Welcome to I Fish Illinois—Illinois DNR Division of Fisheries

Illinois Free Fishing Days

The 2024 Illinois Free Fishing Days celebration will take place June 14 – 17, coinciding with Father's Day weekend. During this four-day celebration of fishing in Illinois, anglers can fish without purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamp or inland trout stamp.

Discover the fun of fishing or introduce your kids to the outdoor adventure of fishing during these free fishing days! If you're new to fishing, here's a guide to everything you need to get started. If you are part of an organization that is interested in hosting a Free Fishing Days Celebration, see the form here.

Join the Midwest Walleye Challenge!

Illinois anglers who chase walleye, sauger or saugeye are invited to participate in the virtual Midwest Walleye Challenge in 2024! The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with other states, provinces, and developers and researchers at Anglers Atlas to launch this year's competition, which began March 30, 2024 and continues through June 30, 2024.

The Midwest Walleye Challenge uses the mobile app MyCatch to record the length of each fish caught. Anglers take a picture of the fish on a measuring device using the app, and once the fish is reviewed by the catch team and meets the rules, it appears on a live leaderboard where anglers can see who is in the lead. All ages are invited to participate. Review the rules and event information here! Then download the app and you're ready to go!

Lake Michigan Program 2024 Newsletter

Be sure to check out our latest Lake Michigan Program Newsletter. The Newsletter is filled with Lake Michigan news, including updates from 2023 angling surveys and fish stock assessments, 2023 stocking numbers, planned 2024 stocking activities and more. Read the Newsletter here.

Other Lake Michigan reports can be found on our Lake Michigan web page under "population assessments." See our Lake Michigan page here.

Watercraft Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to your watercraft questions here. Everything from decals and titles to applications, renewals and regulations can be found on this page.

Interested in taking the Illinois Boater Education Course? You can find the information about the course and the requirments for operating a motorized vessel here. As a reminder: Persons born on or after January 1, 1998, may operate a vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower (hp) only if they have a valid Boating Safety Certificate accepted by the Department of Natural Resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are here to answer any fishing-related questions you may have. Simply send us an email through our "contact us" and we are happy to provide you with the information you're seeking. We also have a Frequently Asked Question page that you may find helpful. We've compiled a list of some of our most frequently asked questions via email and provided that information for you here. Check it out — you may learn something new about fishing in Illinois!

Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

Remove, Drain, Dry: As the boats come out of storage, we'd like to remind you to be aware of invasive species that pose a threat to our lands and waterways. To fight the spread of aquatic invaders, the IDNR is asking residents to "be a hero transport zero." The best way to stop the spread of invasive species is to remove, drain, and dry your boats after use in any Illinois waterway. Learn more here.