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IDNR Report

Your latest guides to exploring Indiana’s great outdoors are now available at your fingertips and at a DNR property near you.

The 2024 Indiana Recreation Guide is available now at on.IN.gov/recguide and your 2024-2025 Indiana Fishing Regulations Guide is available at on.IN.gov/fishingguide.

The DNR’s 2024 Indiana Recreation Guide is the source for information on state parks, state forests, lakes, fish & wildlife areas, nature preserves, state park inns, and other DNR properties. The guide includes a great facilities chart and information about accessibility and fees.

Soon, free printed copies of each will be available at local retail outlets, state parks, lakes and other DNR properties.

IDNR Report

Indiana Conservation Officer Nathan Cooper, who serves Steuben County, has been selected as 2023 District 2 Officer of the Year. 

Cooper has served as a conservation officer for five years. He served in Blackford County before transferring to Steuben County, where he has served since 2021.

In addition to his normal duties as a field officer, Cooper serves as a field training officer, breath test operator, and sonar operator.

District 2 includes Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells, and Whitley counties. 

The district award puts Cooper in the running for the Pitzer Award, which is presented to the top overall conservation officer in the state and is selected from the 10 district winners. 

The Pitzer Award is named after Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot while investigating illegal hunting activity on Jan. 2, 1961, in Jay County. 

Renfro Report

The Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show will run February 16-18 and 21-25 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds while the 26th Annual Indiana Deer, Turkey & Waterfowl Expo runs Feb. 23-25.

The Boat Show is the largest in the nation with more than 750,000 square feet of the great outdoors. With more than five and a half acres of boats and four and a half acres of RVs you’ll find the Midwest’s largest select of new models and you can meet with hundreds of experts all under one roof and all in one trip!

If fishing is your thing or if you want to explore fishing as your new hobby you’ll love TackleTown USA – a building overflowing with fishing tackle, rods & reels, canoes, kayaks and expert fisherman who will share their knowledge to help you be a better fisherman. There’s even Ask the Pros Fishing Seminars on kayak fishing and walleye, where you the audience help control the seminar.

The 4000-gallon Hawg Trough aquarium is where the experts show you how species of fish react to fishing techniques, baits etc. See Scott Martin, talking about bass fishing; Wally Marshall AKA Mr. Crappie who will be talking about crappie; Mike McKinstry, the Bassquatch Hunter will be presenting about kayak fishing; Mike DelVisco will teach you about sonar and of course we’ll have Kid’s Fishing presentations by Dan Armitage.

You won’t want to miss the Kayak Fishing Showcase where you can experience the latest innovations in fishing kayak technology. The top manufacturers in the industry will showcase their products and there’s even a demo pool! You’re sure to find the perfect kayak for your fishing, hunting or recreational needs. To view the extensive list of presenters and to find your favorite topics visit https://indianapolisboatsportandtravelshow.com/speakers. You will come home ready to start your fishing season.

By Louie Stout

Building fish habitat in J.C. Murohy Lake

Water is rising in renovated J.C. Murphy Lake but it’s probably going to take at least a couple of years for it to produce an abundance of keeper fish.

We reported in March the early details of the massive renovation project at the 1,200-acre lake on the Willow Slough Fish and Game Area in northwest Indiana. The reservoir has to be renovated about every 12 years due to its shallow nature. The lake averages 3 feet with a maximum depth of about 10 feet.

But the future looks bright. District Fisheries Biologist Tom Bacula said the lake will be restocked with about 300,000 redear, 330,000 bluegill and 25,000 largemouth bass this year.

When the lake was drained in 2022 the Indiana DNR salvaged about 2,000 sport fish that have been kept in holding ponds. Those fish that survived, including several bass 5 pounds or bigger, will be put back into the lake once the water level has risen to a desirable height.

IDNR Report

The Indiana DNR has taken possession of 158 acres of upland prairie and wetland at the Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area in Noble County.

“Powered by partnership and historic funding from the Next Level Conservation Trust, we’re setting aside thousands of acres across the state for the purpose of conservation,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Whether you love hunting, fishing, or viewing Indiana’s magnificent wildlife, this addition to our public lands in Noble County is a spot you’ll want to check out.”

The new property will be called the Buchanan Unit of Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area. It received $1.4 million in support from the National Level Conservation Trust, a $25 million program that funds the acquisition of land that preserves and protects important conservation, recreation, and historic areas throughout Indiana.