Illinois Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations

Illinois fishing license online


Illinois Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations

The state of Illinois has some of the best fishing in the country. It has over a million acres of water in the form of lakes, crystal clear small lakes, rivers, and ponds. Lake Michigan is famous for salmon trolling, while Cedar Lake has the best perch fisheries in numbers. Shore fishing along the shores of Johnson Lake or the Illinois River provides the opportunity to catch largemouth bass, cichlid, bluegill, sunfish, crappies, carp, and even channel catfish. But first, an IL fishing license is required.

The cost of a fishing license depends on its type, with options based on where you live and whether you are a veteran or a senior. You don\’t have to go to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources office to purchase a fishing license as it is available through their website. It is also possible to purchase one from approved hunting and fishing equipment dealers.

Illinois Fishing Licenses

After purchasing the IL fishing license, you can now plan your fishing trip. Before doing this, however, make sure that you have read the applicable fishing laws and regulations in the place where you plan to fish. There are state, state, and local fishing regulations that anglers must comply with in order to conserve and preserve fish stocks for future generations.

The conservation of the fish population is a major concern. You need to keep in mind that what you are doing now regarding the maintenance and conservation of the fish population has implications for the future. You need to understand and follow the fishing laws in your area, and consistently practice catching and releasing whenever possible to promote the fish population.

Get your Illinois fishing license

To purchase an Illinois Fishing License, you can visit the DNR Direct License or their website. To view the list of providers, click this website

To buy an Illinois license online, do the following:

  • Step 1: Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website
  • Step 2: Tick Yes or No when asked if you are a legal Illinois resident, then tick to continue. When prompted for your IDNR customer number or driver\’s license / ID number, social security number and date of birth.
  • Step 3: Follow the remaining steps such as B. Enter your address, personal attribute information such as height, weight, hair color, eye color and contact information.

You can also call 1-888-673-7648 for the Department of Natural Resources.

Types of Illinois Fishing Licenses and Costs

The following are the types of licenses and costs for the State of Illinois.

License typefee
Resident sport fishing, annually$ 15
Resident Sport Fish, 65 and older$ 7.75
Resident and non-resident sport fishing (24 hours)$ 5.50
Non-Resident Sport Fishing (10 Days)$ 20
Non-resident sport fishing (annually)$ 31.50
Sportsmans License (combined hunting and fishing license)$ 26.25
Senior Sportsman\’s License (combined hunting and fishing license)$ 13.50
Lake Michigan Salmon Stamp (Licensed Anglers only)$ 6.50
Inland Trout Stamp (all waters except Lake Michigan; licensed anglers only)$ 6.50
Resident Lifetime Sport Fishing$ 435
Lifetime combined (hunting and fishing) $ 765

Who Needs an Illinois Fishing License?

All persons over 16 years of age need a fishing license. All young people under the age of 16 are allowed to fish without a license.

Do children under 16 need to buy a trout brand to catch trout?

Children under the age of 16 do not need a trout stamp to fish for trout. People who are exempt from the fishing license do not need a trout stamp.

Do non-resident children need a fishing license?

Non-resident children are allowed to fish without a fishing license.

Are the licenses free for seniors?

Seniors receive a reduced rate for all fishing and sports licenses. Once the person is 75, their fee will be reduced to a Super Senior license. The price for this is only $ 1 plus a processing fee of $ 0.50.

Are people with disabilities eligible for free fishing licenses?

To purchase a free license, an individual must demonstrate a disability with the following IDs:

  1. A state handicap ID is an ID that can be obtained from the State Secretary via the driving license test center. Identity card must be of a Class 2 or 2A disability and is valid for Illinois residents only.
  2. Veterans Disability Card is a disabled ID card available from the Illinois Department of Veteran\’s Affairs Office. Veterans with at least 10% disability or disability pensions may fish with recreational fishing gear during these periods of the year if it is illegal to do so without authorization. This card is valid for both Illinois residents and non-residents.

Please note that an Illinois disability ID is not required. Have the above handicap ID ready to allow fishing.

Do the military have to buy fishing licenses?

People in active service who are classified as residents and are therefore allowed to fish without a fishing license during their leave of absence. Individuals who are on active duty with the armed forces and entered service as residents of Illinois may fish without a permit while on vacation.

Do I need a fishing license to fish with my children and grandchildren?

