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  Fish Facts   





  • School children selected the bluegill as the state fish in 1986. Although the bluegill grows to only about 9 inches in length and weighs less than a pound, it has a reputation as one of the best fighting game fish.
  •  Fishing continues to be a favorite pastime of the American people. Nationwide, one in six people go fishing!
  •  A recent nationwide Harris Poll found that fishing was ranked the most popular outdoor activity in America and was the 4th favorite leisure pastime, behind reading, watching TV, and spending time with family.

Fishing is Big Business

Every time someone goes fishing in Illinois, they help create jobs, increasing retail sales and tax revenue right here at home. Most anglers don't realize what an important contribution they are making to our economy and way of life. 

          Nationwide, anglers spent about $41.5 billion in retail sales pursuing their sport during 2001.

          $736,575,125 in retail sales was generated by Illinois anglers, which rippled through the economy to generate $1.6 billion in economic output for the state. 

          The Illinois fishing industry supports nearly 13,000 jobs and those workers earned $398 million in salaries and wages.

          Fishing-related purchases in Illinois generated $9 million in state tax revenues and $73 million in federal income tax. 

          Illinois annually receives more than $5 million of Federal Aid for Sport Fish Restoration funds from excise taxes paid by anglers on purchases of fishing equipment and tackle. This money funds fisheries management and research.

Sport Fishing Participation 

          Every year 1.2 million Illinois anglers (including kids less than 16 years old) fish 16.1 million days. 

          15% of Illinois’ resident anglers are also hunters: 58% of Illinois’ resident hunters are also anglers.

          Licensed resident anglers fish an average of 13 days/yr. In Illinois; licensed non-resident anglers fish an average of 5 days/year in Illinois.

          Anglers spend an average of $37/angling day in Illinois for all fishing related expenses including: transportation, food, lodging, bait, equipment, clothing, boat, fuel, magazines, rentals, access fees, licenses, etc. 

          Most fishing trips in Illinois occur during May, June, and July. 

          Most fishing trips are to :

                   Lakes & Ponds - 61 %

                   Streams & Small Rivers - 15 %

                   Large Boundary Rivers - 12 %

                   Lake Michigan (Illinois Portion) - 6 %

                   Corps of Engineers Reservoirs - 6 % 

          The greatest number of fishing trips are spent seeking largemouth bass (25 %), followed by catfish (17 %), crappie (15 %), and sunfish (11 %).

          The kinds of fish most often harvested by anglers are: sunfish (32 %), crappie (26 %), catfish (14 %), white bass and yellow bass ( 6 %), and largemouth bass (5 %).

Fisheries Resources in Illinois 

 Illinois has more than 1.6 million acres of surface waters including:

 ■ Illinois' portion of Lake Michigan 976,640 acres

■ Three U.S. Corps of Engineers Reservoirs 54,580 acres - Shelbyville, Carlyle, and Rend Lakes

■  More than 91,150 lakes and ponds 263,900 acres

■  More than 26,400 miles of rivers and streams 325,000 acres

■ About 203 different species of fish occur in Illinois waters.

  The IDNR Division of Fisheries operates four fish hatcheries to annually produces more than 50 million fish of 18 species for stocking into Illinois waters statewide.

Some of the more popular species that are stocked and managed for sport fishing include: largemouth bass, walleye, coho salmon, smallmouth bass, muskie, chinook salmon, bluegill, striped bass, lake trout, crappie, northern pike, brown trout, channel catfish, rainbow trout, skamania, and steelhead trout

Fisheries Home Page

Division of Fisheries

 Fishing Digest
 I Fish Illinois
 Disabled Outdoor Opportunites
 Kids! Fishing Can be Fun

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