The 5 Best Fly Fishing Spots in Illinois!

Illinois offers many ideal spots for fly fishing thanks to the many lakes, streams, and rivers throughout the state. The best fly fishing spots are often near or within state parks, surrounded by beautiful nature and wildlife. Each of the following must-visit fly fishing spots offer a variety of fish and plenty of nearby recreational opportunities. 

1. Apple River Canyon State Park, Apple River, IL

Located in the beautiful hills of Northwest Illinois, Apple River Canyon State Park is a scenic area covering nearly 2,000 acres. The Apple River features clean, clear waters—perfect for keeper-sized trout, which are released by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources yearly. Aside from trout in the springtime, Apple River is home to sunfish, crappie, carp, and smallmouth bass. 

2. Kankakee River, Wilmington, IL

The Kankakee River is a nearly 60-mile river featuring three dams and a dozen larger streams. It runs through wetlands, floodplain forests, cobble and bedrock, the Kankakee River State Park, and Wilmington. High-quality channel catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass throughout the river. 

3. Siloam Springs State Park Lake, McKee Township, IL

Located in one of the most beautiful state parks in Illinois, Siloam Springs Lake is known for its sparkling lake and wooded terrain. Largemouth bass, carp, crappie, rainbow trout, bluegill, and channel catfish reside in the lake. Six fishing piers are located around this lake. 

4. Fox Chain of Lakes, Spring Grove, IL

As Illinois’ largest concentration of natural lakes, you’re sure to find a great spot for fly fishing. Get access to the Grass, Marie, and Nippersink lakes and also seven more lakes connected by the Fox River. Bluegill, walleye, bullhead, yellow and white bass, and crappie are common in these waters. 

5. Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, IL

This beautiful 900-acre preserve area is the perfect spot for fly fishing. Lake of the Woods is conveniently located next to Tincup RV Park and Lake of the Woods Golf Course. You’ll find covered bridges and plenty of wildlife in this peaceful area. 

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4201 Shabbona Grove Rd, Shabbona, IL
Just miles west of Chicago, off U.S. 30, urban landscape gives way to 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and a 318.8-acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbo... Read More
270 North Lombard Road, Addison, IL
Amenities: Fishing Walking Path 17.85 acres Read More
20100 Hazlet Park Rd, Carlyle, IL
It seems appropriate for one of the largest campgrounds in the Illinois state park system to be located on the largest manmade lake in Illinois. El... Read More
4301 S. Lake Dr., Chester, IL
Randolph County State Recreation Area is a mecca for outdoor recreational activities. Fishing, hiking, picnicking, boating, hunting and camping are... Read More
4500 Pocket Road, East Saint Louis, IL
Within view of the St. Louis Gateway Arch, Frank Holten State Recreation Area is an ideal destination for outdoor recreation in an urban setting in... Read More
7318 Harlem Road, Loves Park, IL
Chiseled out of the state's far northern region is Rock Cut State Park in Winnebago County. Nearby are other "rocky" landmarks - the mighty Rock Ri... Read More
235 Giant City Rd, Makanda, IL
With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to... Read More
401 Ottawa Street, Morris, IL
History buffs, nature lovers and sportsmen will thrill to the sights and sounds of the 96-mile route of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Along its ... Read More
8763 E. Canyon Road, Apple River, IL
Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. Limestone bluffs, deep r... Read More
Weinberg-King State Fish and Wildlife Area is an area of rolling hills with a meandering creek in western Illinois. The 772-acre State Fish & W... Read More
10981 Conservation Road, Baldwin, IL
The Kaskaskia River State Fish & Wildlife Area is one of the largest state-owned and managed sites in Illinois. Located 35 miles southeast of S... Read More
930 Sunflower Ln, Belknap, IL
Cache River State Natural Area is situated in southernmost Illinois within a floodplain carved long ago by glacial floodwater of the Ohio River. Wh... Read More
1812 Grinnell Road, Belknap, IL
Visitors to Sielbeck Forest pass through bottomland hardwood forest and a forested swamp mirroring the wilderness documented by public land surveyo... Read More
1812 Grinnell Road, Belknap, IL
Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is an old cypress southern Illinois swamp managed as one of the state’s most outstanding waterfowl h... Read More
10885 E. Jefferson Rd, Bonnie, IL
Total Acres: 12,690   Acres of Water: 4,000Huntable Acres: 7,690   Acres of Timber: 1,700Open, Cultivated or Fallow Acres: 3,90... Read More
5314 W Rte 102, Bourbonnais, IL
On land treasured for centuries - first by Native Americans, later by traders and farmers, and as early as the 1890s by recreation seekers - Kankak... Read More
IL Route 53 & Huston Rd., Braceville, IL
Braidwood Lake, owned by Commonwealth Edison, is a partially perched cooling lake. Constructed in the late 1970s, Braidwood Lake was impounded in 1... Read More
13921 U.S. 150150, Brimfield, IL
Jubilee College State Park is a 3,200-acre facility, located in Peoria County between the towns of Kickapoo and Brimfield, just off U.S. Route 150.... Read More
19721 N. US 24, Canton, IL
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area is located approximately 25 miles southwest of Peoria on U.S. Route 24 and is protected from the Illinois... Read More
19721 U.S. 24, Canton, IL
Providing a stop-over area for migrating waterfowl, Rice Lake and the surrounding areas provide an excellent opportunity for wildlife observation. ... Read More
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