Gone fishing

Floyd Oliver enjoys the day fishing along Lake Springfield’s shoreline near Springfield, Ill., in this file photo.

Illinois officials expect bigger crowds than usual this year for the opening day of Illinois’ fall trout fishing season on Saturday because more people are looking for outdoor activities during the pandemic.

Information about trout fishing season can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources I-Fish website, Mike McClelland, chief of fisheries for IDNR, said.

The fishing licenses and stamps can be purchased directly online. There is a list of 50 locations where DNR has stocked small lakes, recreation areas and waterways with trout.

Individuals over the age of 16 need a $15 fishing license and a $6.50 trout stamp. Retirees get a price break. A fishing license is not required for youths under the age of 16; the blind or disabled; or for Illinois residents on leave from active duty in the military.

McClelland said fishing license fees in Illinois are among the lowest in the nation. Revenue from the trout stamps goes to restock the waterways with trout in the spring. Revenue from the fishing license fees goes to habitat conservation and waterway protection.

Illinois normally sells roughly 680,000 fishing licenses every year, and about 50,000 trout stamps. McClelland said fishing license sales are up this year, so he expects opening day to be crowded.

“People are getting out and fishing more this year, to do something outdoors because of all the COVID issues going on,” McClelland said.

McClelland said local areas may have COVID-19 regulations that need to be followed. Some areas, including the preserves in Cook County, have yet to determine whether or not they will be able to open because of COVID. He advises people to check with their local area for regulations about social distancing and mask-wearing.

Anglers are permitted to catch up to five trout per day. McClelland said anglers can go back the next day and catch five more. People who jump the gun and catch trout before opening day on Saturday, Oct. 17, must throw the fish back or face getting a citation.

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