There are many things I enjoyed doing as a kid, and one of them was most certainly fishing with my father and grandfather. Growing up near Pike County, Indiana, there was one place in particular we would frequent that I still visit any chance I get. It was in this spot that I first learned how to bait a hook, cast a line, and reel in a big fish. Although, I'll admit, some fish were bigger than others.

There are plenty of great places to fish in Southern Indiana, but for me, my favorite locale is the Sugar Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area located on State Road 364, outside the small community of Winslow. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the property is made up of six separate areas, totaling around 8,500 acres. Sugar Ridge was once a mining operation, with most of the land donated to the state in the early 1980s. A small portion of the land is still leased through a local farm.

At the Sugar Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area, visitors can fish, hunt, trap, or simply enjoy some wildlife watching. If you like shooting sports, there is an outdoor gun range with 7, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200-yard ranges. Additionally, there is an area to practice archery. But if you're like me and want to do some simple fishing, there are certainly some great spots to choose from.

In these freshwater areas, you'll have an assortment of fish to seek out, spanning about 24 different pits spread across 100 acres of water. These pits are stocked with bluegill, redear, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. I've mostly caught bluegill over the years, but I have managed to snag some decent-sized catfish late at night on occasion. You can check out the DNR Where to Fish Map to see the prime locations.

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If you want to put a boat in the water, there are boat ramps available in Areas One, Two, Three, and Six. Each of these is a great location to spend a day on the water, but the areas also offer plenty of shoreline fishing opportunities as well. Personally, I've done a lot of shoreline fishing at West Twin Pit, located in Area One, and that tends to be my go-to spot. Some other good shoreline choices are located at Pigeon, Whitney, and Ashby Pits.

If you've never been to Sugar Ridge, it's worth a visit. Having just moved back to Indiana, it's been a hot minute since I was last out there, but, luckily, I now only live about 20 minutes away. I'll definitely be taking my fishing rod and tackle box that way in the very near future. If you need directions or simply want to know more about this wildlife area, you can visit the DNR website.

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