Pack your tackle box for summer
Summer is near. The kids are out of school. The sun is shining, and the air is warm. It’s time to go fishing. Here are some suggestions on how to stock your tackle box this summer:
Photo courtesy of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.
Terminal tackle: hooks – size 6 to 8; 1/0 to 4/0, weights – 1/16 oz. and 1/8 oz. split shot; 1/8 to 1/2 oz. bullet-shaped, bobbers – 3/8” and 1/2” pencil-style clip on or slip (with stopper), and jig heads – 1/16 and 1/32 oz. “crappie”; 1/6 and 1/10 oz. “Ned Rig” (stand-up or mushroom-style head)
Lures: inline spinners – 1/16 oz. and 1/8 oz.; color: chartreuse (yellow-green), beetle spins – 1/16 oz. and 1/8 oz.; color: green, spinner baits – 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz.; colors: white and chartreuse, crankbaits – Iipless and lipped; colors: shad, bluegill, and chartreuse, and soft plastics – worms and stickbaits in black and green pumpkin; curly tail grubs in white and chartreuse; frogs with double hook in white and green
Other items: needle nose pliers, fishing line clippers (e.g., nail clippers), bug spray, sunscreen, lip balm, first aid items/kit, extra fishing license in a clear “zipper” bag, and Fishing Guide
Wondering when to use which fishing lure? See our website.
Enjoy summer fishing at Lake Michigan
Once summer water temperatures reach 60–66 degrees, shoreline fishing takes off along Lake Michigan. Summer waters often bring yellow perch, bass, walleye, catfish, and freshwater drum close to shore. Trail Creek yields great fishing opportunities for Skamania steelhead (read more below). For anglers interested in drum, catfish, and carp, fish the Burns waterway and harbor at Portage Lakefront Park from June through September.
When fishing the tributaries, make sure to follow new hook restrictions.
Porcupine crib junior, a fish habitat structure.
Find private pond and lake management resources in one place
Do you own a pond or lake? Pond owners can find resources about pond construction, where to purchase fish to stock, nuisance wildlife concerns, fish kills, and more on our website. You can also find resources about adding structure to your waterbody to improve fish survival and spawning spaces.
Summertime means Skamania: Lake Michigan steelhead
Skamania steelhead typically begin their spawning runs in June and last through August, with peak runs from late June to late July. Early running fish can be caught as early as mid-May; it's not too early to get to the lake! Look for surface water temperatures under 68 degrees for best action. Strong south winds during the heat of summer will cause upwelling of cool water and hot steelhead action nearshore.
- The mouth of Burns Ditch at Portage Lakefront Park
- The pier at Washington Park, Michigan City
- DNR/Coast Guard public access site in the inner harbor of Michigan City
Most Skamania steelhead taken by shore anglers are caught on live bait. Up to three rods are permitted to increase your chances and a spinning rod spooled with 8–12-pound test monofilament line will work with live bait. Make sure you have a quality reel, as these fish are lightning quick and can really drag. Suspend a size-2 to size-6 hook about 4-6 feet under a bobber. Small spawn sacs, whole cooked shrimp, nightcrawlers, and minnows are all great bait.
Bring your rods on your next camping trip
School’s out for the summer; it’s time to pack up the car, renew those fishing licenses, and head to the campsite. With more than 40 DNR locations that provide both camping and excellent fishing, it’s hard to choose which one to visit. Here are a few of the many great options for relaxing and fishing with the family:
Brookville Reservoir and Whitewater Lake
The Brookville Lake - Whitewater Memorial State Park complex has two State Recreation Areas, boating opportunities, and excellent fishing for bluegill, redear, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, and muskie. Two beaches, 25 miles of hiking trails, and more than 400 campsites make this an ideal family vacation spot.
At Summit Lake State Park, you can fish for bluegill, redear, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and walleye. Park facilities include 120 electric campsites, three boat ramps, boat rentals, a beach bathhouse, and two large open shelters that can be reserved for family picnics and other events.
Potato Creek State Park is just minutes from South Bend and home to Worster Lake, where you can fish for bluegill, redear, bass, and walleye. Rainbow trout also get stocked in the creek. Camping, boat rentals, fishing piers, hiking trails, and a variety of natural habitats makes this a great place to visit.
Chain O’ Lakes State Park is northwest of Fort Wayne and has nine connected lakes including Sand Lake, which has good fishing for bluegill, redear, crappie, and bass. Fish from the pier or rent a boat. The beach, hiking trails, and camping make this a great family destination.
Sign up for an Indiana Hunter Education Course
Indiana Hunter Education Courses provide instruction for safe firearm use and handling while hunting and within your home, hunter ethics and responsibility, game identification, and conservation management. Anyone born after December 31, 1986 is required to be certified in Hunter Education before they can purchase a hunting license.
