The Hunt for Fish on Private Property

Near the top of the list of positive aspects of kayak fishing is the ability to access waters that many fisherman simply cannot reach by boat.  Among these waters are private ponds and lakes.

One of my goals this winter is to reach out to owners of private waters in order to acquire permission to fish them next year when spring arrives.  Nothing excites me more than tracking down big bass in places that most people would overlook or simply disregard due to lack of access.  Recently, a relative reached out to a landowner to request permission for me.  Naturally, one of their concerns was liability in case of an accident.  This started me on the path of researching waivers of liability, which eventually led me to Indiana Code 34-31-9, which essentially removes liability from the landowner in the case of outdoor activities, including fishing.  It was then brought to my attention that the current Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide actually has a simple waiver of liability form printed within it.  The form provided by the Indiana DNR in this guide is tailored for hunting on private ground, so I tweaked it to be more specific for fishing and kayaking (and kayak fishing).

Download the 2-page form here!  And feel free to use it and share it as you see fit.  I AM NOT A LAWYER.  This is less of a waiver of liability and more of a way to demonstrate responsibility to the property owner and perhaps educate them on their rights and responsibilities as the property owner.  I believe that having this with you when you approach them to ask for permission shows that you’re very serious about acting as a responsible sportsman, respecting the land, the water, and the fish within.

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