Indiana DNR to monitor bass tournaments on 10 lakes

The DNR will monitor bass fishing tournaments at 10 northern Indiana natural lakes this spring and summer as part of a two-year study of the effect of current fishing regulations on bass populations and fishing success.

Biologists with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife will count and measure bass brought to weigh-ins by tournament anglers. Monitoring the tournaments provides information on bass abundance, size and health, as well as data on angler participation levels and bass catch rates. The information is used to track long-term changes in bass populations.

Lakes on this year’s list include Barbee, Chapman, Dewart and Tippecanoe in Kosciusko County; Crooked and James in Steuben County; Waldron in Noble County; Manitou in Fulton County; Pine/Stone in LaPorte County; and Koontz in Starke County.

Unlike at state-owned lakes in Indiana, DNR permits are not required at these 10 lakes to host fishing tournaments. Consequently, no system is in place for tournament organizers to report their results.

DNR biologists monitored 10 events last year at six lakes in Steuben, Marshall and Kosciusko counties. Preliminary results indicate bass fishing is improving in northern Indiana’s natural lakes.

Last year anglers fished an average of 3.7 hours for every legal-size bass they brought to the weigh-ins. They took 5.9 hours to catch a legal-size bass 10 years ago. Legal-size bass are at least 14 inches long.

Although tournament anglers fished 67 hours for every trophy-size bass they brought to weigh-ins last year, that figure was better than the 125 hours anglers needed to catch a trophy-size bass 10 years ago. Trophy-size bass are at least 18 inches long.

After results of this year’s events are summarized, a final report will be issued.

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