"Illinois is a great place to fish,
and anglers can look forward to a great experience while fishing
in the state this season," said Illinois Department of Natural
Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. "There is a lot of useful
information on places to fish and fishing regulations in this
year's booklet. We encourage those who fish or are thinking about
fishing to pick up a copy, review it and keep it in their tackle
box as they head out to their favorite fishing spots."
The fishing information booklet is
available at hundreds of locations throughout the state where
Illinois fishing licenses are sold, including bait shops, sporting
goods stores and Illinois Department of Natural Resources offices.
The text of the guide is also available on the Web at
(click on "Fishing" on the right side of the home page). New
regulations being implemented for the 2004 season take effect on
April 1 and are highlighted throughout the text of the guide.
State fishing regulations are
reviewed annually, and some are adjusted based on biological
surveys that focus on the status of fish species in Illinois
One change in regulations of interest
this year involves the bass fishery in Lake Michigan. Anglers will
be allowed to keep up to one bass per day if the fish is at least
21 inches in length, according to Mike Conlin, chief of the IDNR
Division of Fisheries. Previous regulations have permitted
catch-and-release fishing only for all largemouth and smallmouth
bass, to help boost their populations in the Illinois waters of
population in Lake Michigan is doing very well," Conlin said.
"Reproduction and growth were excellent again in 2003. The change
in regulations for this year should have no adverse biological
Lake Michigan anglers are also
reminded that yellow perch fishing is closed in July. At other
times anglers have a daily limit of 15 perch, and no perch may be
taken by people fishing from charter boats.
"Fisheries managers remain concerned
about the yellow perch population in Lake Michigan," Conlin said.
"The closed season in July helps protect older, larger female
perch. There is some evidence that younger perch have survived
better in recent years. Keeping the July restriction in place
allows more time for recruitment of younger perch, and this will
help build the population."
Elsewhere in Illinois, a regulation
implemented last year regarding smallmouth bass remains in place
for 2004. To protect spawning bass, regulations allow only
catch-and-release fishing for smallmouth bass from April 1-June
15. A statewide catch limit of three fish per day for smallmouth
bass applies the rest of the year. The regulation does not apply
to lakes and reservoirs.
Among other specific regulations
changes for 2004 are new daily catch limits for channel catfish in
Chicago Park District lagoons and lakes. Anglers will now be
permitted to take up to four channel catfish per day at Auburn,
Columbus, Douglas, Garfield, Gompers, Humbolt, Jackson, Lincoln
(both north and south lagoons), Marquette, McKinley and Washington
parks. The previous daily limit was six fish.
On the Illinois River at the Starved
Rock and Marseilles pools in LaSalle and Grundy counties, new
limits for largemouth and smallmouth bass allow taking one fish
per day with an 18-inch minimum length limit, and there is a limit
of 10 fish per day for striped, white or hybrid striped bass and
white, black or hybrid crappie.
On the Iroquois and Kankakee rivers
in northeast Illinois, new regulations for walleye, sauger and
hybrid walleye allow taking up to three fish per day with a
16-inch minimum length limit.
[to top of second column in
On the Mississippi River between
Illinois and Iowa, the tailwaters of Lock and Dam 12 (to Mill
Creek) and of Lock and Dam 13 (to the downstream end of Stamp
Island) are closed to all fishing Dec. 1-March 15. Also, snagging
for paddlefish is permitted Jan. 1-April 15 within a 500-yard
downstream limit below locks and dams (except that the tailwaters
of Lock and Dams 12 and 13 are closed Dec. 1-March 15). The daily
limit is two paddlefish.
Another regulation change on the
Mississippi River between Illinois and Iowa involves walleye and
sauger. The new regulation allows taking up to six fish per day
with a 15-inch minimum length limit and a 20- to 27-inch protected
slot limit. The daily limit of six fish may include no more than
one walleye greater than 27 inches in total length.
Numerous other statewide and
site-specific regulations changes have been made for the 2004
season. Bodies of water listed in the guide that are new this year
include Anna City Lake in Union County; Casey Park Pond in Clark
County; Cypress Creek ponds and the portion of the Cache River
from Route 37 to Route 51 in Johnson, Pulaski and Union counties
in southern Illinois; Franklin Creek Mill Pond in Lee County;
Germantown Lake in Clinton County; Hurricane Pond in Fox Ridge
State Park in Coles County; Ponderosa Lake in the Mazonia State
Fish and Wildlife Area in Grundy County; Sunset and Shadow lakes
in the River Bend Forest Preserve, Champaign County; Sesser City
Lake in Franklin County; and Siloam Springs State Park's Buckhorn
Unit waters in Brown County. Anglers can review these and all
other changes in site-specific regulations in the fishing
A section of the guide reminds
anglers to be alert for aquatic nuisance species such as Asian
carp and zebra mussels. Anglers are also reminded of the statewide
ban on possession of live specimens of listed injurious species of
aquatic life, including all species and subspecies of snakehead
fish, walking catfish, zebra mussels, river ruffe, black carp,
round and tubenose gobies, rusty crayfish, and rudd. The complete
list of injurious species and the ban on possession of them were
established in regulations implemented in 2003.
The guide also includes a list of
places to fish in Illinois, a review of fishing prospects, meal
advice for eating fish caught in Illinois waters and details on
North American and Illinois state record fish.
Anglers are required to have a valid
Illinois fishing license in their possession at all times while
fishing in the state. An annual resident sport fishing license is
$13; for anglers age 65 and older the fee is $6.75. Those under 16
years of age, blind or disabled or residents who are home on leave
from active military service do not need a fishing license.
Nonresidents may buy an annual
Illinois fishing license for $24.50 or a 10-day nonresident
fishing license for $13. Residents and nonresidents may purchase a
24-hour fishing license for $5.50. Annual licenses expire on March
31 each year. Fishing licenses and stamps may also be purchased
online, using a credit card, through
The spring catchable trout season
opens at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 3. In addition to any required
license, people fishing for trout must also buy an inland trout
stamp. Trout may not be legally taken prior to the spring season
opener at 5 a.m. on April 3. The fall catchable trout season will
open at 5 a.m. on Oct. 16.
Illinois' annual "Free Fishing Days"
observance is June 11-14. During the four-day free fishing
promotion, anglers can fish without a license, inland trout stamp
or salmon stamp.
details on Illinois fishing regulations, including statewide and
site-specific regulations, are available on the Web at
Department of Natural Resources news release]