State Fish and Wildlife Area is a picturesque area along the east side
of the Illinois River. Among its features are many artesian wells, which
make the manmade channels an excellent winter fishing area. The 2,900-acre
site, of which 2,462-acres are water, is a favorite stopping point for
waterfowl during migration.
area comprises bottomland forest and backwater lakes of the Illinois River
and features a wide variety of fauna and flora. Cottonwood, silver maple
and willow cover much of the low-lying land. Deer, raccoon, muskrat, mink
and beaver find this habitat to their liking and sometimes can be observed
at dawn and dusk. Tall and stately great blue herons also are found in
large numbers on the backwaters, and during winter it is not unusual to
see a bald eagle soring above the frozen lakes or perched atop a snag.
major waterfowl refuge of 1,400 acres exists on the area. While less attractive
to wildlife due to heavy siltation in recent years, backwater lakes still
attract large flights of waterfowl during migration. However, only wood
ducks and Canada geese commonly nest and raise their young here. Hawks
and owls, especially barred owls, are common to the area, as are an assortment
of songbirds and woodpeckers.
The area provides a day-use area with picnic tables, stoves and a shelter.
Sites for tents and trailers are provided. Water pit privies and a sanitary
dump station are available. Due to periodic flooding of the Illinois River,
it is advisable to call ahead and check on conditions before you visit.
The site provides boat docks and a public boat ramp. There is no horsepower
limit. Large boats are unable to navigate the shallow backwater lakes.
The fishing water consists of a broad expanse of the Illinois River known
as Upper Peoria Lake and Goose Lake, plus 3,475 feet of manmade fishing
channels. These channels provide excellent bullhead and crappie fishing
in the late winter and early spring because the wells keep the channels
free from ice.
Hunting: Squirrel hunting is allowed and designated blind sites are offered for waterfowl hunting.
Waterfowl Hunter Fact Sheet | Upland Game Hunter Fact Sheet
Trails: More than 3 miles of marked trails are available for hiking, cross-country skiing and hunter access from January 1st through October 1st. Because the trail area is composed of levees used as a waterfowl management area, trails are closed during fall migration. No bicycles or other vehicles are allowed on the trails.
This area is for all to enjoy so help keep it clean. Put all litter in
the nearest available trash container. No flowers, plants, shrubs or trees
may be removed or damaged. If you need help or have a question, contact
the site manager.
State Fish & Wildlife Area is located on State Rt 26 and can be reached
from either I-80 from the north or I-74 from the south. From I-80, take
I-39 south for approximately 25 miles to State Rt 17 west for 20 miles
to Lacon. Than take State Rt 26 south for 10 miles. The entrance is on
the right and is well signed.
From I-74 at East Peoria, take State Rt 116 north for 5 miles to State
Rt 26 north for 15 miles. The entrance is on the left and is well signed.
- 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.