The Chicagoland area features an abundance of fishing spots within a one-hour drive of the city, and some even within Chicago itself, making it easy to find a spot that is close and convenient. The question is, where should you go? While prying the name of a great fishing spot from a veteran fishing enthusiast might be easier said than done, we’ve made it easy for you through the following list of spots to fish. Local and state regulations still apply to these spots, so make sure you have the correct licenses before you go.
Chicago Park District
541 N. Fairbanks
Chicago, IL 60611
If you live in Chicago, you really don’t have to travel far to find a great fishing spot. The Chicago Park District offers numerous spots throughout the city, including ponds and lagoons available for fishing from March to October, for you cast a line and wait to reel in a big one. There are several lakefront locations available for fishing year-round, too, including Monroe Harbor and DuSable Harbor. What’s available? You can catch certain varieties of perch, trout, bass, crappie and carp. Fishing hours for both lakefront and lagoon fishing are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. For a list of regulations and locations, check out the Chicago Park District’s website.
Ned Brown Preserve
536 N. Harlem Ave.
River Forest, IL 60305
The Ned Brown Preserve, which locals also know as Busse Woods, is a fishing enthusiast’s dream. Managed by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the preserve includes a reservoir for year-round fishing as well as fishing walls throughout the preserve. In addition to a fishing license, you can only bring two poles with no more than two hooks per pole, per person. Busse Woods is located in the northwest part of Cook County, making it a convenient location for fishing enthusiasts from all over the Chicagoland area. It features a variety of fish, including bass, pike, catfish and walleye. For a list of rules and regulations on fishing, check out the Forest Preserve’s website.
2050 W. Stearns Road
Bartlett, IL 60103
Flowing more than 110 miles in Illinois, the Fox River has a bevy of spots that are perfect for fishing. The Fox River also has 14 dams and runs through numerous suburbs, ensuring anyone from McHenry to Yorkville can conveniently access the river. Feel like taking a bit of a cruise? The Fox River has numerous boat ramps, including the Fox River Preserve in Barrington and Fox River Shores in Carpentersville and Algonquin. Get ready to catch walleye, northern pike and more on the Fox River.
Related: Best Campgrounds In The Chicago Area
Heidecke Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area
5010 N. Jugtown Road
Morris, IL 60450
If you’re up for a bit of a road trip, check out the Heidecke Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area, located just one hour west of Chicago’s downtown. The site has more than 1,300 acres, so you’re sure to catch that walleye, catfish or bass you’ve been wanting. There is a two-pole limit for each fisher, and only pole-and-line fishing is permitted. In addition, the site has restrictions regarding the type of boat that is allowed on the lake. The site encourages catch-and-release, and daily limits are also in effect. For a list of limits, check out the website.
Richard Bong State Recreation Area
26313 Burlington Road
Kansasville, WI 53139
When you think of Wisconsin, you might think of cheese, kringles and the Green Bay Packers. But did you know it’s a great spot for fishing? The state has almost one million acres of water, so you’re sure to catch something, or at least pretend you did. For your next fishing expedition, consider the Richard Bong State Recreation Area, located about one hour north of Chicago. The site allows fishing at two locations, and a pier is also available. But before you set up your pole, remember to apply for a Wisconsin fishing license. This recreation area also features other activities, including camping and hiking.
Related: Guide To Fishing Around Chicago
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.