My phone has been a buzz the last couple couple of days about bowfishing for catfish. It’s one of the new laws taking effect on January 1 this year. The bad part of all of this is that folks hear this in news reports etc. and don’t realize that the statute adding catfish is what actually takes effect on January 1.
Many do not realize that there’s still a whole longer process to go through before one can actually go out and stick an arrow in a catfish.
The following link will explain exactly how the rule making process works.
In a nutshell, there is the First Notice period, which must last for 45 days, may include a public hearing, and is open to written public comments. Agencies can elect to go longer than 45 days.
Following that a Second notice is issued, with any changes and outlines exactly what the proposed rule will be.
Following that Second notice and acceptance by JCAR, (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) and receives a Certificate of No Objection, or duly responds to an Objection within 90 days, it may adopt the rulemaking with any Second Notice changes to which the agency and JCAR have agreed during the review process (if any changes were requested or necessary) and any modifications the agency makes in response to a JCAR Objection.
So, although the statute becomes effective on January 1, it still won’t be legal to shoot until these steps have been followed.
What’s important to note on the bowfishing for catfish is that in the proposed admin rule, not all waters open to bowfishing will be open to bowfishing for catfish.
Here’s the rather lengthy list of proposed legal waters for bowfishing for catfish.
3) Catfish species may only be taken in rivers and connected public (wholly accessible by boat) backwaters (see list in Section 810.15) as noted in subsection (d)(4) through (15).
4) Mississippi River connected public (wholly accessible by boat) backwaters, including that portion of the Kaskaskia River below the navigation lock and dam, except:
A) Quincy Bay, including Quincy Bay Waterfowl Management Area.
B) Spring Lake in the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
C) Mark Twain U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge Waters (except by special permit).
5) Illinois River and connected public (wholly accessible by boat) backwaters from Route 89 highway bridge downstream, except for:
A) U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Refuge Waters.
B) Meredosia Lake in Cass and Morgan Counties during the central zone duck season.
C) Clear Lake in Mason County 7 days prior to and during the central zone duck season.
D) Route 89 highway bridge to Starved Rock Dam for the commercial removal of Asian carp only by a limited number of restricted period contracts.
6) Wabash River.
7) Embarras River, except from Route 130 in Coles County upstream to the Harrison Street Bridge, including Lake Charleston.
8) Sangamon River, downstream of Belt Route 48 southwest of Decatur to mouth in Cass County.
9) Kaskaskia River south of Route U.S. 50 Bridge to mouth in Randolph County.
10) Little Wabash River.
11) Big Muddy River south of State Route 14 highway bridge in Franklin County to mouth in Jackson County.
12) Skillet Fork.
13) Cache River from Route 51 downstream to the Mississippi River via Cache Diversion Channel, but not including that portion of the Cache River between the Cache Diversion Channel Levee and the Ohio River.
14) Saline River in Gallatin and Saline Counties.
15) Ohio River, except for:
A) Lock and Dam 52 downstream to a line perpendicular with the end of the longest lock wall, including the circular cell portion.
B) Lock and Dam 53 downstream to a line perpendicular with the end of the longest lock wall, including the circular cell portion.
C) Smithland Dam downstream to a line perpendicular to the end of the outer lock wall.
D) Within 50 yards of the mouth of any tributary or stream.
For those who wish to comment to IDNR on the proposed admin rule change please send your written comments to:
Anne Mergen, Legal Counsel
Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield IL 62702-1271
When it’s all said and done and the final rules are adopted, we here at Heartland will be the first to let everyone know! And as an aside also included in this proposal is the opening of the lakes at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex to bowfishing for carp, carpsuckers, buffalo, gar, bowfin and suckers!