The Greene-Sullivan region of Indiana has hundreds of man-made lakes and public land abounds. Fish and game thrive in the region, and opportunities to hunt for mushrooms, bird watch, hike, camp and partake in other natural pastimes are endless.
If I had to choose one place in Indiana where I’d feel confident about completing the spring trifecta of shooting a turkey, catching a limit of crappie and finding a bag of morel mushrooms, the Greene-Sullivan would be my top choice.
The region is referred to as Greene-Sullivan because a majority of the area’s attractions are found in those two adjoining counties. The small towns of Linton, Dugger, Jasonville, and Sullivan are the major points of civilization in and around the region, but the true essence of the area is found in the wilds of the reclaimed surface-mined coal fields.
Once stripped bare by mining companies, the forests have grown back dense and wild. Hundreds of lakes in the region are old coal-mined strip pits, long since filled with water to provide a plethora of angling opportunity.
The area is thickly wooded, creating a beautiful backdrop, and very little development exists on any of the public pits. Fishermen are left to enjoy the solitude and serenity of the wild, while pursuing an abundance of bluegills, bass, crappie, and catfish. There is even one pit renowned for its holdover rainbow trout.
No name given, because that’s part of the fun. Most locals and travelers alike keep their strip pit knowledge behind tight lips. Hunting for fishing information is just one more enjoyable pursuit of the region.
Fishermen will enjoy the fact that there is extremely limited use of gas motors, no water sports, and solitude found in significant supply. The hundreds of public water fishing holes dotting the Greene-Sullivan range in size from an acre to many hundred acres.
These strip pits are perfect spots to launch your canoe, kayak, inflatable pontoon, or float tube. Jon boats with electric motors are perfect on these waters. Fishing from the shore will be very difficult in most places, so it’s best to be prepared to fish from the water.
To me, the most appealing aspect of the Greene-Sullivan is the amount of public land available to those seeking outdoor recreation. The Greene-Sullivan State Forest, Goose Pond FWA, Minnehaha FWA, Shakamak State Park, Redbird State Riding Area, and John Hillenbrand FWA all offer public access for fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation.
What really makes the public land of the region valuable, though, is the pleasingly sufficient amount of fish and game.
Spring is the best time to experience the true essence of Greene-Sullivan. Turkey hunting is excellent in the area and Indiana offers over-the-counter tags at a reasonable price.
During the mushroom rush, people flood the area to try their hand at locating one of the nature’s finest natural delicacies. Countless families gather in Greene-Sullivan to tromp the endless acres of public ground in hopes of stumbling upon a mother lode of morels.
Imagine a meal of oven-roasted wild turkey smothered in wild mushroom gravy on a plate garnished with pan-fried crappie fillets. That’s a dinner you could have sitting on your table after an honest weekend’s work in Greene-Sullivan country.
If you have never experienced the Greene-Sullivan Region, you should make a point of it real soon — especially if you like to combine fishing with hunting, camping, hiking, bird watching or riding. It’s all waiting for you in the Greene-Sullivan Region of southwest Indiana.
See you down the trail …
Brandon Butler writes a weekly outdoors column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.