SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — The 2018 Illinois spring trout fishing season is just a few weeks away. Anglers will need both a fishing license and an inland trout stamp to participate, unless they are under the age of 16, blind, disabled or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces.

Licenses and trout stamps will be available for purchase on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) website and at IDNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets, starting Thursday, March 1.

The spring catch-and-release fly fishing season opens at nine sites on March 24. Anglers can use fly fishing gear to catch trout at that time, but they cannot keep the fish. All trout must be released until after the opening of the regular spring trout season, which begins at 5 a.m. on April 7. Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal harvest season opening will be issued citations.

The IDNR stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout each year, with 54 ponds, lakes and streams throughout the state being stocked for the spring season, and an additional 80,000 trout stocked for the fall season.

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

For more information about all site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout. Not all sites open at 5 a.m. on opening day. Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite sites prior to the opening date.

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The 54 locations that will be open for spring trout season are listed below:

2018 Illinois Spring Trout Locations
(** Denotes Sites Open for Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing-Only Early Season)

  • Adams County — Siloam Springs State Park Lake **
  • Cass County — Gridley Lake, Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA **
  • Champaign County — Lake of the Woods, Champaign Co. Forest Preserve Dist.
  • Christian County — Manners Park Pond, Taylorville Park District
  • Coles County — Eastern Illinois University Campus Pond, Charleston
  • Hancock County — Horton Lake, Nauvoo State Park **
  • Jefferson County — Mount Vernon Game Farm Pond
  • Johnson County — Ferne Clyffe State Park Lake
  • Macon County — Sportsman’s Club Pond, Macon County Conservation District
  • Marion County — Boston Pond, Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area
  • Massac County — Fairgrounds Pond, Fort Massac State Park
  • McLean County — Miller Park Lake, Bloomington
  • Morgan County — Morgan Lake at Nichols Park, Jacksonville **
  • Moultrie County — Wyman Lake, Sullivan
  • Pike County — Kings Park Pond, Pittsfield
  • Randolph County — Derby Lake, Sparta (World Shooting and Recreational Complex)
  • St. Clair County — Frank Holten State Park Main Lake; Jones Park Lake, East St. Louis; Willow Lake, Peabody River King State Fish and Wildlife Area **
  • Sangamon County — Southwind Park, Springfield; IDOT Lake, Springfield **; Washington Park Pond, Springfield
  • Shelby County — Forest Park Lagoon, Shelbyville
  • Vermilion County — Clear Lake, Kickapoo State Recreation Area
  • Wabash County — Beall Woods Lake, Beall Woods State Park
  • Wayne County — Sam Dale Trout Pond, Sam Dale Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network and a contributing writer for My Sports Vote, Ambush Sports and Midwest Sports Network. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dogs Sparky and Buster.

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