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New Public Access Sites

Fishing Regulations Indiana Freshwater Fishing

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) currently provides more than 400 public boat ramps on lakes and rivers, giving Hoosiers access to hundreds of miles of streams and thousands of acres of water.

DFW continues to improve water access for anglers and boaters throughout the state each year. In 2018, DFW built six new sites and rehabilitated four others because of their age and accessibility needs.

The six new sites are in Gibson County near Oatsville on the Patoka River; in Huntington County on the Wabash River near the town of Andrews; in LaPorte County near the town of Westville on Clear Lake; in Allen County near the town of Fort Wayne on the St. Joseph River; in Steuben County near the town of Angola on Crooked Lake; and in White County near the town of Monticello on Lake Freeman.

“We had a great year in 2018, getting much-needed access to our natural lakes in Indiana,” public access supervisor Bill Seegers said. “Clear Lake in LaPorte County has been a popular site, and anglers have taken advantage of the opportunity.

“Another natural lake in Steuben County, Crooked Lake, has also been very popular and now has additional parking and ADA accessibility enhancements.”

DFW established a partnership in 2018 with the Monticello Parks and Recreation Department, which led to the enhanced City Park public access site on Lake Freeman. This site, which was formerly the Dodge Camp location, now provides free public access and accessibility.

“The public access program began in 1953,” public access program manager Jamie Smyth said. “Seventy-five percent of the funding for public access comes through the federal sportfish restoration program, which is derived from excise taxes on motorboat fuel and fishing equipment. DFW’s remaining portion is funded through revenue from fishing and hunting licenses.”

While the program continues to improve, free public access remains unavailable or inadequate at many state-owned waters. DFW seeks to expand access by acquiring sites. DFW can acquire sites by leasing property from organizations and local government agencies, and by accepting suitable donations. In addition, when adequate funding is available, DFW can buy property at fair market value from willing sellers.

If you have information on a potential public access site, call Bill Seegers at 812-526-2051.