Indiana Fishing License: All You Need to Know to Cast Your Line Legally

Indiana Fishing License: All You Need to Know to Cast Your Line Legally

Fishing in Indiana is more than just a hobby—it’s a way of life for many Hoosiers and visitors. But before you can join the ranks of the anglers, you need to get familiar with the ins and outs of fishing licenses in the Hoosier State. This article is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about getting a fishing license in Indiana.

Indiana Fishing License: The Nitty-Gritty

Fishing in Indiana isn’t just about casting your line and hoping for the best. It’s about respecting the rules and regulations set by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to ensure the conservation and sustainability of our fish populations.

Who Needs a License?

Unless you’re a fish whisperer with some serious exceptions up your sleeve, you’re going to need a valid fishing license from the Indiana DNR to fish in public lakes, streams, rivers, tributaries, and boundary waters in Indiana.

To qualify for resident fishing licenses, you need to have established a true fixed and permanent home and primary residence in Indiana for 60 consecutive days prior to purchasing a license or permit. And no, you can’t claim residency for fishing, hunting, or trapping in another state or country. All other folks are considered nonresidents.

Types of Indiana Fishing Licenses

In Indiana, we have a smorgasbord of fishing licenses available to both residents and non-residents. These licenses are crucial for the management, protection, conservation, and preservation of our fish population. Here’s a rundown of the main types of fishing licenses you can get your hands on:

  • Annual Fishing License: This license is valid from April 1 of the current year through March 31 of the following year. The cost for residents is $23, while for non-residents, it’s $60.
  • One-Day Fishing License: This license includes trout and salmon and costs $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents.
  • Senior Annual Fishing License: This license is available to Indiana residents who are at least 64 years old and were born after March 31, 1943. It includes the trout/salmon stamp and costs $3.
  • Senior Fish for Life License: This license is valid for the rest of the holder’s life and includes the trout or salmon stamp. It costs $23 for residents.
  • Seven-Day Fishing License: This license is available only for non-residents and costs $35.

Remember, all licenses are non-transferable and non-refundable. Also, you must carry your signed license or electronic copy while fishing and present it upon request from a DNR officer or any other law enforcement officer.

Indiana Fishing Regulations: The Dos and Don’ts

To ensure the conservation and sustainability of our fish populations, the Indiana DNR has established a set of fishing regulations. These regulations cover everything from fishing licenses to size and bag limits, and are designed to protect both the fish and their habitats.

Size and Bag Limits

In Indiana, we have specific size and bag limits for different species of fish. For instance, the daily bag limit for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass) in lakes is 5, with a minimum size of 14 inches. For white bass or hybrid striped bass, the daily bag limit is 12, with no more than two fish exceeding 17 inches. Remember, it’s illegal to take more than the daily bag limit of a wild fish in a calendar day.

Fishing Methods and Restrictions

Various fishing methods are allowed in Indiana, but they come with certain restrictions. For example, you may fish with no more than 10 limb lines or drop lines at a time, and each line must be checked at least every 24 hours. It is illegal to use a limb or drop line within 300 yards of a dam structure located on any stream, river, ditch, canal, or reservoir.

Snagging, the practice of dragging or jerking a hook through the water with the intention of hooking a fish on contact, is a no-go in Indiana’s public waters, including the Ohio River. Trout and salmon that are foul-hooked (not caught in the mouth) cannot be kept and must be released back into the body of water from which they were foul-hooked.

Spear fishing and bow fishing are allowed year-round at any time of day to take certain species of fish from non-flowing waters and large rivers. A fishing license is required to use a bow and arrow or crossbow as fishing equipment.

Illegal Stocking and Aquarium Release

It’s illegal to take any live fish and release it into any public waters without a stocking permit. The DNR fisheries biologists approve stocking of fish only after careful consideration of the potential impacts of new fish on the existing habitat and fish populations.

Fishing Near Dams

State law does not allow the taking of fish by trot line, set line, throw line, net, trap, or seine within 200 yards of a dam on an Indiana waterway or boundary water. Minnows may not be taken within 500 yards of a dam. There are no distance regulations for using a fishing pole or hand line.

