Both amateur and professional fishers that are eager to catch fish in the state of Indiana have to observe the statewide regulations. For special regulations concerning certain rivers, lakes and fish species you can use the information provided by the Department of Natural Resources.


Who needs a license

You must be a resident for at least sixty days before applying for a resident fishing license. If you are a resident born after the 31st of March 1943 you can apply for a Senior Annual or Senior Fish for Life License. If you’re a non-resident, you need to pay a larger sum for an annual license, but you can also get a one-day or seven-day license.

For salmon and trout fishing in public waters, you’ll need a license and a salmon or trout privilege.

If you’re not yet 18 years old, then you don’t need a license. The same is true for some landowners and farmers as well as people with disabilities.


Fish size and bag limits

Here are the species you can land in Indiana and the amount of fish you can take home at the end of the day. For some of them, regulations state that you can either harvest one species or include any combination of species in the daily bag. Keep in mind that the possession limit in the state of Indiana is two times the daily bag.  

There’s no bag or size limit for bluegill, yellow bass, yellow perch, and bullhead. The exceptions are Lake Michigan, where you can only bag 15 yellow perch a day and J.C. Murphey Lake in Newton County, where you can bag 25 sunfish a day.

The bag limit is generous for redear sunfish, rock bass, and crappie. You can take 25 pieces a day, and there is no size limit for them. The only exception is Dogwood Lake in Daviess County and Hardy Lake in Scott County, where crappies have a 9-inch minimum size limit.

Other generous limits are set for white or hybrid striped bass (the daily bag is 12), catfish (10) and lake whitefish (also 10). There are, of course, exceptions.

The daily limit for black bass is five fish, singly or in aggregate, but the size limit depends on the body of water. Black bass caught in a river has to have a 14-inches minimum size, while those you capture in rivers and streams have to fit in a 12 to 14 inches limit. You can only take three black bass measuring at least 14 inches from the Lake Michigan.

Other limits are set much lower. The daily bag is limited at 3 for northern pike, 2 for striped bass and only 1 for muskellunge and tiger muskellunge.


Lake Michigan

Since the species found in Lake Michigan are of special interest for both fishermen and natural conservation specialists, there are special regulations for the lake and its tributaries.   

One of the rules is that you must catch a salmon or trout by hooking them in the mouth. Otherwise, you must return them to the water. You can’t use trotline, set line or throw line. You can use a ½ inch single hook, but double or treble hooks can only be used with artificial lures and shouldn’t exceed a ⅜ inch.

It’s ok to use bows and arrows for carp, buffalo, gar, bowfin, and shad on Lake Michigan but showing up with spear guns, clubs, gigs, crossbows grab hooks and other types of equipment on the tributaries is strictly prohibited.

The bag limit is set for five salmon and trout, and you can’t take more than two lake trout. The minimum size for both salmon and trout is 14 inches on the lake and its tributaries.  



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