Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

Illinois Free Fishing Days: June 15 – 18, 2018

The 2018 Illinois Free Fishing Days celebration coincides with Father's Day weekend — June 15 – 18. 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.

Spring Trout Season Opened

March 24 — Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing (Select Locations)
April 7 — Illinois Spring Trout Regular Season

The 2018 Illinois spring trout fishing season opened on Saturday, April 7th at 54 ponds, lakes, and streams throughout the state. The Spring Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing season opened at nine sites beginning on March 24th. The IDNR stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout each year in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the Spring season and an additional 80,000 trout for the Fall season. The Illinois catchable trout program is funded entirely by those who use the program through the sale of Inland Trout Stamps.

See trout stocking locations here.

IDNR Releases Carp Final Report and Action Plan

The pernicious invasion of Asian carp has presented a problem for mid-western states for decades with spread of these fish seemly impossible to stop. While numerous government efforts have affected the most critical areas, it is apparent that greater resources must be devoted to controlling the proliferation of this invasive species. Novel, broad-thinking approaches are needed to effect marked change. To this end, Illinois DNR is sharing a Business Process Analysis and Action Plan as a guide to bolster current removal activities and further reduce the spread of Asian carp in the Illinois Waterway, as well as protect native Illinois species. Read more here.

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.

2018 Illinois Fishing Information Guide

The 2018 Illinois Fishing Information Guide is available now for downloading! This guide is effective from April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019. Printed copies will be available in the spring.

Download the 2018 Illinois Fishing Information Guide here.

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.