Honoring Al Lopinot
Last week the Division of Fisheries lost one of its founding fathers, Al Lopinot. Al led the Division as Assistant Division Chief from 1952–1975, bringing the Division from its post-war infancy into the modern era of scientific fisheries management. Al recently donated all his fisheries and aquatic biology books and writings, as well as the fishing equipment he had collected over the years, to the Division. Chief of Fisheries Dan Stephenson attended his military burial service at Camp Butler near Springfield last week and is quoted as saying that Al had quite an extraordinary life.
Alligator Gar Reintroduction Program
Alligator Gar is the largest fish native to Illinois. With records dating back to prehistoric years, this species had not been seen in the state since the last documented Alligator Gar catch in the Cache River cutoff channel in southern Illinois in 1966. Alligator Gar were officially declared extinct in Illinois in the 1990s. The program had a brief hiatus in 2014 – 2015, but times are changing, and this program is once again becoming active with more research backing up this stocking initiative to help ensure success of survivability. Read more about this program here.
Northern Pike Stocking in Chicago Area Waterways
IDNR stocked 2000, 5-inch Northern Pike in the North Shore Channel in May and another 2090 at the end of June. The Pike stocking is part of a plant re-introduction project in Chicago Area Waterways (CAWS). Although water quality has improved in CAWS, habitat remains a limiting factor in many areas of the system. Friends of the Chicago River, in partnership with the IDNR, received a grant from the Chi Cal River Fund to install native emergent vegetation in the North Shore Channel and the North Branch of the Chicago River as habitat for fish and other aquatic species, which creates stands of high-quality habitat for aquatic organisms, protects the shoreline from bank erosion, creates shelter for aquatic life during floods, and improves the aesthetics of the channel for recreational users. Northern Pike, a fish species associated with aquatic vegetation, will take advantage of the new habitat and provide opportunities for urban anglers. Thanks to our fine hatchery staff for providing these beautiful, healthy fish.
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IFishIllinois strives to be your one-stop, go-to site for fishing in Illinois waters. We work hard to keep anglers up to date on fishing events, IDNR angling-related news releases, fishing reports, angling tips and equipment, tips for fish stocking, and much more.
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Stop the Spread of Invasive Species
Remove, Drain, Dry: As the boats come out of storage, we'd like to remind you to be aware of invasive species that pose a threat to our lands and waterways. To fight the spread of aquatic invaders, the IDNR is asking residents to "be a hero transport zero." The best way to stop the spread of invasive species is to remove, drain, and dry your boats after use in any Illinois waterway. Learn more here.