Spear/Bowfishing State Record Fish

Do you think you caught a state record fish? Follow these steps:

NOTE: A fish entered for a state record fish must be kept intact until it has been certified, and when necessary, genetically confirmed by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist.

  1. All state record fish must be verified by your IDNR County Fisheries Biologist. A listing by county can be found here. We suggest you contact your local biologist immediately if you think you've caught a record fish.
  2. Download the sport fishing award Official Entry Form here.
  3. Keep your fish intact until it has been certified as noted above.
  4. All state record fish must be weighed on a certified scale. Your IDNR County Fisheries Biologist will have a certified scale. However, you may also weigh your fish on a certified scale, which you can find at a meat market or grocery store. You must have two witnesses sign off on the weight measured as indicated on our Official Entry Form.
  5. Note: In the event that you weigh your entry on a certified scale with witnesses present, your fish will still need to be verified by your IDNR County Fisheries Biologist.

  6. Take a clear, side-view photograph for each of the fish caught, preferably of the angler with the fish. See rules below for more details.
  7. Complete the Official Entry Form and mail the form and your photograph to:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Division of Fisheries
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 67202-1271

Congratulations on your catch!

Current State Records Listing

Rules for Spear/Bowfishing Awards

These rules apply to STATE RECORD entries for SPEAR/BOW AND ARROW DEVICES taken eligible fish:

  1. Fish must be caught legally by BOWFISHING methods from Illinois waters. Fish caught by hook and line, trot line, jugs, bank poles, gigs, spear, nets, seines, and snagging are not eligible.
  2. Fish caught from Licensed Daily Fee Fishing Areas are not eligible.
  3. Total length is to be measured from the tip of the snout, with mouth closed to the tip of the tail to the nearest 1/8 inch. Girth is measured at the greatest distance around the fish circumference).
  4. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reserves the right to reject an entry based upon its investigation on the identification, methods used in catching, and the accuracy of measurement and weighing.
  5. Fish species eligible for the GRAND SLAM AWARD include: all Asian carp species (grass carp, common catch) and mail the entry to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, no later than January 30 to cover the previous calendar year's fishing activities.
  6. Fish species eligible for the MASTER ANGLER AWARD Fish species harvested via bow fishing listed in the Eligible Species Table below which meet or exceed the documenting the catch) and mail the entry to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, no later than January 30 to cover the previous calendar year's fishing activities.
  7. Eligible Fish Species:

    1. Grass Carp over 20 lbs.
    2. Common Carp over 20 lbs.
    3. Silver Carp over 15 lbs.
    4. Bighead Carp over 20 lbs.
    5. Goldfish/Hybrid over 1 lb.

  8. Each Bow Fishing STATE RECORD, GRAND SLAM, AND MASTER ANGLER award application must be accompanied by a clear, side-view photograph for each of the fish caught, preferably of the angler with the cannot be returned.
  9. Fish entered for a Bow Fishing STATE RECORD award must be weighed on a scale certified legal for trade in front of two witnesses.
  10. A fish entered for STATE RECORD fish must be kept intact until it has been certified, and when necessary, genetically confirmed by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources Fishery Biologist.
  11. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reserves the right to reproduce, duplicate, or otherwise copy, via a body cast, any certified STATE RECORD fish. Duplicate mounts will be used solely by the Department for display purposes and will acknowledge the record holder.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is requesting this information as outlined under the Fish Code, Chapter 515. This information is required in order for you to qualify for a Bow Fishing STATE RECORD, GRAND SLAM, OR MASTER ANGLER award.

Click here for printable rules