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Illinois River

Upper Illinois
The Illinois River is Oklahoma's best known scenic river. Officially designated in the 1970's as a scenic river the upper 70 miles of the Illinois River is cherished for its beauty. Running through the heart of the beautiful Oklahoma Ozark Hills with their ever-changing oak-hickory forest, there is breathtaking beauty year round. The upper Illinois is an easy-flowing river with splendid scenery and several stretches of mild rapids. It is an excellent fishing stream with smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel and flathead catfish walleye and various other species. Canoeing is one of the most poplar activities on the Illinois. Floaters enjoy 70 miles of interesting and sometimes challenging water. Canoes, tubes, and boats can be rented at several locations along the river. Floating the Illinois is not dangerous, but certainly safety precautions are in order anytime you are on the water. Lifejackets are a must for non-swimmers. If you plan an overnight trip on the Illinois, you'll want to take along camping gear. Anything which might be damaged by water should be stored in waterproof containers and tethered to the craft. Floating the Illinois is a delightful experience, please leave it that way for others who may follow. Leave your campsite clean and PLEASE DON'T LITTER the shoreline or the water. Practice the saying, "Take nothing but photographs - leave nothing but footprints."

Lower Illinois
Below Lake Tenkiller Dam run the cold, clear waters of the lower Illinois River, a beautiful flowing, scenic river. Fishermen have been coming to the lower Illinois since 1965 when it was established as Oklahoma's first year round designated trout stream. Because trout are such hard fighters once they are hooked, trout fishing continues to attract more and more anglers. The state record trout, 10 lbs. 6 oz. was caught in 1966 and still stands. The Fisheries Division of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife stocks trout every weekend from the end of March through the 4th Of July. The rest of the year trout are stocked every other week usually on Friday. Contingent upon access and water oxygen content, stocking takes place at 4 locations along the 7.7 mile stretch of the river. Trout licenses are required for ALL (no exceptions) anglers fishing any of the seven designated trout streams or lakes in Oklahoma and are valid from January 1 until December 31.  Fishermen are allowed to use any kind of bait, live or artificial. The limit is 6 per person, 12 in possession. It is legal to catch and release as long as the trout are not harmed. Trout are the only game fish that may be used for bait and many do use them to catch the stripers found in the cold water at the foot of the river. Four of the last six records for stripers have come from the waters of the Illinois River.

Tenkiller Lake Central