Fishing Regulations - Indiana Fishing (2022)

Bag & 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 and 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 and release it into any 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 populations. The release of fish from an aquarium would be considered the stocking of fish, which a permit is required for.

Hooks for Pole Fishing or Hand Lines

You may not fish with more than three poles or hand lines at a time. Each line may have no more than three single- or multi-pronged hooks, three artificial lures, or a combination of hooks and artificial lures.

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

Single- or multi-barbed hooks may be used for float or jug fishing, limb, hand, pole, drop, or trot lines. Special hook size and barb regulations apply to Lake Michigan and its tributaries (Lake Michigan Regulations).

(Video) Get your Indiana Fishing License today

Gaffs, Grab Hooks, & 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 a method for catching fish. See Lake Michigan Regulations for Lake Michigan tributary restrictions.

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 (also known as a drop line or bank pole) is a passive fishing device consisting of a line with not more than one hook that is affixed to a stationary object suspended over the water.

You may fish with no more than 10 limb lines or drop lines at a 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 or the user's DNR-issued Customer ID number. All lines must be checked at least every 24 hours. It is illegal to use a limb or drop line within 300 yards of a dam structure located on any stream, river, ditch, canal, or reservoir.

Snagging Fish

Snagging is the practice of dragging or jerking a hook (or hooks) through the water with the intention of hooking 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) cannot be kept. They must be released back into the body of water from which they were foul-hooked.

Trot Lines

A trot line (also known as a set line or throw line) is a passive fishing device consisting of a main line attached to a stationary object that is affixed to an anchor in a body of water. The main line has hooks attached via droppers (or snoods). Droppers may be attached to the main line with knots, clips, or swivels. Floats and weights may be added to the main line to suspend it at desired depths. You may fish with no more than one trot line at a 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 showing the name and address of the user or the user's DNR-issued Customer ID number. Trot lines must 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 dam structure located on any stream, river, ditch, canal, or reservoir.

(Video) Indiana DNR: Learn What You Need for Basic Fishing

Umbrella Rigs

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

Float Fishing

Float or jug fishing is the use of an active fishing device consisting of a line with not more than 1 hook (single or multi-barbed) that is affixed to a float. Floats are often constructed from empty jugs, bottles, and pool noodles, but cannot be constructed of glass.

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 or the user's DNR-issued Customer ID number. All lines must be in constant sight of the person using them. Float fishing is not allowed on lakes and reservoirs.

Ice Fishing

When ice fishing, no more than three lines may be used at a 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 or the user's DNR-issued Customer ID number. Tip-ups must be in constant sight of the person using them.

(Video) Buying a Fishing License

Ice shanties or portable ice fishing shelters must have the owner’s name and address or the owner's DNR-issued Customer ID number in 3-inch block letters on the outside of the door. Between sunset and sunrise, any ice fishing shelter must have at least one red reflector or a 3-inch by 3-inch reflector strip on each side of the structure.

Ice fishing 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.

Freshwater Mussels

It is illegal to collect or take live native mussels or dead native mussel shells from public waters. A ban on harvesting shells has been in effect since 1991 to protect against a rapid decrease in freshwater mussel populations. Please do not disturb living mussels.

Bow Fishing

A bow and arrow or crossbow can be used year-round at any time of day to take Asian carp, bowfin, buffalo fish, common carp, gar, shad, and suckers from streams, rivers, and non-flowing waters (including lakes, ponds, and reservoirs). A fishing license is required to use a bow and arrow or crossbow as fishing equipment.

Spear Fishing

A gig, fish spear, spear gun, or underwater spear can be used year-round at any time of day to take Asian carp, bowfin, buffalo fish, common carp, gar, shad, and suckers from non-flowing waters (including lakes, ponds, and reservoirs) and the following large rivers:

  • Kankakee River, upstream to the SR 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. Fish spears and fish gigs cannot be used in, on, or adjacent to Tippecanoe River from a half-mile below its juncture with Big Creek in Carroll County upstream to the Oakdale Dam.
  • Wabash River, upstream to SR 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

Fishing Near Dams

State law does not allow the taking of fish by trot line, set line, throw line, net, trap, or seine within 300 yards of a dam on an Indiana waterway or boundary water (which includes the Ohio River). Minnows may not be taken within 500 yards of a dam. Minnows can only be taken by seines, minnow traps, cast nets and dip nets meeting all legal requirements (Basic Fishing Information).

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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.

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.

