Patoka Sportsman 5-15-21

Patoka Sportsman 5-15 & 5-16-21

Indiana’s spring turkey season is over and the harvest total statewide was 12,315. Compared to last year the statewide harvest was down over 2,000 birds. Dubois county’s numbers were almost exactly what they were last year with 177 birds taken this year and 175 in 2020. Martin county’s numbers were also close with 207 this year vs. 209 last year. Pike and Perry were down while Spencer and Crawford county were exactly the same as last year.

Patoka Lake will host its annual kids fishing derby on Saturday, June 5 at the Osborn Ramp from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The event is for children 12 years old and younger, and participants must be accompanied by an adult. Families must supply their own tackle, fishing pole, and bait. An awards ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. For more information regarding this program or other interpretive events, call the Nature Center at 812-685-2447.

The Indiana DNR Division of Law Enforcement is looking for highly motivated, outdoor-centered individuals to fill Indiana Conservation Officer (ICO) positions across the state.

Anyone interested should first read “Become a Conservation Officer” at and complete the pre-screening test under the “Apply” link on that website. Successful completion of the pre-screening test is required to receive an application for the hiring process. To maximize the time needed for DNR Law Enforcement to complete the process, the pre-screening test needs to be submitted by midnight June 3.

To be qualified to pass the pre-screening test, you must be a United States citizen and be 21 years old by Oct. 30. You also must be able to pass minimum Indiana Law Enforcement Academy physical fitness requirements as listed at

Conservation officers comprise Indiana’s oldest state law enforcement agency. ICOs are fully recognized Indiana police officers who enforce and uphold all DNR rules and regulations as well as all other Indiana state laws. ICOs spend most of their time on the job enforcing fishing and hunting regulations, conducting marine boat patrol on Indiana’s waterways, and patrolling DNR properties to keep them safe and family friendly.

In addition to traditional law enforcement work, ICOs also engage in many specialty areas, including scuba, K-9, search and rescue, swift water rescue and many more.

The Dubois County Sportsmen’s Club will have their next regular monthly meeting on May 17 at the Jasper Moose Lodge.  The delayed gun raffle from January will be held at this meeting.  If you are a member and still have tickets to sell please do so and turn them in to the Great Outdoors or bring them to the meeting.  The drawing for the Hunters for the Hungry gun will also be held at this meeting.  Meeting begins at 7 PM and the doors open at 6.

Indiana paddlers have an opportunity to observe wildlife while enjoying Indiana’s water resources. DNR would like more information about the wildlife that spend time around Indiana’s waterways and is asking paddlers for help. Volunteer paddlers will document wildlife they observe while floating, from June 1 to July 31, by completing paddling trip postcards. Volunteers will be mailed a packet upon sign-up. The information paddlers collect allows wildlife managers to estimate changes in key wildlife populations more accurately over time.

The Full Moon 5K Run/Walk will be held Friday, July 23 at Patoka Lake beginning at 9:30 PM. The race course will be lit by moonlight and luminaries. All proceeds from this event will benefit Patoka's non-releasable birds of prey; a bald eagle, eastern screech owl and red-tailed hawk. Register online at Entry fee until June 30 is $25. Entry fee on site or after June 30 is $35. Participants registering before July 1 will receive a race shirt. Chip timing by Crossroads Events.

The 2021-22 migratory bird hunting seasons have been announced. Seasons include those for mourning doves, waterfowl (ducks, coots, mergansers, and geese), woodcock, snipe, and sora rails. New this year, hunters may take five Canada geese in their daily bag limit of dark geese for the entire season. Dark geese include Canada, white-front, and brant. Previous daily bag limits allowed hunters to harvest only three Canada geese except in the September portion of the season.

May is a wonderful time to go fishing – almost every kind of fish is biting across Indiana. It’s a great time to try to hook panfish like bluegill, redear sunfish, and crappie. Crappie have already begun moving into shallower waters to deposit eggs (spawn). Once the water temperature reaches 65 degrees, bluegill and redear sunfish will also spawn and feed in the shallows while defending their nests. Target weedy edges, sunken logs, standing timber, brush piles, and docks for these tasty fish.

Chartreuse (bright yellow-green) or white curly-tailed soft plastic grubs and inline spinners are great lures for panfish. These fish also have a hard time resisting a wiggly red worm or bee moth larvae on a size 8 hook. Find other fishing tips on our website. Check out our Instagram to learn more about how biologists are studying crappie (see the Research highlight).

Anglers can target bass near their spawning beds in shallow areas as water temperatures near 65 degrees. Use soft plastic worms (with or without a bullet-shaped weight) and soft plastic stick baits to entice these fighting fish. Cast a spinner bait if bass are active near the surface.

In early May, especially in northern Indiana or if the weather has been cool, wait until late afternoon or evening to go fishing. This allows the daytime heat to warm the waters and get sluggish fish more active and willing to bite. Later in May, after a stretch of warm sunny days, the best times to fish are early morning, late afternoon, and even nighttime (especially for bass).

With nearly 200 different fish species swimming Indiana waters, it’s not unusual to occasionally land a fish and have no idea what it is. Don’t be left wondering anymore; take a quick photo and send it to [email protected] along with the name of the water body and location you caught it (closest bridge, address, or other landmark). A biologist will help identify your fish. Fish identification questions help anglers learn more about the fish at their favorite fishing spot and may also provide valuable information on the distribution of some of the state’s rarest species.

May is the beginning of nesting season for many of Indiana’s turtle species, including the Eastern box turtle (pictured above). Keep an eye out for turtles along roadways – if you see one and it’s safe to stop, you can help the turtle cross the road by moving it in the direction it was heading. Help keep wildlife wild; don’t take it home. Give these turtles a chance to contribute to the next generation.

If you find an injured turtle, you can contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for help. Remember: All native reptile eggs are protected and cannot be taken from the wild. The shell or any other part of a box turtle is included in the protection of these animals.

Brood X cicadas will begin to emerge within the next few weeks. Currently, there are 12 different broods of 17-year periodical cicadas consisting of three different species. Each brood is designated by a Roman numeral. This is the year of Brood X. Brood X covers 15 states. Indiana is also home to two annual cicada species that emerge May through August and peak in July. Brood X nymphs will emerge when the soil temperatures about 8 inches underground reach 65 degrees. A warm rain will often proceed large-scale emergence. More information on cicadas is at