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Indiana Dunes Fishing

Fishing opportunities abound at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park. Anglers will enjoy fishing along the shores of Lake Michigan, Long Lake and Little Calumet River. Whether fishing for smelt, steelhead or salmon, you're sure to find the perfect fishing spot for bringing home ‘the big one.'

No matter the season, there's always an abundance of fish to catch at the Indiana Dunes. Spring is the time for smelt; salmon, trout, bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed are also plentiful. Summer brings yellow perch in close to the Lake Michigan shore. Reeling in a summer steelhead from the Little Calumet River is an exciting challenge! Fishing for Chinook, coho salmon, lake trout and Skamania steelhead is a great way to spend a cool fall day.

Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, the newest area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, is a terrific place for fishing. This 57-acre property features a fishing pier, enclosed pavilion with restrooms and seasonal food service, a 900-foot breakwater with handrails and a loop trail. Opened in 2008 and jointly managed by the National Park Service and the City of Portage, Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk offers visitors a fantastic place to view migrating birds in the spring and fall, while dropping a line in the water. The area is known for small mouth bass, carp, catfish, salmon and trout.

Fishing at Portage Lakefront is allowed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Anglers must have a special permit to fish during the park’s closed hours (30 minutes after sunset to 8:00 a.m.). These free permits can be obtained by calling the City of Portage Parks Department at 219-762-1675.

Long Lake is accessible from the marked trails at West Beach and is a great spot for fishing or birding. A public access area is available on the lake and motor boats are permitted.

The Little Calumet River can be accessed from the Heron Rookery and the Little Calumet River Trail. While at the Rookery, keep an eye out for the Great Blue Herons repairing their nests or feeding in the shallow waters. Other creeks and streams are also available for fishing.

During the spring, visitors can fish for smelt at the Indiana Dunes State Park or the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's Kemil Beach, located just east of the state park. Smelt fishing, using a net or a seine, requires a separate permit. Anglers are required to have a State of Indiana fishing license and a stamp is needed for trout and salmon fishing. Although the national lakeshore doesn't have any boat launches, they are available in nearby communities.

Whether you prefer to fish in Lake Michigan or a gently flowing stream, the Indiana Dunes has the perfect spot for your next fishing trip.


Header image courtesy of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

More Fishing Opportunities Along the South Shore 


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