Illinois’ spring trout season: The blessed return of what normal looks like [UPDATED]

The IDNR announced Illinois’ spring trout season and it looks very normal, a blessed thing after the mishmash of last spring; this is an added update for the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

SHARE Illinois’ spring trout season: The blessed return of what normal looks like [UPDATED]
Rock Creek near Kankakee River State Park is one of the few early catch-and-release sites nearby  shown here in a file photo from the fall season. Credit: Dale Bowman

Rock Creek near Kankakee River State Park is one of the few early catch-and-release sites nearby; shown here in a file photo from the fall season.

Dale Bowman

Illinois will have a spring catchable trout season and it looks normal, quite unlike last spring.

It’s a beautiful thing.

The regular season will open April 3, the early catch-and-release season on March 20. UPDATED: The opener for the five Forest Preserves of Cook County sites have a delayed opener, click here to read.

Cook County sites includes Axehead, Belleau, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East and Wolf Lake; in DuPage, Silver, Pickerel and Grove; in Kankakee, Bird Park Quarry and Rock Creek; in Kendall, Big Lake; In Lake, Sand; in McHenry, Piscasaw Creek and Atwood; in Will, Milliken.

Here is the word from the IDNR:

Illinois Spring Trout Fishing Season Opens April 3 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The 2021 Illinois Spring Trout Fishing Season will open Saturday, April 3 at 57 ponds, lakes and streams throughout the state. An early opportunity at select trout sites – the Spring Catch-and-Release Fishing Season – will open March 20. 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 3. The Illinois Catchable Trout Program is funded by those who use the program through the sale of Inland Trout Stamps. 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. For the 2021 spring trout season, no trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites from March 15 until the season opens at 5:00 a.m. April 3. 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 3 – 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 catch limit for each angler is five trout. For more information on trout seasons and other Illinois fishing opportunities, check the website at Illinois 2021 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, check the IDNR website at Fishing licenses and trout stamps also can be purchased online. Find the link on the IDNR website at For information about all site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout. Not all sites open at 5:00 a.m. on opening day. Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite sites prior to the open date. The locations that will be open for the spring trout season are listed below: 2021 Illinois Spring Trout Locations (** Denotes sites open for Catch-and-Release Early Spring Season fishing) North --- Boone County --- Mill Race Ponds, Belvidere North --- Bureau County --- Hennepin Canal Parkway North --- Cook County --- Axehead Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District North --- Cook County --- Belleau Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District North --- Cook County --- Green Lake in Calumet City, Cook County Forest Preserve District North --- Cook County --- Horsetail Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District North --- Cook County --- Sag Quarry East, Cook County Forest Preserve District North --- Cook County --- Wolf Lake at William W. Powers State Recreation Area, Chicago North --- DuPage County --- Silver Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District North --- DuPage County --- Pickerel Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District North --- DuPage County--- Grove Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District North --- Jo Daviess County --- Apple River, Apple River Canyon State Park ** North --- Kankakee County --- Bird Park Quarry, Kankakee North --- Kankakee County --- Rock Creek, Kankakee River State Park ** North --- Kendall County --- Big Lake, Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area (SFWA) North --- Lake County --- Sand Lake, Illinois Beach State Park North --- LaSalle County --- Illinois and Michigan Canal Lock 14, LaSalle North --- LaSalle County --- Lake Mendota, Village of Mendota North --- McHenry County --- Lake Atwood, McHenry County Conservation District North --- McHenry County --- Piscasaw Creek, McHenry County Conservation District North --- Ogle County --- Pine Creek, White Pines Forest State Park ** North --- Rock Island County--- Prospect Park, Moline North --- Stephenson --- Yellow Creek in Krape Park, Freeport North --- Whiteside County --- Centennial Park Pond, Rock Falls North --- Will County --- Lake Milliken, Des Plaines SFWA North --- Winnebago County --- Four Lakes, Winnebago County Forest Preserve District North --- Winnebago County --- Baumann Lake, Cherry Valley Central --- Adams County --- Siloam Springs State Park Lake ** Central --- Cass County --- Gridley Lake, Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA ** Central --- Champaign County --- Lake of the Woods, Champaign Co. Forest Preserve Dist. Central --- Champaign County --- Kaufman Lake, Champaign Park District Central --- Christian County --- Manners Park, Taylorville Park District Central --- Coles County --- Eastern Illinois University Campus Pond, Charleston Central --- De Witt County --- Weldon Springs, Weldon Springs State Park Central --- Clark County --- Casey Park Pond, Casey Central --- Hancock County --- Horton Lake, Nauvoo State Park ** Central --- Macon County --- Sportsman’s Club Pond, Macon County Conservation District Central --- McLean County --- Miller Park Lake, Bloomington Central --- Morgan County --- Morgan Lake at Nichols Park, Jacksonville ** Central --- Moultrie County --- Wyman Lake, Sullivan Central --- Pike County --- King Park Pond, Pittsfield Central --- Sangamon County --- Southwind Park, Springfield Central --- Sangamon County --- IDOT Lake, Springfield ** Central --- Sangamon County --- Washington Park Pond, Springfield Central --- Shelby County --- Forest Park Lagoon, Shelbyville Central --- Vermilion County --- Clear Lake, Kickapoo State Recreation Area South --- Jefferson County --- Mount Vernon Game Farm Pond South --- Johnson County --- Ferne Clyffe State Park Lake South --- Madison County --- Belk Park Pond, Wood River South --- Marion County --- Boston Pond, Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area South --- Massac County --- Fairgrounds Pond, Fort Massac State Park South --- Randolph County --- Derby Lake, Sparta (World Shooting and Recreational Complex) South --- St. Clair County --- Frank Holten State Park Main Lake South --- St. Clair County --- Jones Park Lake, East St. Louis South --- St. Clair County --- Willow Lake at Peabody River King SFWA** South --- Wabash County --- Beall Woods Lake, Beall Woods State Park South --- Wayne County --- Sam Dale Conservation Area Trout Pond

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