Some of the Largest Freshwater Fish in the World are in Illinois

Illinois is home to some of the largest freshwater fish in the world, and recently a commercial netting crew working to reduce invasive carp populations caught a giant 109-pound carp on the Illinois River near Morris, according to this Facebook post by the Illinois River Biological Station. A 90-pound carp was caught in the same area a day earlier.

Big fish are common on a number of Illinois rivers and lakes. A lake sturgeon is an extremely rare species, and it is also the largest species in the state. The largest fish ever captured in Illinois waters was a lake sturgeon from Lake Michigan in 1943. The fish weighed 310 pounds and was seven feet, 11 inches long. Some of the other largest on record include a 124-pound blue catfish that was caught in 2005 on the Mississippi River and a 78-pound flathead catfish caught on Carlyle Lake in 1995.

Illinois has 196 species of fish representing 77 genera and 28 families. Illinois is also home to 14 endangered species of fish that may not be taken. Nine species of fish have become extirpated from Illinois. The most common types of freshwater species in Illinois are largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye, smallmouth bass, sauger, black crappie, lake whitefish, green sunfish, lake sturgeon, yellow perch, channel catfish, grass carp, white bass, bowfin, flathead catfish, muskellunge, lake trout, longnose sucker, coho salmon, slimy sculpin, northern pike, gizzard shad, burbot, yellow bass, black bullhead, banded pygmy sunfish, rainbow trout, and freshwater drum.

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