Where to Buy Illinois Fishing License – Easy Locations and Tips

Obtaining a fishing license in Illinois is straightforward and convenient.

You can purchase your fishing license online through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

This method allows you to buy and reprint your license without any hassle.

For those who prefer in-person transactions, licenses are also available from authorized vendors across the state.

These include retail stores and bait shops, making it easy to pick up your license while shopping for fishing gear.

Keep in mind that fishing licenses for the 2024 season went on sale beginning March 1.

Whether you are a resident or a non-resident, Illinois offers a variety of license options to suit different needs, including daily, multi-day, and annual licenses.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Illinois

Illinois offers various sport fishing licenses catering to different needs based on residency, age, and the length of the fishing trip. Some common license types and their 2021 fees include:


  • Annual: $15.00
  • 24-hour: $5.50
  • Aged 65 and older: $7.75
  • Aged 75 and older: $1.50
  • Sportsmen’s License (fishing and hunting combined): $26.25
  • Lifetime Sport Fishing: $435.00

Residents who are eligible veterans can purchase the annual and sportsmen’s licenses at half price.


  • Annual: $31.50
  • Three-day: $15.50
  • 24-hour: $10.50

License sales for the year start on March 1 and expire on March 31 of the subsequent year.

Places to Buy

The easiest method for purchasing an Illinois fishing license is through the Department of Natural Resources website, where you can also reprint your license at no extra cost.

Alternatively, you can buy a license from approved Department of Natural Resources vendors throughout the state. These vendors are listed on the Department’s website. Replacement licenses can also be issued by these vendors for a fee of $3 per item, plus a small transaction charge.


Buy Your Illinois Fishing License

From riverbanks and reservoirs to its great lakes, Illinois provides diverse fishing opportunities. If you’re planning to fish in Illinois, ensuring compliance with the state’s fishing license rules is crucial.

Residents aged 16 and older must carry a license, whether physical or electronic, each time they go fishing. However, exceptions exist based on residency status.


Illinois residents meeting certain criteria can fish without a license. To qualify as a resident, you must have lived in Illinois for at least 30 days before purchasing your license.

  • Individuals legally disabled or blind with proof of disability
  • Landowners or tenants fishing in waters on their property (excluding club or organizational lakes)
  • Active duty armed forces members who entered service in Illinois and are on leave
  • Those fishing at fee fishing areas licensed by the Department of Natural Resources


Exemptions for non-residents are limited to:

  • Anglers with licenses from bordering states fishing on the Illinois side of adjacent rivers
  • Those fishing at fee fishing areas licensed by the Department of Natural Resources

Fishing without a license is also allowed on the state’s designated Free Fishing Days, announced annually by the Department of Natural Resources.

Benefits of Obtaining a License

Benefits of Obtaining a Fishing License

Holding a valid fishing license provides multiple benefits. First, it supports local conservation efforts as fees collected are used for maintaining waterways and fish populations. Your contributions help enhance and protect Illinois’s natural resources.

Licenses also allow you to fish legally across Illinois, including public water bodies and certain private areas open for licensed fishing. This presents more opportunities to enjoy the diverse fishing experiences that Illinois offers.