• Dale Bowman

Indiana fishing: Regs lifted on Trail & Little Cal

Under emergency rule, hopefully soon to be permanent, the seasonal fishing closures on Trail Creek and the East Branch of the Little Calumet River, which used to be in place to protect stocked salmon and trout, have been lifted.

That's effective immediately, as in today. For safety reasons, the restrictions above and below the dams will remain in place.

This is good news for steelheaders and, well, just about anybody fishing for anything.

Here is the early word from fisheries at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Tax day benefit to Hoosier Spring Steelhead Anglers

Effective April 15th, the tributary closures on Trail Creek and the East Branch of the Little Calumet river will be lifted under emergency rule. Portions of each tributary were previously closed from April 1-June 15 to protect recently stocked trout and salmon.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife believes this regulation change will allow more fishing opportunities for Hoosiers to pursue steelhead and other species such as bass, walleye, and panfish, while not harming the stocking program.

A number of modifications to our stocking program and management decisions led the Division to propose removing the closure regulation. When the closure regulation was enacted, it was used to protect stocked spring yearlings stocked at 7 inches in length, which was the Inland trout minimum size limit at the time. While the closure regulation has been instrumental in eliminating confusion between our Inland and Lake Michigan tributary trout programs, current regulations are sufficient to protect recently stocked trout and salmon. The minimum size regulation has changed numerous times and is now set at a 14 inch minimum size limit, which protects all stocked trout and salmon in Lake Michigan tributaries. Additionally, stocking locations have been moved farther upstream to spread out fish and avoid concentrating stocked fish in areas where they are vulnerable to anglers. The relaxing of the regulation puts us in line with our other Lake Michigan fisheries agencies partners and even our own St. Joseph River trout and salmon stocking program, which has no spring closure.

The Lake Michigan program and our Division of Law Enforcement are pleased to provide this opportunity to our Indiana anglers and feel this is a step forward to increase angling opportunities during the spring season, while also simplifying regulations. Our tributary restrictions to fishing above and below dams will, however, remain in effect, with public safety being our paramount concern.

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