Tips & Tricks

8 Best Spots for Fall Trout Season in Illinois

Studying Time: 7 minutes

The beginning of fall Trout season is among the most enjoyable dates on the Illinois fishing calendar. Yearly, the Division of Pure Assets shares ponds and streams across the state with 1000’s of fully-grown Rainbow Trout. Quickly after, a military of anglers reveals as much as battle hard-fighting fish and earn themselves a tasty dinner for his or her efforts.

A Rainbow Trout being held just above the water before being safely released

This yr, issues kick off on October 16, with an early catch and launch opener in some waters. The DNR will inventory 59 spots state-wide, however which one do you have to hit? That’s why we’re right here. With the large day simply across the nook, we put collectively a listing of the most effective locations to take pleasure in Illinois’s fall Trout season.

Apple River Canyon State Park, Jo Daviess County

A view along the Apple River in Illinois, with shallow water right the right, grass to the left, and woodland in the distance

Apple River State Park is hidden method up within the north of Jo Daviess County, close to the Wisconsin border. Belief us, it’s definitely worth the journey. It is a land of rolling hills and rocky limestone bluffs, with deep gorges gouged out over 1000’s of years by the winding course of the Apple River.

The water right here branches into 4 sections. The South Fork Apple River first meets Clear Creek, earlier than hitting the principle department of the Apple River, forming a small pool earlier than heading downstream. Every of those sections is fishable and has its personal character.

The particular factor in regards to the Apple River is you can truly fish right here a full two weeks earlier than the principle season begins. Whereas you must wait till October 16 in most locations, you can begin right here on the primary, so long as you launch all of your fish. There are solely seven different spots like this within the state.

Kankakee River State Park, Kankakee County

Rocky shore along the Kankakee River, with trees in the distance and a limestone bluff to the right

The Kankakee River is known amongst Illinois anglers. A federally-registered Clear Stream, it’s a preferred spot for Pike, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, and Channel Catfish. Nonetheless, this October, the eye switches from the river itself to the close by Rock Creek, the place a whole bunch of Trout are set to be launched.

Rock Creek is one other a kind of particular spots the place you’ll be able to catch and launch fish from October 1. Don’t fear, you may also hold them from the sixteenth. That is all of the extra purpose to remain at a neighborhood campground. You’ll be able to cook dinner up a fishy feast, focus on the day’s catch, then mattress down forward of one other nice day’s fishing.

The encircling space affords rather more than simply fishing, thoughts you. From mountain climbing and horse trails to campgrounds and boat launches, the park has one thing for everybody. All this, only a 15-minute drive from the town of Kankakee, and a brief hop off the I-57.

Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Space, Kendall County

A small fishing jetty on Loon Lake, IL, part of Silver Spring State Park

Silver Springs is a small park in Kendall County, only a half-hour from downtown Aurora. It doesn’t really feel prefer it, although. Unfold alongside the banks of the Fox River, its wild woodland and fairly ponds really feel 1,000,000 miles from the city sprawl of the Chicago Metropolitan Space – particularly when you may have a rod in your hand.

Rainbow Trout can be stocked in Loon Lake, also called Huge or Silver Springs Lake. To not be confused with the Loon Lakes up in Lake County, this can be a giant, clear fishing pond with a small boat dock and a number of picket fishing platforms. Solid from land or hire a kayak to get out on the water. Nonetheless you do it, count on numerous tasty Rainbows!

It’s not all about Trout fishing, thoughts you. The world additionally has a good Smallmouth Bass chew, in addition to Channel Catfish, Bluegill, and Crappie. If you’re accomplished with fishing, observe down the spring itself, a pure supply of crystal clear water effervescent out of the bottom. Then there are the prairie fields, wildflowers, mountain climbing trails – it positive packs so much in!

Horsetail Lake, Prepare dinner County

A lone angler fishing on Horsetail Lake, with trees in the distance

Horsetail Lake is one in every of seven completely different spots in Prepare dinner County that can be stocked with Trout this fall. Should you ask us, it’s the most effective. Lower than 20 miles from the Chicago Loop, it’s a clear, quiet place to unwind and recharge your batteries. 

The lake is surrounded on three sides by a forest protect. The south aspect has ample financial institution entry, as does the japanese tip, the place the waters are deepest. When you’ve got a kayak, you’ll be able to discover the extra distant areas on the north of the lake. This may even defend you from the occasional street noise.

However that’s simply the lake itself. The encircling woodland is stuffed with mountain climbing and equestrian trails the place you’ll be able to overlook about metropolis life. In any other case, simply park your self down on a bench and take within the autumn leaves reflecting throughout the lake. It doesn’t get rather more enjoyable than that.

White Pines Forest State Park, Ogle County

A shallow ford across Pine Creek in White Pines State Park, with concrete stepping stones to the right and a weir to the left

White Pines State Park is essential for a variety of causes. It marks the southern boundary of the historic Chicago-Iowa Path, a significant commerce route throughout the state for many years. It’s additionally the state’s final remaining pure white pine forest, and probably the most southern one in all the nation. Oh, and it additionally has superior fishing!

