There are a variety of good fishing spots within the Northwest Indiana area, whether you're looking for a quick trip or an all-day fishing excursion, the region has someplace to suit your needs. Many of these locales offer the ability to fish year-round, though this list is specifically for those who are looking to spend some time fishing during the summer months. If you're looking for any particular type of catch, it's best to research each individual spot because the types of fish vary depending on location and time of the season. Now here are ten fantastic places in the region to cast a line in summer!
Note from Indiana DNR: All 2019-2020 basic hunting, basic fishing, hunt/fish combo, youth licenses and stamps set to expire March 31, 2020, are valid until Thursday, June 4, 2020. Keep a printed or electronic copy with you while hunting/fishing. If you do not have a valid 2019-2020 annual license or stamp, a new 2020-2021 annual license is required.
Best Fishing Spots
Northwest Indiana sits on the southern shores of Lake Michigan and it's hard to not mention this mammoth body of water as a great place to fish. Whether you're on the edge of the blue waters, casting from a pier, or taking a boat out into deeper water, Lake Michigan has a variety of places to fish and explore.
Join a professional captain on their boat on a charter fishing excursion or grab your pole and enjoy a quiet afternoon along the shore. East Chicago Marina offers fishing locations as well as a beach nearby, splash pad and aquatics rentals. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, part of the Indiana Dunes National Park, also offers a fishing pier and a 900-foot breakwater and a loop trail.
No matter which one you choose, Lake Michigan is a great place to catch Coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, lake trout, yellow perch and many others.
Located on the Indiana/Illinois border, Wolf Lake offers a big-lake feel in a smaller setting. With a well-developed park and recreation area nearby at the Wolf Lake Pavilion, this is the perfect spot for avid fishermen but also those who are looking to just cast a line with the kids. Wolf Lake has a large variety of fish including pike, herring, walleye and the rare lake sturgeon and offers fishing by small boat or from the area’s restored shoreline.
Lake George is a reservoir located in Hobart offering a good area to fish for everyone from novices to experts. There are some big fish to catch in these waters and the surrounding area is a great place to relax on a sunny day. There are a variety of water levels in the vicinity, allowing you to do some fly fishing as well as spinning and traditional baitcasting. Bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish, carp and bream populate these waters, along with a smattering of other fish. It's hard not to catch something good in this lake. Visitors can park at Festival Park or Lakefront Park in Hobart and walk to the dam. There's also a boat launch at Lakefront Park.
Centennial Park, located in the heart of Munster just across the street from Community Veterans Memorial, offers a small fishing pond that is great for kids for a catch and release experience. This is not likely an area for your more seasoned fishers, but it's a great place for families to cast their rod and enjoy a beautiful day in the park. You may even be able to catch a largemouth bass or two while you're there.
The Kankakee River offers one of the most expansive areas to fish in Northwest Indiana, offering approximately 90 miles of river basin to cast your line. There are a number of access points to this river and you can fish right off some riverbeds and bridges. No matter where you decide to try your luck on the Kankakee, you'll have the opportunity to catch smallmouth bass, walleye as well as some northern pike. Many big fish have come out of this river, including a record-setting 20-pound northern pike. This is a great place for experienced fishermen who are looking for a challenge and a chance to get that trophy catch.
One of the more unique places on this list is Salt Creek, located just south of Valparaiso. It serves as a tributary to the Little Calumet River. Salt Creek has a scenic backdrop and just the right atmosphere for some fantastic early morning or late afternoon fishing. This is a great place to catch some steelhead, salmon, skamania and small stream trout. It's a lengthy creek, so there are plenty of access points, but they all tend to be a little hike off the side of the road. Salt Creek is just off of U.S. 30 in Valparaiso, not far from Zao Island, or catch it around State Road 2. You can also access Salt Creek from Imagination Glen Park at 2275 McCool Rd. in Portage.
Little Calumet River
There was a time through the 40s and 50s that the Little Calumet was not adequate for fishing. Thankfully, the river has been a priority for cleanup and there has since been a lot of restoration and is now a fantastic spot for catching fish. You may be able to catch largemouth bass there, as well as smallmouth bass, trout, salmon and dogfish. This is a unique area that allows for canoe/kayaking fishing opportunities as well. Heron Rookery in the Indiana Dunes National Park is a recommended access point for fishing along the river.
This beautiful and serene lake is a great place for all sorts of recreation - including angling. If you're looking for a scenic place to fish the shores, Cedar Lake is ideal. It can get a bit busy during the summer months when people come out for the Cedar Lake Summerfest or to enjoy a warm summer day, but it's generally big enough to accommodate everyone. This lake offers crappies, several types of bass, bluegill, perch and wiper. Yes, that's wiper, not striper. This hybrid fish is a cross between white and striped bass, and Cedar Lake is one of the few areas around where you can reel in one of these bad boys.
Willow Slough (J.C. Murphey Lake) is a shallow fishing spot located down in Morocco, Indiana. This is a nice spot to catch some bluegill, crappie, bass, catfish and northern pike. The shallow water gives you a bit of a different experience from some of the larger lakes in the area. There are a variety of panfish to catch while you check out all the nearby wildlife at the reserve. There are also a variety of these types of ditches, creeks and small streams in DeMotte and surrounding areas near the farmland. Just make sure you have permission before heading out to catch any fish in those areas.
Located by the Port of Indiana, Burns Ditch connects the Little Calumet River and Lake Michigan. As a result, this spot has become a hotbed for great fishing opportunities. Burns Ditch offers a great place to catch a big catfish, along with some sizable largemouth bass, walleye, and coho salmon. You can launch a boat from the Portage Marina and try your luck at catching a big one. There are no guarantees in fishing, but you're almost certain to come away with at least a couple Coho at Burns Ditch, especially if you're dropping your line around the mouth of the ditch.
No matter what type of fishing you're looking to do, and no matter your skill level, Northwest Indiana has a plethora of options available to you. From small streams and creeks, to big lakes and rivers, there are few better places in the country that offer such a diverse fishing experience. Check out these spots and create your own "fish story" right here along the South Shore.
Contributing Editor: Jake Giles
Former Video Production Associate with the South Shore CVA.