Indiana Fishing: An Underrated and Unique Freshwater Experience
Indiana is a state that loves to fish. Not only do the people there love to fish, but the fishing is great and there are some amazing opportunities for some of the best freshwater fishing in the nation and some of the best sights in the eastern United States. You might be surprised to know just how many perfect fishing spots there are, because Indiana isn’t a place that gets a lot of publicity for its fishing, and for that reason, it’s one of the most underrated fishing destinations in the country.
Of course, Indiana in the wintertime can be brutal and it isn’t for the faint of heart, but it offers perfect conditions for some of the best ice fishing you’ll find. All in all, Indiana is a well-rounded fishing destination that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Although Indiana has no saltwater fishing offerings, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some active fishing on a beautiful beach. That’s right, Lake Michigan has some of the most scenic freshwater lake fishing you’ll find. Fishing on the Indiana Dunes brings a host of various places and methods of fishing.
First, there’s the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk fishing pier, where you can land smallmouth bass, salmon, trout, carp, and catfish. Fishing is allowed every day here, but you must get a permit to fish after the park closes. Keep a close eye on updates regarding this area, as they’ve sometimes been known to close it due to hazardous conditions and erosion related issues. Restrooms are also available on-site at a pavilion there on the beach.
If you’re wanting to really get out of the way and away from the hustle and bustle, you should try the fishing in Lakes of Hoosier National Forest. This national forest offers some smaller lakes and ponds that are deep in the forest and somewhat more difficult to access, but also more difficult to overfish. Chances are if you try your hand here, the fish will be eager to bite.
The four lakes are Indian, Celina, Tipsaw, and Saddle lakes. Many of these lakes also have camping opportunities nearby if you wanted to stay overnight or for a few nights. Saddle Lake, for example, has $5 per night campsites available through self-service pay stations. Saddle Lake is perhaps the most remote of all of the lakes, even though it’s a man-made lake. Saddle lake is known for its wooded shores and quiet atmosphere, a perfect place for a relaxing weekend of fishing.
If the beaches of Lake Michigan and the serenity of Lake of Hoosier don’t draw you in, and if you’re looking for pure trophy fishing, Patoka Lake is right up your alley. Patoka Lake is located in the south-central region of the state and is known as the best spot in Indiana for bass and crappie. In fact, the average bass pulled out of Patoka is over 16 inches long, not bad at all for the “average.”
The crappie population in Lake Patoka has also exploded due to the introduction of shad into the lake. Shad are one of crappie’s favorite prey and for that reason, you can pull some crappie out of Lake Patoka that are as long as 17 inches. There are also plenty of activities to do nearby if you want to visit the winery or go to an indoor waterpark. And if you really want to go all out on Lake Patoka, look into renting a pontoon for the day and enjoying the lake the right way.
And for those who really want to brave the conditions for a chance at some of the best fishing available, Indiana has some great ice fishing offerings. Always keep in mind that there is a safety protocol to ice fishing and not all lakes freeze at the same rate, such as Lake Tippecanoe in Indiana, which is incredibly deep and one of the last lakes to freeze.
Keeping that in mind, check out Summit Lake in the wintertime. Summit, as its name suggests, is located at a high elevation and thus it freezes quickly. You’ll be able to catch largemouth, crappie, bluegill, and more. The most recommended baits are ice jigs tipped with spikes or mousies. Vary the depths of your lines since the bluegill will generally be near the bottom while other species might be closer to the top. Yellow perch are also available by using minnows on a tip-up and they can be found at depths as deep as 40 feet.
Other great ice fishing locations available in Indiana are Pine Lake and Clear Lake. Clear Lake is known for having varying bottom depths that make interesting spots for fish to hide and hang out. So, feel free to bundle up and get out there.
When you look into what Indiana has to offer for fishing, you’ll realize that there’s much more than you’d expect. Some of the most unique fishing experiences, such as ice fishing or fishing from a dune on Lake Michigan, are available there. Any type of freshwater fishing adventure you could want can be found in the state of Indiana.