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Fly Fishing in Indiana - Prime Fly Fishing spots in Indiana

Prime Fly Fishing spots in Indiana


When you think of fly-fishing destinations Indiana doesn’t usually come to mind. However, the people of the Hoosier state have some pretty solid fishing opportunities that surround them. The main species of sportfish in Indiana is bass. However, there is a solid steelhead population that flows from Lake Michigan.

The state is full of different rivers, lakes and ponds that hold an assortment of bass, panfish, carp, and catfish. All of which can be taken on the fly.

So, below we have a lit for you to check out and see which spot in Indiana you’re going to be fly fishing.


Saint Joseph’s River

The Saint Joseph’s River flows through South Bend and is a haven for fly anglers. The state stocks it heavily all year round with steelhead. The result of this constant stocking means that steelhead are always on a spawn run.

Because of this you no longer have to go out and fish on the coldest most miserable day of the year if you want to catch steelhead. Instead, you can head out during the summer run. You’ll find these fish in the summer come inland from the Lake Michigan. They’ll stay all summer before leaving again in the fall. This is a unique opportunity to catch steelhead in 75-degree weather.

If steelhead aren’t your prize, then try smallmouth. The Saint Joseph also has a wonderful smallmouth population. A 6-8 weight rod is all you need. Grab some poppers, streamers, and claw dads and you’ll be set for the day. 

The Saint Joe has several different parks you can fish from. However, fishing from a drift boat can e great too. There are several spots you can put in for a float.

You can put in at the Central Park section in South Bend and float to Norwest South bend. This is a 9.5 mile flat and can take most people four hours to float and fish the whole thing.

 Fly Selection

  • Steelhead Bugger
  • Egg Patterns
  • Poppers
  • Clousers
  • Clawdad


The White River

The west fork of the White River meanders through central Indiana, while closer to Indianapolis, after it has picked up some feeder creeks, it turns into a much larger and stronger river.

The White River is a warm water fishery that focuses on smallmouth bass as the primary gamefish. The lower river is home to a larger population of largemouth, catfish, carp, and other warm water species. The lower section is only a mere 20 miles from downtown Indianapolis.

The white is best fished from a drift boat, canoe, or kayak. During lower flows there some spots that can be accessed by wading, but they are few and far between. The best wading access is at Potters Bridge Park and Hazel Dell Park.

Anglers will need to have a 6-8 weight rod with either floating or sink tip lines. The most successful ay to catch the smallmouth is by using different streamer patterns or crawfish patterns.

Using a sink tip line in the cooler months will be your best bet, where floating lines in spring summer and early fall will work best. 

Fly Selection


Tippecanoe River 

The Tippecanoe River from Oakdale Damn is 18 miles of warmwater fishing. You’ll find a slew of warmwater species that contain but are not limited to smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, catfish, carp, walleye and striped bass.

Floating is the best way to fish this river, however there are some spots where you can get into wade. Look for the bridges near W. Bicycle Bridge rd. and Pretty Prairie Rd. Make sure that flows are below 700 cfs before heading out. The river can get high and fast after storms and can make wading impossible.

There are two floats that are both nine miles in length. The Oakdale dam to SR 18 and SR 18 to the confluence. 

There are ramps at the beginning and end of both of these. However, the concrete boat ramp at the lower section is private and there is a fee if you wish to use it.

Fish deep in the winter and fish shallow or topwater in the warmer months. Sink tip in the winter and floating line in spring, summer and fall.

Fly Selection

  • Deerhair poppers
  • Clousers
  • Murdich Minnows
  • Sculpin
  • Wooly Buggers
  • Clawdad


Brookville Tailwater 

The Brookville Tailwater is only 2 miles long, but it is home to a great population of brown, and rainbow trout. Indiana isn’t known for its great trout population, but this is a truly unique tailwater for the state.

The river is pretty wadable. You need to keep an eye on when the army corps of engineers decide to release water from the dam though. Once it gets above four feet it is not safe to wade and is recommended to fish from the bank or fish elsewhere.

Nymph fishing is going to be the most productive since there aren’t too many hatches. However, keep an eye and have some dries in your fly box just in case you see any start to pop off. Also, smaller streamers can work well too. If the water is a little high or muddy then those will be your best bet.

Despite it being a tailwater the temperature of the water can rise above 70 degrees in the summer. When this happens it’s best to go somewhere else and chase some bass. This is such a unique fishery that you don’t want to risk putting any extra stress on these fish.

The Brookville River also flows into a warmwater river so you might also catch bass, carp, walleye, catfish or any of the other warmwater fish while throwing flies for trout.

 Fly selection

  • Midges
  • Egg sucking Leech
  • Wooly Bugger
  • Sculpin
  • Prince Nymph
  • Pheasant Tail
  • Parachute Adams
  • Caddis



Indiana is home to some great fishing that unless you live there you probably didn’t know about. There is a great freshwater fishing and even steelhead and trout in certain areas. S, check out some of the spots above and see which one you like the best.

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