Fishing Illinois License

fishing illinois license

Fishing is a popular pastime in Illinois that attracts thousands each year. It is important to obtain a fishing permit before you cast your line in the water, whether you are an experienced fisherman or just starting out. This article will explain how to obtain a fishing permit in Illinois.

Why Do I Need A Fishing License?

Illinois law requires that all fishermen obtain a fishing license to ensure the conservation and management fish populations. The fees collected by fishing licenses are used to support initiatives like fish stocking, habitat restoration and fishery research. By purchasing a fishing licence, you contribute to the preservation of natural resources in the state and allow future generations to experience the thrill of fishing.

Who needs a fishing license?

In Illinois, anyone 16 years old and older must have a fishing permit. This is true whether you live in Illinois or not. This includes all fishing activities including ice fishing and commercial fishing. Children under 16 years old can fish without a fishing license if they are accompanied by an adult who is licensed.

Types of fishing licenses

Illinois offers a variety of fishing licenses that can be customized to meet your needs and preferences. These licenses are available for a variety of durations – from a single-day license to yearly license.

Resident Fishing License

Residents of Illinois who have lived in the state for 30 days or more are eligible to purchase a resident fishing license. This license allows the holder to fish in all public lakes and rivers owned by the Department and the State.

Non-Resident fishing license

Non-residents wishing to fish in Illinois may obtain a nonresident fishing license. This license allows fishing on all public and Department owned lakes and rivers. Non-residents have the option of choosing between different durations such as one-day, 3-day or annual licenses.

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Senior Resident Fishing Licence

Illinois residents 65 years and older are eligible to apply for a Senior Resident Fishing license. This license provides the same privileges of a regular resident fisherman’s license, but at a discounted rate.

Disability Fishing License

In Illinois, individuals with disabilities can qualify for a fishing license. This license allows fishing on all public and Department owned lakes and rivers. To be eligible for the license, applicants must show proof of disability according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Commercial Fishing License

A commercial fishing license must be obtained by those who are involved in commercial fishing. This license allows the sale and harvest of fish provided that the licensee adheres all the regulations and reporting requirements of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

How to obtain a fishing license

The process of obtaining a fishing permit in Illinois is simple. Online through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or at selected retail locations in the state, licenses can be purchased.

Online Shopping

Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and navigate to the section on fishing licenses. Select the type of fishing license you need based on your residence status and duration. Complete the online form and make a secure payment. Once the transaction has been completed, you will receive a digital version of the license. This should be carried with you when fishing as proof of your permit.

In-Person Purchase

Visit an authorized retailer in your area to purchase a fishing license. These retailers include bait shops and sporting goods stores. Some convenience stores may also be included. You can get a fishing license immediately by providing the required information, paying the required fee and presenting the paper copy.

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License Regulations and Restrictions

It is important to know the rules and regulations that apply to fishing permits in Illinois. Violations of these regulations may result in fines, penalties or even suspension of your fishing rights. Here are some guidelines that you should follow:

Bag Size and Limits

Bag limits and size restrictions apply to fishing in Illinois. Bag limits determine the maximum number of fish that you can catch in a day and keep, while size restrictions specify the minimum or maximum size at which a fish may be legally kept. These regulations can vary depending on what species of fish you are fishing and where you are fishing. It is important to know the regulations in the area you plan to fish.

Seasonal Restrictions

Some bodies of water may have fishing restrictions. These restrictions may include closed seasons where fishing is prohibited at certain times to protect breeding populations or specific regulations for specific times of the years. Check the fishing regulations of the body of water that you plan to fish to avoid any violations.

Special Permits

Certain fishing activities require additional stamps or permits. If you plan to fish in Illinois for trout, you will also need a separate stamp. These stamps are available with your fishing licence and must be carried while you are engaged in the specific fishing activity.

Reporting Requirements

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources requires that you accurately report all your fishing activities. This includes reporting harvest data, catch statistics, and other relevant information. If you fail to comply with the reporting requirements, you may be penalized and lose your fishing privileges.

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License Costs

The cost of fishing permits in Illinois can vary depending on factors like residency status and duration. The fees collected through fishing licenses go towards conservation efforts and improving fishing opportunities in the state.

The following fees are in effect as of the date of this article:

Resident Fishing License

  • 1-Day: $5.50
  • Annual: $15
  • Senior Annual (65 years and older): $7.75

Non-Resident fishing license

  • 1-Day: $10.50
  • 3-Day: $31.50
  • Annual: $31.50

Please note that these prices are subject to change. It is best to check the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ website for the latest pricing information.


Anyone 16 years old and older who wants to fish in Illinois’ lakes and rivers must obtain a fishing permit. By purchasing a license, you contribute to the conservation and management fish populations. This ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the sport of angling. Be sure to familiarize yourself the rules and restrictions that are applicable to fishing licenses. These include bag limits, size restrictions and reporting requirements. Grab your license and your fishing gear, then head out to discover the many fishing opportunities Illinois has to offer!

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