Preliminary 2021 spring turkey harvest results available
Hunters harvested 12,320 wild turkeys during Indiana’s 2021 spring season, with at least one turkey harvested in 91 of 92 counties. No birds were harvested in Tipton County. While the 2021 harvest was lower than last year’s record harvest of 14,492 birds, this year’s harvest was similar to the previous five years’ spring harvest results – averaging 12,065 birds per season.
A total of 1,198 birds (10% of total harvest) were taken by youth hunters during the youth-only weekend, Apr. 17-18. Hunters had an estimated success rate of 19% compared to 21% in 2020.
A complete analysis of Indiana’s spring harvest data for 2021 will be available later this summer. To see county harvest numbers, check out our spring turkey harvest website.
Turkey brood survey coming soon, view last year’s results
Across the state, turkeys are scouring Indiana’s woodlands and fields for insects with poults (turkey chicks) in tow. During July and August, Indiana DNR needs your help to count turkey broods and hens without poults to calculate the annual Wild Turkey Production Index (number of poults per adult hens). The Production Index helps estimate wild turkey populations in the state and provides guidance for future management.
You can view the 2020 results for the turkey brood survey online. Mark your calendars for this year’s survey period, starting on July 1 and running through Aug. 31.
Use native plants to welcome wildlife
During spring and early summer, many people ask what they can do to support wildlife conservation. Habitat loss is the biggest threat to wildlife diversity, and planting native plants is one of the best ways to help. Native Indiana plants like wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs are ones that have grown here for thousands of years and are adapted to the climate and soils of Indiana. Native plants provide food and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Many species of birds and small mammals use native plants as nesting material. The deep roots of native plants also help to keep pollution out of Indiana’s waterbodies.
To watch a webinar about creating habitat in your backyard, visit on.IN.gov/fishwilded. You can also reach out to your district biologist for recommendations: wildlife.IN.gov/wildlife-resources/wildlife-biologists/.
Canada geese will soon be grounded
Have you noticed geese and/or their young walking across the road during the summer? That’s because adult Canada geese molt every summer. Molting is the process by which birds replace their flight feathers. During molting, Canada geese are grounded for about a month while their new flight feathers grow. Goslings haven’t even had a chance to grow their first set of flight feathers by this time. In Indiana, peak molting times for Canada geese are the last two weeks of June through the first two weeks of July.
While gently harassing geese that may be causing conflict is encouraged, harassing them during molt is not as effective nor appropriate since the geese cannot move long distances. Instead, install fencing or a vegetation barrier prior to goose nesting. These barriers should be at least 30 inches tall and should be 20-30 feet wide around the edge of water sources. For more information about living with Canada geese, visit our website or contact your district biologist.
Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund at Work: Reptiles
This spring, DNR herpetologists located a previously unknown population of state endangered Kirtland’s snakes (Clonophis kirtlandii) while conducting surveys in southern Indiana with the Sycamore Land Trust. Kirtland’s snakes are very secretive and typically live in underground burrows or beneath cover. They have reddish-pink bellies lined with two rows of small, black spots. Kirtland’s snakes live in many kinds of habitats, but the areas typically have moist soil and crayfish burrows. A peculiar feature of the Kirtland’s snake is its ability to survive in heavily developed urban and suburban environments. The Kirtland’s snake is regularly reported in the Indianapolis and New Albany areas, but has become rare in the agricultural region of northern Indiana.
Have you seen a Kirtland’s snake recently? DNR is cataloguing records from around the state and would like to include your sighting. Photos and accompanying information like date, location, and number of snakes seen can be sent to HerpSurveys@dnr.IN.gov. These records will help our herpetologists better understand the status and distribution of Kirtland’s snakes in Indiana and allow for more informed management decisions.
Recent news releases
- June 4 - Bike with a Biologist, Amo
- June 5 - Scavenger Hunt, Goose Pond FWA
- June 5 - Learn to Fish, Terre Haute
- June 5-6 - Free Fishing Weekend
- June 15 - Grassland Habitat Workshop, Spencer County
- June 24 - Grassland Habitat Workshop, Goose Pond FWA
- June 26 - Volunteer Field Day, Winamac FWA
- July 10 - Frog Gig, Goose Pond FWA
- July 24 - Kayak Outing, Goose Pond FWA
- Aug. 6 - Bird Banding Day, Goose Pond FWA
- Sept. 25 - Final Free Fishing Day
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The Indiana Natural Resources Foundation celebrates and preserves Indiana’s natural legacy by raising funds to support the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its programs. Together, we have helped expand public lands, restore wildlife habitat, and create outdoor educational and recreational opportunities for Hoosiers.
About Fish and Wildlife Management in Indiana
Fish and wildlife management and public access are funded by fishing and hunting license revenue and also through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These programs collect excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, and motor boat fuels. The money is distributed among state fish and wildlife agencies based on land size and the number of licensed anglers and hunters in each state. Find out more information about fish and wildlife management in Indiana at Wildlife.IN.gov.