Catching black bass makes for a great recreation but now it can line your wallet, provided you fish — and catch — in the right spots.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is tagging 500 legal-sized black bass on three rivers in central and northern Indiana as part of a new research project. "Black bass" includes largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.
Anglers who catch a tagged bass can earn gift cards to Bass Pro Shop for $5, $10 or $25 by reporting their catches and returning tags to DNR researchers.
DNR biologists are tagging black bass in the West Fork White River (Madison, Hamilton and Marion counties), Eel River (Wabash, Miami and Cass counties), and St. Joseph River (St. Joseph and Elkhart counties) during late summer and fall.
Bass will be tagged with a jaw tag stamped with a DNR phone number and serial number. When an angler catches a fish, they will need to remove the tag and then they can either release or harvest the fish. Tags must be returned to the DNR to receive a reward but tagged bass do not have to be kept to receive a reward.
To report tagged catches, anglers must call the phone number listed on the tag (812) 287-8300 and provide the following information:
•whether the fish was kept or released
•date of catch
•total length of fish
•approximate location of catch
"The research project will help biologists learn more about angler catch rates and fish movement in these rivers," said DNR fisheries research biologist Sandy Clark-Kolaks. "Information gained will help us better manage these species."
The project is a partnership of the DNR and various other conservation organizations, including the Indiana Wildlife Federation, Reel Women-Reel Men of Indianapolis, Indy Flycasters, St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers, Indiana Smallmouth Alliance, and Manchester College, each of which is providing administrative and financial assistance.