Endangered Fish

The following fish species are classified as endangered in Indiana: cisco, bantam sunfish, Hoosier cavefish (formerly Northern cavefish), channel darter, gilt darter, greater redhorse, lake sturgeon, Western sand darter, 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.

(Video) How to get your Indiana Senior Fishing License for $3

If these fish are captured, immediately return them unharmed to the water in which they were found.

Species Illegal to Possess

The following fish and mussels are illegal to possess alive: Asiatic clam, bighead carp, black carp, silver carp, quagga mussel, round goby, rudd, ruffe, snakehead, stone moroko, tubenose goby, walking catfish, Wels catfish, white perch (not freshwater drum), zander, golden mussel, and zebra mussel.

If any of these exotic species are taken into possession, they must be killed immediately by either removing their head, removing gills from at least one side of the fish, or gutting. Your cooperation is essential to protect Indiana's native species.

FAQs

Fishing Regulations - Indiana Fishing? ›

SpeciesDaily Bag LimitMinimum Size
Black Bass (in rivers and streams)5 Singly or in aggregate (no more than 2 over 15 inches)12 to 15 inch
Black Bass (in Lake Michigan)3 singly or in aggregate14 inches
Yellow BassNoneNone
White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass12 singly or in aggregate, no more than 2 fish may exceed 17 inchesNone
14 more rows

Do you need a fishing license to fish on private property in Indiana? ›

Exemptions: Landowners or lessees of farmland who farm that land and are residents of Indiana are not required to obtain a permit while hunting, fishing, or trapping on the land they own or lease. A license is also NOT required for the landowner's or lessee's spouse or children living with them.

How many hooks can you fish with in Indiana? ›

Indiana Administrative Code 312 IAC 9-7-2 states that “an individual may take fish with not more than three poles, hand lines, or tip-ups at a time… (and) an individual must affix to each line not more than: two hooks, two harnesses for use with live bait, or two artificial baits.

What fishing season is it in Indiana? ›

From big water to farm ponds, Indiana has great fishing year-round. Hoosier anglers have many choices of where to fish these days: huge reservoirs, tiny farm ponds, sprawling natural lakes and mighty rivers.

Is night fishing legal in Indiana? ›

Is it legal to use a light to attract minnows at night to fish for crappie? Yes, use of lights is allowed. There are no restrictions on fishing hours. Some lakes do have restrictions on boat speeds during certain hours.

How many rods can you fish with in Indiana? ›

You may not fish with more than three poles or hand lines at a time. Each line may have no more than three single- or multi-pronged hooks, three artificial lures, or a combination of hooks and artificial lures.

How much is a ticket for fishing without a license in Indiana? ›

The section that covers this offense is 379.354. It is a noncriminal offense. In this offense, the culprit is to be penalized with a fine of the license cost plus an additional $50. If you are found breaking the same rule more than once in the period of 36 months the penalty fine is increased to $100.

Is there a limit on bluegill in Indiana? ›

The most common bag limit is 25 bluegills, which Indiana implemented statewide in 1961.

Can you fish with a treble hook in Indiana? ›

In Indiana, treble hooks are allowed only on artificial lures and can not not exceed 3/8 inch from point to shank.

Is there a size limit on crappie in Indiana? ›

Management. Many states have crappie regulations such as a reduced bag limit or minimum length limits. Indiana has a 25 fish daily bag limit but does not have statewide crappie size regulation.

Can you fish in March in Indiana? ›

In many cases, boats are trolling within casting distance of shore! Cohos usually cruise near the surface in March, so use shallow-running lures when targeting them. Early spring anglers can also try Bluegrass Fish & Wildlife Area in Warrick County for some excellent early-season crappie action.

What are the free fishing days in Indiana? ›

Mark your calendars for 2022 Free Fishing Days. This year's four free fishing days are May 1, June 4-5, and Sept. 24.

Where is the best fishing in Indiana? ›

Fishing Spots in Indiana
  • Morse Reservoir. Located in northern Hamilton County and around 25 miles north of Indianapolis, Morse Reservoir is one of Indiana's excellent fishing spots. ...
  • Monroe Lake. ...
  • Patoka Lake. ...
  • Wolf Lake. ...
  • Sundance Lake. ...
  • White River. ...
  • Lake Maxinkuckee. ...
  • Eel River.
Jul 6, 2021

Is it illegal to catch fish with your hands in Indiana? ›

It's also illegal to catch fish in Indiana using your bare hands, a firearm or an electric current.

