Hook and Line State Record Fish
Do you think you caught a state record fish? Follow these steps:
NOTE: A fish entered for a state record fish must be kept intact until it has been certified, and when necessary, genetically confirmed by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist.
- All state record fish must be verified by your IDNR County Fisheries Biologist. A listing by county can be found here. We suggest you contact your local biologist immediately if you think you've caught a record fish.
- Download the sport fishing award Official Entry Form here.
- Keep your fish intact until it has been certified as noted above.
- All state record fish must be weighed on a certified scale. Your IDNR County Fisheries Biologist will have a certified scale. However, you may also weigh your fish on a certified scale, which you can find at a meat market or grocery store. You must have two witnesses sign off on the weight measured as indicated on our Official Entry Form.
- Take a clear, side-view photograph for each of the fish caught, preferably of the angler with the fish. See rules below for more details.
- Complete the Official Entry Form and mail the form and your photograph to:
Note: In the event that you weigh your entry on a certified scale with witnesses present, your fish will still need to be verified by your IDNR County Fisheries Biologist.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Division of Fisheries
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 67202-1271
Congratulations on your catch!
A State Record Award patch, an engraved wall plaque, and a certificate will be awarded to the angler who catches a fish that equals or exceeds the weight of the current state record. Your awards will be sent at the end of the current fishing season.
Rules for sport fishing awards:
- Fish must be caught legally by pole and line from Illinois waters. Fish caught by trot line, jugs, bank poles, gigs, spears, bow and arrow, nets, seines and snagging are not eligible for hook and line awards. See here for bowfishing eligibility guidelines.
- Fish caught from Licensed Daily Fee Fishing Area are not eligible.
- Total length is to be measured from the tip of the snout, with mouth closed, to the tip of the tail to the nearest 1/8 inch. Girth is measured at the greatest distance around the fish circumference.
- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reserves the right to reject an entry based upon its investigation on the identification, methods used in catching, and the accuracy of measurement and weighing.
- Fish eligible are listed in the “Eligible Fish Species Table” along with qualifying minimum lengths and weights.
- Each state record award application must be accompanied by a clear, side-view photograph for each of the fish caught, preferably of the angler with the fish. The entry and photograph become property of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and photos cannot be returned.
- Fish entered for a state record award must be weighed on a scale certified legal for trade in front of two witnesses. Download Official Entry Form here.
- A fish entered for a state record fish must be kept intact until it has been certified, and when necessary, genetically confirmed by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist.
- The IDNR reserves the right to reproduced, duplicate, or otherwise copy, via a body cast, any certified state record fish. Duplicate mounts will be used solely by the Department for display purposes and will acknowledge the record holder.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources requests this information as outlined under the Fish Code, Chapter 515.