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2022 Fish of the Year winners
 
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding
 
 Each year, anglers from around the state can submit their biggest hook-and-line catches from Indiana waters hoping to top the list for their species. Winning entries for Fish of the Year are determined by the total length of the fish. Participants are required to submit information about their fish, including where they caught it and the bait they used. They must also include a photo documenting the measured length of the fish.
In 2022, 71 anglers submitted entries for 55 different species. Submissions included numerous entries for popular species such as largemouth bass, rainbow trout and bluegill. Several lesser-known species also received submissions, including emerald shiner, golden shiner and mottled sculpin.
Some species of special interest followed by length in inches, location and angler’s name:
Largemouth Bass, 22, Loon Pit (Warrick), Matthew Kiefer
Smallmouth Bass, 21.3, Tippecanoe River (Pulaski), Alex Deneau
Spotted Bass, 14.5, Wabash River (Tippecanoe), Liu He
Black Crappie, 16, Elk Creek Lake (Washington), Ray Bateman
Bluegill, 11, Private Pond (Newton), Anthony A Talarico Jr.

What fish is this?
Hoosier anglers sometimes catch some pretty unusual fish from Indiana waters. One of the best on-line places to go for identifying a catch is https://www.eregulations.com/indiana/fishing/fish-identification/. The site has excellent color photos of fish species and defining information on the characteristics of each species.
If you have caught a fish and unable to identify it, there is help available from the fishery pros.
Email a photo of the fish to fishid@dnr.IN.gov. Visit fishing.IN.gov for more information.

Waterfowl Workshop
The Waterfowl Workshop is for all individuals or businesses wanting to become qualified as Waterfowl Control Operators (WCOs) and conduct Canada goose management activities for hire during the 2023 season. While it is encouraged existing WCO’s attend, only new WCO’s must attend. Individuals who have attended the workshop in the past may opt to test out. Employees of WCO contractors are welcome to attend the training, but only the individuals physically conducting waterfowl trapping, transporting, relocating and/or euthanizing for hire are required to attend. Educational material will be provided, so registration is required.
To register: Contact Jessica Merkling via email at jmerkling@dnr.IN.gov or by phone at (260) 244-6805 with your name, phone number and email address.

Indiana handgun laws
Several people have asked me if it is legal to carry a handgun on Indiana state properties. With the great changes made in personal carry laws for Hoosiers, I can see where law abiding citizens would want to know if it is lawful or not.
In short, a lawfully owned handgun may be carried on state properties. However, there is a big exception when it comes to federally controlled properties.
A person may possess a handgun at DNR State Parks & Reservoir properties with the exceptions of properties with land leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (e.g., Mississinewa, Salamonie, Patoka, Brookville, Cagles Mill, Cecil M. Harden and Monroe lakes) or at Falls of the Ohio State Park.
I have also been asked if there are places where someone may not carry a handgun. 
There are multiple places where it is prohibited by state statute and administrative code to carry a handgun even though you may have a valid license to do so. You should be attentive for signs warning of restricted areas especially when carrying firearms into public places. Some specific areas prohibiting the possession of firearms include, but are not limited to: School Property (reference IC 35-47-9), Airports and Aircraft (reference IC 35-47-6), Riverboat Casinos (reference 68 IAC 1-7-1).
Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or e-mail to jackspaulding@hughes.net.
Spaulding’s books, “The Best of Spaulding Outdoors,” and his latest, “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from Amazon.com in paperback or as a Kindle download.
 
1/30/2023