Sports and Outdoors

Friday, April 5, 2013

No changes in Indiana muskie fishing rules

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Now that Michigan has restricted anglers to keeping one muskie per year and has implemented a harvest tag system, will Indiana muskie anglers face a similar change?

Not likely—at least for now.

Current rules allow Indiana-licensed anglers to take one muskie per day in Indiana. There are no limits in Indiana on the number of muskies an Indiana-licensed angler can take per year.

The only tags required in Indiana for harvest pertain to deer and turkey hunting—not fishing.

Michigan’s muskie tag is free. Any angler who catches a muskie must release the fish if that person does not possess a harvest tag.

“We understand why Michigan is cutting muskie harvest and requiring a muskie tag,” said Jed Pearson, an Indiana DNR fisheries biologist. “They are sending a message that muskies are scarce and the tags provide biologists a good way to track long-term trends in harvest.”

Pearson, however, does not think muskie fishing in Indiana is being affected by anglers harvesting the fish.

“Based on surveys conducted at several Indiana lakes, few anglers keep muskies,” Pearson said. “They are at the top of the list for catch-and-release fishing.”

Michigan also imposes a much higher size limit on muskies than Indiana.

A muskie must be 36 inches or larger to be taken in Indiana, whereas muskies taken in southern Michigan must be at least 42 inches. At some Michigan waters, muskies must be 50 inches long.

“At Lake Webster, our premier muskie lake, male muskies do not grow much after they reach 36 inches long,” said Pearson. “Female muskies grow faster but few grow beyond 44 inches. It’s very rare to see a 50-incher.”

Increasing Indiana’s size limit, therefore, would not have much of an impact on muskie size because so few muskies are taken at any size.

Michigan also differs from Indiana on when anglers can fish for muskies. Michigan imposes a closed season from March 16 until the last Saturday of April on waters in the Lower Peninsula.

Indiana has no closed season on muskies. Anglers can fish for them year-round.

“Closed seasons are often used to protect spawning fish. Our muskie program depends entirely on stocking, so a closed season in Indiana is not needed,” Pearson said.

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