• Dale Bowman

Changing catfish regs: Indiana fishing

Indiana is joining other states in tightening regulations for catfish.

The new regulations will not take effect until a couple more legal steps are finished.

OK, the video to the left fascinates me for its natural live feel.

I digress.

Here is the word from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The information on the catfish changes are at the top, there is other action by the Natural Resources Commission below that:

NRC gives final approval to new catfish rules

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Natural Resources Commission on Tuesday gave final approval to rule changes that govern commercial fishing and sport fishing for catfish.

The new rules raise the minimum size from 10 to 13 inches for catfish caught in rivers and streams, including the Ohio River, and limit the number of large catfish caught in lakes, reservoirs, streams and rivers (including the Ohio River) to no more than one each per day of channel catfish at least 28 inches long, blue catfish at least 35 inches long, and flathead catfish at least 35 inches long.

The changes apply to both commercial fishing and sport fishing.

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife proposed the changes in order to increase survival of younger catfish and ensure continued large or “trophy” catfish opportunities for both sport and commercial fishing. Larger catfish also have higher reproductive potential and can help control populations of forage species such as gizzard shad and Asian carp.

The Commission granted preliminary approval to the rule changes in November, after which a public comment period including one public hearing. The rule changes will not be in effect until approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office and published in the Indiana Register.

The Commission also dedicated two nature preserves in Wayne County, bringing to 269 the number of state-dedicated nature preserves in Indiana.

Old Northwest Boundary Line Nature Preserve is a 92-acre site characterized by reforested uplands and dissected by ravines that drain into Lick Creek. The second site is Old Hamilton Road Nature Preserve, whose deep valley features springs, seeps and a significant fen wetland. Several noteworthy endangered or rare species occur on the 27-acre site.

Whitewater Valley Land Trust owns and manages both properties. Indiana Heritage Trust helped buy the Old Northwest Boundary Line preserve, and the Bicentennial Nature Trust helped buy the Old Hamilton Road preserve.

In other actions, the NRC:

  • Readopted rules that govern trails and scenic rivers (312 IAC 7); timber buyers, their agents, and timber growers (312 IAC 14); forest and resource management (312 IAC 15); and standards regarding oil and gas exploration (312 IAC 16 and 312 IAC 17).

  • Approved changes to the roster of Indiana animals, insects and plants that are extirpated, endangered, threatened or rare. Ruffed grouse and rufa red knot were added to bird species of special concern, and the name of northern cavefish was changed to Hoosier cavefish. Scientific names for several species were modified to reflect current names.

  • Turned down a citizen petition to amend the rule governing issuance of nuisance wild animal control permits to reduce conflicts of interest.

The NRC is an autonomous board that addresses topics pertaining to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

NRC members include the DNR director, heads of three other state agencies (Environmental Management, Tourism Development, and Transportation), six citizens appointed by the governor on a bipartisan basis, the chair of the NRC’s advisory council, and the president of the Indiana Academy of Science.

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