With a few exceptions, a person catching black bass (smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass) from a river or stream may keep only those fish that are under 12 inches or over 15 inches long. The daily bag limit for black bass is five fish singly or in aggregate, which means the catch limit may include any combination of the three bass species. No more than two can be over 15 inches.
The exceptions are:
-Rivers and streams in counties bordering the Ohio River still have a 12-inch minimum size limit, with an aggregate bag limit of five black bass. Those counties are Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Floyd, Harrison, Jefferson, Ohio, Perry, Posey, Spencer, Switzerland, Vanderburgh and Warrick.
-The Blue River in Crawford, Harrison and Washington counties still has a 12- to 15-inch slot limit and an aggregate bag limit of five black bass, with no more than two being more than 15 inches.
-The minimum size limit on the Ohio River main stem (not bays and tributaries) remains at 12 inches for black bass, with a daily bag limit of six.
The changes are in response to public concerns regarding harvest pressure on smallmouth bass that were expressed during the Indiana Natural Resources Commission's comprehensive rule enhancement project.
The NRC Advisory Council, Indiana Sportsmen's Roundtable, fishing groups and individual anglers supported a rule change to further restrict the taking of black bass, especially smallmouth, to potentially provide a larger number of bass for anglers in the future. The protection for black bass that are 12- to 15-inches long is intended to limit harvest of these fish when they have the highest reproductive potential.
The new rule does not affect existing regulations on lakes or reservoirs (including Lake Michigan), where black bass must be at least 14 inches long to be kept. Black bass size and bag limits at specific locations such as state fish & wildlife areas, state forests, national forests and other sites outlined in Indiana Administrative Code 312 9-7-6 also remain unchanged.
Phil Bloom, DNR Communications, (317) 232-4003.