Indiana Fishing Laws Unveiled: Do Minors Need a License?

Fishing is a popular outdoor recreational activity in Indiana, with abundant opportunities across the state’s lakes, rivers, and streams. However, there are important fishing regulations and licensing requirements that anglers must follow. This article provides a comprehensive overview of Indiana fishing laws, with a specific focus on licenses and whether they are required for minors.

Do Minors Need an Indiana Fishing License?

The short answer is no. Children under the age of 18 do not need a fishing license to fish in public waters in Indiana, whether they are residents or non-residents. This exemption allows families to head out fishing without having to purchase licenses for the kids.

However, any accompanying adult will need their own license unless they also qualify for an exemption. Annual resident fishing licenses are only $23, with added fees for a trout/salmon stamp if fishing for those species. Non-residents pay more, but there are short-term options too.

Who else is exempt from fishing licenses in Indiana?

In addition to anglers under 18, the following groups do not need a fishing license when fishing in public waters:

  • Indiana residents born before April 1, 1943 should carry ID to verify age
  • Residents who are legally blind
  • Residents of a state mental rehabilitation facility
  • Residents of a licensed healthcare facility fish as part of a supervised activity
  • Residents with developmental disabilities
  • Military personnel from Indiana are on leave with documentation
  • Qualified disabled veterans

There are also exemptions for some non-resident landowners while fishing on their own farmland. See the DNR website for details on eligibility.

When Do You Need a License?

Aside from the exemption list above, a fishing license is required for most anglers age 18+ fishing in public waters in Indiana. This includes lakes, rivers, streams, and boundary waters.

You must carry your license while fishing and show it to a conservation officer if asked. Licenses are non-transferable and non-refundable.

To legally fish for trout/salmon, you need a valid fishing license plus a trout/salmon stamp.

How to Get an Indiana Fishing License

There are several ways to get an Indiana fishing license:

  • Online: purchase at 24/7; $1.40 fee per order.
  • In person: at retailers, county clerks, and DNR properties.
  • By phone, call the DNR at 317-232-4200.
  • By mail, the application is available on the DNR website.

When applying, you’ll need to provide personal information like your date of birth and Social Security number (required by law). Costs range from $23 to $60 for annual resident and non-resident licenses, plus trout and salmon stamps if applicable.

Indiana Fishing Seasons, Limits, and Special Regulations

Indiana has statewide seasons, size limits, and daily bag limits in place for popular game fish species and others. Special regulations also exist for certain bodies of water.

Examples include:

  • Walleye-from public lakes/rivers: 16-inch minimum size, 2 fish daily limit
  • Bass on select small lakes: 18 inch minimum, 2 fish daily limit
  • Bluegill, crappie, and redear limit: 15 fish aggregate limit on 3 small lakes

Always check the current fishing regulations before heading out, as seasons and limits do change.

How to Report Violations of Fishing Laws

To help preserve Indiana’s aquatic resources, anglers should report any observed violations of fishing laws and regulations, such as fishing without a license, keeping foul-hooked trout, or exceeding limits.

You can report violations to:

  • Conservation officers: Call the DNR District Law Enforcement Office for your county
  • Turn in a Poacher (TIP) hotline. Call 1-800-TIP-IDNR anonymously
  • Online: Use the DNR’s online reporting form

Let’s all be good stewards of Indiana’s natural resources. Tight lines!

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