Outdoor Recreation Update: IRAP Hunting Opportunity & Fall Trout Season Announced

IRAP Accepting Applications for 2021 Waterfowl and Upland Game Hunting Opportunities

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced it is now accepting applications for 2021 Waterfowl and Upland Game hunting opportunities this fall on private land through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP).

The IDNR has leased nearly 1,200 acres of private land specifically for waterfowl and upland game hunting. Hunters have the choice of nine public access waterfowl sites in three counties and seven public access upland game hunting sites in five counties. Sites will accommodate up to four hunters each and are available at no cost to the participants.

Applications for IRAP Waterfowl opportunities are due four weeks prior to the hunting period selected by applicants. Waterfowl hunters will have access to the sites for five consecutive days during one of the twelve 2021 IRAP fall hunting periods:
Nov. 1-5; Nov. 6-10; Nov. 11-15; Nov. 16-20; Nov. 21-25; Nov. 26-30
Dec. 1-5; Dec. 6-10; Dec. 11-15; Dec. 16-20; Dec. 21-25; Dec. 26-30

Applications for IRAP Upland Game opportunities are due at 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2021. Hunters will have two consecutive days of access on one of the following weekends:
Dec. 11-12; Dec. 18-19; Dec. 25-26

If hunting as a group (up to four), each person in the group must apply and list other hunters in the group. Youth hunters (age 17 and under) must be accompanied by a non-hunting supervisor (parent or designee of parent). Both youth and their supervisors must complete an IRAP application online. A lottery drawing may be held when more applications are received than there are sites available.

All hunters must have completed an IDNR-approved Hunter Education Course (if born in 1980 or after), and must have acquired an Illinois hunting license and HIP certification as well as a habitat stamp for upland game hunting or a state waterfowl stamp and a federal waterfowl stamp for waterfowl hunting. Successful applicants will be notified by mail approximately three weeks prior to their assigned hunting period, upon which they will receive a map, driving directions and an IRAP site permit allowing them to hunt on their assigned, privately-owned waterfowl or upland game hunting site.

Applications for Fall 2021 IRAP Waterfowl hunting sites can be found online at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/IRAP/Pages/Waterfowl-Hunting.aspx.

Applications for Fall 2021 IRAP Upland Game hunting sites can be found online at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/IRAP/Pages/UplandGameHunting.aspx

The IRAP program is funded through a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access Habitat Incentive Program. To date, IRAP has leased more than 26,100 acres in 50 counties to provide for various public access opportunities such as turkey, archery deer, youth firearm deer, small game, waterfowl and upland bird hunting, as well as pond and riverbank fishing. Hunters are placed on a specific site via lottery drawing, with preference given to youth hunters, first-time hunters, and veterans.

For more information, visit the IRAP webpage or e-mail DNR.IRAP@Illinois.gov.

Illinois Fall Trout Fishing Season Opens October 16

The 2021 Illinois Fall Trout Fishing Season will open Saturday, October 16 at 59 ponds, lakes and streams throughout the state.

An early opportunity at select trout sites – the Fall Catch-and-Release Fishing Season – will open October 2.  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 October 16.

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 fall season. An additional 80,000 trout are stocked for the spring season which begins each April.

For the 2021 fall trout season, no trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites until the season opens at 5:00 a.m. October 16. During the season, the daily catch limit is five trout.

The fall trout season offers opportunities for families to get outdoors and enjoy fishing. Resources are available for Taking Kids Fishing at https://www.ifishillinois.org/Kids_Fishing/kidsfishing.html.

All anglers – including those who intend to release fish caught before October 16 – must have an Illinois fishing license and Inland Trout Stamp which are available at IDNR license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. Check the IDNR website for locations at https://www.exploremoreil.com/agentlocator

Fishing licenses and trout stamps can be purchased by using a credit card online via the IDNR website at https://www.exploremoreil.com/

Participants in the Fall Trout Fishing Season are reminded to follow current guidance from the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health regarding face masks and social distancing.

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.

For more information on trout seasons and other Illinois fishing opportunities, check the website at www.ifishillinois.org.

The 59 locations scheduled to be open for the fall trout season are listed below:

2021 Illinois Fall Trout Locations
(** Denotes sites open for Catch-and-Release Early Fall Season fishing)

 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 — Busse Woods North 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— Grove Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District
 North — DuPage County — Pickerel Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District
 North — DuPage County — Silver 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 — McHenry County — Spring Grove Hatchery Pond, Spring Grove
 North — Ogle County — Pine Creek, White Pines Forest State Park **
 North — Rock Island County— Prospect Park Lake, Moline
 North — Warren — Citizen’s Lake, Monmouth
 North — Whiteside County — Centennial Park Pond, Rock Falls, Coloma Park District
 North — Will County — Lake Strini, Romeoville
 North — Will County — Van Horn Woods, Plainfield
 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 — Kaufman Lake, Champaign Park District
 Central — Christian County — Manners Park Pond, Taylorville Park District
 Central — Clark County — Casey Park Pond, Casey
 Central — Coles County — Eastern Illinois University Campus Pond, Charleston
 Central — De Witt County — Weldon Springs, Weldon Springs State Park
 Central — Douglas County — Villa Grove West Lake
 Central — Hancock County — Horton Lake, Nauvoo State Park **
 Central — Macon County — Rock Springs Pond, Macon County Conservation District
 Central — Macoupin County — Beaver Dam Lake, Beaver Dam Lake State Park
 Central — McDonough County — Argyle Lake, Argyle Lake State Park
 Central — Morgan County — Morgan Lake at Nichols Park, Jacksonville **
 Central — Sangamon County — IDOT Lake, Springfield **
 Central — Sangamon County — Southwind Park, Springfield
 Central — Sangamon County — Washington Park Pond, Springfield
 Central — Shelby County — Forest Park Lagoon, Shelbyville
 Central — Tazewell County — Mineral Springs Park Lagoon, Pekin
 Central — Vermilion County — Clear Lake, Kickapoo State Recreation Area

 South — Bond County — Patriot’s Park Lake (Greenville Old City Lake)
 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 — Madison County — Highland Old City Lake
 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 — Randolph County — Randolph County State Fish and Wildlife Area Lake
 South — Saline County — Jones Lake Trout Pond, Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area
 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