Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

Congratulations to New IDNR Chief of Fisheries, Mike McClelland

We are excited to announce that we have a 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!

Fall Trout Season Opener Announced

October 6 — Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing Opens (select locations)
October 20 — Illinois Spring Trout Season Opens

The 2018 Illinois fall trout fishing season opens on October 20th at 58 sites throughout the state. This Saturday, the Fall Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing Season will open at nine sites. The IDNR added four new sites for Fall Trout Fishing in 2018, raising the stocking of rainbow trout to 67,000 fish in the Fall season, and approximately that same number for the Spring season. See stocked locations here.

Remember all anglers must have a valid fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp unless exempt. These can be purchased here.

Update: Due to low dissolved oxygen levels and warm water conditions at Citizen's Lake in Monmouth (Warren Co.), IDNR will not stock trout at Citizen's Lake for the 2018 Fall Trout Season. Trout that were to have been stocked at Citizen's Lake will instead be added to the stocking at Argyle Lake (McDonough Co.).

The Future Fishes Here — 10 Year Anniversary of High School Bass Fishing

In 2009, Illinois became the first state in the country to host a statewide high school bass tournament series. During that first year, 199 schools participated in the sectional tournaments. In 2018, the number of entrants has grown to 290 schools. There are 22 sectional tournaments held across Illinois every spring and each includes 10–15 schools.

The IHSA slogan for the bass tournaments series is "The Future Fishes Here." In today's world, the challenge remains to reach our youth and entice them to become lifelong anglers. Learn more about what you can do to help: ORC Issue #93

Illinois 2018 Record Breakers

We now have FOUR 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

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.