June 1, 2023

Illinois a top state for fishing, site says. Here’s why, and where you should cast a line | National News

3 min read
Illinois a top state for fishing, site says. Here’s why, and where you should cast a line | National News

BELLEVILLE — Anglers may find their favorite destination in Illinois, according to a recent listing that ranked the state as one of the best spots for fishing in the nation.

Lawn Love released its 2022’s Best and Worst States for Fishing Sept. 21, and Illinois secured a 12th place ranking due to affordability, number of catfish fishing clubs and other reasons.

The study considered community, access, affordability and supplies in its ranking, and Illinois placed 17th for community, 25th in access, third for affordability and 41st in supplies.

Sources for the ranking included All About Fishing, AllTrails, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dicks Sporting Goods, F&S Stores, Fishing Duo, Fishing Status, Marinas.com, NOAA, REI, Scheels, Target, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, USGS, Walmart and World Population Review, according to Lawn Love.

Here’s the top 25 states for fishing, from Lawn Love:

1. Florida

2. Alaska

3. Montana

4. Minnesota

5. Texas

6. Wisconsin

7. Michigan

8. New York

9. South Carolina

10. North Carolina

11. Georgia

12. Illinois

13. Maine

14. Alabama

15. Arkansas

16. Ohio

17. Wyoming

18. Missouri

19. Maryland

20. California

21. Virginia

22. Iowa

23. Indiana

24. Pennsylvania

25. Louisiana

The fishing ranking listed Branson, Missouri, as a must-visit destination because of its History of Fishing Museum and fan-favorite angling spot Table Rock State Park.

Illinois is also home to plenty of fishing landscapes.

Some spots to fish in Illinois

“Illinois offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the country. With a million and a half acres of water, you can find anything from the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan, to many great river systems, to crystal-clear small lakes and ponds,” the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website reads.

Here are five public fishing locations in Illinois, from IDNR.

Carlyle Lake

Located in Clinton County, Carlyle Lake is full of blue catfish, largemouth bass, Redear Sunfish and many other species. Boat rentals, boat ramps, skiing, swimming, picnicking and camping are all available activities onsite, and the lake’s shoreline is 80 miles long.

Mississippi River

“You name it, and the ‘Father of Waters’ has it. Walleye, northern pike and sauger swim in the northern stretches. Crappie, plump bluegills, largemouth bass and bullhead are caught in the myriad of backwater lakes and sloughs. Channel catfish are found virtually everywhere, and the white bass fishery explodes at times,” IDNR’s website says.

The Mississippi River was home to no less than 84 fishing tournaments in 2021, and participants caught blue catfish, yellow perch, largemouth bass and many other species.

Sparta Reservoir (South)

Visit Randolph County to find channel catfish at the Sparta Reservoir. You may also reel in a crappie or bluegill. More information about fishing at this site is available online.

Lake Springfield

Sangamon County’s Lake Springfield has a 52.7-mile shoreline, and 79 tournaments were hosted there in 2021. Fishers caught 2,749 largemouth bass that year, as well as 424 blue catfish and hundreds of other fish.

Horseshoe Lake

Stop by Horseshoe Lake in Madison County to fish, picnic and camp. IDNR reports there is a “very good” outlook for bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass in the lake.


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