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Illinois Fishing

All about fishing in the Prairie State

Illinois Fishing Lakes

Illinois fishing can be divided into two general areas - Lake Michigan and the rest of the state. On these pages we'll concentrate on the major lakes throughout Illinois. There are also many streams and rivers which offer additional fishing opportunities.

Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, white bass, yellow bass, yellow perch, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, stripers, bowfin, muskie, northern pike, sauger, saugeye and spotted gar in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams.

Major Illinois Lakes

Illinois major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major fishing waters in Illinois, cross referencing these waters with the major types of fishing to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments. For a more complete list of fish species in Illinois, see the list below, which also includes state records.

Illinois Fishing Lake Sizes & Locations

Carlyle Lake is a 26,000-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Carlyle, IL.

Cedar Lake is a 1,700-acre lake in the southern part of the state, 1 mile east of Pomano, IL.

Crab Orchard Lake is a 6,900-acre lake in the southern part of the state, 3 miles east of Carbondale, IL.

Fox Lake is a chain of lakes comprising 7,100 acres in the northeast corner of the state, at Fox Lake, IL.

Heidecke Lake is a 2,000-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 2 miles east of Morris, IL.

Kinkaid Lake is a 2,700-acre lake in the southern part of the state, 5 miles northwest of Murphysboro, IL.

Lake Clinton is a 4,900-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, 2 miles east of Clinton, IL.

Lake Lou Yeager is a 1,300-acre lake in the central part of the state, 2 miles northeast of Litchfield, IL.

Lake Of Egypt is a 2,300-acre lake in the southern part of the state, 3 miles northeast of Goreville, IL.

Lake Michigan is a 22,300 square mile body of water at the northeast corner of Illinois.

Lake Shelbyville is an 11,000-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Shelbyville, IL.

Lake Springfield is a 4,200-acre lake in the central part of the state, on the southern outskirts of Springfield, IL.

Lake Taylorville is a 1,300-acre lake in the central part of the state, 2 miles southeast of Taylorville, IL.

Newton Lake is a 1,700-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, 3 miles north of Ingraham, IL.

Rend Lake is a 19,000-acre lake in the southern part of the state, at Whittington, IL.

Sangchris Lake is a 2,200-acre lake in the central part of the state, 3 miles west of Edinburg, IL.

Motorhome and RV sales and rentals

Heron fishing in Illinois awters.

Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for regulations and details about fishing in Illinois.

Apply here for an Illinois Fishing License.

Enhance your fishing vacation by renting a cabin in Illinois. Another great way to see the state with opportunities for fishing, away from the crowds is by taking a motorhome into backwoods fishing areas.

Visit the section dedicated to fishing activities for kids in Illinois. It is devoted to information about kids fishing with stories, fish photos and tips for where and how to take a kid fishing in Illinois. Please send us your recommendations and we will be happy to consider them for publication.

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Fish Species in Illinois

Fishing for bass in Illinois

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

IL State Record: 13 lbs 1 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

IL State Record: 6 lbs 7 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

IL State Record: 7 lbs 3 oz

Fishing for catfish in Illinois

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

IL State Record: 45 lbs 4 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

IL State Record: 78 lbs 0 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

IL State Record: 124 lbs 4 oz

Fishing for crappie in Illinois

Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

IL State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

IL State Record: 4 lbs 7 oz

Fishing for walleye in Illinois

Walleye

Walleye

World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

IL State Record: 14 lbs 0 oz

Fishing for panfish in Illinois

Bluegill

Bluegill

World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

IL State Record: 3 lbs 8 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.1 lbs

IL State Record: 2 lbs 1 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

IL State Record: 2 lbs 4 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

IL State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

IL State Record: 1 lbs 10 oz

Warmouth

Warmouth

World record: 2.4 lbs

IL State Record: 1 lbs 13 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

IL State Record: 4 lbs 14 oz

Yellow Bass

Yellow bass

World record: 2 lbs 15 oz

IL State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

IL State Record: 2 lbs 8 oz

Fishing for trout in Illinois

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

IL State Record: 31 lbs 6 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

IL State Record: 7 lbs 5 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

IL State Record: 36 lbs 11 oz

Fishing for salmon in Illinois

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon

World record: 79 lbs 2 oz

IL State Record: 18 lbs 11 oz

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon

World record: 33 lbs 7 oz

IL State Record: 20 lbs 9 oz

Fishing for striped bass in Illinois

Striped Bass

Striper

Saltwater world record: 81 lbs 14 oz

IL State Record: 31 lbs 7 oz

Fishing for other species in Illinois

Bowfin

Bowfin

World record: 21 lbs 8 oz

IL State Record: 16 lbs 6 oz

Muskie

Muskie (Muskellunge)

World record: 69 lbs 9 oz

IL State Record: 37 lbs 13 oz

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

IL State Record: 26 lbs 15 oz

Sauger

Sauger

World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

IL State Record: 5 lbs 12 oz

Saugeye

Saugeye

World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

IL State Record: 8 lbs 7 oz

Spotted Gar

Spotted gar

World record: 9 lbs 12 oz

IL State Record: 7 lbs 13 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Fishing information for each state.

 

Post your Illinois fishing pictures

We are happy to post photos, stories and/or articles about your fishing experiences. For kids fishing pictures, we have a special youth fishing section. Please submit them here for consideration.

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Camping and campgrounds nearby fishing

All about fishing in Illinois