How Long is an Illinois Fishing License Valid and at What Age is One Required?

If you’re an angler in Illinois, it’s important to understand the state’s fishing license requirements. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the duration of Illinois fishing licenses and the age at which a license is needed to fish legally in the state.
License Duration
In Illinois, fishing licenses are valid for one year, from March 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025. This means that any licenses purchased on or after March 1, 2024, will be valid until March 31, 2025, regardless of when during that period you buy your license.
It’s important to note that licenses must be renewed annually. Even if you purchase a license in late February 2025, it will still expire on March 31, 2025.

However, a new law going into effect in 2024 will allow Illinois residents to purchase three-year hunting, fishing, sportsmen, and trapping licenses. These multi-year licenses will cost three times the price of an annual license, but they will save residents the hassle of renewing every year.

Age Requirements
In Illinois, anyone 16 or older must have a valid fishing license to fish, regardless of whether they are a resident or non-resident. This means that if you plan to fish in Illinois, you’ll need to purchase a license once you turn 16.

There are a few exceptions to this rule for Illinois residents:

– Illinois residents who have a disability and possess a State disabled person I.D card that shows a Class 2 or Class 2A disability can fish license-free.

– Persons on active duty in the Armed Forces who entered the service from Illinois and are Illinois residents may fish without a license when on leave.

– Illinois residents who are taking a child under the age of 16 fishing can do so without a license, as long as they are not fishing themselves.

For non-residents, there are only two exemptions from the fishing license requirement:

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– Non-residents under 16 years of age can fish without a license if they are accompanied by a licensed adult.

– Non-residents can fish without a license on one of the state’s Free Fishing Days, which are announced each year by the Department of Natural Resources.

Purchasing a License
There are several ways to purchase an Illinois fishing license:

– Online through the Department of Natural Resources website

– From an approved Department of Natural Resources license and permit vendor throughout the state

– By mail using a paper application

When purchasing a license, Illinois residents will need to provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or ID card. Non-residents can purchase licenses online or from approved vendors.

In conclusion, understanding the duration and age requirements for Illinois fishing licenses is crucial for anglers looking to fish legally in the state. With the new option for three-year licenses and the various ways to purchase a license, it’s easier than ever to get out on the water and enjoy the state’s abundant fisheries.

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