The Indiana Insider Blog

Monroe Reservoir Attracts Duck Watchers and Duck Hunters

Indiana Tourism welcomes today’s guest blogger, Jill Vance:

Jill Vance - DNRJill Vance is the interpretive naturalist at Monroe Reservoir, the largest lake in the state of Indiana. She has worked for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs since 2004. Her outdoor interests include hiking, camping, wild edibles, and geology.

Waterfowl enthusiasts of all types will be flocking to Indiana’s largest lake this October. Ducks are plentiful at this 10,750 acre reservoir near Bloomington, Indiana. The staff of the Monroe Reservoir actively manages over 400 acres of wetlands to maintain a healthy population of ducks that both bird watchers and waterfowl hunters can enjoy.

The Fairfax, Paynetown, and Allen’s Creek State Recreation Areas offer generous views of the lake for bird watchers. Because the shoreline of the lake is almost entirely forested, the colorful ducks on the water will be set against a backdrop of colorful autumn leaves.

For bird watchers who prefer company or a guide, the Sassafras Audubon Society will be leading several bird watching trips to the Monroe Reservoir and surrounding areas this October. All of their hikes are free and open to the public; for more information, visit their website at

Waterfowl hunters will want to mark their calendars for October 22 to October 30, which is early duck hunting season. The main lake and Crooked Creek marshes are open, during legal shooting hours, for this entire period. The reservoir will also be opening three resting areas for limited hunting on select days only. Before the season opens, there will also be a special youth waterfowl hunt on October 15 and 16. For hunting details, contact the Paynetown S.R.A. Office at 812.837.9546.

One of the most unusual looking ducks is the Red-Breasted Merganser. The heads of the breeding males are dark green, highlighting their bright red eyes. On top of their heads they feature the duck version of a mohawk hairdo.

On Saturday, October 1, people interested in waterfowl hunting and waterfowl observation are invited to come help clean, repair, and camouflage the waterfowl hunting blinds in the Stillwater-Northfork Waterfowl area of Monroe Reservoir. The day will include a short training session on waterfowl blinds and a waterfowl management program. Lunch will be provided for all participants. You can contact the Paynetown S.R.A. Office at 812.837.9546 for full details on time, location, and what to bring.

There will also be a waterfowl hunting workshop on Saturday, October 8. Designed for the beginning waterfowl hunter, this workshop will cover waterfowl hunting regulations, duck and goose identification, and hunting equipment and techniques. The workshop is free, all ages are welcome and lunch will be provided. Registration is required to South Region Law Enforcement Office at 812.837.9536. They can also provide time and location details.

Whether you are a duck watcher or a duck hunter, the Monroe Reservoir is definitely the place to visit this October. You can augment your visit with boating (bring your own or rent one from the marina at Paynetown S.R.A) and hiking. The interpretive staff at Paynetown S.R.A. will also be offering free programs and activities each weekend in October. Property details can be found at

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Written by : The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) manages a wide variety of state-owned lands that are available for all sorts outdoor recreation activities. Staff are charged with managing and interpreting the natural and cultural resources of these sites, and with regulating lake and stream usage, fish, wildlife, oil, gas and coal and Indiana's archeological and historic resources. For more information about the DNR or careers in natural resources, visit