THE RIVERS & CREEKS OF ILLINOIS
MAJOR AREAS OF INFORMATION:
- SELECT A RIVER OR CREEK FOR MORE DETAILED FISHING INFORMATION
- BOUNDARY RIVERS FISHING INFORMATION
- ILLINOIS RIVERS GAGING DATA
- ILLINOIS RIVERS DECISION SUPPORT SITE
- FISHERIES DATA COLLECTED BY DNR FISHERIES BIOLOGISTS
- RIVER BASINS IN ILLINOIS (WATERSHEDS)
- WATERSHED PLANNING GUIDE FOR ILLINOIS
Major fishing rivers and creek are included and may be selected for additional information and fishing secrets.
Links to detailed river fishing information including access points, boat launches, canoeing opportunities, river navigation charts (from US Army Corps of Engineers), and fish catching potential selected rivers and creeks of Illinois.
Channel catfish are the "bread and butter fish" of Illinois' 13,000 miles of inland streams and rivers, but anglers also catch walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, northern pike, largemouth bass and pan-fishes in backwaters and channels of these waters.
The rivers and creeks included in this section provide the major stream fishing opportunities in the state. Several of these rivers and creeks provide world-class sport fishing opportunities to Illinois anglers and national tournament participants. These secret locations to catch the "big one"are noted along with angling tips to help you have a successful fishing adventure.
Shorelines of many streams are privately owned, and anglers stopping to wade, camp or fish from these lands must first obtain permission from the landowners to do so.
Anglers shall not fish from land attached to or taxed by the state in which they are not licensed or fish in tributaries, bayous, or backwaters of the state. Anglers must abide by the laws of the state in which they are fishing. Link goes to more detailed fishing regulation information specific to each boundary state.
Eleven of the 43 state record fish listed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have been caught from rivers. They range from a 157-pound alligator gar, taken from the Mississippi River in 1944 (the largest fish ever recorded in the state) to a 14-pound walleye from the Kankakee River.
Links to real-time and historical water levels for Illinois ' rivers and creeks. Links are to USGS, Corps of Engineers, and Illinois DNR websites. Invaluable to anglers planning to fish on rivers and creeks.
Heavy rains and drought alter conditions of Illinois' rivers. During periods of high water they often are burdened with heavy silt loads. Likewise, during dry conditions, low water may make floating difficult in some areas. Fishing success depends upon fish species sought, time of the year, water conditions and fishing techniques. Make sure to check advice provided in the Fishing Tips and Weekly Fishing Reports sections of this website.
The ILRDSS web site is a portal to information related to the Illinois River Basin. Information is organized and fully searchable by keyword, category, product, and geographic area. The website is maintained by the Illinois DNR - State Water Survey.
COLLECTED BY DNR FISHERIES BIOLOGISTS – Big Rivers or Small Rivers and Creeks
Fisheries data are collected each year by DNR Fisheries Biologists on Big Rivers and smaller Rivers and Creeks (Streams) in Illinois. More than 600 individual samples are collected at selected river and stream stations throughout the State. All fish species and other aquatic life including mussels are recorded and summarized for the public (available on this website IFISHILLINOIS.org).
WATERSHED PLANNING GUIDE FOR ILLINOIS
This Guidance for Developing Watershed Action Plans in Illinois aims to help the reader create and develop an effective watershed-planning initiative that will produce a locally driven watershed action plan. The Illinois Guide features seven chapters. Each chapter represents a step in the strategy for conducting a watershed planning process.The Illinois Guide is written so as to be useable by anyone interested in the watershed planning process.