If you want to go with your children you will need a fishing license as you are over 16 years old. If your children are all under 16, they can fish without a license and under your supervision. 24-hour adult licenses are $ 5.50.

Renewal of the fishing license in Illinois

The license expires on March 31 of each year. According to the state\’s fishing laws, you can purchase new fishing licenses from March 1 of this year, which expire on March 31 of the following year. (Ex. – Licenses purchased on March 1st, 2019 will expire on March 31st, 2020)

How do I replace a lost fishing license in Illinois?

To reclaim your fishing license, you can replace your old one using the following methods:

  • Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website to reprint your license for free at Please note that fees may apply for merchant transactions.
  • Go to the Regional Offices, Chicago Office, Springfield Public Service Area to replace your licenses, permits, and stamps for $ 3.
  • You can also contact vendors to issue a replacement with a DNR Direct terminal for $ 3 for an additional low transaction fee.

Do I need a physical copy of your fishing license or can you have it electronically on your mobile device?

For the fishing license alone, you need to have the physical copy on hand to fish. However, for the sports, hunting and fishing combination license, you can show the license on your phone to fish.

Do I need a fishing license to fish on a subdivision\’s private lake?

You still need your fishing license for club lakes, organization lakes or lake developments. If you live in a private part of the lake, you are not the landowner and you are not exempt from fishing permits.

Do I need a fishing license to fish my private pond on my property?

No landowner is allowed to fish on his land without a license.

What should I do if I catch a tagged fish?

When anglers catch a tagged fish, it is a legal requirement to report the following information to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

  • Tag number and color
  • Date of recording
  • Length of fish
  • The place where the fish was caught

Is it legal to use bluegill as bait?

Yes. There is nothing in the Illinois Fish Code that prohibits the use of legally caught bluegill or bluegill as bait for other species of fish.

Is it legal to use goldfish as bait?

Yes. There is nothing in the administrative regulations or statutes that prohibits the use of goldfish as bait.

Illinois fish size and limits

In this article we cover the general limits. However, for a detailed and complete description of all of your fishing regulations, see the Illinois Natural Resource Department Regulations Guide at

For Illinois, there is no statewide limit on white and black crappies, bluegill, and redear sunfish. For fish like striped bass, white bass, and yellow bass, the maximum length you are allowed to catch is 17 inches. Anything above is illegal. The bag limit or harvest limit for these fish is three per day. If you\’re on the Mississippi between Illinois and Iowa or Illinois and Missouri, the daily limit is 25-30.

For species such as trout, small mouth and spotted bass, the daily bag limit is limited to just 6. For streams that do not include the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the black bass threshold is 3. Check your fishing guide for specific closed seasons on your local river. Some rivers and tributaries are required to catch and release from April 1st to June 15th. Trout and salmon cannot be kept for more than 5 per day. Paddle fish have a limit of 2. Species such as pikeperch, sucker, and suction eye have a limit of 6 per day and must be measured to a minimum of 14 inches in length.

Technique and Equipment Regulations

Specific guidelines and restrictions apply to methods and equipment. Clubbing is illegal in Illinois, for example. You may only be able to cull with a catch-and-release rule in tournaments. There are strict guidelines for catching and bow fishing. Please see the Illinois Fishing Policy for more information. Ice fishing is allowed; but no more than three poles with two hooks for each line. Harvesting bullfrogs is allowed, but not with a hook and line or a bow and arrow.

The best fishing spots in Illinois

If you are looking for the most beautiful and most common places to catch your trophy fish, then you\’ve come to the right place. Lake Michigan is by far the largest body of water for Illinois residents. Anglers can catch trout, brown trout, Coho salmon, king salmon, and even steelheads. If you want to go camping, there is an Illinois Beach State Park that runs 6 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan.

If you like calmer waters and lots of fishing opportunities for both beginners and advanced divers, we recommend visiting Lake Egypt near Marion. This is the southern tip of the state with a large body of water that is filled with the best crappie and perch in the state. You can also fish and fish by boat at the Buck Ridge Campground nearby.

For those looking for some offshore fishing close by, check out Clinton Lake in the southern Illinois region. This long 7.5 mile lake has incredible fish populations and includes largemouth bass, crappie, pikeperch, striped bass, white bass, and catfish. The average depth is only 4.5 meters so many of the fish are nearby and you can see them. No fishing for hours to see who\’s biting! For campers, this water area has a nearby Clinton Lake State Recreation Area with over 300 campsites for your trip.