Northwest Indiana may be the country’s best-kept fishing secret. The region doesn’t attract the big crowds of more fancied fishing destinations, so those in the know enjoy generous waters in peace and quiet. Put the following Northwest Indiana fishing spots on your itinerary. Just be sure to keep them to yourselves.
We couldn’t create a list of Northwest Indiana fishing spots without mentioning Lake Michigan. It’s the most well-known fishing spot in the region, but it’s so large that you can usually find some space for yourself. The lake also holds a wide range of fish, including coho and chinook salmon, lake trout, yellow perch, and steelhead. It’s also accessible to all types of anglers. You can cast a line from East Coast Marina or the pier at Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk or take your boat far from the shoreline. If you don’t have a vessel, join a charter fishing excursion.
No matter what type of fishing you enjoy, you can do it in Lake George. This 509-acre Hobart lake has various water levels, so you can practice spinning, traditional baitcasting, and wade out for fly fishing. The different water levels also give the lake a diverse fish population. Depending on where you cast off, you could catch bluegill, largemouth bass, carp, catfish, or bream. The parking lots at Festival Park and Lakefront Park are both an easy walking distance from the water’s edge. Lakefront Park also has a boat launch for people with their own watercraft.
Lake Robinson is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Lake George, so why not make a weekend of it and fish them both? At 59 acres, it’s a relatively small lake, but it punches above its weight with bluegill, white crappie, and largemouth bass all swimming in its waters. You can fish from the shore or take your boat out to try and land a more impressive catch. If you prefer fishing from the shore, take care during late April and May when the local snakes come out for their mating season.
Little Calumet River
Decades ago, you would never fish at Southeast Chicago’s Little Calumet River. However, recent clean-ups and restoration efforts make it worth another look. Access the river via Heron Rookery, in the Indiana Dunes National Park. The west branch has a thriving largemouth bass population, and you’ll find smallmouth bass in the east. Trout and salmon typically migrate to the eastern branch during fall. Steelhead are common throughout the river from summer to the spawning season in early spring.
Burns Ditch connects Lake Michigan and the Little Calumet River, so you know you can count on this waterway for high-quality fishing. Launch your boat from Portage Marina and set out in search of the hefty catfish and largemouth bass swimming below the surface. Many anglers stick to the mouth of Burns Ditch, where coho salmon often congregate during spring. You can also try your luck from the shore if you don’t have a boat.
Wolf Lake is a well-developed recreational area near the border of Indiana and Illinois that offers plenty for visitors. There are walking trails, a golf course, and an aquatic play center, but the 385-acre lake is the main attraction for anglers. Fish from the restored shoreline or take a small boat out and enjoy unrestricted access to the waterway, except during waterfowl hunting season. Annual stockings of channel catfish, northern pike, walleye, and smallmouth bass ensure there’s plenty of fish for everybody. If you don’t have your own vessel, you can rent one on-site.
Grand Boulevard Lake
Conveniently located a mile from Lake Station, Grand Boulevard Lake is ideal for unwinding after work or a spot of weekend fishing close to home. Seaweed can get in the way during spring and summer, but in the cooler seasons, your line has a clear path to a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, and redear sunfish. You can fish from the shore or take any boat that isn’t gas-powered out on the lake.
If wide-open spaces and the promise of a big catch excite you, head to Kankakee River. You can really enjoy some solitude here in the 90-mile river basin. However, it’s the legendary fish living in the waters that keep locals coming back. Someone once caught a record-setting 20-pound northern pike here, and anglers have been trying to replicate the feat ever since. Kankakee River is also home to walleye, channel catfish, and smallmouth bass. With several access points, fishing bridges, and boat ramps at Area 9 and the Warner Bridge Area, Kankakee River offers real variety.
If you really want to get away from it all, head to Salt Creek. This 24-mile creek has several access points, including trails in Valparaiso and Portage, but they’re all a fair way from the road. Its remote location treats anglers to scenic surroundings and true tranquility. If you want to be alone with your thoughts and the promise of a great catch, Salt Creek delivers. The stream trout are usually small, but you can often get a great feed of salmon, steelhead, and Skamania. And if you don’t, Valparaiso always has great restaurants.
Cedar Lake is another idyllic fishing spot, with colorful bluffs and lush forests creating stunning scenery wherever you look. It’s one of Northwest Illinois’ most popular places to fish, especially during Cedar Lake Summerfest, but with 1,750 acres of waterways, you can usually find space for yourself. The lake is home to many common fish varieties, including bluegill, crappies, and common bass species. But the star attraction is the wiper, a hybrid cross between a white and striped bass you’ll find in very few other locales.
We’ve told you the fishing spots in Northwest Indiana the Steiner Homes team love, but we’re always keen to hear about other great fishing holes in the region. If we’ve missed your favorite local fishing spot, be sure to drop us a line. We promise we won’t spread the word too far.