Basic Fishing Information
boat-ed.com/Indiana/handbook. On state-owned, leased, or licensed lakes smaller than 300 acres, only electric motors may be used. No more than two 12-volt batteries can be used to power trolling motors on these waters.To determine the accurate length of a fish, measure a straight line from the tip of the jaw (mouth closed) to the tip of the compressed tail fin. Measure with mouth closed and tail compressed to determine total length. Measure shovelnose sturgeon from nose to fork in tail fin to determine length.
Life PreserversA U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved wearable personal flotation device (PFD) is required for each person on any boat. Boats 16 feet and longer, except for canoes or kayaks, must also have one USCG approved throwable PFD on board. Lake Michigan, the Ohio River, and Indiana-Illinois boundary waters of the Wabash River have special regulations. Call the USCG at 219-879-8371 for Lake Michigan, 502-779-5400 for southern Indiana, or see uscgboating.org for a copy of federal boating regulations.
SinkersConsider using lead free fishing sinkers to reduce exposure to lead. Alternative sinkers are made of steel, bismuth, tungsten, and resin. Fish and wildlife health may be affected if lead or zinc sinkers are ingested.
Tagging & MarkingAnyone interested in marking or tagging fish in public water must get approval from the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) before marking or tagging occurs. An application, available from DFW, must be processed 21 days before the scheduled start date. Call 317-232-4200 for more information.
Lake Michigan Trout & SalmonTrout or salmon with a missing adipose fin contain a small microwire tag in the head of the fish with information important to DNR research. Please save the head from your marked (adipose fin-clipped) trout and salmon and call the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife at 219-874-6824 for instructions on drop-off locations. Only trout and salmon with a missing adipose fin have micro tags. The adipose fin is along the fish’s spine between the dorsal fin and caudal (tail) fin.
Illegal DevicesIt is illegal to use the following devices to take fish from public waters: a weir, electric current, dynamite or other explosive, a firearm, hands alone, or any substance that may weaken or poison fish.
Sorting FishAnglers are responsible for maintaining fish in a healthy condition if they wish to return fish to the water. Dead and dying fish cannot be released back into the water. At no time may anglers have more than a bag limit in their possession while engaged in a day’s fishing. However, sorting of fish may be allowed within the bag limit if fish are in healthy condition at the time of release. For example, if you catch five largemouth bass (daily bag limit is five) and catch a bigger largemouth bass later that day, it is legal to release any of the other fish in good condition in order to keep the larger one. Fish must be released into the water from which they were taken and be able to swim away normally. All fish in possession must meet legal size limits.
Gifting FishA person cannot gift fish taken under a sport fishing license to another person knowingly or intentionally for the purpose of stocking a private lake for which customers pay for the opportunity to fish.
Holding Baskets, Live Boxes, Live Nets, Etc.A fish holding basket, live box, live net, or any other structure in which fish or other aquatic life are contained or held and left unattended must be plainly labeled with the name and address of the owner or the owner's DNR issued Customer ID number. This does not include live wells or other devices that hang over the side of a boat or are located within the boat.
- Seines cannot be larger than 12 feet in length and 4 feet deep with mesh no larger than ½ inch stretch. Stretch is the distance between two opposite knots of a net mesh when the net is stretched tight.
- Minnow dip nets cannot exceed 3 feet square (without sides or walls) and may not have mesh larger than ½ inch stretch.
- Minnow traps cannot exceed 24 inches in length with the opening of the trap no larger than 2 inches in diameter. Traps for crayfish also must comply with these requirements.
- Cast nets may be used, provided the net is no larger than 20 feet in diameter and the mesh stretch is no larger than ¾ inch.
- Minnows may not be taken within 500 yards of a dam and may only be taken by seines, minnow traps, cast nets, and dip nets meeting all legal requirements.
- See Ohio River Regulations for special minnow and crayfish collecting regulations on the Ohio River.
Hooks on East Fork White RiverHook restrictions are in place from March 15 through April 20 on the East Fork White River from Williams Dam to the Huron and Williams Road bridge in Lawrence County. During that time, fishing cannot occur with more than one single hook per line or one artificial lure. Single hooks, including those on artificial lures, shall not exceed ½ inch from point to shank. Double and treble hooks on artificial lures shall not exceed 3/8 inch from point to shank.
- Bass Lake (Starke County) and Wolf Lake (Lake County); minimum size 14 inches
- Lake George (Steuben County); minimum size 15 inches
- Wall Lake (LaGrange County); minimum size 16 inches with a daily bag limit of two walleye taken from public waters (lakes, rivers, and streams). Walleye taken south of State Road 26 must be 14 inches or longer.
Special Regulation WatersOn Fidler Pond in Elkhart County, Failing Lake (also known as Gentian Lake) in Steuben County, and Flat Fork Creek Park ponds A and B in Hamilton County, a person cannot take more than:
- 5 channel catfish per day
- 2 largemouth bass per day, and the largemouth bass must be at least 18 inches long
- 15 of any combination of bluegill, redear sunfish, and crappie per day
How To Measure Your Fish