The Hoosier State may not be the first place people think of when it comes to excellent fishing. Yet, from north to south there are great fishing opportunities to satisfy the desire of most anglers. Lake Michigan, Lake Monroe, and the White River are some of the more well-known waters in Indiana offering angling options. Below is a list of six additional fisheries worth exploring if you are looking for a good day on the water.
Worster Lake Mixed Bag
Potato Creek State Park is a special destination for fishing because it offers a little bit of everything. Crappie, bluegills, catfish, and bass could all end up on your line. If you don’t have your own boat, there’s good fishing from shore. There is also a boat rental, which gives families the opportunity to rent a canoe or rowboat to explore the 327-acre Worster Lake. Not all fishing has to be a serious endeavor. Rent a rowboat, buy some red worms, and dunk a few under a bobber. All summer long, quality bluegills can be caught throughout the lake. Along the dam and around patches of lily pads are top spots.
Wabash River Catfish and Sturgeon
The Wabash River near Lafayette is a large, wide river. It’s the largest northern tributary of the Ohio River. Anglers recognize the Wabash for its prized catfishing, but those seeking a special fish target the healthy population of shovelnose sturgeon. These dinosaurs hang on sand or gravel bottoms in areas of areas near swift current. They can be caught on rod and reel, but are often taken on trot-lines. Nightcrawlers are a common bait. Sturgeons are surprisingly good table fare, especially when smoked. Their eggs are also in high demand for caviar. There is no limit on how many you can keep, but they must be at least 25 inches.
Yellowwood Lake Bluegill
Yellowwood State Forest is home to 133-acre Yellowwood Lake and Jackson Creek. The two provide fishing for bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill and even stocked trout at certain times of the year. But it’s the bluegill in Yellowwood that draw anglers from near and far. Bluegill can be caught just about anywhere on the lake, as well as in Jackson Creek below the dam. Remember to respect the resource of these muscular panfish. It’s not hard to over fish a lake the size of Yellowwood. This non-motorized, special lake offers solitude and a limited availability for primitive camping right by the water, making fishing real convenient.
Driftwood River Smallmouth Bass
The Driftwood River may just be the best smallmouth water in Indiana you’ve never heard of. It’s located near Columbus, and is formed by the confluence of the Big Blue River and Sugar Creek. The Driftwood River flows only 16 miles before it dumps into the Flatrock River. The Driftwood essentially operates as the neck of an hourglass connecting two larger courses of water. It is home to a number of fish species, including bass, sunfish, catfish, and carp, but smallmouth bass are the most common quarry of anglers. Indiana’s Driftwood River is a classic example of the old adage, dynamite comes in small packages.
Patoka Lake Crappie
At 8,800 surface acres, Patoka Lake is the second-largest reservoir in Indiana. This lake is an amazing fishery, with quality bass, bluegill and catfish. But with deep coves and standing timber scattered throughout, it’s best known for crappie fishing. Crappie are fun to catch and great to eat. Using minnows under slip-bobbers is a common tactic, but jigs often work just as well. This time of year, you’ll catch fish consistently in 10-15 feet of water. Use your sonar to locate brush piles and you should be in the money.
Ohio River Sauger
The Ohio River offers a fairly unique opportunity to catch quality sauger. They school-up in deep holes below dams, making them much easier to find. Vertical jigging a ½ ounce white jigs tipped with a minnow in the deepest holes of a tailwater below any of the dams on the river should produce. Indiana has a bag limit of six sauger per day, and a possession limit of 12. The minimum length limit of sauger is14 inches.
See you down the trail…
Pic: Derek and Annabel Butler enjoy a day on the water fishing at Yellowwood State Forest.