Lake County, Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau - Fishing in Lake County
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Fishing in Lake County

The fish are waiting for you...

Hooked on Fishing? Let Lake County’s 75 inland lakes, charter fishing on Lake Michigan and the Chain O’Lakes reel you in. The Chain O’Lakes is a connective waterway that links the Fox River to 5 lakes through a series of canals and smaller waterways. And under these waters, the fishing tale of a lifetime is just waiting to get hooked. The Chain O'Lakes include a variety of species including: black crappie, bluegill, bullhead, catfish, carp, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, white bass, yellow bass and yellow perch. Fishy Fact: “The Illinois Department of Natural Resources report that approximately 10% of their annual muskie samples are over 3 feet (0.91 m), 6 inches long”.

If that doesn’t lure you in, Captain Rick’s Windy City Salmon should do the trick. Hop aboard the Independence, his 34-foot Tiara and set out of Waukegan Harbor for the open water of Lake Michigan for Salmon and Trout fishing from Spring thru Fall. With water reaching out to the horizon, with no end in sight, it’s easy to forget that you’re not actually in the open seas. They’ll be no walking the plank from this captain. He’s all about aiming to please. Don’t worry about bringing anything, or if you’ve never fished before, because Capt. Rick has it covered. In 2013 one of his lucky expeditions even reeled in a 32 lb. Lake Trout.

Once our lakes freeze over with at least 4.5” of ice, it’s time to bundle up and head out for some Ice Fishing. Bring your shelter and your favorite friend (who you don’t mind being in close quarters with) to Independence Grove, Banana Lake in Lakewood Forest Preserve or Van Patten Woods for a reel good time. Call the winter sports hotline at 847.968.3235 for the latest ice conditions.

The Lake County Forest Preserve offers 22 designated fishing locations for anglers of all skill level. Independence Grove and Nippersink are catch and release lakes, so they make great locations for those of us who aren’t necessarily looking for the trophy above the fireplace. Using a barbless, stainless steel hook is highly encouraged. As a result of their catch and release program, the lake has a very healthy population of a variety of fish. Independence Grove is a good idea for someone that just wants to experience fishing for a day, and is very family friendly. Get some tips on taking kids fishing here. Rent a fishing boat by the hour (they also rent canoes, paddle boats and have other amenities like a restaurant café and a beach, should your first mates lack their sea legs). See the Lake County Forest Preserve Fishing Guide here. Rent a picnic shelter and make a day of it with all of your family and friends!

Did you know that we have a whole website dedicated to boating for all of your Boating Lake County needs? It includes information on everything from marina slips, boat rentals and even lakeside dining. Check it out here!

Before you cast off, be sure to get your fishing license here!

Return to Lake County Outdoor Guide


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