Indiana affords a wide variety of fishing from lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. There are monster Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan, steelheads in St. Joseph River, walleyes in Brookville Lake, largemouth bass in Patoka Lake, to name a few. However, unless it's a free fishing day, you are required to have a current Indiana fishing license. The state fishing license fees are not for naught as they are used to the management, protection, conservation, and preservation of the fish population in Indiana.
It is easy enough to buy a fishing license online from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, with just a few clicks, 24/7. However, should you wish to buy a fishing license personally, you can always drop by at the country clerk office or any authorized retailer during office hours?
If the government didn't spearhead the formulation of fishing regulations and rules, the probability that our internal bodies of water are now depleted of fish. These rules and regulations are in effect to ensure that fish populations stay healthy and grow in numbers for the future of generations will have the opportunity to experience fishing. Aside from statewide regulations, there are also guiding rules applicable in particular waterways and species. Regulations for size and bag limits are also in effect.
Fishing has become a very popular activity. The number of fishing enthusiasts has grown over the years. If there are no fishing regulations, the number of anglers in Indiana's waterways would have pressured the numerous fish species and most likely disrupted their habitats. In a great effort to sustain healthy fisheries, state biologists and fisheries managers implement programs for habitat protection and fish stocking.
How to get an Indiana Fishing License?
To get an Indiana fishing license, you can use four various methods to purchase a license.
- Online: you may visit on.IN.gov/INHuntFish
- Click on the large green button that says buy a license
- Next Click on “Start Shopping” under the heading “Licenses for Hunting, Trapping and Fishing.
- On the left side, tap on the button licenses. From there, you’ll be prompted to log in or sign-up.
- Users must enter their information such as their name, email, and desired password.
- From there, you’ll be prompted with a series of questions for you to purchase the right license for you.
- Name, date of birth, Indiana driver’s license number and social security number
- Complete address, city, state, ZIP code and phone number
- Height, weight, sex, the color of hair and eyes
- Please specify the exact licenses you need and dates for one day or any multi-day licenses
For the address, please mail to:
DNR Customer Service Center
402 W. Washington St. Room W160
Indianapolis, IN 46204
- By Phone - call 317-232-4200
Things to Know Before Purchase:
Accepted forms of payment for credit and debit cards are Mastercard, Visa, and Discover. For online transactions, an additional $1 per licensee fee is added to support maintenance updates. An additional $1.99 fee is added for each credit card company transactional fee.
To purchase an Indiana Resident license, individuals must have resided in Indiana for a minimum of 60 consecutive days before buying a fishing license or permit. All licenses are non-transferable and non-refundable.
What to do after Purchase:
Individuals must carry their signed license or electronic copy while fishing. Make sure to present or show your fishing license or permit upon request from the Department of Natural Resources officer or any other law enforcement officer.
A Department of Natural Resources license may be revoked at any time with the discretion of a court upon conviction of fish and wildlife law violations or any non-compliance within the conditions of which the license was issued.
Types of Indiana Fishing License and Costs:
One-Day Fishing (includes Trout/Salmon
Senior Annual Fishing (includes Trout/Salmon)
Senior Fish for Life (includes Trout/Salmon)
Trout/Salmon Stamp Privilege
Annual Hunting and Fishing
Disabled American Veterans Hunt/Fish
DAV 10-Year Hunt/Fish
Who needs an Indiana Fishing License?
Besides the exemptions list, all individuals need a valid fishing license issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to fish in public lakes, streams, rivers or tributaries in Indiana and its boundary water. A printed permit is only valid if the license is signed in ink or must have an electronic copy. To fish, you’ll need to carry it with you when fishing and present it to an Indiana Conservation Officer on duty upon request.
To claim the residency fishing license, you need to be a resident for at least 60 days without any existing fishing license to any other state. A fishing license may be revoked if the license holder is convicted of violating fish and wildlife regulations. The equipment used during the violation of Indiana fish and wildlife laws may also be seized for evidence and confiscation upon conviction.
Who is exempt from a fishing license?
Please read carefully below to see if you or someone coming with you on your trip is on the exempt list.
