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Be Aware Of Fishing Regs At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore


Fishing with crossbows? Yep, you can do that in Indiana. However, you cannot do that at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

In other words, if you're planning to spend any time fishing at the national lakeshore on Lake Michigan this summer, be sure to read up on the fishing regulations there so you don't get fined.

Only recreational fishing is allowed at the lakeshore, and you have to have a valid Indiana state license (resident or non-resident) in your possession. A Smelt Season Fire Permit also must be in the subject's possession while smelt fishing. Permits can be obtained from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

The State of Indiana recently approved the use of crossbows for fishing. However, fishing with a crossbow is not permitted within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Fishing is only permitted using a hook and line, with the rod or line being closely attended.

Also, no gaming the process. In other words, chumming or placing preserved or fresh fish eggs, fish roe, food, fish parts, chemicals, or other foreign substances in fresh waters for the purpose of feeding or attracting fish in order that they may be taken is not permitted.

Digging for bait, or using for bait any plant, animal, worm, or insect from within the park is also prohibited.

Fishing is limited to the hours each park site is open. For most areas, this is 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is open to fishing 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Anglers must have a free permit from the National Park Service to be on the site during closed hours (30 minutes after sunset to 8:00 a.m.). Permits can be obtained from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center in Porter or from the City of Portage Parks Department.

Unauthorized persons on the site during closed hours, or on adjacent NPS property during closed hours, will be in violation of federal regulations and subject to citation and/or arrest.

The possession or use of metal detectors is prohibited anywhere within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This prohibition includes all beaches. For more information please call the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center at 219-395-1882 or the office of the Chief Ranger at 219-395-1644.


Other than the smelt rule and the operating hours, all these regulations are from 36 CFR and apply to all parks.

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