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Fishing Regulations

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Indiana’s Statewide Size and Bag Limits

Species

Daily Bag Limit

Minimum Size

Bluegill3

None3

None

Redear Sunfish3

253

None

Black Bass (in lakes)2

5 singly or in aggregate1

14 inches

(exceptions: Bass Regulations)

Black Bass
(in rivers and streams)2

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

12 to 15 inch slot limit 4

(exceptions: Bass Regulations)

Black Bass (in Lake Michigan)2

3 singly or in aggregate1

14 inches

Yellow Bass

None

None

White Bass,
Hybrid Striped Bass

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

None

Striped Bass

2

None

Rock Bass

25

None

Crappie3

253

None

Walleye,
Walleye-Sauger Hybrid (Saugeye), Sauger

6 singly or in aggregate1

For Walleye and Walleye-Sauger Hybrid: 14 inches (exceptions: Fish Information)
No Sauger size limit

Muskellunge
and Tiger Muskellunge

1 singly

36 inches

Northern Pike

3

20 inches

Yellow Perch

None (15 only on Lake Michigan)

None

Catfish: Channel, Blue,
Flathead
(in streams)

None

10 inches

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

10 (exceptions on Fish Information)

None

Bullhead

None

None

Lake Whitefish

12

None

Shovelnose Sturgeon

None

25 inches

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 County) is 25 singly or in aggregate.

4 No black bass between 12 and 15 inches may be harvested.

Bag and Possession Limits

It is illegal to take more than the daily bag limit of a wild fish in a calendar day.

The possession limit is two times the daily bag limit.

The possession limit does not apply to a wild fish that is processed and stored at an individual’s primary residence.

It is illegal to carry, transport or ship outside Indiana, in open season, in one day, a wild fish that the individual has taken in open season in excess of the possession limit.

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. DNR fisheries biologists approve stocking of fish only after careful consideration of the potential impacts of new fish on the existing habitat and fish population. The release of fish from an aquarium would be considered the stocking of fish, and a permit is required to do so.

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 three single or multi-pronged hooks, three artificial lures, or no more than three of a combination of hooks and artificial lures.

A multi-prong hook, or two or more single-prong hooks used to hold a single bait is considered one hook.

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 Lake Michigan 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 legally caught fish. They may not be used as the method of catching fish.

Snares

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 lines 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 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

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. It is illegal to snag fish from public waters in Indiana, including the Ohio River. Trout and salmon that are foul-hooked — not caught in the mouth — must be released to the water and not kept.

Trot Lines

A trot line (also called a set line or throw line) is a fishing line with smaller lines attached to it that extends 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.

Umbrella Rig

You may use an umbrella rig (sometimes referred to as an Alabama rig) but hooks or lures can be attached to only three arms. Any additional arms must be left empty or can be fitted with a spinner blade or other hookless attractor.

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 three hooks (single, double or treble) or three artificial lures. 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. A portable ice fishing shelter must have the owner’s name and address in 3-inch block letters on an exterior wall. Between sunset and sunrise, any ice fishing shelter or portable shelter must have at least one red reflector or a 3-inch by 3-inch reflector 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, common carp, Asian carp, gar, bowfin, buffalo, and shad may be taken at the locations below with the equipment listed. There are no bag limits for these fish. See Lake Michigan for restrictions on Lake Michigan tributaries.

Large Streams

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

Equipment: Bow and arrow, crossbow, gig, fish spear, spear gun, underwater spear.

Time: All year, day or night.

Small Streams

Any and all streams or partial streams not listed above.

Equipment: Bow and arrow, crossbow.

Time: All year, day or night.

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

Equipment: Bow and arrow, crossbow, gig, fish spear, spear gun, underwater spear.

Time: All year, day or night.

Smelt Fishing

Smelt may be taken from Lake Michigan 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.

Mussels

It is illegal to collect or take live mussels 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 freshwater 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, northern cavefish, channel darter, gilt darter, greater redhorse, lake sturgeon (Lake Sturgeon – Endangered Species), northern brook lamprey, pallid shiner, redside dace, and 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.

If captured during baitfish collection, immediately return them unharmed to the water in which they were found.

Species Illegal to Possess

The following fish and mussels cannot be kept alive without having a special permit from the DNR: Asiatic clam, bighead carp, black carp, silver carp, quagga mussel, round goby, rudd, ruffe, snakehead (of the family Channidae), tubenose goby, walking catfish (of the family Clariidae), white perch (not freshwater drum), and zebra mussel.

If any of these are caught, they must be killed immediately and not returned to the water. Your cooperation is essential.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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