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Heartland Outdoors turkey hunt Illinois may 2018

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Heartland Outdoors

KNOW YOUR BAIT!

Wed, May 16, 2018

Can I do that in Illinois?
When fishing in Illinois waters, it is important to know a few things about using Tadpole Madtoms. These are a plentiful small catfish species, rarely exceeding 5–6 inches, that are collected throughout Illinois, mostly associated with shallow wetland habitats of streams and rivers.

As a catfish, madtoms are scale-less fish with barbels that resemble whiskers.  They may have many local names, but are commonly called “willow cats” when used as bait in northern states. The Tadpole Madtom are noted for having poison in their dorsal spines, which if stepped upon may induce bee sting-like symptoms. Tadpole Madtom is on the Approved Aquatic Life Species List for possession in Illinois; however, it is not permitted to import this species from Great Lakes states (e.g., Wisconsin and Minnesota) without testing for a fish disease called Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS). A certified fish health lab can issue Fish Health Reports based upon laboratory test results that IDNR then can review and permit them for importation.  Currently, IDNR has not permitted or reviewed requests for any Tadpole Madtoms to be imported from these areas.

While imports from non-Great Lakes states are allowed without VHS permitting, IDNR is unaware of any imports from those states, aquaculture facilities in Illinois that may culture Tadpole Madtoms, or bait stores that offer them for sale.

It is legal to capture Tadpole Madtoms by hand or angling from the wild and use them as bait while on the water. There is no possession limit; however, bait buckets, livewells, and bilges must be emptied upon leaving water at the ramp.  In Illinois, it is illegal to take Tadpole Madtoms with other methods, such as seines, throw nets or minnow traps, and LIVE fish taken for bait (such as minnows, sunfish, crayfish, and Madtoms) cannot be transported between water bodies. Illinois does not further restrict the use/possession of Tadpole Madtoms as bait in Illinois.  Bait dealers may need additional permits to buy/sell these non-minnow species, be prepared to document sources of this bait, and should contact IDNR at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for further guidance.

Please note that while Tadpole Madtoms are legal to possess, Northern Madtoms (Noturus stigmosus) are a state-listed endangered species in Illinois.  Freckled Madtoms (Noturus nocturnus) are a state-listed endangered species in Iowa. Neither of these would be legal to possess in the state, or on their portions of water, where listed. Northern Madtoms are found in far eastern Illinois in the Wabash River Basin and tributaries, while Freckled Madtoms are found in the Upper Mississippi River Basin and tributaries, including the Mississippi, Illinois, Kaskaskia, Ohio, and Wabash rivers and tributaries.  Both of these endangered species have an upper lip that projects beyond the lower one.  Tadpole Madtoms’ upper lip does NOT overhang the lower one.  If you are unable to properly identify these species, Illinois DNR suggests not possessing them.

To prevent the unintended stocking of baitfish and introducing invasive species into waterbodies, it is suggested to follow three simple steps:  REMOVE, DRAIN, DRY!  EVERY TIME!  BE A HERO-TRANSPORT ZERO.  www.transportzero.org

Any live bait should be dumped into the trash after a day’s fishing and not stocked into the water.

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