It may seem early to start thinking about hunting season, but it will be here sooner than you think. The old saying is “Be prepared,” and Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is opening online reservations for late summer and fall hunts.
Hunters may now apply for a reserved hunt online by visiting the website www.Indiana Outdoor.IN.gov and clicking on the “Register for a Reserved Hunt” link. The online method is the only way to apply.
All applicants must possess a valid hunting license for the hunt for which they apply. All applications must be completed by the application deadline to be eligible for the drawing. Hunters will be selected through a random drawing. All drawing results will be posted at www.Wildlife.IN.gov within a week after application deadlines.
•Dove Hunt Draw: Online application deadline is July 28.
•Military/Refuge Firearm and Archery Deer Hunt Draw: Online application deadline is Aug. 25. Hunts on Military/Refuge properties may be cancelled at any time.
•Youth Firearm Deer Hunt at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge: Online application deadline is Aug. 25.
•Pheasant Hunt Draw: Online application deadline is Sept. 29. Adults should not apply for the Nov. 25 hunt, which is reserved for youth (17 and younger) only.
•Deer Creek Deer Hunt: Online application deadline is Aug. 15.
•Deer Creek Rabbit and Quail Hunt: Online application deadline is Aug. 15.
Applications for waterfowl draw hunts begin in late August. Pheasant put-and-take registration will be available Sept. 1.
More information is available at www.dnr.IN.gov/fish wild/5834.htm
Rule aids bass fishing at 2 Noble Co. lakes
A temporary fishing regulation imposed by the DNR at two Noble County lakes has restored balance to largemouth bass populations – at least for now.
The rule in effect during the summer of 2011 allowed anglers to catch and keep bass measuring 10-14 inches long. At most northern Indiana lakes, all bass under 14 inches must be released. Dubbed a “harvest slot limit,” the rule was designed to reduce the number of small bass, in hopes of producing larger ones.
Based on surveys by the DNR, anglers harvested 1,900 bass from Big Lake and reduced the number of 10- to 14-inch bass by 41 percent. They removed 611 from Crane Lake and reduced the number by 71 percent.
The special rule was in effect from June through August. The standard 14-inch minimum size was re-imposed in September 2011 and remains in effect.
The DNR will monitor bass populations at both lakes in coming years to assess whether the rule produces a long-term increase in bass size. The DNR’s goal in thinning out small bass is to enable those remaining to have more food and grow larger.
“We’re happy with the results of the slot limit so far,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. “It showed us fishermen are willing to remove surplus bass and take advantage of opportunities to harvest them.”
Fishermen apparently liked the slot limit. Some even asked Pearson to apply the limit at other lakes where small bass are plentiful. “That’s a possibility,” he said. “There are several lakes that have the same problem. The slot limit gives us an option and gets anglers involved in fish management.”
Pearson said sampling last month at Bear Lake, also in Noble County, showed it has a problem similar to Big and Crane lakes. He captured 246 adult bass in one hour at Bear Lake using an electroshock boat. Only five were larger than 14 inches and none were larger than 15 inches.
Meanwhile, the cause of the problem remains a mystery. “We don’t know why some lakes develop overpopulations of bass,” said Pearson. “More research is needed to answer that question.”
Urban fishing catching on
Indiana’s DNR is continuing to spur the interests of city anglers with additional stockings of fish in urban ponds. Word’s out: Large catfish are still swimming in Indiana’s urban ponds, just waiting to be caught as part of DNR’s new Go FishIN in the City program.
Go FishIN in the City is an effort to improve fishing opportunities in Indiana’s urban areas by stocking catfish and rainbow trout in family-friendly parks.
Fisheries biologists sampled four ponds in Indianapolis, Carmel, and Avon to see how catfish stocked this spring are doing. The findings and an ongoing angler survey show few fish have been harvested from Meadowlark Pond in Carmel and Washington Township Park Pond in Avon, which means easier fishing at those locations.
In Indianapolis, Krannert Lake and Riverside Park Pond have become popular fishing destinations, with anglers having harvested a fair amount of channel catfish at both spots. During summer, anglers should target shallower areas, where more oxygen is available for fish. All four lakes will be stocked this fall with 10-inch channel catfish. Next spring, the ponds will be stocked again with channel catfish from the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex, where inmates help rear the fish to stocking size as part of a work-training program.
Biologists will continue to evaluate lakes and conduct interviews. For more information, visit www.Wildlife.IN.gov/7508.htm
The views in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments may contact Jack Spaulding by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to him in care of this publication.