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Hanging a “Gone Fishing” sign in a window was once a common way of announcing you were unavailable, trying your luck with rod and reel. In other words, relaxing and getting away for a bit, either alone or with friends or family. We don’t see many signs like that anymore, but the many benefits fishing provides remain constant, something we need more than ever these days. A day on the water leaves stress in your wake as you reconnect with nature and spend peaceful time with companions or yourself. And maybe return with a main dish for a meal, too. Fishing is for anyone and everyone, of virtually any age, race, religion, ability or skill level. Even so, some folks may not realize the waters are open to all. They could use an invitation. Resolve this year to invite one new person, someone different from you in one of the ways mentioned, to wet a line with you. One of the Free Fishing Days listed on Fishing Regulations is the perfect chance, when no Indiana resident needs a license. And remember, those under 18 never need a license. If you or someone else doesn’t know where to go near you, has ideas, including many urban locations we stock. Yes, taking someone different fishing requires a step out of your comfort zone, but it’s well worth bringing someone else to the sport you love as another supporter of conservation. Maybe one day they too will be announcing they’ve Gone Fishing, sharing like you shared. I hope they’re biting for you, yours, and your new friends every time you hit the water. Dan Bortner Director, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Consider this an invitation to the outdoors. Indiana’s waterbodies provide all Hoosiers an opportunity to unplug and unwind. Whether you are fishing, boating, or enjoying another outdoor pastime, there is an outdoor space for you. At the Division of Fish & Wildlife, we are committed to keeping our natural resources safe and healthy for all while increasing access to those special places. In 2020, we opened our 439th public access site, near Madison. Public access sites are available any time of day, any day of the week, at no cost to you. The removal of non-native, harmful fish species is one focal area as we work toward sustainable populations. Last year we received federal funds to research important unknowns about Asian carp, including information about their reproduction, habitats, and impacts to Indiana’s native fish. We have also partnered with other state agencies to remove Asian carp from our waterways. Above all, Fish & Wildlife staff work tirelessly to provide more and better fishing opportunities for you to enjoy. Whether improving public access, managing fish populations, or raising fish from fry, we want to ensure every person has an opportunity to get on the water and find what they’re looking for. You may be looking for a big catch, a special challenge, or just a chance to take it all in. No matter why you’re on the water, no matter who you are, we are here for you. When you purchase a license, fishing equipment, or boat fuel, or volunteer on a clean-up effort, you are supporting Fish & Wildlife’s commitment to sustainable fish and wildlife populations. Together, our efforts mean that everyone can enjoy Indiana’s safe and healthy waters. Amanda Wuestefeld Director, DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife