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The Best Places To Fish in Illinois

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By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Illinois offers a variety of excellent fishing locations for anglers of all skill levels. From pristine lakes to meandering rivers, the state is home to numerous popular fishing destinations. Let's explore some of the best places to fish in Illinois, along with the popular fish species and the best seasons to fish. The purpose of this page is to share information about the best fishing lakes in the state, listed by species.

One of the top fishing spots in Illinois is Lake Michigan, which borders the state to the east. This vast freshwater lake is renowned for its diverse fishery, attracting anglers from far and wide. Lake Michigan is particularly famous for its world-class salmon and trout fishing. Chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead trout, and lake trout are among the popular species found in these waters. The best time to fish Lake Michigan for salmon and trout is typically during the spring and fall seasons.

Another popular fishing destination in Illinois is the Fox Chain O'Lakes. Located in the northeastern part of the state, this interconnected network of lakes and waterways offers abundant opportunities for fishing. Anglers can target a variety of fish species such as largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, and crappie. The fishing season on the Fox Chain O'Lakes is generally productive from spring through fall, with peak periods varying depending on the species targeted.

Rend Lake is a well-known reservoir in southern Illinois and is considered one of the state's premier fishing destinations. This 18,900-acre lake is home to a wide range of fish species, including largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and white bass. The best time to fish Rend Lake varies depending on the species, but generally, spring and fall are prime seasons for bass and crappie fishing.

The Illinois River is another prominent fishing spot in the state. Stretching over 270 miles, this river offers diverse fishing opportunities for species such as catfish, walleye, sauger, white bass, and crappie. Spring and fall are popular seasons for fishing on the Illinois River, particularly for catfish and walleye.

For those seeking trout fishing, the Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area is a popular destination. This area includes several lakes that are regularly stocked with rainbow trout and other trout species. Trout fishing season in Illinois typically runs from October to May, with the cooler months being the most productive.

It's important to note that fishing regulations, including seasons and size limits, vary by location and species in Illinois. Anglers should always check the latest fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits before heading out to their preferred fishing destinations.

Whether you prefer lake fishing or river angling, Illinois offers a wide array of fishing opportunities throughout the year. With its diverse fish species and picturesque fishing spots, the state provides ample opportunities for anglers to enjoy their favorite pastime and reel in some impressive catches.

There are many great places to fish in The Prairie State. Rivers, ponds, small lakes, major lakes and even Lake Michigan provide fishing for anglers in the state of Illinois. Here we focus on the best major lakes to fish in the state.

Illinois's Top-Five, Amazing Fishing Spots

These five lakes we selected as the best place to fish in Illinois, based on a history of delivering great fishing over time. Year over year, this list might change slightly, but rest assures these are a good place to go fishing. Learn more...

Most Popular Fish Species In Illinois

There are four species of trout, three species of catfish, three species of bass, both species of crappie, walleye, and plenty of other species to fish for in the state. Learn more...

Top Places To Fish For Trout In Illinois

Trout species options in the state include rainbow, brook, brown and lake trout. Rivers and streams, along with stocked ponds, also provide some of the best places to fish for trout in Illinois. Learn more...

Best Lakes To Fish For Catfish In Illinois

Find good fishing for blue, flathead and channel catfish all over the state. River systems grow the big boys. Lakes fed by rivers make a haven for both quantity and quality. These three lakes have earned a reputation as good catfish fisheries over time. Learn more...

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Illinois

Big largemouths, feisty smallmouths or chunky spotted bass await anglers at most lakes across the state. These three lakes are perennial favorites, as are several others which may also deserve consideration as the best place to fish for bass in Illinois. Learn more...

Top Places To Fish For Crappie In Illinois

Crappie populate all but a few fisheries statewide. State records for both black and white crappie are well over four pounds and there are plenty of flat slabs for a fish fry once you locate a school. Learn more...

Best Walleye Fishing Lakes In Illinois

These fighters make excellent table fare, and are found in about half the major fisheries in the state. These three lakes are some of the best places to catch walleye, and have been for some time. Sauger and saugeye also swim in some of waters in IL. Learn more...

Enjoy these top spots to go fishing in Illinois

Find the best places to fish, by state.



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