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2017 could be the year for better fishing, says the DNR

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -

DNR biologists say 2017 could be a great year for fishing and fish. If these warm temperatures continue through spring and summer, fish populations in northeast Indiana lakes could increase.

According to Jed Pearson, a DNR fisheries biologist, the data they have collected shows more and better habitat is present when conditions are warmer, drier; less habitat is present during colder, wetter years.

Habitat is the space fish have to swim in and areas where temperatures and oxygen are more to their liking.

Pearson focused his findings based on a nine year study of summer habitat conditions at Crooked Lake, north of Columbia city. There the depth where fish can live varies 30 per cent every year.

At Crooked Lake the warm water layer extends from surface to 18 feet, where plenty of oxygen is available.

The cool water layer is narrow and is 18 to 20 feet. Temps range from 68 to 73 degrees.

Then the bottom later sits between 20-24 feet. In some years, die-offs have happened when fish were unable to find cold water with enough oxygen.

In addition to the Crooked Lake study, Pearson is looking into Adams Lake in LaGrange County and Waubee lake in Kosciusko County.

Pearson adds all three lakes had more habitat in 2012 the warm, dry year and less habitat in 2014 the cold, wet year. According to him all three follow a similar pattern.

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