Endangered Species

Certain fish species are classified as endangered in Indiana, including the cisco, bantam sunfish, Hoosier cavefish, channel darter, gilt darter, greater redhorse, lake sturgeon, Western sand darter, pallid shiner, redside dace, and variegate darter. It is illegal to take or possess these fish at any time.

Importance of Fishing Regulations

The fees from state fishing license purchases contribute towards fishery management, habitat protection, endangered species programs, and conservation education. These rules and regulations help ensure that our fisheries stay healthy so that future generations can experience the fun of fishing.

Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, young or old, there’s a fishing license that suits your needs in Indiana. Always remember to carry your license while fishing and to follow all fishing regulations to ensure a sustainable future for our fisheries.

How to Purchase an Indiana Fishing License

Purchasing an Indiana fishing license is as easy as pie. You can do it online, in person, or by mail. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go about it.

Online Purchase

The Indiana DNR provides an online portal for purchasing fishing licenses. To purchase a license online, you need to create an account in Access Indiana to login to your DNR Fish & Wildlife online portal. The system supports the latest versions of Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.

Once you’ve logged in, you can purchase your Indiana resident and non-resident fishing licenses. The portal also allows you to access the CheckIN Game system, apply for reserved hunts, find your customer ID, and register for your harvest information program (HIP) number.

Payment forms accepted include MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. Online license purchases have an additional $1 per license fee for system-support maintenance and updates and an additional $0.40 plus a 1.96 percent credit card company fee on each transaction.

After purchasing a license, you should print it on your printer. If buying on a mobile device, the system will generate an electronic PDF copy that can be saved.

In-Person Purchase

You can also purchase your fishing license in person at a county clerk’s office, at most DNR properties, or at the DNR Customer Service Center in Indianapolis. Resident licenses can also be purchased in person at a license retailer.

Purchase By Mail

To purchase a license by mail, send your order with the following details: Name, Date of birth, Complete address, city, state, zip, phone number, Height, weight, color of hair and eyes, Social Security number (this is mandatory), and Specify the licenses, including the season (i.e., deer for muzzleloaders).

Send check, money order, or credit card number and expiration date for licenses made payable to Indiana DNR: Licenses DNR Customer Service Center 402 W. Washington St., Rm. W160 Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739.

License Fees

The license fees for 2023 are as follows:

  • Annual Fishing: $23 for residents, $60 for non-residents
  • One-Day Fishing (includes Trout/Salmon): $10 for residents, $15 for non-residents
  • Seven-Day Fishing: N/A for residents, $35 for non-residents
  • Senior Annual Fishing: $3 for residents, N/A for non-residents
  • Senior Fish for Life: $23 for residents, N/A for non-residents
  • Trout/Salmon Stamp: $11 for both residents and non-residents
  • Annual Hunting and Fishing: $32 for residents, N/A for non-residents
  • Disabled American Veterans Hunt/Fish: $2.75 for residents, N/A for non-residents
  • Disabled American Veterans 10-Year Hunt/Fish: $27.50 for residents, N/A for non-residents.

Please note that these fees are valid from April 1, 2023, through March 31, 2024.

Important Information

Before purchasing a license, note that an Indiana resident is a person who has established a true fixed and permanent home and primary residence in Indiana for 60 consecutive days prior to buying a license or permit and does not claim residency for hunting, trapping, or fishing in another state or country. All others are non-residents.

Licenses are non-transferable and non-refundable. Make sure the license purchase is correct before submission. Verify address, date of birth, and physical description (i.e., hair and eye color).

After purchasing a license, carry a signed license (and applicable federal stamps and HIP number) or the electronic copy on you while fishing, hunting, or trapping. Present or show the license upon request from a DNR Conservation Officer or any other authorized law enforcement officer.

Remember, fishing without a license can result in fines and penalties. So, make sure you have a valid license before you cast your line.

In conclusion, getting a fishing license in Indiana is a breeze, but it’s crucial to understand the requirements and regulations to ensure you’re fishing legally. Always remember to carry your signed license or electronic copy while fishing and present it upon request from a DNR Conservation Officer or any other authorized law enforcement officer. Happy fishing!

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