Welcome to I Fish Illinois!

Illinois Free Fishing Days: June 17 – 20, 2016

The 2016 Illinois Free Fishing Days celebration is slated for June 17–20, coinciding with Father's Day weekend. During this four-day celebration of fishing in Illinois, anglers can fish without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamp or inland trout stamp. Discover the fun of fishing or introduce your kids to the outdoor adventure of fishing during these free fishing days! If you're new to fishing, here's a guide to everything you need to get started.

Northern Pike Stocking in Chicago Area Waterways

IDNR stocked 2000, 5-inch Northern Pike in the North Shore Channel today. 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 (2,500 water willow and 2,000 lizard's tail) 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.

Walleye on the Kankakee River

IDNR Fisheries Biologists Steve Pescitelli and Rob Miller completed walleye collection/sampling on the Kankakee River for 2016, and the results were amazing, indicating that the Kankakee River Walleye Stocking Program continues to be a success! Catch rates were well above the 30 fish per hour average, with the first day at Wilmington yielding over 100 walleye per hour. On days two and three, over 60 fish per hour were collected at both Wilmington and Kankakee. Two of the walleye were in the 10 pound range, like the one pictured. Overall, 37 males and 39 females from the electrofishing samples were sent to LaSalle Hatchery where they fertilized 4.2 million eggs. Thanks to Northern Illinois Angler Association for paying to have the jet outboard engine repaired this winter. This motor was originally donated by NIAA.

2016 Fishing Licenses Available!

Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman's combination licenses and usage stamps for 2016 are now available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov, or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The automated license system is available 24 hours a day. The 2016 licenses and usage stamps purchased beginning January 18 will be valid through March 31, 2017 unless otherwise noted. Be sure to pick up your 2016 license today!

Boating Safety Classes

Throughout the year, many people operate motor-driven watercraft on the Illinois waters and many operate for the first time. We encourage individuals – both novice and experienced – to take the course.

Did you know:
– No person under 10 years of age can operate a motorboat
– Age 10 and up to 12 years can operate only under guardian control
– Persons at least 12 and less than 18 years may not operate a motorboat with over 10 horse power without a valid Boating Safety Certificate.

There are two ways to take the course:
Online (click here or here for more info) or
Instructor-Led (Listing of education courses by county).

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.