Illinois fishing guide

Welcome to your key source for all fishing-related information in Illinois. Discover not only the prime fishing spots but also learn about the diverse species inhabiting these waters. Stay informed about the latest fishing regulations and licensing requirements for fishing in Illinois

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20 waterbodies
35 cities
46 fishes

Licenses for fishing in Illimois

For more detailed information and to purchase a fishing license, you can visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Discounts and special license types are available for seniors, super seniors, and veterans. Youth under the age of 16 are exempt from needing a fishing license. The state of Illinois offers a range of licenses based on duration, specific fishing activities, and residency status.

License Type Resident Fee Non-Resident Fee
Resident sport fishing, annual $15.00 -
Resident Sport Fish, 65 and older $7.75 -
Resident sport fishing (24-hour) $5.50 -
Sportsman’s License (combined hunting and fishing licenses) $26.25 -
Senior Sportsman’s License (combined hunting and fishing licenses) $13.50 -
Lake Michigan Salmon Stamp (licensed anglers only) $6.50 -
Inland Trout Stamp (all waters except Lake Michigan; licensed anglers only) $6.50 -
Resident lifetime sport fishing $435.00 -
Resident lifetime combined (hunting and fishing) $765.00 -
Non-resident sport fishing (24-hour) - $10.50
Non-resident sport fishing (3 days) - $15.50
Non-resident sport fishing (annual) - $31.50

Fishing Regulations in Illinois

Prohibited Gear and Fishing Methods
  • Fishing with explosives, poisons, or electrical devices is illegal.
  • Use of nets, seines, or traps for fishing is generally prohibited.
  • Snagging is only allowed in certain areas and during specific seasons.
  • Use of trotlines, jug lines, or limb lines is restricted in many areas.
  • No possession of live Asian carp on state waters.
  • Fishing with more than two poles or lines is not allowed in certain areas.
  • Chumming is restricted in specific waters.
Catch Limits
  • Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass: Daily limit of 6 combined.
  • Bluegill: No daily limit or size restrictions.
  • Channel Catfish: Daily limit of 6, no size restriction.
  • Muskellunge: Daily limit of 1, minimum length 48 inches.
  • Walleye, Sauger, or Hybrid Walleye: Daily limit of 6 combined.
  • White, Black, or Hybrid Crappie: Daily limit of 25 combined.
  • Trout: Daily limit of 5, requires an inland trout stamp.
  • Northern Pike: Daily limit of 3, no size restriction.
  • Yellow Perch: Daily limit of 15, no size restriction.
  • Shovelnose Sturgeon: Daily limit of 10, no size restriction.
Restrictions on Access to Water Bodies
  • Some state parks have specific fishing areas and restrictions.
  • No fishing in designated swimming areas or boat docks.
  • Private property fishing requires landowner's permission.
  • Seasonal closures on specific waters for fish management purposes.
  • Ice fishing is subject to specific safety regulations.
Zones of Special Regulation
  • Catch-and-release only areas for specific species.
  • Special regulations in effect for certain waters and fish preserves.
  • Area-specific gear restrictions, like barbless hooks only.
  • Size and bag limit variations in different water bodies.
  • Fishing restricted or prohibited in nature preserves and sanctuaries.
Protection of Rare Species
  • Fishing for endangered or threatened species is prohibited.
  • Special regulations to protect critical habitats of rare species.
  • Restrictions on fishing in areas with sensitive aquatic ecosystems.
  • Required release of accidentally caught rare or endangered fish.
  • Monitoring programs for the catch of vulnerable species.
Seasonal Restrictions
  • Seasonal closures for certain species to protect spawning periods.
  • Winter no-fishing periods in designated waters.
  • Special spring restrictions in tributaries and spawning areas.
  • Alterations in limits and sizes during different seasons for certain species.
  • Temporary fishing bans during ecological or environmental studies.
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