Indiana Freshwater Fishing
The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife is tasked by state law to manage fisheries resources for the benefit of all Hoosiers.
This booklet is a summary of fishing regulations that support that effort. It is designed as a service to anglers and is not intended to be a complete digest of all fishing regulations.
Some rules may change after printing of this booklet, so be sure to check the DNR website (www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/2347.htm) for updates.
These regulations apply only to fish that originate from, or are taken from, the public waters of Indiana. Fish from public waters that migrate into or from private waters are still covered by these regulations. These regulations do not apply to fish in private waters that did not originate from public waters.
Who Needs a Fishing License
With a few exceptions (see License Exemptions below), a valid fishing license issued
by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is required to fish in public lakes, streams, rivers or tributaries in Indiana or its boundary waters.
The license must be signed in ink to be valid. You must carry it with you when fishing and present it to an Indiana Conservation Officer (or any authorized law enforcement official) upon request. There are fines and penalties for fishing without a license.
To qualify for resident fishing licenses, a person must have established a true fixed and permanent home and primary residence in Indiana for 60 consecutive days prior to purchasing a license or permit, and not claim residency for fishing, hunting or trapping in another state or country. All others are non-residents.
Indiana residents who are 64 years old and born after March 31, 1943 are eligible to buy a Senior Annual or Senior Fish for Life License.
To legally fish for or take trout and salmon from public waters, you must also have a valid trout and salmon privilege and a valid fishing license (signed in ink).
A fishing license may be revoked if the license holder is convicted of violating fish and wildlife regulations. Any equipment used in the violation of Indiana fish and wildlife laws may be seized for evidence, and confiscated upon conviction.
How to Buy a License
In Person …
Visit one of more than 800 retailers statewide (see www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/5334.htm for an interactive map) or visit the DNR Customer Service Center, Indiana Government Center South, 402 W. Washington St., Room W160, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
By Mail …
Send check, money order (payable to DNR) or Visa or MasterCard (include number, expiration date) to:
DNR Customer Service Center
402 W. Washington St., Room W160
Indianapolis, IN, 46204
Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Include the following information:
- Name, date of birth, Indiana Driver’s License number and Social Security Number (required by IC 14-22-11-3)
- Complete address, city, state, ZIP code, and phone number
- Height, weight, sex, color of hair and eyes
- Specify the licenses you need and dates for one-day or multi-day licenses
By Phone …
Call (317) 232-4200.
A fishing license and trout/salmon stamp are NOT required for:
- Indiana residents born before April 1, 1943. Such residents should carry their driver’s license or other identification to verify age and residency.
- Residents and non-residents under age 18.
- Residents who are legally blind.
- Residents of a state-owned mental rehabilitation facility.
- Residents of any licensed health care facility in Indiana taking part in a supervised fishing activity sponsored by the facility.
- Residents that have a developmental disability as defined by IC 12-7-2-61.
- Fishing in a private pond that does not allow fish entry from or exit to public waters. However, an angler must have permission from the property owner to fish.
- Residents of Indiana engaged in full-time military service while on approved military leave. However, the angler must carry leave orders and a valid Indiana driver’s license or voter registration card.
- Resident owners or lessees of Indiana farmland who farm that land, their spouses and children living with them, while fishing on the farmland they own or lease. This exemption does not apply to land owned by a business, corporation or partnership unless the shareholders, partners, members or owners are comprised solely of an immediate family and farm that land. Farmland means agricultural land that is devoted to or best adaptable to the production of crops, fruits, timber or raising livestock, or is assessed as agricultural land for property tax purposes.
- Some non-resident landowners, while fishing in public waters from the farmland they own, according to the exemptions that their state provides to Indiana residents.
(NOTE: Non-resident military personnel on active duty and stationed in Indiana may purchase an Indiana resident license.)
Indiana disabled American veterans can get a DAV fishing and hunting license application form from the County Service Officer where they live or download the application form at wildlife.in.gov/2376.htm. Mail the form with a stamped self-addressed envelope to DNR Customer Service Center.