Guide to Fishing License Requirements and Fishing Regulations in Rockford and Northern Illinois

The odd and variable weather has made for some interesting fishing inland for bass, catfish and bluegill and on Lake Michigan for coho, lake trout and steelhead; those two threads lead thisNothing says spring better than the words–let’s go fishing! With spring and warmer weather quickly approaching, it’s time to get the boat ready, and get the fishing poles and tackle box out. Fishing provides many hours of recreation and enjoyment during the spring and summer season-so make sure you’re prepared!

Rockford Illinois is located approximately 90 miles west of Chicago-and very close to the Wisconsin stateline. The many waterways located here provide recreation and opportunities to fish, whether it’s a relaxing family outing or a weekend with the guys. The Rock River, Kishwaukee River, Olson lake at Rock Cut State Park, or the Sugar River forest preserve are some local favorites. If you’re up for a short trip, the Rock River along Illinois Rt 2 between Rockford and Oregon Illinois is both scenic and relaxing, with places to pull off road and picnic. Illinois has many beautiful areas away from the city to fish and enjoy nature.

In preparing for your trip, don’t forget the fishing license-it’s required for anyone over the age of 16, with the exception of those legally declared blind or disabled. Members of the armed forces that are Illinois residents and are on active duty may also fish in Illinois without obtaining a fishing license while they are on leave. Non-residents who live in bordering states may fish on the Illinois side of a river that adjoins the state they are licensed in.

Annual fishing licenses for residents is $13.00, non-residents $24.50. Senior citizen discounts are also available, as well as non-resident 24 hour and 10 day permits.

To obtain a fishing license, residents of Illinois may apply online at the DNR website at or visit Park License and Title in Loves Park Illinois, at 6402 N. Second Street (also known as Hwy 251). If you need to purchase supplies or Bait, you can obtain a license at Dora’s Bait Shop, 2725 Kilburn Av, in Rockford Illinios. Many larger sporting goods stores also offer fishing and hunting licenses, call them directly for information.

Fees for residents and non-residents can be viewed at the DNR website, as well as information on Trout and Salmon stamps, fishing regulations, and a guide to waterways and species available. There is even a tutorial on cleaning fish and a dietary guide regarding mercury content of fish species in Illinois. Fishing is a sport that is both economical and enjoyable and can provide endless hours of entertainment and recreation. The DNR does patrol waterways routinely during fishing and boating season, so it’s advisable to obey the laws and get a license and follow the rules and regulations. The DNR goal is to protect our waterways and endangered fish species so we will have great opportunities to enjoy the sport for years to come.

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