in LaPorte County from C.R. 800 E upstream to Division Road
  • Spy Run within Franke Park in Allen County
  • Mississinewa River within the boundaries of the Randolph County Wildlife Management Area
  • Big Blue River within the boundaries of Wilbur Wright FWA in Henry County

Three trout streams in Elkhart County (totaling 2.8 miles) are designated as year-round “catch-and-release only” and “artificial-lures-or-flies only” trout fishing areas.

Only artificial lures and artificial flies can be used on the following catch-and-release waters in Elkhart County:

  • Little Elkhart River from C.R. 43 downstream to C.R. 16, except for waters along Riverbend Park from C.R. 16 upstream to the pedestrian footbridge.
  • Solomon Creek from C.R. 33 downstream to the Elkhart River
  • Cobus Creek from Old U.S. 20 downstream to the St. Joseph River

Brown Trout Minimum Size Limit Waters: An 18-inch minimum size limit exists at Oliver, Olin, and Martin Lakes in LaGrange Co., and the Brookville Lake tailwater in Franklin County.

Inland Trout sizes and limits





Brook Trout

5 singly or in aggregate for all trout.

No more than 3 may be lake trout.

No more than 1 may be brown trout.

7 inches*

Rainbow Trout

Lake Trout

Brown Trout

*18 minimum size limit at Oliver, Olin and Martin lakes in LaGrange Co., and Brookville Lake tailwater in Franklin Co.


Lake Michigan and Tributaries Sizes and Limits





Chinook Salmon

5 total salmon and trout

No more than 2 may be lake trout.

14 inches

Lake Michigan,

streams, and

St. Joseph River

Coho Salmon

Atlantic Salmon

Pink Salmon

Brown Trout

Steelhead Trout

Lake Trout

Yellow Perch

15 on Lake Michigan only



Any trout or salmon taken from the Lake Michigan tributaries defined in this section must be hooked in the mouth. Foul-hooked fish must be returned to the water.

Sizes and Limits

  • The bag limit for trout or salmon is five. No more than two may be lake trout.
  • The bag limit for yellow perch is 15 while fishing Indiana waters (even if you have a fishing license from a neighboring state).
  • You can take sucker, carp, gar, bowfin, buffalo and shad from Lake Michigan with a bow and arrow.
  • You cannot use a trot line (power line), set line or throw line to take fish from Lake Michigan.
  • Fishing is not allowed within 100 feet above or below the Praxair Dam on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River.
  • See Bass Regulations for Lake Michigan bass regulations.

Tributary Restrictions

You may not possess a fish spear, gig, gaff, bowfishing equipment, crossbow, grab hook, spear gun, club, snag hook or underwater spear in, or adjacent to the Galena River (LaPorte Co.), Trail Creek (LaPorte Co.), the East Branch of the Little Calumet River (LaPorte and Porter counties), Salt Creek (Porter Co.), the West Branch of the Little Calumet River (Lake and Porter counties), Burns Ditch (Lake and Porter counties), Deep River downstream from the dam at Camp 133 (Lake Co.) or the tributaries to these waterways.

Tributary Closings


While there is no closed season for taking trout and salmon from Lake Michigan, certain tributary streams are closed to all fishing from April 1 through June 15. These streams are stocked annually with trout and salmon. The closed fishing period allows these small, vulnerable fish to migrate safely downstream to Lake Michigan. The closed season applies to:

  • The East Branch of Little Calumet River in Porter County from U.S. 12 upstream to U.S. 20.
  • Trail Creek in LaPorte County from the Franklin Street Bridge in Michigan City upstream to U.S. 35.

Hook Restrictions

In the waters including Lake Michigan tributaries, and the St. Joseph River and its tributary streams from the Twin Branch Dam downstream to the Michigan state line (St. Joseph County), you may not fish with more than one single hook per line or one artificial bait or harness for use with live bait.

Single hooks, including those on artificial baits, cannot exceed ½ inch from point to shank. Double and treble hooks are only allowed on artificial baits and shall not exceed ⅜ inch from point to shank.

Single hook

1/2 inch or less from point to shank


Double or treble hook

3/8 inch or less from point to shank



St. Joseph River

Special regulations apply to fishing the St. Joseph River and its tributaries from Twin Branch Dam in Mishawaka, downstream to the Michigan state line. These include:

  • Minimum size for trout and salmon is 14 inches.
  • No fishing is allowed at any time in the East Race Waterway in South Bend. No fishing is allowed within 100 feet of the entrance and exit of the East Race.
  • No fishing is allowed at any time from the fish ladders located on the South Bend or Mishawaka Central Park dams.
  • No fishing is allowed within 100 feet of
    the entrances and exits of the fish ladders.
  • No fishing is allowed by boat or other
    watercraft in the St. Joseph River below
    the South Bend Dam for a distance of 200 feet, and from the Mishawaka Central Park Dam downstream to the Main Street bridge, Mishawaka.

Trail Creek

No fishing is allowed within 100 feet upstream of the sea lamprey barrier or downstream to the Pottawatomie Country Club Golf Course property line located adjacent to Springland Avenue in Michigan City.

Free Fishing Days

Indiana residents can enjoy four free fishing days in 2013 without purchasing a license — April 20, May 18 and June 12.

This year, take a friend along and introduce them to a new activity that could become a lifelong passion.

(All other rules and regulations are enforced.)

See  for more information.

Fishing Reports

Lake Michigan (219) 874-0009

Updated weekly March through December.

St. Joseph River (574) 257-TIPS

Updated weekly mid-February through April and mid-June to mid-December.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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