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Bite Me! Jigheads

By Louie Stout

Indiana’s Natural Resources Commission granted preliminary adoption to several Division of Fish and Wildlife proposals at its recent meeting.

Those include imposing an 18-inch, 2-fish bass limit on four lakes in Noble County; placing the ruffed grouse, cisco and Western sand darter on Indiana’s endangered species list; and allowing air rifles and bows that meet DNR specifications to be used during the deer firearms season.

One of the regulation changes that went into effect last month under emergency rule was a 14-inch size limit on sauger, saugeye and walleye taken from the Ohio River. The Ohio River bag limit also was limited to six of those fish in aggregate.

Granting preliminary adoption starts a long and deliberate process, including a public comment period that will include two, in-person hearings at two different locations for each rule package.

The lakes being proposed for the 18-inch size limit and 2-fish bag limit are Bixler, Henderson, Little Long and Round lakes in or near Kendallville, Ind.

Those lakes have a history of having a high number of carp and low bass populations. All four are small, connected by small streams or ditches, and only Bixler has a public access.

By Louie Stout

Lake Michigan anglers who have wanted more king salmon to catch are getting their wish.

The Indiana DNR announced details of the new stocking plan it will lay out in a public hearing in LaPorte Thursday and in East Chicago Saturday.

The LaPorte meeting will be held at Red Mill County Park beginning at 7 p.m. (CST). The East Chicago public meeting begins at 10 a.m. (CST) at the Indiana Harbor Yacht Club.

Anglers will be able to voice their opinions and give the DNR suggestions for the directions they would like to see the program go in the future.

Indiana and other Lake Michigan states cut king stockings in 2013 and added more cuts in 2016 due to concerns that the lake’s forage base was being depleted to dangerous levels. Not only are king salmon the most gluttonous predator fish in the lake, but studies show it also is reproducing more than biologists realized.

By Louie Stout

Next weekend’s Michiana Boat & Sport Show will feature the usual displays of new boats and outdoor equipment, but the focus will be on youth.

The show opens Friday, Jan. 24 at the South Bend Century Center and runs into Sunday. Hours are 2-8 Friday, 10-8 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults and free to youths 13 and under.

“We’re making a concentrated effort to expose fishing to more youngsters,” said show promoter Dale Brindley. “We’ve built a strong seminar program around fishing targeted towards young anglers.”

Those efforts are being provided show promoters, boat manufacturer Alumacraft and Clear H2o Tackle owner Darrin Schaap.

By Louie Stout

It’s time to reflect on the previous 12 months and ponder what lies ahead in the coming New Year.

As we close the chapter on 2019, several of the issues and experiences that confronted sportsmen – good and bad - will remain in play during 2020.

Here are some that I’ll be watching:

When will Eagle Lake residents give up the fight against a badly needed public access? It’s been six years since the DNR purchased the land but lake association attorneys keep filing suits against the DNR to prevent it. It’s unimaginable the amount of money being spent by lake residents to prevent access to a lake that once had a public access.

Since some northern Indiana lakes are showing high numbers of bass but slow growth, could we see more slot limits put in place?

Can’t believe the Michigan Legislature supported removing the deer baiting ban. Fortunately, the governor listened to the wildlife scientists and vetoed the bill.

It remains odd that Indiana fish managers continue to bury any discussion of a bluegill bag limit – a bag limit that most anglers support – since the panfish has always been ranked as Indiana’s most popular sportfish.

Could 2020 be the year that Indiana’s 45-year walleye record falls? If so, it likely will come from Lake Michigan and probably within sight of Michigan City.

If spring produces stable weather, look for an excellent Lak Michigan trout/salmon fishery on the southern end of the lake. Giant king salmon have been making a comeback the last few years and 2020 promises to be another dandy.