Magnet fishing involves attaching a strong magnet to a length of sturdy rope, then throwing the magnet into a body of water with the hope of “catching” lost or discarded objects. Once the magnet hits the lake or riverbed, an angler pulls in the rope, drags the magnet along the bottom of the body of water, and reels in any finds. Items typically recovered include wheel rims, bicycles, and keys; but flashier items are also sometimes recovered.
In the last two years, the popularity of magnet fishing has increased significantly, leading to rising environmental and safety concerns. These concerns include decreased water quality due to excessive stirring of sediment by large magnets that require a mechanical reel. Other concerns include the presence of unsightly debris and the staining of sidewalks by items left behind by magnet anglers.
DNR encourages people to pursue a variety of outdoor recreation activities and works hard to accommodate those activities in a manner that is safe and compatible with others. DNR appreciates magnet anglers being responsible in their efforts by carrying out and correctly disposing of found items, rinsing the magnet-fished shoreline area when finished, being respectful of other visitors using public land, and reporting any finds of firearms or other dangerous items that could cause a potential criminal investigation.
A permit is required to magnet fish on Indiana DNR properties. Permits are free and issued at the discretion of individual properties. Contact the property office to request a permit. Magnets used on DNR properties must be able to be carried and retrieved by hand without the assistance of motorized equipment. If dangerous items are collected, contact the property office or call the Division of Law Enforcement Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536.
The DNR magnet fishing permit applies only to properties owned, managed, or leased by Indiana DNR. Individuals interested in magnet fishing in non-DNR bodies of water (e.g., city parks, national parks, private property, etc.) should check with the appropriate property managers or owners.