River Monsters: Illinois' 7 Biggest Fish

The Lake Sturgeon: an ancient fish native to Illinois, may grow to 7 feet long and 200 pounds, but overfishing and habitat loss threaten its conservation.

The Alligator Gar: Illinois' largest native fish, has returned to the Illinois River and grown to 10 feet long and 300 pounds, needing conservation efforts.

Flathead Catfish: which may grow to 5 feet long and 100 pounds, are prized by experienced fisherman on the Illinois River.

Blue Catfish: The largest North American catfish species, the Blue Catfish, lives in the Illinois River and challenges fisherman with its massive size—over 5 feet long and 100 pounds.

The invasive Asian Bighead Carp : which can grow to 4 feet and 110 pounds, threatens the Illinois River environment.

The non-native Grass Carp: introduced for vegetation removal, can grow to 4 feet and 80 pounds, threatening the Illinois River ecology due to its feeding habits and influence on native species.

The Paddlefish: A quick and flavorful noodle dish made wThe Illinois River's largest freshwater fish, the paddlefish, is notable for its filter-feeding and restricted harvesting. It may grow to 7 feet and 100 pounds. ith rice noodles, veggies, and a spicy Thai sauce, perfect for a weeknight dinner with a kick.

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