Illinois trout season still to open Saturday

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will open the spring trout season Saturday, although many of the 57 ponds, lakes and streams stocked by the state will be closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

All sites stocked by the IDNR that are not state-operated facilities may be open. Anglers are encouraged to check with those sites to see if they remain open. The only stocked site in West-Central Illinois that remains open is King Park Pond in Pittsfield.

The IDNR has updated its list of stocked sites to indicate which are open and which are closed. Visit the IDNR website at dnr.illinois.gov for the complete list.

The Illinois Catchable Trout Program is funded through the sale of Inland Trout Stamps. The IDNR stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. An additional 80,000 trout will be stocked for the fall season, which begins in October.

All anglers 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.


Missouri temporarily waives need for fishing license

The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Conservation Commission are temporarily waiving permit requirements for fishing and daily trout tags for Missouri residents and nonresidents whose fishing privileges are not otherwise suspended.

The waiver of needing a permit or trout tag to fish will run through April 15. The MDC will reassess the situation at that point. All season dates, methods and limits will continue to apply and be enforced.

"The current public-health emergency caused by the coronavirus has many Missourians and others looking for safe ways to get outside in nature," MDC director Sara Parker Pauley said. "Missouri's rivers and streams offer high quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations. Fishing is also a great way to get some much needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time."

More than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri, with more than 20 of them being game fish for the state's more than 1.1 million anglers.

Pauley added that it is still critical for everyone to continue to heed all recommendations for hand washing, social distancing and other public-health measures while fishing and during other outdoor activities, including maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between all individuals.


Time to renew Illinois hunting, fishing licenses

All Illinois resident and non-resident hunting, fishing and sportsman combination licenses expired at the end of March. So the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is trying to remind outdoorsmen to renew their licenses participating in a state-governed activity this spring.

All licenses are available through the IDNR's direct license and permit vendors and online through the IDNR website at dnr.illinois.gov. A resident hunting license costs $12.50, a resident fishing license costs $15 and the sportsman combination license costs $26.25.


Bobcat harvest helps with university research projects

Illinois hunters and trappers filled 335 bobcat permits during the winter season. The harvest was 306 cats, matching the total number taken in the 2018-19 season, while 29 permits were filled by salvaging roadkill bobcats.

There were 1,000 permits issued for the season. Bobcats taken by hunting accounted for 45 percent of the harvest, while another 45 percent were taken by trapping.

Hunters, trappers and IDNR staff collected jaws for bobcat research at SIU Carbondale, while landowners and trappers in central Illinois helped with bobcat research at Western Illinois University. The IDNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fund research to continue learning about Illinois' only feline furbearer. The recovery of this species, as well as many others, and continued research are possible because of the support of the sportsmen and sportswomen of Illinois.

Pike County led the state with 22 bobcats harvested, including 16 by trapping. Adams County had 10 bobcats taken, including three that were salvaged roadkills. Brown County had 16 bobcats killed, including 12 by trapping, and six of the eight bobcats taken in Hancock County were trapped.


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