Native stock in pond (IL)? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Native stock in pond (IL)?

Hey there, I want to dig a pond in my backyard, but I am also relatively close to a stormdrain. Due to that, I want to avoid putting anything that is potentially invasive into it. Is it legal, in northern Illinois, to capture native invertebrates (amphipods or shrimp) and fish (like minnows) to stock such a pond with?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 08:53 PM
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You should definitely check your state's regulations about collecting flora and fauna before attempting to collect anything.

That being said, here's a resource. For some reason HTML is down for me.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'm surprised that Dojo Loaches are illegal in Chicago, though the suburbs (where I live) haven't banned them. They're so adorable, but apparently they've become established in our waterways since the 80s, and people catch them. I wonder if I could start a business catching Lake Michigan Dojo Loaches and sell them as 'Local-Bred Dojo Loaches' :}

Which state body should I contact regarding local fauna, however? I've had difficulty figuring out who to contact.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 03:28 AM
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I think it varies from state to state, but its usually the Department of Wildlife.

I'm guessing from a quick google that perhaps you should contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. I think they do permits for scientific collection, but I am not sure about permits for mass wildlife collection on the scale at which you're thinking.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 04:20 PM
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So I am working on a native tank myself, and have been searching for similar answers. This is a good resource to start with regarding aquatic invasive species.

The most well known are ones you probably wouldn't have anyway....zebra muscles and Asian carp.

The legality of local collection is a tough one for IL. The only provision that's on the books right now that EXPLICATELY prohibits collection is related to transport of species that are susceptible to VHS (the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus). The IL species that are susceptible are as follows (taken from IL Administrative Code :
  • Black crappie - Pomoxis nigromaculatus
  • Bluegill - Lepomis macrochirus
  • Bluntnose minnow - Pimephales notatus
  • Brown bullhead - Ictalurus nebulosus
  • Brown trout - Salmo trutta
  • Burbot - Lota lota
  • Channel catfish - Ictalurus punctatus
  • Chinook salmon - Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
  • Emerald shiner - Notropis atherinoides
  • Freshwater drum - Aplodinotus grunniens
  • Gizzard shad - Dorosoma cepedianum
  • Lake whitefish - Coregonus clupeaformis
  • Largemouth bass - Micropterus salmoides
  • Muskellunge - Esox masquinongy
  • Northern pike - Esox lucius
  • Pumpkinseed - Lepomis gibbosus
  • Rainbow trout - Onchorhynchus mykiss
  • Rock bass - Ambloplites rupestris
  • Round goby - Neogobius melanostomus (also invasive)
  • Shorthead redhorse - Moxostoma macrolepidotum
  • Silver redhorse - Moxostoma anisurum
  • Smallmouth bass - Micropterus dolomieu
  • Spottail shiner - Notropis hudsonius
  • Trout-Perch - Percopsis omiscomaycus
  • Walleye - Sander vitreus
  • White bass - Morone chrysops
  • White perch - Morone americana
  • Yellow perch - Perca flavescens

There are many other species that are available to collect, provided they are taken with a sport fishing license, and taken by an approved method. I just had a conversation with an active Illinoisan over at, and this is what he had to say on the matter:

You probably won't be able to get a 100% safe answer, but if you follow the bullet points at the bottom of my post you should be fine. I've been quietly collecting in Illinois for years without any issues. However, I've also never been stopped by a conservation officer while possessing live fish, and that's probably what you're most concerned about.
The post he is referring to:

The issue of collecting fish for home aquaria keeps coming up in Illinois, and I apologize that I don't have a concrete answer yet. Before you collect any fish, whether minnows or game fish, please call your local DNR office and ask them if it is ok. Write down the name and phone number of the person you talk to. You'll want this information in case you get stopped by a game warden or conservation officer.


Illinois Fishing Regs


A sport fishing license permits the use of legalized cast nets, shad scoops, minnow traps and minnow seines to obtain shad, alewife, minnows and crayfish to use as bait, provided they are not sold or are not identified as threatened or endangered aquatic life. All cast nets shall be not larger than 24 feet in diameter or of a mesh size not larger than 1 inch bar measurement. All shad scoops shall be not larger than 30 inches in diameter or of a mesh size not larger than 1/2 inch bar measurement or longer than 4 feet in length. Minnow seines shall not be longer than 20 feet, deeper than 6 feet or contain mesh size larger than 1/2 inch bar measurement. Minnow traps shall not be longer than 36 inches, nor wider than 24 inches, nor use mesh larger than 1/2 inch bar measurement. Minnows and crayfish may be collected with traps of metal screen or hardware cloth, plastic, or nylon mesh or netting. Such traps may not be more than 24 inches in width or diameter or more than 36 inches in length nor use a mesh of more than 1/2 inch bar measurement. Each entrance aperture may not exceed 1.5 inches in diameter. If unattended, such devices must be tagged with the name and mailing address of the person operating the device. Minnows and crayfish collected in such devices may only be taken for personal use and may not be sold or bartered. Collected live bait fish may not be transported between water bodies.


