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Hello from Northern Illinois!

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#1 JBMedia

  • NANFA Guest
  • Northern Illinois

Posted 26 January 2021 - 10:39 PM

Hello everyone! While not new to Nanfa, I am new to the forum here!

I'm up north in the Chicagoland Suburbs but travel throughout the midwest for work which leads me to some fun spots for sampling fish after my work day is over!

I really am passionate about aquariums and how under represented our native species are in the hobby and would like to bring more awareness. However Illinois law and regulations are extremely vague when it comes to captive care and I'm curious if anyone has any personal experience on this topic?

Hopefully someone from INHS might be able to help me?

I'm planning on sampling locally pretty frequently so if anyone wants to tag along or share some spots I'd love to chat!


#2 swampfish

  • NANFA Member

Posted 28 January 2021 - 10:21 AM

I have not received any information recently about keeping fish in aquaria or outdoor ponds from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). However, in the late 1990's, I was involved in a roundtable discussion at the Illinois Natural History Survey with the head lawyer from IDNR about native fish regulations. Although most of the discussion centered around interpretation of laws involving native fish collecting, there was a short discussion about keeping live native fish. Essentially, the lawyer said that IDNR didn't regulate what people did with the fish after they were legally caught from Illinois water bodies as long as they were not returned to other water bodies. He further stated that if people wanted to keep them live in aquaria, IDNR did not prevent it.


I just looked through the 2020 Illinois Fishing Regulations and, like you, came up with no insight into captive care. I know of no other source of legal information in that area. I currently keep several species of native fish in aquaria, and move some of them outdoors during the summer into polyethylene stock tanks and small landlocked garden ponds which seems reasonable in protecting them from likely interaction with wild fish. I feel comfortable that I am not violating any Illinois laws or the intentions of them. 


Phil Nixon

Tolono, IL

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