Illinois Panfish Fishing
All about fishing for panfish in IL lakes and ponds.
Throughout the state of Illinois you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, white bass, yellow bass and yellow perch.
One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Illinois, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.
While you can find panfish in virtually all fishing waters in the state, the most consistent stringers tend to come from larger lakes including Anderson Lake, Carlyle Lake, Cedar Lake, Clinton Lake, Crab Orchard Lake, Devils Kitchen Lake, Fox Chain O' Lakes, Governor Bond Lake, Heidecke Lake, Kinkaid Lake, Lake Carroll, Lake Decatur, Lake Lou Yeager, Lake Mattoon, Lake Michigan, Lake Of Egypt, Lake Shelbyville, Lake Springfield, Lake Taylorville, Little Grassy Lake, Newton Lake, Otter Lake and Rend Lake. Smaller waters, and especially private ponds, may serve up an occasional monster on occasion.
The Illinois state record bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish and warmouth all came from private pond. The state record redear sunfish was caught at Marion CC Lake and the state record yellow perch came from Arrowhead Club Lake.
Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.
The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.
In-state panfish, sunfish and perch
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 3 lbs 8 oz
World record: 2.1 lbs
State Record: 2 lbs 1 oz
World record: N/A
State Record: 2 lbs 4 oz
World record: 5.4 lbs
State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 1 lbs 10 oz
World record: 2.4 lbs
State Record: 1 lbs 13 oz
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 4 lbs 14 oz
World record: 2 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2 lbs 8 oz
By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.
Bluegill Fishing Basics Video
The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.
Sunfish information in other states.
Learn the lifecycle of a panfish
There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Illinois fishing waters. The panfish fishing videos offer a first hand look a anglers catching panfish.