With over 2,300 square miles of water, there’s guaranteed to be a spot that’s perfect for anglers of all levels and ages. At 13 miles long and 3 miles wide, Rend Lake plenty big enough to host a wide variety of visitors, from boating enthusiasts to inner tubers to fishermen craving some catfish, sunfish, and large mouth bass.
Wayne Fitzgerald State Park offers 17 primitive tent sites that are perfect for anglers seeking an up-close fishing experience. For car-campers, the state park offers 243 developed campsites, complete with electrical hookups and bathroom and shower facilities.
Located in northern Illinois, Pierce Lake is a popular destination for vacationers and city-dwellers seeking refuge from the city limits in the warmer months. Open year-round, this 162 acre lake (about .25 square miles) is a small yet fishy spot located a mere 20 minutes from Rockford and just two hours from Chicago.
There are no recreational water sports and no motorboats allowed on this lake, which makes it perfect for families or kayaks hoping to fish while they paddle. Pierce Lake is located in Rock Cut State Park, which offers close over 260 campsites, 200 of which include electrical hookups.
With of 3,000 acres of land, Rock Cut State Park is an excellent choice for anglers seeking the full outdoor experience. The park is open year-round, making Pierce Lake a viable ice fishing destination for campers willing to brave the cold.
By far the largest water for fishing in Illinois, Lake Michigan offers the amenities and comfort of an ocean coastline in the Midwest. Illinois Beach State Park runs 6.5 miles along the shore of Lake Michigan just south of the Wisconsin border.
The campground at Illinois Beach State Park offers 241 campsites with electricity and full restrooms and shower facilities. Located at the very southern tip of the state, Lake of Egypt is a large, sprawling body of water that offers more of the best crappie and bass fishing in Illinois.
Due to its size and variety of bays, fingers, and nooks, the Lake of Egypt provides substantial opportunities to fish for both beginners and advanced anglers. Buck Ridge campground features around 30 sites, some of which offer direct views and access to the lake.
All campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and each of the sites are equipped with tent pads, picnic tables, and grill tops. With unrestricted boat fishing and recreational water sports permitted on the lake, it is a popular destination for residents of the Prairie State throughout the warmer months.
Due to the lake’s popularity, the state has put in place limits of the number of fish anglers are allowed to keep. Sites are preservable online year-round, and are available between 6 months and 3 days prior to the trip start date.
In addition to the large numbers of bass, anglers can expect to encounter carp, muskie, walleye, crappie, and bluegill. Camping near Lake Shelbyville is as easy as the fishing, with several campgrounds spotted along the reservoirs’ shores.
BO Wood campground offers 150 campsites as well as a boat ramp, a bait shop, and a plethora of picnic areas suitable for families and larger groups. With restrictions against recreational waterspouts and a 10 horsepower motor limit, the bulk of the lake is open to anglers without the hazard of other high speed boats.
With a pool, mini golf, and Wi-Fi onsite, this campground is an excellent summer destination for families and anglers alike. At nearly 11 square miles, Crab Orchard Lake is the crown jewel of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, offering visitors a vast selection of fishing territory and nearly a dozen boat ramps for easy watercraft access.
When it comes to fishing in Illinois, particularly the southern portion, Crab Orchard’s populations of catfish, bluegill, crappie, and white bass are unparalleled by other lakes in the area. Anglers should note that, while large and perfect for bass fishing in one of the lake’s many small coves, the lake is open to recreational water sports in the summer, meaning this area sees a bit more traffic than its nearby smaller companions (Devils Kitchen and Little Grassy).
Middle Fork River Kickapoo State Recreation Area is one fishing destination that isn't to be missed. Campgrounds, trails, scuba diving and more make this an all-in-one family getaway.
Johnson Sank Trail Lake This Park has a 58-acre lake with excellent populations of large mouth bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish and bullhead. Muskellunge It was once believed that there were at least four species of muskellunge, but these varieties are now considered to be one species White Bass They are an excellent light tackle fish that will take a bait or lure readily.
Learn More Fishing Lakes and Ponds Learn the importance of structures for the best freshwater fishing in lakes and ponds. With rooms decorated to commemorate Chicago’s iconic past, a stay at Hotel Versa gives you local flavor in a fun and exciting way.
Walk to Wrigleyville to take in the sights and sounds of the Chicago Cubs and explore the bustling new neighborhood additions like the Park at Wrigley and souvenir shopping at Addison & Clark. Marion, Illinois is home to the beautiful 810-acre reservoir known as Devil's Kitchen Lake, where rainbow trout, yellow perch, and large mouth bass are among the fish that settle here.
Though the lake is privately owned, public access is allowed to fish for bluegill, large mouth bass, and crappie. Located just 15 miles from Devils Kitchen Lake, this quaint B&B offers amenities such as massages, a library, a full onsite restaurant and outdoor space.
Old Squat Inn Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast offers lake views, split rail fences, and wrap-around porches for a scenic experience each day. From fishing to boating to cruising on a jet ski, there are an array of activities to fill a day on Lake Springfield.
As for fishing, it's easy to rent a boat and enjoy the abundance of large mouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. Country Inn & Suites offers complimentary breakfast and is just a quick drive from Lake Springfield.
Amenities include a swimming pool and free hotel shuttle service, which is available to Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport and major events at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center. Just a quick drive from the Henson Robinson Zoo and Cozy Dog Drive-In, this hotel is perfect for families looking to relax and enjoy a fishing getaway.
Rent ski boats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, Forerunners, and much more to fully embrace the lake life and take a break from fishing.