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Fishing For Salmon In Illinois

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All about fishing for Atlantic and coho salmon in IL.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Salmon fishing in Illinois

Illinois offers limited opportunities for salmon fishing, particularly along the shores of Lake Michigan and its tributaries. Several species of salmon can be found in Illinois waters, attracting anglers from near and far.

Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, are the most sought-after salmon species in Illinois. These powerful fish are known for their size, often reaching weights of over 30 pounds. Chinook salmon provide thrilling angling experiences, putting up strong fights and displaying acrobatic leaps when hooked. Anglers often target chinook salmon using a variety of techniques, including trolling with spoons, plugs, or bait, as well as casting with lures from the shore or fishing near river mouths during their seasonal runs.

Coho salmon, also called silver salmon, are another prized species targeted by anglers in Illinois. These fish are known for their aggressive nature and aerial displays when hooked. Coho salmon offer thrilling battles, often leaping out of the water and making blistering runs. Anglers often target coho salmon using similar techniques as chinook salmon, including trolling with spoons or plugs and casting with lures or bait.

Lake trout, although not technically a salmon, are often encountered by anglers targeting salmon in Illinois. These large and powerful fish are known for their deep-dwelling behavior and require specific techniques and gear to catch. Anglers targeting lake trout often use downriggers or other deep-water fishing methods to reach the depths where these fish reside.

The purpose of this page is to share basic information about salmon fishing and identify popular salmon waters in the state. Salmon fishing in Illinois offers anglers the chance to pursue these highly prized species in a beautiful and diverse fishing environment. The seasonal runs of salmon create excitement among anglers, as they gather along the lake's shoreline or venture into tributaries to experience the thrill of hooking into these powerful fish. Whether trolling, casting, or fishing from the shore, Illinois provides ample opportunities for salmon anglers to enjoy the sport and reel in some impressive catches.

If you want to go salmon fishing in Illinois you have basically one choice. But what a choice...Lake Michigan.

Fishing Boats For Rent In IL

Fishing for salmon in Illinois

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon

World record: 79 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 18 lbs 11.25 oz

Atlantic Salmon

Chinook a.k.a. King

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 37 lbs 0 oz

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon

World record: 33 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 20 lbs 9 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Illinois State Record Salmon

The state record Atlantic salmon was caught from Lake Michigan.

The state record chinook salmon came from Lake Michigan.

The state record coho salmon was caught in Lake Michigan.

About The Pacific Salmon Family

Pacific Salmon are born in and remain in freshwater streams for the early years of life. The number varies by species. Afterward they migrate to the Pacific Ocean waters where they bulk up and prepare for their once in a lifetime spawning run up the freshwater stream where they were born. They will instinctively return to their birthplace, spawn and die. They are found in the streams which empty into the ocean and adjoining ocean waters.

Illinois Salmon Fishing

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies, as well as a variety of other lures and baits.


Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.

AK Salmon Fishing CA Salmon Fishing CO Salmon Fishing ID Salmon Fishing IL Salmon Fishing IN Salmon Fishing MA Salmon Fishing ME Salmon Fishing
MI Salmon Fishing MN Salmon Fishing MT Salmon Fishing NC Salmon Fishing ND Salmon Fishing NE Salmon Fishing NH Salmon Fishing
NJ Salmon Fishing NM Salmon Fishing NV Salmon Fishing NY Salmon Fishing OH Salmon Fishing OR Salmon Fishing PA Salmon Fishing
RI Salmon Fishing SD Salmon Fishing VT Salmon Fishing WA Salmon Fishing WI Salmon Fishing WY Salmon Fishing

Learn the life cycle of salmon

The more you know about the life cycle and seasonal migration of salmon, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Illinois salmon fishing waters. Visit the salmon fishing page for more information about the life cycle of the different species of salmon.

Contribute IL Salmon Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to salmon fishing in Illinois, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best salmon fishing waters in Illinois!