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The Division of Fish and Wildlife has two regional fisheries research units, North Fisheries Research and South Fisheries Research.
They conduct science-based research projects designed to monitor sportfish populations, assess aquatic habitats, preserve biodiversity, and evaluate human dimensions and fishing satisfaction.
The work conducted by the North Fisheries Research Unit is guided by the Fisheries Section Strategic Plan and the State Wildlife Action Plan.
Fisheries Research Biologist
(260) 244-6805 ext. 226
Fisheries Research Biologist
North Fisheries Research's goal is to conduct scientific research to ensure that native sportfish populations are thriving, to protect biodiversity, and to preserve and improve natural aquatic habitats for all Hoosiers. The work conducted by the North Region Fisheries Research Unit is guided by the Fisheries Section Strategic Plan and the State Wildlife Action Plan.
Background: Cisco (Coregonus artedii) are a coldwater species in the Salmon family that live in the glacial lakes of Canada as far south as northern Indiana, which represents the southernmost extent of their native range. The number and distribution of cisco in Indiana has been in decline since the turn of the twentieth century. Therefore, Cisco are classified as a species of greatest conservation need (Endangered Wildlife) and are listed as the representative species for the coldwater glacial lake habitats in the State Wildlife Action Plan. The purpose of this research is to identify, conserve, and enhance coldwater glacial lake habitats through the development of a standardized sampling program for cisco using late-summer gill net sets. In 2012, a regional effort was conducted to assess the status of cisco in 7 northern Indiana lakes. In 2013, the regional cisco assessment will continue with the assistance of researchers from Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.
Background: Northern pike (Esox lucius) are a coolwater species found in North America. Pike populations are generally limited to the glacial lakes and rivers of northern Indiana, which represents the southernmost part of their native range. Pike are sensitive to habitat changes and have been selected as the representative species of coolwater habitat for glacial lakes in the State Wildlife Action Plan. The purpose of this research is to identify, conserve, and enhance coolwater glacial lake habitat through the development of a standardized sampling program for pre-spawn pike using large trap nets. Catch rates, length and age structures, and growth rates of pike are a few of the metrics that will provide the long-term data required to sustain the ecological integrity of the coolwater glacial lake habitat that pike represent.
Background: Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)are the second most popular fish among northern Indiana anglers. Largemouth bass were selected as the representative species for warm-water habitat of glacial lakes in the State Wildlife Action Plan. Largemouth bass are an important recreational and ecological species among Indiana’s glacial lakes. Data collected such as abundance (catch rates), size structure (proportional size distribution, PSD), and growth rates are needed to manage this species and to keep the ecological balance of the warmwater glacial lake habitat that largemouth bass represent. In the spring of 2013, biologists began a targeted study design for largemouth bass at the regional scale for glacial lakes. Eleven lakes were surveyed for largemouth bass (under the Status and Trends of Glacial Lakes framework) in late April/early May using 30 minutes of electrofishing on each lake.
Southern Fisheries Research works to provide sound data, techniques, and recommendations that district biologists can use to improve the quality of Indiana’s fishing resources. Projects that Southern Fisheries Research is currently working on vary greatly but all work to resolve problems and answer defined questions.
Background: Southern Fisheries Research was tasked with creating an urban fishing program for Indiana to recruit new anglers and make fishing more accessible to Hoosiers living in urban areas. The Go FishIN in the City program was born from collaborations with DNR hatcheries, Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary, DNR district biologists, and city park officials. What resulted was 5000 12-15” channel catfish being stocked in ponds across Indiana in April, May, and June. Southern Fisheries Research will be accessing the program through channel catfish sampling and angler surveys. Learn more about Go FishIN in the City.
Background: Catfish are a major sport fish in Indiana’s impoundments and Southern Fisheries Research is investigating alternative sampling techniques. Biologists currently use gill nets to sample for catfish which are successful but can also capture many other undesired species like gizzard shad and yellow bass making processing nets slow and tedious. Southern Fisheries Research is testing baited hoop nets to see if this gear could be added to biologists sampling regime making catching catfish more efficient.
Background: Last year Indiana changed the black bass size limit on most rivers and stream in Indiana to protect more fish from harvest improving populations, reproduction, and fish quality. In an effort to better understand harvest rates and fishing pressure Southern Fisheries Research will starting a 2 year project tagging black bass in three high fishing pressure rivers. Legal black bass will be tagged with metal jaw tags that can be removed by anglers and returned for a reward. More information.