Indiana DNR's sport fishing education program offers instruction and opportunities for people to learn more about fishing. Topics range from learning more about fishing in general, fishing for different species, or becoming fishing instructors. The program promotes, supports, and conducts fishing events geared toward youth, families, adults, women, and individuals with disabilities. While most of the events are tailored to novices, some workshops teach advanced skills while others train adults to become fishing instructors. Our goal is to encourage a healthy lifestyle through spending time outdoors, promoting physical activity, making memories together, and increasing the consumption of locally-harvested fish.
Most events are held on DNR properties, city parks, and county parks. Many events take place at public waters including lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams – areas that participants can easily return to and enjoy again.
Programs & Events
- Learn to Fish Workshops
Participants in these hands-on workshops gain knowledge, skills, and the confidence needed to go fishing. Most workshops are 2-4 hours and include classroom and outdoor instruction and time to practice skills. Some workshops, like Learn to Fillet Fish, may take place in a setting without water. All workshops require pre-registration. Many of our workshops are free and provide bait and equipment. Fishing licenses are required for workshops not on Free Fishing Days.
- Public Fishing Events
Some events are structured workshops while others are youth fishing derbies and fishing days. Most are free.
Want to run an event but need some tips, tackle, or promotion? Consider becoming a Crew Captain.
- Become an Instructor - Crew Captains
Many choose to become Crew Captains because they are connected to a specific group of youth or families. Others want to learn more about our program, receive youth fishing tips, and get connected to the DNR's sport fishing education efforts. Crew Captains are notified of local fishing events and field days that need volunteers. One of these opportunities is the State Fair Fishin’ Pond during the Indiana State Fair. It is the biggest fishing event of the year.
- State Fair Fishin’ Pond
At the State Fair Fishin’ Pond, children ages 5-17 can try fishing for free. This event is held during the Indiana State Fair behind the Natural Resources pavilion. It is run by DNR staff and volunteers.
- Urban Fishing Program
The Urban Fishing Program aims to increase fishing opportunities in urban areas. We identified several family-friendly parks across the state that have public fishing areas with excellent shore fishing. Many of the sites are city parks that have no gate fee, convenient parking near the water, and restrooms. These locations are stocked with catchable-size channel catfish and rainbow trout. Some of the parks hold fishing events throughout the year.
Beginner and beyond the basic fishing resources can be found on our Fishing Tips and Videos page.
- General fishing information
- Fishing rules and regulations
- Buy a license
- Where to fish
- Free fishing days