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!
to help. You can also watch our video podcasts to find out more about these species.
Click here for more educational about these and other Illinois fishes!