- Individuals born before April 1st of 1943 and must be Indiana residents. Carry your driver's license or ID verification in case you need to verify your date of birth.
- Both residents and non-residents under the age of 18
- Residents who are legally blind. Proof of being legally blind is not required.
- Individuals who reside in an Indiana state-owned mental rehabilitation facility.
- Residents of a licensed health care facility in Indiana who take part in a supervised fishing activity sponsored by the facility.
- Residents who have permission from the property owner or is the property owner of a private pond. The pond must not have any fish entry from or exit to public waters.
- Residents who are on active duty but currently on approved military leave. Must carry leave orders, and valid drivers license or voter registration card.
- Residents or lessees of farmland in Indiana.
How do I renew my Indiana license?
To renew your license, go on online and purchase the license again under the account you’ve already made. Or follow the other channels such as mail order, phone, or in-person to renew.
Indiana Fish Size and Limits
Here is a table to compile all of the size and bag limits for the state of Indiana. Please reference this guide before going on your next fishing trip in Indiana.
Indiana Statewide Size and Bag Limits:
Daily Bag Limit
Black Bass (in lakes)
5 Singly or in aggregate
Black Bass (in rivers and streams)
5 Singly or in aggregate (no more than 2 over 15 inches)
12 to 15 inch
Black Bass (in Lake Michigan)
3 singly or in aggregate
White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass
12 singly or in aggregate, no more than 2 fish may exceed 17 inches
Walleye, Walleye Sauger, Hybrid Saugeye Sauger
6 singly or in aggregate
For walleye: 14 inches for sauger and saugeye no size limit
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge
None (15 only on Lake Michigan)
Catfish: Channel, Blue, Flathead (in streams)
Please note that singly or aggregate means that the daily bag limit includes any combination of the species. Blass bass includes largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.
Hooks for Pole fishing and hand lines
It is mandated that you cannot fish with more than three poles or hand lines at once. Each line cannot have more than three single or multi-pronged hooks.
In Indiana, the endangered fish are bantam sunfish, Hoosier cavefish, channel darter, gilt darter, great redhorse, northern brook lamprey, pallid shiner, redside dace, variegate darter.
Free Fishing Days
Indiana celebrates fishing by allowing residents to enjoy four free fishing days in 2020 without the need to buy a fishing license. The dates are May 3rd, June 6-7, and Sept 26. This is an excellent opportunity to bring your family, friends, children, and loved ones to introduce them to fishing.
Best fishing spots in Indiana
Most people don’t think of Indiana as an ideal fishing spot, but this state has so much to offer. There’s tons of variety to be found all year round such as stripers, walleye, northern pike, coho salmon, steelhead trout, muskies, crappie, and largemouth bass, to name a few.
Lake Michigan is the largest and one of the most popular spots in Indiana. You can fish on edge, on a pier, or take a boat out into the deeper water to go big game fishing. Lake Michigan is the perfect spot to catch coho, chinook salmon, steelhead, lake trout, yellow perch, and many others.
If you are looking to take your children fishing or if you’re a novice yourself, we recommend going to Centennial Park located in the heart of Munster just across the street from Community Veterans Memorial. Centennial Park offers a small fishing pond that is excellent for kids and a great catch and release experience. Experiencing your first largemouth bass catch will be incredibly memorable.
For those of you who are more experienced and want to go big game fishing, you have to check out the Kankakee River. This is one of the broadest and expansive rivers in the entire United States -- running around 90 miles total. You’ll have the opportunity to catch smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern pike. A record-setting north 20-pound pike was caught right in Kankakee River!
There are never any guarantees to catching a fish, but Burns Ditch offers very high catch rates. You’ll be sure to catch a couple here merely by dropping a line and bait around the mouth of the ditch. Burns Ditch connects to the Little Calumet River and Lake Michigan. It’s an excellent spot to catch big catfish, quite big largemouth bass, walleye, and coho salmon. Fishing in Indiana gives you fantastic summer and spring fishing, but also ice fishing during the winter times. There are also many camping spots along these rivers, creeks, ponds and fishing spots.