Illinois DNR clarifies Alabama Umbrella Rig Regulations

Updated: 10/21/2023 – The new Alabama rig is sweeping the nation, raising questions by anglers regarding its legality. The Illinois DNR legal staff, working with the Divisions of Fisheries and Law Enforcement, have determined that the Alabama rig IS legal in those waters in the state that do NOT have the “2 poles only with no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole regulation (unless 3 of the 5 lures have the hook/barb clipped off).”

Most of our waters are “2 pole and line only” waters. Please check the fishing regulations book before fishing the water of your choice.

There are many water bodies in the state that have a regulation allowing for “2 poles only with no more than 2 hooks or lures per pole.” On these water bodies the Alabama rig is NOT legal since it has 5 hooks. The rig could be made legal by wire clipping three of the hooks, making them “dummies,” or by replacing three of the hooks with spinner blades, making it so the rig would have only 2 hooks and therefore falls within that regulation.

To determine which water body permits the Alabama rig, check the Fishing Regulations Booklet under Site Specific Regulations. The Site Specific Regulations will state directly under the lake name “2 pole and line only.” As stated, on those lakes the Alabama rig is NOT legal unless modified as described above.

Above from FAQs – Can I use umbrella rigs in the state of Illinois?

Illinois Department of Natural Resources main website | Illinois DNR Fishing Official Website

Special Note from IFishIllinois – Catch and Release: Umbrella Rigs. Anglers use bait spreaders and umbrella rigs to separate lures and hooks from tangling. They are designed so your swim baits combine to represent a small school of baitfish. The Alabama Rig is an example and is increasingly popular with anglers fishing for bass. Keep in mind that to stay within the legal possession limit, one cast with an umbrella rig could put an angler over the limit if there are already several fish on a stringer or in a live well. Currently, experiments are being conducted to see if fish caught and released on an umbrella rig have decreased survival rates. These multi-hook rigs are only legal on Illinois waters that do not have the “2 poles only with 2 hooks or lures per pole” regulation. Be sure to know the regulations for the body of water where you’re fishing.

* Always make sure you get the latest fishing guide regulations directly from the state or province you plan to fish in as regulations are subject to change without notice on Though we attempt to get an official up-to-date response we cannot guaranty we have the latest correct and complete regulations including all exceptions.

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Dan Kimmel is the editor of