Illinois state fishing licenses from last year are about to expire on March 31st. New fishing licenses for the 2010 season are currently available for purchase through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and its chosen vendors.
Resident sport fishing licenses can be obtained for a $15 annual fee for any Illinois resident under age 65, with a lifetime license available for $435. Resident senior citizens of 65 years and older are given a discounted rate of $7.75 for the annual license.
Non-resident licenses cost $24.50 annually, with an alternative ten day license priced at $13. Both residents and non-residents may purchase a twenty-four hour license for $5.50. Trout and Salmon each require the purchase of a stamp in addition to the license, of course.
Anyone under the age of sixteen is not required to have a fishing license in the state of Illinois, regardless of whether it is a resident or non-resident. Residents are allowed to fish on waters flowing over their lands with no license, and those who are deemed legally disabled or blind may also fish without a fishing license.
Although a rare few other circumstances will also allow someone to fish in the state without an Illinois fishing license (such as fishing a boundary waters area with a license in its adjoining state), by and large it is required for both residents and non-residents. It is also required that anglers have this license in their possession when fishing.
The only exception to these would be Free Fishing Days on June 11, 12, 13, and 14, 2010, allowing anyone to fish anywhere in the Illinois jurisdiction without a license or stamp.
Regulations for specific fish may change according to specific bodies of water. Overall, there is a daily creel limit for Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Spotted Bass, with no statewide size limits. Walleye, Sauger, and hybrids of these have more specific limits in size according to location, though the daily limit is still six. Muskies, Northerns, Trout, Salmon, Striped Bass, White Bass, and Yellow Bass are also regulated, so anglers will want to check limits and sizes. Other fish may also be regulated on specific bodies of water, but generally speaking, the differences in regulations can occur in bodies of water such as the Mississippi, Ohio, Wabash, and Illinois Rivers, as well as in Lake Michigan.
For specific rules and regulations, check the in-depth Guide offered in PDF format by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.