Lake Michigan record yellow perch landed

May 4—Blas Lara was shore fishing Lake Michigan in Lake County during the Mayor's Fishing Derby in Hammond April 21 when he landed a 3-pound, 2-ounce yellow perch. The fish shattered a 43-year-old Indiana state record. The previous state record for the species was a 2-pound, 8-ounce fish caught from a gravel pit in Vigo County by Roy W. Burkel Jr. in 1981.

The yellow perch record was the second long-standing record to fall in the Hoosier State this year. On March 3, Rex Remington set a new standard for smallmouth bass, eclipsing a mark set in 1992.

Yellow perch are native to Lake Michigan and popular with anglers due to the relative ease of catching them and their quality as table fare. Although the species' population has declined from its peak decades ago, there is still a strong fishery for large perch.

"Perch growth rates have accelerated over the past few years, with many reaching true trophy sizes at younger ages than in the past," Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan fisheries research biologist Ben Dickinson said. "Many anglers have been catching true 'jumbo' perch, in the 14- to-17-inch size class over the past two years."

C&O Trail Ribbon Cutting

April 30, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb joined the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the town of Merrillville, and the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department to celebrate the official opening of the recently completed C&O Trail. The new trail marks the 100th mile of trail built under the Next Level Trails program (NLT).

"One hundred miles is more than just a milestone achievement for Indiana," Gov. Holcomb said. "The completion of this trail section in Lake County is symbolic of the incredible collaboration we've seen across the state as Hoosiers have come together with the support of our Next Level Trails program to make even more direct connections. This momentum can be experienced in every corner of Indiana, and it will only continue as more Hoosiers hit the trails this year."

Merrillville's section of the trail begins at Innsbrook Country Club, connecting to the existing C&O Trail. The new trail extends north, passing nearby residential subdivisions, and meets Lake County's section of the trail west of Hendricks Street. Lake County's portion of the project continues west, connecting to the Oak Savannah Trail, which extends to join the 17.7-mile Erie Lackawanna Trail, making connections to communities throughout northwest Indiana.

Rick Bella, president of the Merrillville Town Council, expressed his appreciation for the support and cooperation bringing the project to fruition.

"I extend our deepest gratitude to Governor Holcomb and the state program for their invaluable support in making this transformative trail connection possible," he said. "This project epitomizes successful collaboration between Merrillville, Lake County, and the state, bridging a crucial gap in our regional trail network.

"With the generous $804,160 grant from Lake County and the $1,428,091 grant awarded to Merrillville, we have collectively added 2.82 miles of new trail, enriching recreational opportunities for our residents and visitors alike."

Educational Events This Summer

Looking to learn new skills? DNR will host a Learn to Shoot event for new shooters on June 18 at Atterbury Fish & Wildlife Area from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Shooters of all skill levels are welcome, but the course content will be tailored toward individuals who are new to shooting and firearms. Plan for an exciting day on the range.

For those who want to hone their fishing techniques, DNR will also offer fishing classes throughout May and June. Topics range from fishing fundamentals to species-specific classes for those looking to target their favorite sportfish species. Visit our Learn to Fish page for more information.

Leave Fawns Alone

This spring, help DNR keep wildlife wild and slow the spread of CWD by leaving fawns alone. During their first few weeks of life, fawns often hide by themselves and stay motionless to avoid predators while the mother is looking for food. Their color pattern and lack of scent help them remain hidden until their mother returns, which is only a few times a day, to reduce the chance of predators discovering them. It is not uncommon for mothers to leave their fawns in urban lawns.

If you find a fawn alone, even in your lawn, help us keep wildlife wild by letting it be, giving it space, and leaving the area. Its mother is likely nearby. If you encounter a fawn appearing to be injured, consider letting the circle of life take its course, as difficult as the decision might be.

If you plan to intervene with an injured or orphaned animal, learn about best practices at

Before contacting a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for assistance, confirm the fawn is truly injured or orphaned. Signs to look for include obvious signs of injury, lethargy, constant vocalization, an infestation of insects, or knowledge the mother has been killed or has not returned in several days (remember... the mother may return only at night). A list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators can be found at

For dead wildlife removal best practices, visit

Help slow the spread of CWD by not moving injured or orphaned fawns found in LaGrange, Steuben, Dekalb and Noble counties to rehabilitators outside of this four-county area.

'till next time,


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