Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

Know Your State Record!

2018 was a banner year for state records. Don't learn the hard way that your catch would have qualified for a state record!

We have a listing of state record fish by species and directions for what to do if you think you've caught a state record fish, either by bow or hook and line.

We can only name a state record fish once it has been verified by an IDNR Fisheries Biologist, not by pictures alone. So be sure to contact your biologist if you think you've caught a record holder...before you release it!

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!

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 2019. 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. Fill out this form to apply.

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.

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.