Illinois is a beautiful state with picturesque, natural lakes full of catfish, bass, walleye, bluegill, and other species. The Great Lakes region of Illinois offers plenty of fishing option with a diverse range of scenery and species of fish.
If you are an avid angler or general outdoor enthusiast, then you can take a fishing trip away from the concrete skyscrapers of the city. The land of Abraham Lincoln boasts of plenty of adventures in the wilderness.
Illinois is probably the best states in the midwest to fish, with vast 2,300 square miles of water, and an array of outdoor terrain. You can find yourself an ideal spot based on your fishing requirements and desire.
Whether you want to go on a fishing trip with the family or a weekend getaway adventure with old buddies, Illinois is just the perfect destination. We have compiled the ten best places to fish in Illinois along with places to camp nearby for your ease. Happy fishing!
1. Lake Michigan
One of the best places to fish in the entire state of Illinois is in Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan lies near Chicago and makes it an excellent location for tourists with families. This site offers you with several other outdoor activities to explore besides fishing.
Lake Michigan offers a great spot for standup kayak fishing with some of the beautiful scenic views of the Chicago area. Ice fishing is also possible here, considering the time of the year you will fish. If you are out there in Lake Michigan to fish, you can expect to catch species such as salmon, whitefish, brown trout, walleye, steelhead, and many more.
Whether you are an experienced angler or a beginner, you can enjoy boating on this lake. Remember that you will have a maximum speed limit of 55MPH on the lake. This speed limit should not be a problem for most anglers unless you decide to do some speed boating between your fishing time.
As the sixth-largest lake in the world, Lake Michigan offers opportunities for fishing on this massive body of water. Fishers can expect to encounter hundreds of types of fish depending on the time of the year and model of trip you will be going.
In addition to your fishing expedition, do not forget to take advantage of the stunning attractions the place has to offer. Illinois Beach State Park covers 6.5 miles along the shore of Lake Michigan. You can stay in this state park which offers 241 campsites with proper restrooms and shower facilities.
2. Evergreen Lake
The city of Bloomington owns Evergreen Lake managed by the McLean Country Department of Parks and Recreation. It is a part of Comlara County Park. The Evergreen Lake measures an area of 925 acres with an average depth of 19.7 feet and a maximum depth of 50 feet.
Evergreen Lake is a man-made reservoir built back in 1970. This place still attracts a lot of fishers from all around the world with its breathtaking scenic beauty. No matter if you are a professional angler in a rowboat or a landlubber on the shore, you will be able to catch plenty of fish in Evergreen lake.
The best thing about the Evergreen lake is that you can boat here even without a fishing license. Some of the most commonly found fish in the Evergreen Lake are rainbow trout, Saugeye, white or black crappie, etc. Black crappie fish population are in significant amount in this lake than the white crappies.
About 14 percent of the white crappies collected were more abundant than 10 inches. Evergreen Lake is also famous for an excellent Saugeye fishery.
3. Sand Pond
Sand Pond is a tiny pond offering visitors with a relaxing environment on its sandy shores. Fishing in Sand Pond is popular in Illinois as you can fish with the choirs of western chorus and frogs in the background. During summer, you can see most dragonflies covering the pond. This fact makes an excellent spot for catfish to hide.
Spring season attracts most trout on to your hook. So, if you want to catch large trout in Sand Pond, fishing in the spring season would be the ideal month. But, you will have a creel limit of one largemouth bass a day. Sand Pond is home to some of the most abundant species such as bluegill, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, channel catfish, etc.
You can cast the lines and catch these fish. The number of anglers fishing in Sand Pond has been increasing day by day. No matter if you are a beginner angler or a novice, fishing in Sand Pond can sometimes be challenging. So, prepare yourself by carrying appropriate fishing gear.
4. Lake Springfield
Lake Springfield is a decent sized lake lying southeast of the city, Springfield. The lake measures 4260 acres or 6.6 square miles sitting in a relatively populated location. Like most of the fishing areas, fishers can expect to find a healthy population of bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass, along with some crappie and white bass.
Boat fishing is available throughout the year in Lake Springfield. One of the more urban lakes on the list, Lake Springfield is just southeast of the city of Springfield, IL, and offers a decent-sized lake (4,260 acres or 6.6 square miles) in a relatively populated location. Like much of the fishing in Illinois, anglers can expect a hefty population of bluegill, catfish, and largemouth bass, along with sporadic catches of crappie and white bass.
The lake offers unrestricted boat fishing year-round and was home to 91 tournaments in 2018. Located just a few minutes drive from Lake Springfield, the Springfield KOA offers a highly developed campground for RVers and car campers alike. With a pool, mini-golf, and wifi onsite, this campground is an excellent summer destination for both families and anglers alike.
Woods and bluffs surround the shoreline. Anglers in the area can encounter wildlife like deer, turkey, and even eagles in the winter season. Amenities include the nature park, picnic shelters, and a boathouse you can rent for special occasions that offer a view of the lake. Anglers can rent a kayak or canoe to go out on the lake.
