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Outdoors: Deer season not among DNR changes

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Updated: August 20, 2013 6:48AM



Deer seasons will remain the same, but upland game seasons will be tweaked, after final approval from the Indiana Natural Resources Commission this week. And the daily bag on Lake Michigan for lake whitefish will go to 12, recognizing the resurgence in southern Lake Michigan of the favored table fare.

The changes need to go through a couple legal formalities before becoming law.

Notable are deer seasons remaining the same. The commission went along with DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s request to remove the two deer season proposals to lengthen the archery season and add a primitive muzzleloader season.

Archery season stays Oct. 1 through Jan. 5. There will only be one muzzleloader season, Dec. 7-22.

The DNR made numerous deer-hunting changes last year and would like to evaluate them.

Upland game hunting went standardized.

Rabbit hunting on public and private lands will be Nov. 1 to Feb. 28. Pheasant season will be Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

Quail hunting has the zone boundary for north/south standardized to Interstate 74. The south zone was shortened two days to Nov. 1 to Jan. 10. The daily bag in the north is reduced to four.

With standardized upland dates, squirrel hunters now are required to wear hunter orange, beginning Nov. 1. Hunter orange is required on ground blinds used during the day when hunting any species for which the hunter is required to wear hunter orange.

Kid stuff: The Festival of the Lakes has a kids fishing event at Wolf Lake Memorial Park, 2324 Calumet Ave., Hammond, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. The first 300 children, 15 and younger, receive a free rod and reel. Sponsors include the Optimistic Club of Hammond, Hammond Firefighters Local 556 and Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet.

Lake Michigan: Best news is that some days there’s limits of perch east of the Donut out of Portage in 12-20 feet and in Cal Harbor, said Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in Lake Station. Bad news is the next day can be one here or there. ... There’s decent salmon and trout in 100-120 feet in Michigan waters east toward Michigan City; the bite in Illinois waters west toward East Chicago is tougher. It’s primarily nice coho and lakers with the occasional big king and steelhead.

Steelhead streams: “Hot weather has slowed steelhead movement,’’ Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said. “We have just come off a very strong run that began prior to the fourth of July. Last Thursday we concluded our broodstock collection from Trail Creek, with 700 fish being collected within 23 days. Very large and healthy fish for the program (and) 224 fish have been hand passed above the barrier, with 30 coming in the last two days.

He added, “Fish up to 16 pounds have been caught, with the average hovering around 10-12. ... We are also seeing fresh steelhead enter the (St. Joseph River), which began around July 4 as well. Roughly 210 fish have passed above the South Bend dam through mid last week. Water temperatures are climbing into the 70s, which has slowed migrations.’’

Inland fishing: It’s the dog days. The top bite remains catfish, lakes and rivers. Sleziak said the best remains evenings with Sonny’s stinkbait at the Riverwalk in Portage. ... Those fishing ponds and lakes are primarily working topwaters mornings and evenings, otherwise Senkos or plastic worms on weed lines or weed pockets for bass. Or targeting bluegill in the shade and weed lines.

Clubbing: Salmon Unlimited of Indiana holds its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Indiana Harbor Yacht Club in East Chicago.



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