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.