The warm water from the plant affects only one-fourth of the lake. Anglers can hook a variety of fish including Bluegill, Common carp, Sheepshead, Largemouth or yellow bass, Yellow Bullhead, Sauger, Golden redhorse suckers, Channel catfish, White crappie, Green or longear sunfish, Tiger Muskie, and Walleye.
5. Lake Rend
The lake Rend, located near Benton sprawls over the length of 13 miles and width of 3 miles. The lake is pretty significant to satisfy the needs of boating enthusiasts to anglers casting for some catfish, sunfish, and largemouth bass.
The lake is further divided into three branches. The branches have their unique shoreline and plenty of wildlife. The lake Rend falls under the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park. 75% of the park consists of the shoreline. There are 17 primitive tent sites at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park offers that are ideal for anglers who want to camp overnight experience.
The state park also provides 243 developed campsites, complete with electrical hookups and bathroom and shower facilities for car campers. But you need to be careful as these Campsites are reservable on a first-come, first-served basis.
6. Lake Of Egypt
Located south of the state, the Lake of Egypt is a large lake near Marion that provides best bass and crappie fishing opportunity in the whole state of Illinois. You will need a proper gear for bass fishing. Lake Egypt is one of the best places to fish in southern Illinois.
There are various bays and nooks of different sizes in Lake of Egypt that ensures ample opportunities for both beginners and expert anglers. You can fish for crappie in the cold waters of Lake of Egypt during winters. The Buck Ridge campground features around 30 sites with direct access to the lake of Egypt.
Each of the sites gets equipped with picnic tables, tent pads, and grill tops, but they only serve first-come, first-served basis. The Lake of Egypt has a boat launch point stationed near the campground at Hickory Point.
7. Clinton Lake
Located in southern Illinois, the thin Clinton lake is 7.5 square long. The largemouth bass and crappie get found in abundance along with walleye, striped bass, catfish, and white bass are also found throughout the year.
Clinton Lake has many nooks and crannies with an average depth of just 15 feet at all times. The fish are aplenty and never too far away. You can do Boat fishing and play other recreational sports without any restrictions. However, Due to the lake’s massive popularity in summers, the state has a limited number of fish anglers allowed to keep.
Limits change based on the season or annual population counts. Please check before making your fishing plans. The Clinton Lake State Recreation Area has over 300 campsites including full hookups at the majority of sites.
You can reserve the campsites generally between 6 months and three days before the trip start date. The lake is a perfect spot for a family getaway. You can also swim at the beach if you are done with your fishing.
8. Pierce Lake
Located in northern Illinois, Pierce Lake is a popular destination for anglers and vacationers during summer. The 0.25 square miles lake is a small lake located just 20 minutes drive away from Rockford and only two hours from Chicago.
The lake is open round the year, and at just over 11 feet deep, the lake is ideal for beginners to practice their fishing skills. Some of the most found fish in the pond are catfish, walleye, largemouth bass, even muskie. No motorboats or recreational water sports get allowed on this lake, which makes it easy for kayakers and families.
One important thing to note is that the population of zebra mussels has increased; thus, proactive measures must get taken after fishing in the lake. The Pierce Lake gets located in the 3,000 acres of land Rock Cut State Park offers 260 campsites out of which 200 include electrical hookups.
The campsites can get reserved between May 1 and October 31. You can also ice fish at the lake during the offseason, and the campsites are available on a walk-in basis throughout the offseason. Pierce lake is one of the best places to fish in northern Illinois.
9. Devil’s Kitchen
Devil’s Kitchen is one of the deepest lakes in Illinois, and the clear lake boasts of abundant rainbow trout and largemouth bass. Other fish available in the lake are sunfish, perch, and bluegill.
A ten horsepower motor limit makes sure that the lakes is clear and calm all year-round. Devil’s Kitchen bass fishing tournaments is quite famous due to the size, depth, and quality of the lake water, with six competitions held in 2018.
The Camping options get limited around Devil’s Kitchen Lake, although since the devil’s Kitchen is near Little Grassy Lake, a short drive from the lake will lead to plenty of campsites, and you can drive back to one of the eight boat docks on Devils Kitchen Lake.
10. Little Grassy Lake
Little Grassy Lake is another southern lake that has plenty of bass, sunfish, and bluegill for your fishing experience in Illinois. You can fish with ease in the vast 100 acres of the lake, either along the shoreline or at the middle of the long fingers of the lake.
The danger of other boats gets limited as there is a ten horsepower motor limit in motorboats and restrictions against recreational watersport. Bass tournament fishing is also conducted in grassy as it hosted 15 tournaments in 2018.
Visitors of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge flock to the little grassy lake in search of fishing options other outdoor activities during the summer months. The lake’s campground has a total of 35 tent sites and Fourteen full hookup RV sites, along with 54 sites with just water and electric. You can make Reservations all year round, through the Little Grassy Lake campground’s official website.
The Final Say
These were the best places to go fishing in Illinois. I hope this article has helped you to choose the best place for your fishing expedition. You won’t find the variety of fish and easy access to these many waters anywhere else in the country.
Please stay within the rules and regulations of the state while fishing. You can choose the best time for the fishing trip based on your desired catch and other requirements.