Can you use live bait in Indiana? ›

Wild fish may be used as live bait as long as the fish was caught legally and meets any size, catch, or possession limits established for that species. Goldfish may be used as live bait. Carp cannot be used as live bait at any location. Live alewives may be collected, possessed, and used on Lake Michigan only.

What's the best bait for night fishing? ›

Topwater of all kinds are great choices for nighttime fishing. Spooks, poppers, frogs, prop baits and anything that makes a disturbance on the surface can work well. However, buzzbaits take the top prize for night fishing. Since bass don't see as well in the dark, they rely on their other senses to hunt for prey.

Do you need a fishing license for catch and release in Indiana? ›

On Free Fishing Days, Indiana residents do not need a fishing license or a trout/salmon stamp to fish the state's public waters. All other rules such as seasons, bag and size limits apply. Free Fishing Days are an excellent opportunity to learn how to fish, take your family fishing, or introduce a friend to fishing.

How many bass can you keep in Indiana? ›

SpeciesDaily Bag LimitMinimum Size
Black Bass (in lakes)5 Singly or in aggregate14 inches
Black Bass (in rivers and streams)5 Singly or in aggregate (no more than 2 over 15 inches)12 to 15 inch
Black Bass (in Lake Michigan)3 singly or in aggregate14 inches
Yellow BassNoneNone
14 more rows

Is noodling legal in Indiana? ›

In Indiana, the eastern snapping turtle, the smooth softshell turtle and the spiny softshell turtle are considered game species and can be taken by noodling (sometimes called fingering). It also is legal to catch those turtles with nets, traps and hooks.

Does everyone need a fishing license in Indiana? ›

With a few exceptions, a valid fishing license issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is required to fish in public lakes, streams, rivers, tributaries, and boundary waters in Indiana.

How much is a 1 day fishing license in Indiana? ›

Resident licenses
License categoryLicense nameFee
Combination LicensesHunting & Fishing$32
Youth Consolidated Hunt/Trap1$12
FishingAnnual Fishing$23
One-day Fishing (includes Trout/Salmon)$10
21 more rows

How much is a fishing license at Walmart in Indiana? ›

Walmart annual fishing license fee – $40.

Is chumming legal in Indiana? ›

It is legal to use native species of snails as bait for fishing. There are some exotic species of snails that would not be legal to use, but native snails found in the lake could be used as bait. Secondly, the DNR does not prohibit a person from chumming when fishing.

Is there a size limit on catfish in Indiana? ›

Indiana DNR said the bag limit for channel catfish is 10 each day, but there is no minimum size limit. The state has posted channel catfish regulations here and anglers can find more information about catfish fishing here.

How big does a bass have to be to keep in Indiana? ›

12-inch minimum size limit (5 bass daily limit):

Can you put a worm on a treble hook? ›

You can put a worm on a treble hook but you need to remember that a worm is “live bait”.

How big do fish need to be to keep? ›

The daily bag and possession limit is five fish in any combination of species. The minimum size limit is 14 inches total length or 10 inches alternate length.

What does foul hooked mean in fishing? ›

: to hook (a fish) elsewhere than in the mouth.

Do I need a license to fish on private pond in Indiana? ›

While fishing in Indiana on public water nearly always requires a fishing license, a permit is not required to troll for fish in ponds, lakes, and even streams and rivers running through private land so long as you have the permission of the property owner.

Who is exempt from fishing license in Indiana? ›

Non-resident youth age 17 or younger may hunt or trap with a resident license if a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian is an Indiana resident. Non-resident youth age 17 or younger are exempt from a fishing license, state migratory waterfowl stamp, and gamebird habitat stamp.

Are creeks private property in Indiana? ›

In Indiana those who own land adjacent to “non-navigable” rivers and streams actually own the land under the stream, yet the water and everything in it is public. So if you float through without touching the bank or bottom you are not violating any rules.

How much is an Indiana fishing license? ›

A combination hunting and fishing license for Indiana residents will now cost $32, up from $25. An annual fishing license increases from $17 to $23 and an annual hunting license will now cost $20, up $3 from previous years.

Videos

1. The BAIT you'll WISH you had! Fishing Indiana
(SO. IN Outdoors)
2. Salmon Snagger BUSTED at River!!! ILLEGAL FISHING
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3. 10 Best Fishing Spots in Northwest Indiana
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4. Violations Of Fishing Laws Are A Big Problem For Conservation Officers | North Woods Law
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5. Conservation Officer at the Spillway! - (Indiana Fishing)
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6. Indiana DNR announces 4 free fishing days
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