Column: Indiana program supports urban fishing

By Brandon Butler

Fishing opportunities exist wherever you live. One of my favorite places to fish when I was little happened to be just below the dam on Lake George in downtown Hobart, Indiana. The fact that Dairy Queen was only a couple of blocks away certainly had something to do with it, because no matter how good or bad the fishing I was still having ice cream. Even if you live in an urban area, you can fish close to home.

Lake George is an impoundment on Deep River. It was created in 1840 when George Earle built the initial dam. For nearly 200 years, fish have been congregating below the dam in search of food pouring over the spillway. Grandpa and I would set up lawn chairs along the bank and fish the turbid waters for whatever would bite. Sometimes we’d catch crappie. Other times we might catch a bass or carp. But almost always, we could count on catching catfish.

Catfish are a great fish for many reasons. First of all, they make excellent table fare. A lot of $10 catfish sandwiches are sold across this country. You can easily put some catfish in your freezer and cook them at home. Catfish are widely available in rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Just about every water in Indiana from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River is conducive to holding catfish. And best of all, they are easy and fun to catch.

Now is a great time to catch catfish. They spawn in June along shorelines. Providing great opportunities for anglers fishing from shore to experience great action. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to go catfishing. Just about any medium weight rod and reel combo will do. Night crawlers have likely caught more catfish than all other baits combined. Chicken livers and commercially produced catfish baits available at most sporting goods stores, also put a lot of fish in coolers. You can fish your bait on the bottom or you can suspend it beneath a bobber. Both tactics work.

As stated earlier, catfish thrive across the state. However, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does stock supplemental catfish in many waters. Some of those include urban lakes and ponds. This year the DNR is stocking about 1,000 catfish in 10 locations. A number of the locations are in the Indianapolis area. This stocking is part of the DNR’s Go FishIN program.

According to a DNR press release, “The goal of the Go FishIN in the City program is to give families and novice anglers a convenient setting near home to hone their angling skills. The program also introduces kids and new anglers to outdoor recreation. Locations are chosen with amenities such as easy parking, restrooms, and shore fishing locations.”

If you have been thinking of ways to spend a day in Indianapolis, maybe you could take a few fishing rods and try your hand at catching some catfish in the city. Krannert Park Lake and Riverside Park Pond in Indianapolis, Washington Township Park Pond in Avon and Meadowlark Pond in Carmel all have freshly stocked catfish waiting for urban anglers.

See you down the trail…




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