Group Fishing Permit Policy

SPRINGFIELD, IL —Continuing in 2018, the Division of Fisheries will issue Free Group Fishing Permits but 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 need not have a license to fish, while adults accompanying or chaperoning the youth, or participating in a group fishing event, should make sure they have licenses if they intend to fish.  Free Group Fishing Permits will not cover those anglers.  Of course, everyone is exempt from the requirement to have a license during the 2018 Illinois Free Fishing Days, scheduled this year for June 15-18 (Father’s Day weekend).  In 2017 free group fishing permits were issued for approximately 200 fishing events to slightly over 20,000 people.  Most were young people not needing a license but many were adult that, with this change, will need to purchase a fishing license.  

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) encourages Illinoisans and visitors to our state to buy a license and enjoy the great fishing opportunities Illinois has to offer.  Fishing license revenues, as well as apportionment revenues from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment, go directly into supporting fishing programs, habitat enhancement, and production of sportfish at IDNR hatcheries.

The IDNR Division of Fisheries provides free fishing to youth under the age of 16 (no fishing license needed), persons who are blind and persons with disabilities (no fishing license needed), along with discounted licenses to persons age 65 and older, and to qualifying resident veterans.

An Illinois annual resident fishing license costs $15.00 – and is one of the lowest-priced fishing licenses in the country (ninth cheapest among all the states).   Illinois’ 2018 fishing, hunting, and sportsmen combination licenses will be available beginning March 1, and will be valid through March 31, 2019.

Thank you,

Dan Stephenson
IDNR- Chief of Fisheries
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield IL 62702

If you have any questions, please call 217-782-6424