Collected live crayfish may not be transported between water bodies.


VHS Regulations
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) is a disease of fish caused by a virus previously unidentified in the Midwest. While it does not affect humans, VHS can kill a substantial number of fish and has been spreading throughout the great Lakes. The new regulations we are implementing are immediate and appropriate steps in trying to slow the spread of this dangerous aquatic virus in Illinois. Sport fishing and boating are both very popular and important to the Illinois economy. The cooperation of anglers and boaters is essential in combating VHS. The new regulations being implemented by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) regarding VHS that affect recreational anglers and boaters include:
• Eliminating natural water from all equipment when leaving a body of water.
• Emptying and draining all bait buckets, livewells, baitwells, bilges, etc. or any other compartment capable of holding natural waters when leaving a body of water.
• Do not remove live VHS-susceptible species (see below) from any waters. Anglers may catch and keep VHS-susceptible species, but may not transport those fish live from the waters where caught.
• Use of wild-trapped fishes from within the state as bait will be restricted to the waters where legally captured.
While VHS is not known to be a threat to human health, anglers are still advised to wash their hands after handling fish and to cook thoroughly any fish they plan to eat. If handling dead fish or fish that appear to be diseased, protective gloves should be worn. For more information on VHS and the new Illinois regulations aimed at slowing the spread of the virus in Illinois, check the IDNR web site at

VHS Species
Black crappie, Bluegill, Bluntnose minnow, Brown bullhead, Brown trout, Burbot, Channel catfish, Chinook salmon, Emerald shiner, Freshwater drum, gizzard shad, Hybrid (Tiger) muskie, Lake whitefish, Largemouth bass, Muskellunge, Shorthead redhorse, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Rainbow trout, Rock bass, Round goby, Silver redhorse, Smallmouth bass, Spottail shiner, Trout-Perch, Walleye, White bass, White perch, Yellow perch


Fish may be released into the waters from which they were taken, but permission from the Department of Natural Resources must be secured before releasing fish in other waters, except for private water owners. An owner of a body of water may release fish into waters wholly upon his or her property that are indigenous to the State of Illinois. It is illegal to import or possess live diploid grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp or hybrid grass carp. A Restricted Species Transportation Permit must be secured from the Department of Natural Resources before importing or stocking triploid grass carp.


A sport fishing license allows the holder to take smelt in Lake Michigan with a dip net not exceeding 12 feet in diameter and having a mesh size not less than 1 inch diagonal stretch. In other waters carp, carpsucker, buffalo and gizzard shad may be taken with a dip net up to 15 feet in diameter and with a mesh size no less than 1 1/2 inches bar measure. Such equipment may not be used within 100 feet of a dam or to take game fish.


This is the only place I see pickerel mentioned, and it is included as a game species.

Site Specific Sportfishing Regulations
Mississippi River (between IL & MO)
All Nongame Species Combined - 100 Total Fish Daily Creel Limit (Excludes endangered and threatened species and the following game species: Crappie, Channel/Blue/Flathead Catfish, Rock Bass, Warmouth, White/Yellow/Striped/Hybrid Striped Bass, Trout, Largemouth/ Smallmouth/Spotted Bass, Muskellunge, Northern Pike, Chain/grass Pickerel, Walleye, Sauger, Paddlefish)


Here's the bottom line:
  • Call your local DNR office and ask permission. Write down the name and phone number of the person you talk to.
  • Do not collect in VHS waters.
  • Do not collect any nonnative fish.
  • Do not collect any game species with nets.
  • Do not release any live fish into a new body of water.
  • If you get in trouble, do not say that NANFA told you it was ok to collect fish for your aquarium. It's your responsibility to get permission.

Note that not all the species you will be interested in are game you can still collect non-game species with nets. Nothing like adding a little more confusion to an already confusing discussion. lol, good ol Illinois.

Its really great that you are thinking about invasive species! Quite admirable....a lot of people wouldn't give two craps about it. Be sure you are also keeping an eye out for threatened or endangered species, too. Personally, I am working on a laminated flip book or cheat sheet with good, color photos of the endangered species for reference when I am out in the field.

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Last edited by scolba; 06-22-2017 at 04:31 PM. Reason: formatting junk
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