SPRINGFIELD – The 2023 Illinois spring trout fishing season will open Saturday, April 1, at 58 ponds, lakes, and streams throughout the state — including nine in northwest Illinois.
As an early opportunity at selected trout sites – the spring catch-and-release fishing season – will open March 18. No trout may be kept during the catch-and-release fishing period, but anglers can keep trout after the opening of the regular season beginning April 1.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout each year in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. An additional 80,000 trout will be stocked for the fall trout fishing season, which begins in October.
The Illinois Catchable Trout Program receives funding support from those who use the program through the sale of Inland Trout Stamps.
For the 2023 spring trout season, no trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites from March 13 until the season opens at 5 a.m. April 1. Anyone attempting to harvest trout before the legal harvest season opening will be issued citations.
All anglers, including those who intend to release fish caught before April 1, must have a fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily harvest limit for each angler is five trout.
Area locations that will be open for the 2023 spring trout season are:
2023 Illinois Spring Trout Locations
Bureau County - Hennepin Canal Parkway
Jo Daviess County - Apple River, Apple River Canyon State Park**
Ogle County - Pine Creek, White Pines Forest State Park**
Rock Island County - Prospect Park, Moline
Stephenson County - Waddams Creek, Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park; Yellow Creek in Krape Park, Freeport
Whiteside County - Centennial Park Pond, Rock Falls
Winnebago County - Baumann Lake, Cherry Valley; Four Lakes, Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
**Denotes sites open for catch-and-release early spring season fishing
For more information on trout seasons and other Illinois fishing opportunities, check the website at www.ifishillinois.org.
Illinois 2023 fishing licenses and Inland Trout Stamps are available now at IDNR license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores, and other retail outlets. For a list of locations, visit https://www.exploremoreil.com/agentlocator.
Fishing licenses and trout stamps also can be purchased online at https://www.exploremoreil.com.
For information about all site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout. Not all sites open at 5 a.m. on opening day. Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite sites prior to the open date.