(DNR) - As the spring fishing season approaches, the Indiana DNR encourages Hoosier anglers to give Indiana muskie fishing a try.
“Indiana has some of the best muskie fishing in the Midwest,” said Jed Pearson, a DNR fisheries biologist who manages the state’s muskie program. “Lake Webster, the Barbee lakes and Lake Tippecanoe in northeast Indiana’s Kosciusko County are especially good.”
Local fishing guides are available for hire for anglers who do not have a boat or who want expert help to get started.
The lakes in Indiana’s muskie program cover 2,700 surface acres, and many have been stocked each year for more than 20 years. According to Pearson, it’s common for anglers to hook a muskie on every fishing trip.
Long thought to be elusive, muskies bite on a variety of lures, many of which are typically used by bass anglers. Casting large plugs or trolling spoonbaits along submersed weed beds are the most productive methods.
Muskies have sharp teeth that easily cut regular fishing line. So, attach your lures to a steel leader to keep the fish from breaking away. A large landing net is handy to lift the fish and safely handle it.
The minimum size limit to keep a muskie in Indiana is 36 inches, but muskies taken at Lake Webster and the adjacent Backwater Area must be a minimum of 44 inches to keep. Even so, most muskie anglers release the fish they catch.
For first-time muskie fishing, Pearson suggests heading to Webster. It has the highest density of muskies. Other muskie lakes in northeast Indiana include Everett in Allen County, Loon in Whitley County, and Skinner in Noble County.
Another top muskie water is Bruce Lake, about 15 miles west of Rochester in Fulton County. Although smaller, at 245 acres, it too has a dense muskie population, with some fish measuring more than 50 inches long.
“Not as many anglers fish for muskies at Bruce Lake,” Pearson said. “If more would try it, we think they’d be surprised.”
Muskie fishing is also available in southern and central Indiana.
Top waters include Brookville Lake northwest of Cincinnati and Bass Lake near Sullivan.
Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indianapolis is also stocked with muskies, as are two pits southeast of Indianapolis and two near Evansville.
Use the fish stocking database at wildlife.IN.gov/5457.htm to search for muskie waters near you.