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Archive - June 2016

Fishing is a sport enjoyed by people all over the world.

Why do people go fishing? Fishing provides time to relax. It gives people a chance to connect with nature. Fishing together can be a great, outdoor family activity. The fishes that you catch can provide food for you and your family. Catching fishes can be a challenge for you, especially if you are fishing for specific types or sizes of fishes. Fishing also has the element of surprise. What you reel in may be something you’ve never seen before! Fishing can involve competition. 

For example, the Illinois High School Association sponsors Bass Fishing as a competitive sport for students. The state tournament is held each spring. You can read more about it here. Mainly, though, fishing is fun! 

What fishes might you catch in Illinois? There are more than 200 kinds of fishes in the waters of Illinois. Not all of them are likely to be caught when you go fishing, though. The fishes that people usually try to catch are called “sport fishes.”

Fishing is regulated by laws. It is important that we don't take too many fishes from our waterways and that we don't take too many of any one species. Sport fishes are those fish species that may be taken only with sport fishing devices by anglers having sport fishing licenses. There are other categories of fishes, too, and other categories of licenses required. In this article, we are only referring to those fishes to be caught by an individual for his/her own use. For the guidelines regarding all other types of fishing licenses see the Illinois Fishing Information booklet that is available on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Web page. This publication is updated each year. If you are under the age of 16, you don't need a license to fish in Illinois, but most other people do need a fishing license to legally fish in the state.

Sport fishes in Illinois include the following species. This list does not contain all of Illinois’ sport fishes, but it should give you an idea of some of the types of sport fishes that you can find in the state. If you are interested in learning more about these or other sport fish species, visit the IDNR Web page.

There may be some words in the text relating to fish anatomy that you don’t understand. If so, try using the illustration and definitions on our Wild About Illinois Fishes! Web page to help. You can also watch our video podcasts to find out more about these species.

Sport Fishes Species

Click on these images to learn more about your favorite Illinois sport fishes!

Your Responsibilities

​Even though it is a fun activity, you have responsibilities when you go fishing. Be sure that you follow these rules.

  • Help protect the outdoors. Don’t litter. Pick up your trash and take it with you when you are done fishing.
  • Respect other people who are fishing. Fish quietly so that you won’t disturb them or the fishes.
  • Be careful when casting. Look around for other people who might be in the area before you cast.
  • Pick up all hooks.
  • If you are required to have a fishing license, buy one and take it with you when you are fishing.
  • You and the adult you are fishing with should know the size and number of fishes it is legal to catch and keep for the place where you are fishing.
  • Release a fish right away if you don’t plan to eat it.
Want to learn more about fishing? Go to the Fishing edition of Kids for Conservation® or visit the I Fish Illinois Web site.
Fishing is fun! Try it!


Podcast and Resources