White Pines open on October 1 for the particular release-only season. And boy is it particular. With miles of financial institution entry alongside the winding Pine Creek, you’ll be able to simply discover a secluded spot to battle hard-fighting fish – even on opening day.

Really feel like making a weekend of it? Examine into the native White Pines Inn lodge, or pitch up at one in every of over 100 campsites. Chances are you’ll must hop throughout stepping stones or drive by the river at one of many fords to get there, however that’s all a part of the journey!

Siloam Springs State Park, Adams County

A reflection of the far bank on Crabapple Lake, IL, with long grass in the foreground

Siloam Springs is among the hottest fishing spots in central Illinois. The park is centered round Crabapple Lake, whose clear, spring-fed waters are house to a variety of good-sized fish. A lot of the yr, Bass, Sunfish, and Catfish are the principle targets. Come October, they’ll be joined by a whole bunch of scrumptious Rainbow Trout.

You’ll be able to fish the lake by boat, kayak, or on foot. Sadly, you’re now not capable of hire boats right here, however there’s a concrete ramp on the southeast shore if you happen to deliver your individual one alongside. There’s additionally the outdated picket boat dock, in addition to tons of financial institution entry for shore-bound fishermen and girls.

When you’ve caught your fill, you’ll nonetheless have the remainder of the park to discover. There are a number of completely different campgrounds and plenty of trails. The park isn’t fairly as well-maintained as a number of the others on this checklist, however that offers it a wild really feel that’s half the explanation we get into the outside to start with.

Kickapoo State Recreation Space, Vermilion County

A lake in Kickapoo State Recreation Area, with trees in fall colors in the distance

Kickapoo Recreation Space is an actual testomony to the therapeutic powers of mom nature. As soon as a sprawling strip-mine, the outdated coal pits have been crammed in with clear water, and flora has lined virtually any signal of its industrial heritage. Visiting at the moment, it’s laborious to consider that this was as soon as house to a cutting-edge mining facility.

As an alternative, Kickapoo is a reasonably wooded park banked by the Center Fork Vermilion River and residential to a minimum of 22 fishing ponds. Relying on the place you fish, you’ll be able to catch a wide range of panfish, in addition to each Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass.

Most significantly, although, Clear Pond is stocked with numerous mature Rainbow Trout. It could solely be 100 ft broad in locations, however it’s over a mile lengthy, permitting for big numbers of anglers to hit the banks with out it feeling crowded. And if it does, you’ll be able to all the time catch a couple of Trout then head over to any of the opposite ponds – you’ve bought lots to select from.

Frank Holten State Recreation Space, St. Clair County

Dark water and a reflexion of clouds on Grand Marais Lake, part of Frank Holten Recreation Area, Illinois

Sitting proper on the sting of East St. Louis, that is probably the most southern spot on our checklist. And in some ways, it’s additionally probably the most attention-grabbing. That includes barbecues, picnic areas, a mixture of woodland, and a full 18 hole golf course, you’ll be able to actually make a day of it on this enjoyable spot only a stone’s throw from downtown St. Louis.

The fishing right here facilities round two giant lakes, each of that are house to Largemouth Bass, Channel Cats, and Bluegill. Should you’re after Trout, head to the southern Grand Marais Lake. You’ll be able to park proper on the water’s edge, and there’s additionally a ship ramp if you wish to head out onto the water.

Frank Holten State Park has undergone a giant enchancment effort because the golf course reopened in 2019. It’s nonetheless tough across the edges, so don’t count on championship-level grass or pristine waters. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless a fantastic place for a soothing day trip – particularly with a few thousand Trout ready to take your bait!

Illinois Fall Trout Season Rules

A DNR officer holding a notepad and a pen checking an angler's fishing license

Earlier than you head out to bag some lunch, let’s cowl the rules for Illinois’s fall Trout season. We all know, it’s not precisely thrilling, however it might prevent a hefty fantastic! Anybody over the age of 16 wants a license to fish in Illinois, in addition to a separate Inland Trout Stamp to focus on Rainbow Trout, even if you happen to’re releasing all of your fish.

The principle 2021 fishing season formally kicks off at 5:00 A.M. on October 16, with a each day restrict of 5 fish per individual. In some spots, you’ll be able to fish from October 1, however you must instantly launch any Trout you catch. 4 of the spots on our checklist open early: the Apple River, Rock Creek, Pine Creek, and Crabapple Lake. For more information, try the DNR’s memo.

That’s it, boring stuff over, we promise! It’s time to choose your spot, seize your rod, and begin preventing fish! When you’re accomplished, drop us a remark to tell us the way it went. Which spot did you go to, and what did you catch? We’d love to listen to about it!

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