The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds Indiana anglers that last year’s fishing licenses are about to expire and that they are encouraged to report their big catches this year.
Indiana fishing licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31 of the following year, so a 2017 license will be required beginning this Saturday.
With a few exceptions, a valid fishing license issued by the DNR is needed to fish in public lakes, streams, rivers or tributaries in Indiana or its boundary waters. Children younger than 18 and adults born before April 1, 1943 are not required to have a license to fish.
An annual fishing license costs $17 for Indiana residents and $35 for non-residents. Indiana residents who are at least 64 years old and born after March 31, 1943 are eligible to buy a Senior Annual ($3) or Senior Fish for Life ($17) license.
Licenses can be purchased online at INHuntFish.com, in person at more than 525 retailers statewide, or by calling the DNR Customer Service Center at (317) 232-4200 during normal business hours.
With a license in hand, consider reporting your big catch to DNR Fish & Wildlife’s Fish of the Year program, which rewards anglers for the biggest fish, measured in inches.
Twenty-five anglers were honored in 2016, including Jeff Armstrong of Wheatfield, who submitted five winning catches. Close to half of the 2016 winners were the only entry for that species, so don’t hold back if you catch a nice fish in 2017.
The 2016 Fish of the Year winners, their size, and where the fish were caught are:
Blue catfish: 50 inches, Shawn M. Harris, Ohio River (Ohio County)
Bluegill: 11 inches, Jeff Armstrong, Lake Maxinkuckee (Marshall), and Dennis Thompson, Krueger Lake (Jefferson)
Bowfin: 32.5 inches, Mark Holbrook, Tippecanoe River (Pulaski)
Buffalo: 38.3 inches, Brian Waldman, Cagles Mill Lake (Owen, Putnam)
Bullhead: 16 inches, Paul Weber, private pond (Lake County)
Channel catfish: 42 inches, Nicholas R. Staigl, Lake McCoy (Decatur)
Cisco: 15.3 inches, Robert Ecenbarger, Little Crooked Lake, (Whitley)
Common carp: 32.5 inches, Jeff Armstrong, Bass Lake (Starke)
Crappie: 18.3 inches, Mike Pasini, private lake (Johnson)
Flathead catfish: 50 inches, Jason Metz, Eel River (Clay)
Freshwater drum: 26.5 inches, Sheena Donald, Ohio River (Switzerland)
Green sunfish: 11 inches, Luke Tincher, private pond (Orange)
Hybrid striped bass: 30 inches, Hao Wu, Tippecanoe River (Carroll)
Largemouth bass: 29 inches, Greg Burchett, private lake (Ripley)
Longnose gar: 43.3 inches, Tristan Mobley, Wabash River (Gibson)
Northern pike: 42.5 inches, Robert L. Kelley, Marsh Lake (Steuben)
Rainbow trout: 20 inches, Larry A. Sheets, Olin Lake (LaGrange)
Redear sunfish: 12 inches, William Endorf, Midland Lake (Greene)
Rock bass: 11.8 inches, Jeff Armstrong, Lake Maxinkuckee (Marshall)
Sauger: 23.5 inches, Jeff Armstrong, Tippecanoe River (Marshall)
Shortnose gar: 28.3 inches, Johnathon Marshall, Wabash River (Parke)
Smallmouth bass: 20.5 inches, Steven O. Williams, Tippecanoe River (White)
Spotted gar: 24.3 inches, Mark Losee, Simonton Lake (Elkhart)
Steelhead: 38.1 inches, Tristan Weaver, Trail Creek (LaPorte)
Striped bass: 40.3 inches, Kody Neece, Hardy Lake (Scott)
Sucker: 25 inches, Joseph Bickel, Wabash River (Huntington)
Walleye: 27.5 inches, Mark Holbrook, Tippecanoe River (Pulaski)
Warmouth: 9.5 inches, Mark Losee, Simonton Lake (Elkhart)
White bass: 19.5 inches, Jeff Armstrong, Lake Maxinkuckee (Marshall)
White catfish: 28 inches, Shawn M. Harris, Bischoff Reservoir (Ripley)
Yellow bass: 11 inches, Kody Neece, Hardy Lake (Scott)
Yellow perch: 14.5 inches, Sullivan Hubert, Lake of the Woods (Marshall)
If you think you’ve caught a possible winner:
Measure the length of the fish
Have at least one person who is not a relative witness the measurement
Take one or more photos of the fish, preferably of you holding the fish
Visit wildlife.IN.gov/3577.htm for an entry form
Complete the entry form, including witness name and contact information, a copy of your fishing license (if required), and send it to Record Fish Program, Division of Fish & Wildlife, 402 W. Washington St., Room W273, Indianapolis, IN, 46204, or submit by email to recordfish@dnr.IN.gov
SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Natural Resources