Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

Frequently Asked Questions

We are here to answer any fishing-related questions you may have. Simply send us an email through our "contact us" and we are happy to provide you with the information you're seeking. We also have a Frequently Asked Question page that you may find helpful. We've compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions via email and provided that information for you here. Check it out — you may learn something new about fishing in Illinois!

2019 Illinois Fishing Tournament Applications

Tournament directors take note that applications for the 2019 fishing tournament season are being accepted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. All applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis and must be applied for online. Last year, we had over 2000 applications for fishing tournaments in Illinois! To apply, log into our Tournament Permitting System here: Tournament Permitting System.

Note: For returning groups, catch results from 2018 tournaments must be entered before fishing clubs and tournament trails will be allowed to request tournament dates for 2019.

Congratulations to New IDNR Chief of Fisheries, Mike McClelland

We are excited to announce the new IDNR Chief of Fisheries, Mike McClelland. Mike was with the University of Illinois / Illinois Natural History Survey for 14 years at the Havana field station, 11 of those years as the Long Term Illinois River Fish Population Monitoring Program coordinator/PI. He began his IDNR career with the Asian Carp crew in Yorkville before moving to fish management administration. Mike received both his BS and MS in Biology and Aquatic Ecology from Western Illinois University.

At IDNR Mike has been the Rivers, Reservoirs and Inland Waters Program Manager, and recently he has been the acting Fish Management Section head, involved in all facets of the Division. Mike will do an excellent job as Chief of Fisheries, and we are sure he will be able to guide the Division for many years to come. Congratulations, Mike!

Illinois 2018 Record Breakers

We now have FIVE state-record breaking fish caught in 2018!

Congratulations go to:

Johnathan Inman, Freshwater Drum, 38 pounds 4 ounces
Don Lawrence, Shortnose Gar, 6 pounds 15.2 ounces
Kevin Deram, Whitefish, 8 pounds 4 ounces
Ken Krumreich, Redear Sunfish, 3 pounds 1.1 ounces
Freddie Ray Prebianca, Burbot, 9 pounds 5.6 ounces

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 to get your fish certified.

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

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.