Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

Illinois Free Fishing Days: June 16 – 19, 2017

The 2017 Illinois Free Fishing Days celebration coincides with Father's Day weekend — June 16 – 19. 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.

Alligator Gar Management Plan

Alligator Gar is the largest fish native to Illinois. With records dating back to prehistoric years, this species had not been seen in the state since the last documented Alligator Gar catch in the Cache River cutoff channel in southern Illinois in 1966. The Alligator Gar was not regulated or protected in Illinois prior to 1977. From 1977 to 1994, the species was listed as a state-threatened fish under the Illinois Threatened and Endangered Species Act. In 1994, the Alligator Gar was delisted and considered extirpated.

The IDNR has just introduced a management plan for Alligator Gar in Illinois. This plan proposes efforts and activities necessary to successfully re-establish and extensively manage Alligator Gar populations in Illinois. Read more here.

Know Your State Records!

March was a busy season for state-record fish updates! Three state-record fish made it into the books: the state-record Lake Whitefish was 7 pounds 8 ounces; the new state-record Burbot weighed in at 9 pounds 4.8 ounces; and the state-record Hybrid Crappie weighed in at 4 pounds 8.8 ounces. One lucky angler, Ken Maggiore, caught the state record Burbot and Lake Whitefish during the same fishing trip to Lake Michigan! The hybrid crappie was caught by Ryan Povolish and is on display at Bass Pro Shops in East Peoria. Congratulations on your record-breaking catches!

See the latest state records here: https://www.ifishillinois.org/awards/open_award.html

Lake Michigan Newsletter

The Division of Fisheries/Lake Michigan Program has released their newsletter highlighting Lake Michigan fishing information and field sampling activities from 2016. The newsletter covers salmon and trout stocking, forage abundance, sport fish harvest in Illinois waters, Yellow Perch abundance and recruitment, the ongoing coded-wire tag study and Lake Trout populations and management.

Read this newsletter here.

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.