Access to Fishing, Illinois’ Tackle Loaner Program

spinner fishing rod and reel on stone

Imagine if there was a special library made for young anglers; but instead of borrowing books, they could check out fishing rods, reels and other gear. Well there is and it’s available to anyone in Illinois.

It’s called Access to Fishing – a program by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that since 1997, allows anyone to try fishing without having to buy the equipment first.

Want to see if your child is even interested in fishing? Come get a rod. Want to spend an afternoon fishing with your kids without an investment in tackle? Come get the appropriate tackle. Have a fishing birthday party and you need 19 poles for the neighborhood crew? Come get the rods.

You can get all you need at local libraries, bait shops, and lakeside concession stands. And it’s literally as easy as picking them up. You can keep the tackle for up to a week, or even reserve up to 25 rods at a time by calling in advance. If you’re an organization or church group that needs fishing equipment, Access to Fishing can help you, too.

spinner fishing poles standing up

As Natural Resource Education Program Director Scott Isringhausen reminds us, “Hook a kid on fishing and it’s a whole lot better than the less desirable things.”

To find out where the nearest places are that you can pick up loaner rods and reels through Access to Fishing, go to your nearest fishing equiptment loan location.

Or if you live in the Naperville region, the person to call is Brenda McKinney at 847-294-4137. She’ll be glad to help. As she says, “I’ve seen this program really change lives.”


Story & Photos By:Jeff Moore

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