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Fish & wildlife plans stream trout opener
 
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding
 
 The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife plans to stock nearly 63,000 rainbow and brown trout across the state this spring in preparation for inland trout fishing season, which, for inland streams, opens April 27.
Thirty-five bodies of water across 21 counties are anticipated to receive fish before and after opening day. Most of the lake stockings of rainbow trout were done last month, starting the week of March 11. Anglers don’t have to wait to fish for the stocked trout, as trout fishing on inland lakes is open year-round.
For streams, more than 23,000 rainbow trout are expected to be stocked in the days leading up to opening day. Several sites will get additional rainbow trout stockings until Memorial Day weekend. In addition to the rainbow trout stockings, 10 bodies of water will receive brown trout stockings in May.
To find a stocked stream near you, see this year’s trout stocking plan at: on.IN.gov/fish-stocking.
Trout will bite on a variety of artificial baits such as spinners and flies, but natural baits such as worms and bee moths tend to be the most popular.
The bag limit for trout in inland waters other than Lake Michigan and its tributaries is five per day with a minimum size of 7 inches. No more than one of an angler’s catch may be a brown trout. There is no size limit for trout on inland lakes except for harvested brown trout caught below the Brookville Lake tailwater or from Oliver, Olin or Martin lakes, which must be 18 inches or larger.
To fish for trout, anglers age 18 and older must have an Indiana fishing license and a trout/salmon stamp. To purchase yours, visit on.IN.gov/INHuntFish.

Jumping the opener
Many years ago, my good friend and retired Indiana Conservation Officer Sgt. Dean Shadley asked if I would like to accompany him on a stakeout on the Brookville Lake tail waters.  We would be posing as fly fishing anglers fishing “early” before legal fishing for the stocked trout.
We were there to observe, defer and if needed, detain and ticket fishermen fishing the tail waters for trout before the opening day. There had been several complaints of anglers taking stringers of the recently stocked rainbow and brown trout.
Working the upper reaches of the tail waters in chest waders, we began to cast streamers for the trout. Very realistically for our cover, we would occasionally catch a trout which we would immediately unhook and release. Dean explained it was not illegal to catch trout prior to the opening of the season, but it was illegal to keep them.
While we were fishing, we noticed a guy come down the riverbank and set up to fish. He was using pieces of nightcrawlers on a small hook fished under a bobber.
The fisherman had only been there a few minutes when he caught a nice rainbow trout. As he unhooked it and was getting ready to put it on a stringer, he looked up and saw us watching him intently.
Looking around, the intending trout poacher released the fish. Shortly, he caught another one only to see we were again watching his every move.
Giving up, he released the fish and packed up his gear and left.
I will say this… the guy was determined as he returned again… not once more but twice. In both instances the scenario was repeated as every time he caught a trout, we were watching him and he would release it.
Overall, it was a great afternoon on the water, catching and releasing the newly stocked trout while dissuading the intending trout poacher to keep it legal as well! Mission accomplished!

Search underway for two missing kayakers
Indiana Conservation Officers have resumed the search for two missing kayakers who went missing April 16 on the White River in Indianapolis.
Around 8:30 p.m., Marcus Robinson, 30, and Solomon Shirley, 22, both of Indianapolis, were kayaking when they traveled over the remnants of a low-head dam near the 2000 block of North White River Parkway Drive West. A witness observed both men being ejected into the water.
Search efforts are underway using shore- and water-based operations along with aerial searches with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and a helicopter.
Agencies assisting in the search include the Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Pike Township Fire Department, and Indiana State Police.

Website provides accessibility info on DNR destinations
Want to enjoy Indiana’s outdoors but are concerned about what areas might present barriers?
A new one-stop feature of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website highlights work meant in reducing challenges to allow guests to experience all Indiana’s DNR properties offer.
Just go to on.IN.gov/dnr-accessibility and select the activity you would like and which properties interest you or your family and friends.
Once there, you’ll find maps, photos, and details about some of the destinations featuring accommodations for hunting and fishing, trail chairs, wheelchair accessible trails, paved trails, beach mats, and the like.
While the list is expansive, it is not a comprehensive list of accessible activities. If there is a property appealing to your interests, we recommend calling the property office for more information.
“This is one of the many things we are doing to welcome all to DNR properties so they can enjoy the many benefits of Indiana’s great outdoors,” said DNR director Dan Bortner.
Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication or e-mail Jack at jackspaulding1971@outlook.com 
Spaulding’s books, “The Best Of Spaulding Outdoors” and “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from Amazon.com as a paperback or Kindle download.
4/23/2024