The Northern Illinois Sports show is back for its 40th year, and in a new location. The show features something for all types of outdoor enthusiasts including seminars, family-friendly attractions, and exhibitors with amazing deals on outdoor apparel, supplies and equipment. The show runs Thursday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake.

Outdoor Sports Group Chairman Jim Grandt, whose group is presenting the show, said he’s excited for the show’s move to the Lake County Fairgrounds as it was a way to offer free parking for attendees and exhibitors as well as make it easier for people to access.

This outdoor spectacular includes dozens of seminars such as Fishing Hall of Fame angler Mark Martin’s “Walleye Question and Answer!”, The Crappie Psychic Captain Clyde Folse’s “Catching More Crappie,” and Lake Geneva and Delavan Lake expert and fishing guide Captain William Heim’s ‘Smallmouth on the Move.”

The Illinois Lyme Support Network will offer information on Lyme disease awareness, and a Hall of Fame Super Panel will take place on Sunday afternoon featuring Hall of Fame anglers Mark Martin, Spencer Petros, Bob Mehsikomer and Tommy Skarlis.

“All of our speakers are really headliners,” Grandt said. “We have some newer anglers like Violet Tally as well as some Hall of Fame speakers. They’re all really amazing, and the people that come are going to take away some really valuable information from them. It’s a really big deal that they are going to be here.”

Grandt is an Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame member and owner of Grandt Rods. His world-class display of rods will be on exhibit at the show for purchase along with additional fishing gear. Grandt Rods will give the first 100 kids to attend the event on Saturday, Jan. 18, a free Berkley Lure for Conservation Youth Awareness Day.

Attendees can enter to win door prizes such as a custom-made fishing rod from Grandt Rods, guide trips from Jim’s Guide Service, a two-day fishing trip with Bob Mehsikomer, a taxidermy shoulder mount white-tailed deer from All-American Taxidermy, and a tackle bag by Mike Jackson Outdoors.

The show features a Tackle Time Pavilion filled with tackle, gear and fishing products as well as a Boat, RV and Powersports Hall showcasing the most boat dealers the show has had to date. Kids can enjoy interactive attractions, family-friendly vendors and a catch and release trout pond in the Kids Zone. They also can enjoy ax throwing, sawing and log rolling entertainment at Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show.

Attendees can bring their fishing equipment to have interactive learning experiences with Professional Walleye Trail World Champion and Hall of Fame angler Martin. Attendees also can book charter trips with experienced captains, and marvel at the wooden lapstrake boats from the Barrington Boat Club.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, the induction of pro angler and crappie pro world champion Tommy Skarlis, Off Shore Tackle CEO Bruce Deshano, and outdoor writer and northwest Illinois and Wisconsin guide Ted Peck into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame will take place.

“This is a really well-rounded show,” Grandt said. “We’re not just a fishing show. We’re not just a boat show. We wanted a full, well-rounded sports show, for boaters, for fishers, for hunters, for kids, for outdoor sports enthusiasts. We went over the top bringing these Hall of Fame speakers in. It will be a first-class show that offers a lot of diversity and something for everyone.”

For additional show information and ticket information, visit



Thursday, Jan. 16 and Friday, Jan. 17 – Noon to 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 18 – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday, January 19 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Lake County Fairgrounds

1060 E. Peterson Road, Grayslake, IL 60030

Ticket Prices:

General ticket admission is $12 per day at the door, cash only. General daily tickets also are available online for $10 per day.

Children 11 and under are free

Ticket Specials:

Thursday, Jan. 16 – General admission ticket is $6 at the door and online with the donation of four or more food items in partnership with Illinois Conservation Foundation.

Friday, Jan. 17 – Sunday, Jan. 19 - General admission ticket is $10 at the door with the donation of four or more food items in partnership with Illinois Conservation Foundation.

A coupon is available on the show site for $2 off general door admission for Thursday and Friday

Tickets are $8 for seniors, military, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, Scouts in uniform and High School Bass Club students in uniform Thursday through Sunday.

To purchase tickets, visit