People interested in water sports, horseback riding, picnicking or hiking
will find that Wayne Fitzgerrell has plenty to offer. The site also provides
ample opportunities for birders, wildlife observers and photographers,
fishing tournaments, pleasure boaters, water skiers and anglers.
Overlooking the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers 19,000-acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitzgerrell
State Recreation Area is a gateway to Southern Illinois biggest
outdoor playground - a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and
interests. The park offers outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing,
camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor recreational
Youd be hard
pressed to find a recreational complex with more activities than Wayne
Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area.
Dedicated in 1975,
just five years after the Rend Lake reservoir was constructed, the park
encompasses 3,300 acres of former farmland leased to the Department of
Natural Resources by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The site is named
in honor of the late Wayne Fitzgerrell, a state representative from nearby
Sesser who was an advocate for the construction of Rend Lake.
acres of the site are developed for picnicking, boating access, camping
and other activities, while another 1,000 acres have been set aside for
hunting, field trials, wildlife observation, hiking and other land uses.
The area contains
many fence rows, abandoned crop fields and cleared farmsteads interspered
with small oak-hickory woodlands. Three quarters of the sites perimeter
is Rend Lake shoreline. This varied topography provides excellent habitat
for a variety of upland and woodland wildlife, as well as waterfowl, shorebirds
Birders visiting the
area have an excellent chance of seeing great blue heron, American bald
eagle, red-tailed hawk and a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl. The
resident population of ring-necked pheasants that Wayne Fitzgerrell supports
is unique in southern Illinois. White-tailed deer, raccoon, opossum and
squirrel are among the mammals wildlife enthusiasts are likely to see.
The beautiful waterside
resort on Rend Lake offers
first-class accommodations in one of southern Illinois finest recreation
areas, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. All 105 rooms and cabins
have balconies or decks with lakefront views, full baths, TVs and telephones.
Some rooms have fireplaces, sleeping lofts and spas, and some are wheelchair
accessible. Although cabins do not have cooking facilities, they are equipped
lunch and dinner, Windows Restaurant at Rend Lake features a lounge and
casual outdoor deck dining. House specialities include pork chops, catfish
and steak, plus excellent homemade salads and desserts. The restaurant
also offers a kids menu.
include a conference center that will accommodate groups from 25 to 600,
an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, playground, golfing packages,
a convenience store and gift shop, gas for boats, courtesy boat
docking and rental of pontoon boats and wave runners.
For more information
on hunting, fishing and golfing packages or to make lodging reservations,
call (618) 629-2211 or (800) 633-3341.
Fishing | Fishing Tournament Schedule
State Recreation Area, with its excellent camping, lodging and boat launch
facilities,is a great headquarters for anglers using Rend Lake. Since
75 percent of the parks boundary is Rend Lake shoreline, the site
provides outstanding bank fishing opportunities.
Rend Lake is well-known
as an outstanding sport fishery for white and black crappie, particularly
in the early spring, as well as excellent fishing for largemouth bass,
channel catfish and bluegill. As a result of a Department of Natural Resources
stocking program, the lake is one of the few southern Illinois locations
to have a noteworthy white bass fishery. Current state records for bowfin
and black crappie were creeled from Rend Lake.
Hundreds of upland
game hunters flock to Wayne Fitzgerrell each fall to participate in a
controlled pheasant hunt accommodating up to 120 hunters a day.
When game populations
warrant, the site hosts hunting programs for upland game and deer. While
no waterfowl hunting takes place at Wayne Fitzgerrell, the site is a popular
location where waterfowlers can camp or rent a room for their hunting
is noted for its extensive sporting dog field trial programs. The site
annually hosts more than 25 field trialing events, in which some of the
best trained beagles, retrievers and bird dogs compete for regional and
national honors. Many of the competitions are equestrian trials, with
dog handlers and observers following the action from horseback.
| Campground MAP
has 17 tent sites to accommodate primitive campers who relish a rustic
outdoor experience. Those who want a few more amenities will want to take
advantage of the 243 modern campsites, which offer electrical hookups
and sanitary facilities. Three shower buildings are available for campers.
Campers should register
with the Campground Host upon arrival. The fee for camping is $20 per
night for sites with electricity, or $6 per night for a primitive site.
There is an additional $10 fee added to the camping fee during the Memorial Day, July 4th (if the holiday falls on a Fri, Sat, Sun or Monday), and Labor Day holidays. The campground remains available on a first-come, first-served basis which
gives everyone equal opportunity for campsites.
For horseback riders,
a 9-mile bridle trail encircles the wildlife/field trial area, and opportunities
to see and photograph wildlife abound. The trail is open to all equestrians
for most of the year. From Sept. 15 to April 15, the bridle trail is closed
during the hunting and designated field trial seasons. Riding Stable Flyer
With more than 150
picnicking sites situated throughout the park, Wayne Fitzgerrell visitors
should have little problem finding the perfect spot for a summertime picnic.
There are three major picnic areas and several small areas equipped with
shelters, tables, fireplaces and playground equipment. Reservations are
accepted at four of the five shelters. Shelter 1 in the south picnic area
and Shelters 2 and 3 in the north area offer a protected cove for the
convenience of boaters looking for a picnicking spot. Shelter 4, located
in the County Line Picnic Area, is the largest shelter in the park. This
shelter has a nice shaded setting, is handicapped accessible and has electricity
and water with a large fireplace for cooking.
For hikers and bikers,
a newly constructed 4-mile hiking/biking trail is in place which runs
from the day use areas through the campgrounds to Rend Lake Resort, and
then connects to the Rend Lake College Bike Trail. Trail
Located 6 miles north
of Benton on Illinois Route 154, Wayne Fitzgerrell is a 1 1/2-hour drive
from St. Louis via Interstate 64, or 5 hours from Chicago on Interstate
- While groups of 25 or
more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required
to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling
- At least one responsible
adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on
leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature can
result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park
office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your
stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more information
on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community
Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
- Telecommunication Device
for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175
for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.