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Exempt From C&R Regulation

Mike Clifford

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In streams and tributaries statewide


except for the Mississippi, Ohio, Wabash and Illinois Rivers, all


smallmouth bass must be immediately released


between April 1 and June 15.


Unless, of course you are hosting a bass tournament on the rivers covered by this regulation.

Apparently, all you need to do is ask for an exemption to yank smallmouth from their beds or anywhere near them, tote them around for a few hours in a boat, weigh them in and ultimately release them....somewhere in the water.


Yes, sports fans.

This is taking place widespread and often in IL rivers and their tributaries.


It causes me to wonder why the regulation exists to begin with.

I've fished tournaments. I get it.


What I don't get is why any group that has a stake in the future of a species would even want to circumvent a law that is designed to preserve and protect the future of the fishery.


Perhaps the experts know something I don't.

Somebody enlighten me.

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I'm not very experienced with tournament fishing. Do they actually hold smallmouth bass tourneys in IL, or is it that some smallies are caught while focusing on LMB for the tournament?


My first thought when I read your post was "Do they hold bass tourneys on the smaller rivers and streams where this regulation applies (DuPage, KKK, Vermillion, etc)"? I would think any tourneys not held in lakes and reservoirs would be held on those larger rivers which are exempt from the reg anyway. However, something must have sparked your ire so I'm just curious what is being held and where?



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They are indeed on the Kankakee, Fox......name one.

If it can handle a bass boat, it has a tournament.

Black Bass are just that.

Nobody is targeting largemouth on the Kankakee.

You'd be in for a long day with that.....unless you motor up into the Des Plaines.


Check the more popular Chicagoland Fishing websites and you'll find them listed.


The concept isn't what I question, it is the timing and location.


Well, and the fact that exemptions are given for a species that is supposed to be protected during the spawn.

That really frosts my ass.


If it isn't being enforced, then don't have the damn regulation.

What's the point?

Poachers aren't doing much more damage than those that decimate the same number of spawn beds.

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Have to agree Mike. "why have the regulation" if exemptions can and will be given to any who apply.


Reminds me of the IL "No Fireworks" legislation which exists to save lives and prevent injuries. Therfore, dad and his two kids, none of whom drink, cannot enjoy a real sparkler or bottle rocket. But let my neighbor apply for a permit and he can have a kegger so that he and his drunken mates can set off 5 grocery carts full of every explosive you can concieve. Makes perfect sense.

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A guy on my Facebook Goup, "Northern Illinois Outdoor Sportsman", asked me about the Hawg Hunters Tourny held on the Rock River a couple weeks ago.

He said that he was at the weigh in and saw many smallmouth bass brought to the scale and was wondering how this could happen if it was closed season

on smallies. This is what he posted a couple days later............


"Terry, I found out the deal with bass tournaments during closed season. Hawg Hunters got 2 permits. One was for the 12" bass limit and the other was to carry bass in a live well during a closed season. From what I heard, the DNR doesnt push the closed small mouth season. Its part of the regs but they rarely violate people for it because it wasn't one of there rules. I guess the ISA and Hawg Hunters were the mains ones pushing for the small mouth closed season and a lot of people dont respect it so the IDNR doesnt enforce it like they should, basically making it easy for anyone to get a closed season small mouth carry permit."


What up wit dat?



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Somebody is not being truthful.

That regulation is not an "ISA thing".


From a page on our website:


With the ISA getting the ball rolling, it was not long before the DNR began to look to the future as well. It was no secret that they were not enamored with the results that the 1997 regulations produced. They knew as well that the Kankakee was a superb "smallmouth factory" with high numbers of bass present throughout the river. They also knew (even before we presented the idea to them) that the ISA was seriously pursuing a new regulation for the smallmouth-rich Kankakee.


Then this past summer we were requested by the fisheries division of the IDNR to attend a "smallmouth management" meeting. The meeting took place at Silver Springs State Park just outside of Yorkville. Attendees included ISA officers along with numerous DNR streams biologists from the different regions of the state. The thrust of the meeting revolved around future stream smallmouth management strategies. The ISA and the DNR were provided the opportunity to present their ideas. I must admit that going into the meeting I was a little apprehensive about what the DNR might try to propose. I hypothesized that after the initial exchange of ideas were on the table, there would be some glaring disagreements that may take months or years to work out. Boy, was I wrong!!


To our utter amazement, the DNR's ideas for future management were very close to our ideals as well! Undoubtedly, the biggest surprise came first when the DNR asked us how we would feel about a CATCH & RELEASE SEASON IN ALL STREAMS FROM APRIL 1 TO JUNE 15! To say the least, we were ecstatic!




Quite a different scenario than what was presented by your contact.

We asked for strengthened regulations on one river, based on the previous reg not being sufficient. The IDNR knew this to be true!


You can see what THEY offered in return.

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I was also in attendance at that meeting and that's how it happened.


Man, I'm starting to think you can't believe everything written on the internet.


I've been boonswaggled.

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I'm just letting you know what some people are saying. Whether there's any truth to anything, I don't know.

I'm just the messenger, please don't shoot me. If one person is saying and believe this then you know there's more that feel the same way.

Personally I don't think anybody or any group should be able to get a bass tournament permit in the state of Illinois from 4/1 - 6/15.

It don't make sense to have a closed season but allow this tournament permit thing to continue.

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