Low and variable rates of capture are chronic problems in chelonian studies. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate protocols for future inventories of turtles in Illinois by comparing capture efficiency and species coverage for 2 devices (hoop net and cage trap), baits (fresh and day-old fish), habitats (lentic and lotic) and time periods . We accrued 402 captures of 378 individuals representing 7 species. At Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area (Sanganois), hoop nets produced more captures of more species (n = 231; 6 species) than cage traps (n = 119; 4 species). Statistical tests were equivocal for a reach of the Sangamon River, where both devices had 26 captures but hoop nets detected more species (n = 6) than cage traps (n = 3). At Sanganois, catch per unit effort varied with sampling session (time) and freshness of baits; one measure of species coverage varied with session. Results helped us make informed decisions about protocols for future inventories.