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By Louie Stout

Lake Wawasee’s fish population will be the focus of an Indiana DNR survey throughout this year, beginning with pike and crappie.

Biologists were there in mid-March surveying the pike and crappie population. They will return next month to review the bass population and again in June to evaluate entire fish community.

Although the full report hasn’t been processed, District Fisheries Biologist Tyler Delauder said early indications pike and crappie are doing well in the lake.


Lake Wawasee Pike

The biologists set nets for pike for two days in the northeast corner of Johnson bay and in Conklin Bay. The nets were set in 6 feet or shallower. They were set again in late March and in similar areas for crappies. That is the time frame that those species are beginning spawn shallow.

They captured 22 pike that averaged 25 inches and the largest was 35 inches.

IDNR Report

Avian influenza has been confirmed in two wild raptor species in Indiana, according to the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW). Diagnostic testing on the raptors was done at Purdue’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, where the birds tested positive with the (HP) H5N1 strain that is circulating in North America.

The individual raptors that tested positive were one bald eagle each from Starke and Miami counties, and a red-tailed hawk from Johnson County.

Since the beginning of the year, avian influenza has been detected in raptors in multiple states.

In light of spring turkey hunting season, which starts tomorrow, Michelle Benavidez Westrich, a DFW wildlife health biologist, said that the current H5N1 strain has not been detected in wild turkeys, and she does not expect that to happen.

IDNR Report

Bob Bell

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) recently recognized its top-performing employees for their contributions to conservation, mentoring, and teamwork during 2021.

Individual award winners were Bob Bell, Judith Black, Emily McCallen, and Andrew Reuter.  

Bell, the northeast public lands supervisor, was awarded the Fish & Wildlife Mentor of the Year Award. He established strong relationships with his employees and promoted collaboration across teams, ensuring adequate staffing.

DNR Report

A free day of outdoor recreation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is coming your way on Sunday, May 1, kicking off Visit Indiana Week, a promotion of the Indiana Destinations Development Corporation that runs May 1-7.

For starters, the Indiana state parks, state recreation areas, reservoirs (on.IN.gov/stateparks), and state forests (on.IN.gov/forestry) that charge a daily gate fee for each entering vehicle will waive that fee for all guests on May 1. Sunday is also the first Free Fishing Day of the year. Indiana residents will be able to fish on that day without a fishing license or trout/salmon stamp, with all size and bag limits applying for those who keep fish.

IDNR Report

The Indiana DNR Division of Law Enforcement is looking for highly motivated, outdoor-centered individuals to fill Indiana Conservation Officer (ICO) positions across the state.

Anyone interested should first read “Become a Conservation Officer” at on.IN.gov/dnrlaw and complete the pre-screening test under the “Apply” link. Successful completion of the pre-screening test by midnight June 3 is required to receive an application for the hiring process.