Brothers Eli Dodge (in yellow) and Max Kean take advantage of free fishing day a few years ago while members of Cub Scout Pack 718. Kids can fish for free all year long in Indiana but on Sunday, adults can as well. (Photo by Nina Campbell)
Brothers Eli Dodge (in yellow) and Max Kean take advantage of free fishing day a few years ago while members of Cub Scout Pack 718. Kids can fish for free all year long in Indiana but on Sunday, adults can as well. (Photo by Nina Campbell)
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is giving Hoosiers a chance to get outdoors this weekend with the first of four scheduled Free Fishing Days on Sunday.

The DNR routinely relaxes the requirements on fishing several times a year, but it takes on a different mission this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down most public parks in the state and has forced many Hoosiers to stay indoors.

“Fishing is an excellent way to get outside and connect as a family,” the DNR said in a press release. “It is also a great opportunity to relax and connect with the outdoors while practicing social distancing.”

Children under the age of 18 do not need a license in order to fish but most adults do. The Free Fishing Days allow adults to hit the waterways without a fishing license or a trout/salmon stamp.

Residents can visit a local park, state forest, fish & wildlife area or state recreation area for fishing opportunities. In Jefferson County, there are three public places available for fishing: Johnson Lake, off Cragmont Street on the Madison hilltop; Krueger Lake, on the former Jefferson Proving Grounds; and the Ohio River.

All three spots provide different species of fish for anglers to go after. Johnson Lake, which does not have a boat launch, is stocked with channel catfish, crappie, rainbow trout, bluegill and largemouth bass. Krueger Lake has similar species but also has a ramp for boating access. The Ohio River has a wide range of fish and the large boat ramp between West and Jefferson streets is open to the public.

In addition, Hardy Lake, which is located primarily in Scott County but branches into Jefferson, has several terrific fishing spots.

Switzerland County has three public launching sites along the Ohio River, at Paul W. Ogle Riverfront Park in Vevay, at Bryant Creek, and at Patriot. A fourth site, at Markland Dam Park, is open to the public but does not have a boat ramp.

When fishing or doing any other activity, Hoosiers should follow posted restrictions and practice social distancing. Your fishing rod is a measure of appropriate social distance. For the most up-to-date information regarding DNR and COVID-19, visit on.IN.gov/dnrcovid19.

For public places to fish, see the Where to Fish map at on.IN.gov/where2fish. You can also find nearby urban water with catchable-size channel catfish or rainbow trout at wildlife.IN.gov/7508.htm.

This year’s remaining Free Fishing Days are June 6-7 and Sept. 26.