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Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In Indiana

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Guide to the favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Ice fishing

The best ice fishing lakes in IN include Sylvan Lake, Summit Lake and Hamilton Lake. The most popular species are yellow perch, walleye and crappie. See a list of lakes and species below.

Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.

The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best ice fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.

Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in Indiana, offering anglers a unique and exciting way to pursue fish species that thrive in the cold waters beneath the frozen surfaces of lakes and reservoirs. Anglers can enjoy ice fishing for a variety of species, including panfish like bluegill and crappie, as well as predator fish such as northern pike and walleye.

Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video

When it comes to ice fishing in Indiana, several methods and techniques are commonly employed. Anglers often use ice fishing shelters or shanties to shield themselves from the elements and provide a comfortable space for fishing. Drilling holes through the ice is necessary to access the water below, and ice augers are commonly used for this purpose. Once the holes are drilled, anglers can set up their equipment, such as ice fishing rods and tip-ups, and use various baits or lures to entice the fish.

Safety is of utmost importance when participating in ice fishing. Before venturing onto the ice, it's crucial to check the ice thickness and ensure it is safe for fishing. Ice should be at least four inches thick for individual anglers and six to eight inches thick for groups. Wearing appropriate clothing to stay warm and dry is essential, as well as carrying safety equipment such as ice picks, a throw rope, and a personal flotation device (PFD). It's also advisable to fish with a buddy and inform someone about your plans, including the location and expected return time.

As with any fishing activity, it's important to be aware of and adhere to the local fishing regulations, including fishing seasons, catch limits, and specific rules for ice fishing. Following these regulations helps maintain fish populations and ensures a sustainable and enjoyable ice fishing experience for everyone.

Ice fishing in Indiana provides a unique and exhilarating way to continue fishing during the winter months. With proper preparation, safety precautions, and knowledge of the fish species and techniques, anglers can enjoy the thrill of ice fishing and potentially reel in some impressive catches while creating lasting winter memories.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Indiana

Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species

There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.

Click the images for species details.

This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.

Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.

Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish

Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.

Best ice fishing method for walleye

Four basic lures are all you need. Ice jigs are minnow shaped with a tail that causes them to fall in a circular patter. Drop them to the desired depth (often to the bottom), then lift the bait a few feet to let it fall on slack line. Spoons: Metal slabs in chrome or a wide array of colors are used to jig up-and-down mimicking a dying baitfish. Lipless crankbaits: Fish like a spoon. Jigs: Use slightly larger jigs than for crappie, preferably with a flashing blade attached. Tip with live bait and let it sit, up a ways from the bottom typically 1 to 3 feet. A general tip is to always keep your bait off the bottom, one to 5 feet is an ideal place to start. Additional information about ice fishing for walleye.

Click here for a Indiana Fishing License.

Indiana Map


States with notable ice fishing.

AZ Ice Fishing CA Ice Fishing CO Ice Fishing CT Ice Fishing IA Ice Fishing ID Ice Fishing IL Ice Fishing IN Ice Fishing
KS Ice Fishing MA Ice Fishing MD Ice Fishing ME Ice Fishing MI Ice Fishing MN Ice Fishing MT Ice Fishing ND Ice Fishing
NE Ice Fishing NH Ice Fishing NJ Ice Fishing NM Ice Fishing NV Ice Fishing NY Ice Fishing OH Ice Fishing OR Ice Fishing
PA Ice Fishing RI Ice Fishing SD Ice Fishing UT Ice Fishing VT Ice Fishing WA Ice Fishing WI Ice Fishing WY Ice Fishing