Fishing Illinois

Illinois has over 1,500,000 (1.5 million!!!) acres of rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, streams, and creeks to fish in. With that high amount of water, anglers of any age and experience level are guaranteed to find a favorite spot to catch fish. Illinois waters are filled with catfish, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, perch, trout and many more species. 

Illinois breaks out their bodies of water into regions; Northwest, Northeast, East Central, West Central, and South. We have used that same feature below so it is easier to pick locations specific to a particular region. 

When fishing with the kiddos (especially the younger ones – with less patience), it is recommended to start fishing in the early mornings when the bite is better and not yet too hot (summer and fall months of course). One of the best ways to get a child into and really enjoy the sport of fishing is to start them at a dock where the Redear Sunfish tend to hang out and bite good. Not only do sunfish bite good at a dock, with being higher up out of the water, kids can view the fish swimming and how they attack bait. It’s a very cool thing to watch with them. Seeing the kids get excited about fishing is one of the best feelings in the world as a parent!

For a list of licenses, fees and where to buy, see our Illinois Fishing License page.

The locations below are listed alphabetically in each region section and just a sampling of the many places to go fishing and some of the species you can catch in Illinois. 

Places To Go Fishing In Illinois

Northwest Illinois

Anderson Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Black Bullhead, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, White Crappie, Largemouth Bass

Boss Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Redear Sunfish, Smallmouth Bass

Northeast Illinois

Beck Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Bluegill, Channel Catfish

Monster Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Flathead Catfish, Crappie, Channel Catfish, Bluegill

Central Illinois

Evergreen Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, Black Crappie, Muskie, Walleye, Sauger

Carlyle Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Bluegill, Channel Catfish, White Crappie, Flathead Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Redear Sunfish, Sauger, White Bass

Southern Illinois

Arrowhead Lake

Popular Species To Catch: Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, White Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Redear Sunfish, Yellow Bass

To see the full list of Illinois fishing licenses and prices, please visit our Illinois Fishing License page.

Many more locations to come. If you have any favorite spots or bodies of water that you think should definitely be on this page, please send us a note. 

Also, if you are a private club or guide service that would like to be featured on any “Places To Fish” page, or other page within the StartFishingToday™ website, let us know.

Please contact us at startfishingtodayusa@gmail.com.

Thank you!