UPDATE: Goose Lake Prairie Visitor Center may be closed on weekends due to staffing, please call to verify hours of operation.
of Morris, Heidecke Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is managed
by the Department of Natural Resources for fishing and hunting.
DNR has leased Heidecke Lake since 1978, when it was built as a
cooling lake for the Collins Power Plant, which now is owned and
operated by Midwest Generation. The lake provides more than 1,300
acres of prime fishing opportunities.
Fishing | Fishing Fact Sheet
Because of a comprehensive
fish-stocking program, Heidecke Lake has good fish populations producing
trophy-size bass. Only pole-and-line fishing is permitted, with each angler
limited to using two poles. There are no fishing fees, but each angler
must have a valid Illinois fishing license unless exempted by law.
To avoid the possibility
of overharvest and to assure a good fishery, DNR's Fisheries Division has
established minimum length and daily catch limits at the lake. Strict
adherence to size and catch limits will result in Heidecke Lake providing
a quality fishing experience now and in the future.
Fish are measured
while positioned flat on a ruler from the tip of the mouth when closed
to the tip of the tail when compressed. All sub-legal-size fish must be
immediately released to maximize their chance for survival.
fishing is encouraged for anglers who catch legal-size fish but don't
want to keep them. Anglers should handle fish with care and release them
immediately after catching so the fish can survive to later provide other
anglers similar recreation.
The fishing season
at Heidecke Lake opens on or about April 1 each year and closes prior
to the waterfowl season. Call the park at (815) 942-6352 for dates.
Bank fishing access
is open from 6:30 a.m. to sunset. The boating access area is open from 6 a.m.
to sunset. Both areas are open seven days a week.
Only boats for
fishing or waterfowl hunting are allowed on the lake. Each must
have a gasoline-powered motor as its main propulsion unit. There
is no charge for launching. Water skiing, swimming, wading, sailboating
or personal watercraft are not allowed.
On Wednesdays through Sundays during waterfowl season, water sites are allocated by a lottery drawing 90 minutes before sunrise. Shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. The lake is closed to hunting Mondays and Tuesdays. For waterfowl hunting, boats must be at least 16 feet in length and have at least a 60-inch beam with the blind built on the boat.
Shotgun and archery deer hunting are offered at Heidecke Lake. Hunting fact sheets are available by contacting the site. Waterfowl Hunter Fact Sheet | Deer Hunter Fact Sheet
is not available at Heidecke Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area.
Check the Visitor Center at adjacent Goose Lake Prairie State Natural
Area for information on nearby public and private campgrounds.
Lake Prairie State Natural Area
Adjacent to Heidecke
Lake is the biggest prairie remnant remaining in the Prairie State, and
one of the largest prairies in the United States. Goose
Lake Prairie State Natural Area, totaling 2,527 acres, provides a
link with Illinois' past.
Nearly 60 percent
of Illinois once was covered with tall prairie grasses and broad-leaved
flowering plants, known as forbs. Big bluestem, Indian grass, switch grass
and cord grass dominated much of the landscape, accented by goldenrod,
New England aster, cream false indigo and shooting star. Today,
only a tiny fraction of one percent of Illinois land remains as high-quality, original
prairie. Consequently, Goose Lake Prairie is of historical and natural
importance and is a reminder of the terrain encountered by Native Americans
and early settlers. It also serves as a haven for wildlife, including
ducks, geese, rare Henslow's sparrows, plains pocket gophers and
larger animals, such as deer and coyote.
To increase your understanding
and appreciation for Goose Lake Prairie, its Visitor Center features nature
displays and multi-media presentations. Different programs are presented
throughout the year, with a schedule available at the information counter.
Groups providing advance notice can arrange videos, lectures and guided
hikes. Call (815) 942-2899 for more information.
The Youth Conservation
Corps built a replica of one of the first homes in Grundy County at Goose Lake Prairie. John and Agnes Cragg and their six children lived
in the original cabin, which was built in the late 1830s near the town
of Mazon. Nicknamed "The Palace" because of its two-story design,
the home served as a stop on the Old Chicago-Bloomington Teamster Trail,
making it the predecessor to a truck stop.
Hikers have many options. The Tallgrass Nature Trail
winds through the prairie and its marshes. Depending on the route,
Prairie View Trail can be from 1 or 3.5 miles long. Self-guiding trail maps are available.
Cross-country skiers enjoy Goose Lake Prairie in the winter.
The Visitor Center, which serves as a warming area, offers trail
From I-55 to
exit 240 Lorenzo Road/Pine Bluff Road travel west approximately
7.5 miles to Jugtown Road. Turn north on to Jugtown Road and travel
1 mile to stop sign. Go straight and enter Heidecke Lake.