Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

IDNR Chief of Fisheries Dan Stephenson Retiring After Almost 40 Years

We wish Dan Stephenson, IDNR Chief of Fisheries, the best of luck on his well-earned retirement. Dan started with the IDNR Division of Fisheries in 1979, and to quote Dan, "It's been a fun, challenging and incredibly rewarding ride." Dan has been a strong advocate of the Division in both the mission and the people we employee: "You will never find a group so dedicated, hard-working, passionate about the aquatic resource and the people we serve than the Fisheries staff."

Stephenson has worn many hats during almost 40 years with the Division of Fisheries, from Tech to district biologist toacting Regional Administrator and acting Statewide Impoundment Administrator. Stephenson then became Assistant Chief of Fisheries and will end his career as the Chief of Fisheries. We will miss Dan and his dedication to Illinois fisheries. Best of luck in retirement, Dan! You've earned it!

Illinois 2018 Record Breakers

2018 fishing has started out with two recored breaking fish with two more record breakers waiting in the wings: one is awaiting DNA analysis to see WHICH record it broke, and yet another whitefish record-breaker awaiting paperwork, so stay tuned!

Be sure to get your fishing license, and get fishing! There are records to be broken! Think you caught a record breaking fish? See our awards page here to find out what to do.

Illinois "Access to Fishing" Tackle Loaner Program

Did you know you can borrow fishing gear from select locations if you want to try your hand at fishing before you invest? The Illinois "Access to Fishing" fishing pole loaner program was started in 1997 and is available to any Illinois angler who is interested in going fishing! This equipment is available to be borrowed at no cost and is handled much like checking out and returning a library book. Fishing poles that were purchased by IDNR or donated to the IDNR have been placed in establishments throughout Illinois, such as in libraries, lake-side concession stands, bait stores, etc. Check out the locations here: https://www.ifishillinois.org/programs/loaner.html

Group Fishing Permit Policy

IDNR has traditionally issued free Group Fishing Permits to large organized groups, and this will continue in 2018. However, beginning this year, the Division of Fisheries will issue Free Group Fishing Permits only in instances in which groups of hospital patients or nursing home residents will be fishing as part of therapy programs.

Youth and social groups planning fishing events and activities are reminded that youth under the age of 16 do not need to have a license to fish, while adults accompanying or chaperoning the youth, or participating in a group fishing event, will now need to have Illinois fishing licenses if they intend to fish. Of course, everyone is exempt from the requirement to have a license during the 2018 Illinois Free Fishing Days, June 15–18 (Father's Day weekend). Read the press release here.

Follow IFishIllinois on Social Media

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.

Social media is an excellent way to promote what's happening in angling news throughout Illinois. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date ... because you fish Illinois.

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.