The Illinois Smallmouth Alliance (ISA) is an organization of catch-and-release anglers helping to preserve the smallmouth bass and its habitat through education and conservation. Participation in the ISA is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest techniques and concerns regarding smallmouth bass in Illinois.
The Illinois Smallmouth Alliance was founded in 1994 by a group of dedicated anglers concerned about the future of the smallmouth fishery in the Land of Lincoln.
Smallmouth bass can be found in nearly every body of moving water in the state as long as habitat is available. Illinois is also home to several trophy smallmouth lakes. However, even with all the wonderful fishing opportunities around, Illinois is not without its share of problems. Overharvest, pollution, agricultural runoff, and habitat degradation are all major issues we face everyday. Enter the ISA! It’s our job as members to tackle these problems head-on, and we have fun doing it!
To Protect, Preserve, Educate, and Enhance.
- Protecting by working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 1997 to reduce the harvest of smallmouth bass by half in our rivers and streams and also protecting spawning fish with a closed season state-wide.
- Preserving by making catch and release a religion, not a practice, and by using barbless hooks and other methods to reduce damage to the fishery.
- Educating other anglers on just how fragile our fisheries are through seminars, and on the water through educational signs and also educating by example.
- Enhancing the available habitat for smallmouth bass through cleanups, habitat restorations, and by working with other environmental groups to address pollution and other issues that impact our waterways.
Does that sound like a lot of hard work? It is, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun too! ISA members enjoy up to six organized fishing/canoeing outings a year, weather permitting. We get together for meetings several times a year to tackle issues, swap stories, and enjoy an informational seminar or two. We also have a yearly banquet (the Bronzeback Blowout) with great food, special guest speakers, door prizes, and just good old-fashioned fun.
Our nearly 400 ISA members already know of all the benefits of joining. Even if you’re a non-member, please browse this site and its links. You’ll find a wealth of information geared toward all aspects of smallmouth fishing. After that, if you feel ready to get involved in preserving the smallmouth bass for future generations, visit our membership page for all the info you need to join our ranks.