Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Get a Fishing License in Illinois

How to Get a Fishing License in Illinois

There are two ways to get a fishing license in Illinois. You may submit an online application directly to the Department of Natural Resources and pay the fee for the type of license you want on the basis of your resident or nonresident status. You may also submit an application through a vendor. The Department of Natural Resources has an official list of authorized vendors based throughout the state of Illinois. Paper application is available but only limited to five types of fishing license in Illinois. 

Definitions of Resident: Nonresident for Fishing Licenses in Illinois

The state of Illinois does not have any distinction regarding the definition of residency or otherwise specifically for a fishing license. The rule is applicable to all licenses issued by the Department of Natural Resources. A resident is anyone who has been living in the state of Illinois for at least thirty consecutive days prior to the date of application for the fishing license.

A nonresident is anyone who does not fulfill this criterion. Also, anyone who has a permanent residency in another state or is a temporary resident in the state of Illinois is a nonresident. Those who do not have a driving license issued by the state and does not file income tax in Illinois are nonresidents. The Department of Natural Resources deals in the resident or nonresident status of individual applicants in good faith.

Fees for Different Types of Fishing Licenses in Illinois

There are over a dozen types of fishing licenses issued by the Department of Natural Resources in Illinois. A few are more commonly applied for by residents and nonresidents.

An annual resident sport fishing license costs $15.00. A resident sport fishing license for sixty-five years old seniors and older people costs $7.75. A twenty-four hours resident sport fishing license costs $5.50. A twenty-four hours nonresident sport fishing license costs $10.50. The same license with a validity of three consecutive days for nonresidents costs $15.50. An annual nonresident sport fishing license costs $31.50.

Illinois has a sportsman’s license that combines fishing and hunting. The fee for this is $26.25. Seniors pay a reduced fee of $13.50 for this license. Licensed anglers need specific stamps to catch certain species of fish. For example, Lake Michigan salmon stamp costs $6.50 and inland trout stamp for all waters except Lake Michigan costs $6.50. A resident lifetime sport fishing license costs $435.00, and a resident lifetime combined license for fishing and hunting costs $765.00.

Illinois has commercial licenses for residents. A roe dealer license costs $500.50, roe harvester license costs $250.00, initial commercial license for fishing costs $60.50, mussel dealer license is priced at $300.50, commercial mussel license costs $50.50, aquatic life dealer or retailer license is priced at $10.50, and minnow dealer or retail license is $5.50.

Super seniors, as in residents who are above the age of seventy-five, pay further reduced fees, such as $1.50 for fishing, $0.50 for the inland trout stamp, $0.50 for the Lake Michigan salmon stamp, and $2.75 for the sportsman combo license for fishing and hunting. Veterans who are residents, subject to certification, pay $7.75 for a fishing license, and $13.50 for the combo license.

Illinois is one of the very few states in the country wherein nonresidents can get an annual fishing license, and even apply for dealership, whether for retail or wholesale. The fees for such nonresident fishing, dealing, retailing and wholesaling licenses are listed on the official website of the Department of Natural Resources. There is an interstate minnow dealer license for both residents and nonresidents. It costs $500.00.

Key Facts about Fishing Licenses in Illinois

Residents and nonresidents can get a fishing license in Illinois, either directly from the Department of Natural Resources or through an authorized vendor. Online applicable is available for all licenses. Paper application is available for commercial fishing, lifetime licenses for residents, and interstate dealer license. Residents and nonresidents can also call 1-888-673-7648, and apply for a fishing license in Illinois.

All annual fishing licenses expire on the 31st of March. An annual license obtained any time after the 1st of April in a year will be valid up to the 31st of March in the following year. Lifetime licenses do not expire, unless a resident becomes a nonresident. One-day or three-day licenses have the said validities. Children under the age of sixteen are exempt from having a fishing license. This applies to both resident and nonresident children. However, if any accompanying adult intends to fish, then a license is required. Exempt children do not have to get a trout stamp either.

All personnel serving in the armed forces, and based in the state of Illinois, are regarded as residents. There are some special policies for armed forces personnel and veterans. In some instances, the entire fee for certain types of fishing license is waived. There are special provisions for seniors, super seniors or those above the age of seventy five, disabled residents and nonresidents.  

No fishing license is required to partake in the activity on private waters. Owners or landlords do not need the permission of the state to fish on their own property, but public waters passing their lots or estates require an appropriate fishing license. Residents and nonresidents cannot fish in private waters, unless the owner or landlord permits the activity. Tenants also need permission of the owners or landlords to fish on private waters. Private lakes in subdivisions are owned by individuals. Hence, fishing license is required. Lakes in clubs, within private organizations or developments, are exempt from this rule.

No type of fishing license in Illinois is transferable. All residents and nonresidents are required to have their fishing license, or a copy of the same, with them while partaking in the activity. Licensed anglers can take fellow companions, whether children or adults. But the accompanying adults should be licensed if they want to fish in public waters. The accompanying children under the age of sixteen can fish without a license.