National Park Service Fishing Regulations at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

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Date: May 10, 2012
Contact: Bruce Rowe, 219-395-1609

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: With the coming summer recreation season the National Park Service would like to remind people of the opportunities for fishing and other recreational activities in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Only recreational fishing is allowed. Commercial fishing is prohibited.

Fishing is permitted within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore with a valid Indiana state license. A Smelt Season Fire Permit 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.

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 8:00 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.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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