Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2009 - Ask an Expert
Mushroom hunting and big fish
Am I allowed to hunt and collect mushrooms on state property?
Yes, it is legal to collect mushrooms while visiting state property. State law protects our wild areas, yet allows for this practice by declaring that, except as authorized by a license, a person must not damage or collect a plant or pick flowers; however, berries, fruits, nuts, fallen cones, mushrooms, leaves and greens are exempted.
The only places this doesn’t apply are DNR nature preserves, with an exception. If a nature preserve is located at a state park, reservoir property, fish and wildlife area or state forest, then a person may collect the aforementioned berries, fruits, etc.
Warning: Be very careful when collecting mushrooms. Only consume mushrooms you’re absolutely sure are safe to eat.
What’s the difference between the State Record Fish and the Fish of the Year programs? How can I submit my catches to these programs?
(Left) Bruce Midkiff of Owensboro, Ky., caught the Indiana record blue catfish in 1999. Midkiff found the 104-pound monster lurking near Tell City below Cannelton Dam. Midkiff’s fish bested a 77-pound blue cat record set the same day below the same dam. (Right) In 2005, David Coffman from Frankfort, caught the Indiana record wiper below Lake Freeman’s Oakdale Dam. The white bass/striped bass hybrid, also called a wiper, weighed more than 22 pounds, and was 32 inches long. The wiper record is Indiana’s most often broken sport fish record.
The DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife sponsors two award programs recognizing outstanding catches by anglers. The Indiana Record Fish program recognizes state-record catches. The Fish of the Year program recognizes anglers who catch the largest fish of each species that year but is smaller than the current state record.
Weight is the measurement used for state-record fish. Total length is used for Fish of the Year fish, so anglers can easily release their fish. Both programs have the same fish divisions and use the same entry form for submitting information.
Winners receive a certificate and a colorful jacket patch. Entry forms and pictures are not returned to the angler.
Fish must be taken legally by hook and line from Indiana waters. Fish taken from the main stem of the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana, or from the Wabash River between Illinois and Indiana are considered for these programs, provided the angler possessed an Indiana fishing license at the time of the catch.
A photocopy of the angler’s license must accompany an entry if a license was required to catch fish from that body of water. Fish on artificial feeding programs are not eligible.
Entries must be postmarked by Dec. 31 of the calendar year the fish was caught. A quality side-view photograph of the fish must accompany each entry.
Anyone can enter and multiple entries are accepted. Fish must be caught in public or private fishing waters where there is no fee for fishing.
To submit a fish, complete the entry form in the 2009 Indiana Fishing Guide and mail it, with a copy of the angler’s fishing license, Scale Inspection Report (state-record fish entries only) and at least three pictures of the fish.
See the Fishing Guide at the dnr.IN.gov Web site for more information.