Rule changes regarding the use of live gizzard shad, threadfin shad and alewives as bait, and the size of cast nets used in collecting such bait, take effect March 22.
The rules changes answer a request from striped bass anglers to be able to use gizzard shad as bait in selected waters where striped bass are prevalent and gizzard shad are present but stipulate that gizzard shad cannot be moved from the waters in which they were caught. Shad collected anywhere else will have to be killed immediately upon capture. The intent is to prevent the moving of shad to other waters.
Currently, live shad can be used only at Brookville Lake. This dates back to when Brookville was Indiana’s only striped bass water body. With the changes, gizzard shad can be collected from the designated waters, possessed while on that water body, and used only on that water body.
Use of live shad as bait has been restricted previously because of concerns it would lead to establishment of shad populations in lakes where the shad would compete with and harm existing sport fisheries. Since then, the DNR has created new striped bass and hybrid striped bass fisheries at several other places.
The changes also standardize cast net regulations statewide and allow larger mesh for taking shad. The rule also allows use of the look-alike smaller cousin of gizzard shad, the threadfin shad, at these selected waters, and the collection and use of live alewives as bait on Lake Michigan.
The rule changes are summarized as follows:
- Live gizzard shad and threadfin shad may be collected, possessed and used on the following waters only but may not be transported away from these waters:
-Cecil M. Harden Reservoir
-Ohio River mainstem, excluding all embayments
- Any unused shad must be killed while at these water bodies.
- Live gizzard shad or threadfin shad collected at other water bodies will need to be killed immediately upon capture and cannot be possessed live.
- Live alewives may be collected, possessed and used on Lake Michigan only, and may not be transported away from Lake Michigan. Any unused alewives must be killed. A person must immediately kill alewives collected from waters other than Lake Michigan.
- The maximum cast net diameter is increased to 20 feet for both the Ohio River and the rest of the state. Mesh size remains at 3/4 inch stretch mesh for normal minnow/crayfish collection statewide. However, cast nets used at the eight named live shad water bodies listed above will be able to have a maximum mesh size of 2 inches stretch mesh. Stretch mesh is the distance between two opposite knots of a net mesh when the net is stretched tight. This will allow for more practical use in collecting live gizzard shad, threadfin shad or alewives, which school in open water.
The DNR website will be updated as the effective date approaches.