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Outdoor Indiana - May/June 2021

The zebra swallowtail, shown in Tippecanoe County, is one of the most striking butterfly species found in Indiana. Photo by Frank Oliver.

The zebra swallowtail, shown in Tippecanoe County, is one of the most striking butterfly species found in Indiana.
Photo by Frank Oliver.

Featured Stories

  • FROM THE DIRECTOR

    MAKE THE MOST OF FREE FISHING DAYS

    DNR Director Dan Bortner

    DNR Director Dan Bortner

    I caught my first fish at the lake at Spring Mill State Park many years ago. That led to more fishing adventures as time went on. In high school and college, my friends and I fished on Monroe Lake, where I discovered a love of bass fishing.

    DNR properties have changed a bit since then, but they remain places for Hoosiers to connect with nature and friends, find relief from the stresses of the world, and make memories. One of the best ways to do those things is still the same as what we did back then with a rod and reel. Not everyone experiences the joys of fishing while growing up. Others may have gotten away from the sport, and the old poles are collecting dust. That’s why we have Free Fishing Days—to show folks what they have been missing. This year, Indiana residents can fish without a license on May 2, June 5–6, and Sept. 25. All other fishing rules and regulations apply. Anglers under 18 never need a license.

    I am asking every angler to take at least one other person fishing on one of those days. Thank someone who helped you over the past year—reconnect with a friend you may have grown apart from. Show someone different from you how much fun spending time with a line in the water can be. Maybe if you’re lucky, you and your new fishing buddies will get to share a free fresh-caught meal at the end of your day on the water.

    The website dnr.IN.gov/fishfree has more information. For fishing tips, an interactive map of stocked fishing spots near you, and more, see on.IN.gov/where2fish.

  • The beauty of BUTTERFLIES

    Indiana packs a palette of 96 species to enjoy
    By Scott Roberts, OI staff

    A regal fritillary, which is listed as a state endangered species, rests among the vast expanse at Kankakee Sands near Morocco.

    A regal fritillary, which is listed as a state endangered species, rests among the vast expanse at Kankakee Sands near Morocco.

    C.J. Canino has a favorite butterfly fact.

    “Did you know they can taste with their feet?” she asked.

    Not many 12-year-old girls can spout off insect trivia, but it makes sense that the Auburn resident does. She helped complete a butterfly mural in her home city and is taking teen master naturalist classes at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Albion. And she and her mother, Janet, raise a variety of butterfly species. That hobby has already helped point the girl toward a potential future career. She wants to be a veterinarian.

    “There are so many cool things about butterflies,” she says.

    C.J. is just one of many Hoosiers of all ages who are fascinated with the colorful insects. Approximately 17,500 species are known in the world, and 750 species live in the United States, per the Smithsonian Institution. “Butterflies in Indiana: A Field Guide” says 96 butterfly species can be found in the state.

    To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

  • From PIQUE-NIQUE, To PIC-A-NIC, To TAKEOUT

    Tracing the evolution of one of life’s simple pleasures
    By Marty Benson, OI staff

    The Hallers of West Lafayette picnic about once a week, often at Prophetstown State Park during the warmer seasons. They prefer a casual outing so their children can have fun.

    The Hallers of West Lafayette picnic about once a week, often at Prophetstown State Park.

    You’ve probably heard variations of the saying, “(Fill in the blank) is no picnic.” The meaning, of course, is that “blank” is not easy or enjoyable. But what is a picnic, exactly?

    DeeDee Stovel, author of a best-selling cookbook called “Picnic”, wrote that, “A picnic is more than a meal, it is a pleasurable state of mind.”

    Depending on whom you ask, and—it turns out—the era you are talking about, the meaning of the word picnic varies, sometimes widely. As with many terms, its meaning has morphed since the word first came to be. Compare, for example, what “tweet” meant 20 years ago to what you usually think of when you hear it these days.

    Although no one knows for sure, as with many two-syllable English words, “picnic” seems to be two words from another language cobbled together. This likelihood lends linguistic legitimacy to cartoon character Yogi Bear and his pet name for one of his prized pursuits, “pic-a-nic” baskets.

    To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

  • TAKE A YOUNGSTER FISHING

    … and launch a lifetime of enjoyment and conservation
    By Scott Roberts, OI staff

    A youngster fishes Krannert Lake after a DNR Learn to Fish workshop. DNR stocks the Indianapolis lake with channel catfish.

    A youngster fishes Krannert Lake after a DNR Learn to Fish workshop. DNR stocks the Indianapolis lake with channel catfish.

    As the duo tried their luck after attending a Learn to Fish workshop last September at Krannert Park in Indy, Devon’s father said his son would probably be getting a rod and reel for Christmas—and he did. John and Devon had also attended a workshop the year before, and dad said the DNR-run events taught the duo the basics.

    Devon, who is 12, is putting his new gear to good use.

    “I like being outside, and I like not knowing what I’m going to catch,” the budding young outdoorsman said. “It’s that unpredictability I like the most.”

    The sport has brought father and son closer together. John said future fishing trips could extend outside the state—expeditions to Michigan and Minnesota may be in the works. Devon’s dad said there’s something about fishing and the connection it brings that just doesn’t happen with other activities they’ve tried.

    Another father, Chris Bailey of Lawrence, who attended the same September 2020 Krannert Park event with his son Henry, 10, agrees. Chris said he grew up in Kentucky using a cane pole to catch bluegill and catfish, but it had been 30 years since he’d really taken up the sport. He said it was good to learn the full experience of fishing, because back when he fished as youngster, someone else set bait on the hook and cast the line for him. He just held the pole.

    To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

About Outdoor Indiana

Outdoor Indiana, the state's premier magazine, delivers the wonders of the Hoosier outdoors to subscribers' homes and offices six times a year in 48 pages of vibrant color. For the best of state parks, lakes, wildlife, forests, trails, hunting, fishing, wildflowers and outdoorsy people, plus inside information from DNR experts, subscribe for $15 per year or $28 for two years. Follow the magazine staff on Facebook.

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Printing and distribution costs for Outdoor Indiana magazine have increased. One way we’re offsetting these costs is through the Friends of Outdoor Indiana Group administered through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. Donations to our friends group helps keep our subscription price low and ensures we’ll be around to bring you the best of Indiana’s outdoors for years to come.

To donate, visit the INRF and include “Friends of Outdoor Indiana” in the “In Honor Of/In Memory Of” line.

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