There are a lot of Hoosiers who enjoy fishing. It is an outdoor experience that can be utilized by both young and old. While not an avid fisherman, I still on occasion like to try my luck and catch a nice-sized fish. To really enjoy a fishing trip, it is a great idea to go where the fish are. Indiana has many locations that offer fishermen and women a golden chance to land that lunker that you can brag about to your friends and even add a pound or two to its weight.

From Lake Michigan to the Ohio River, we in Hoosierland do have many lakes, rivers, ponds and even wetlands that offer the chance to land that fish of your dreams. I remember when I was eight or nine when on a trip to an old strip mine lake in Greene County, which I had just that dream almost come true. The banks of the rather large lake were very steep with only a few places where it was safe to fish. I found a spot that looked safe to throw in my worm-baited hook that was attached to a line and my trusty cane pole.

It was only a few minutes before the bobber on my line began to bob up and down. Finally it went under, and I started to bring in my catch. I soon realized that it was something very large. After a struggle that seemed to go on forever, I finally pulled up what seemed to be a whale onto the steep bank. It was a huge carp, the largest I had ever seen. I was so happy I finally had caught a large fish to show my dad that I was a really good fisher boy.

Suddenly the carp got off my hook and began to flop back toward the water. I tried my best to hang on to it, but it was slippery, and it was able to get back into the lake, and my dreams were crushed. My dad, a good fisherman, understood my loss and tried his best to ease my pain. It was a long time before I even wanted to fish again but time seems to take away even the loss of a dream fish.

One of the better places to catch some nice large fish is Hardy Lake in Scott County in southern Indiana. This is a 741 acre reservoir that, unlike most of the other state was constructed for water supply for a number of locations near the lake rather than flood control. Hardy Lake is a great body of water to fish for striped bass as well as the hybrid wiper bass. In the past, Hardy Lake, which by the way is a part of a 1,708 acre property that also offers some good hiking trails, a campground, picnicking and an archery range, was once stocked with a variety of other fish. They range from bass, bluegill and crappie to walleye and muskellunge. While some of the species can still be found in the lake, others are now rare or extinct.

One reason the striped bass and wipers were stocked was to help control some unwanted fish we often call trash fish that had found their way into Hardy. These were the gizzard shad, which is not a game fish, and the yellow bass, which is a rather small fish but can still be called a game fish. Both these fish had to be turned loose by someone and increased in such numbers that they began to crowd out the largemouth bass and bluegills that most fishermen do like to catch. The two new introduced game fish love to feed upon both the shad and yellow bass, and, in addition to helping to keep them in control, have allowed them to reach a size that can give an angler a real tussle.

Hardy Lake is south of North Vernon and is west of Highway 3, but signs give warning on how to reach this really attractive lake. Once again, good fishing is found all across Indiana, and be it a farm pond or state reservoir, can provide you with a quality outdoor opportunity.

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