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Des Plaines River


©Illinois State Water Survey

Location: The Des Plaines River, the longest stream within the Chicago region, flows southward for 133 miles (105 miles in Illinois) through southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. It eventually meets the Kankakee River southwest of Joliet to form the Illinois River, a significant tributary of the Mississippi River.

Description: At its widest point, the Des Plaines River is approximately 180 feet wide. The narrower sections are closer to 30 feet wide. The average width of the river is between 40 and 100 feet. Depth varies from location to location, but the average depth of the Des Plaines River is 3 feet during normal water levels.

The Des Plaines River is easily fished from shore, canoe/kayak or by wading. Much of the bottom is a combination of rock and silt, so care should be taken when wading.

 Fisheries Fact Sheet

Click on image for expanded view.

 Basin Report:

Click on image to download report.


Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Good

CARP

Good

CRAPPIE

Good

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Good

Largemouth bass are taken most frequently in the main channel border and lake habitats.

NORTHERN PIKE

Excellent

Northern Pike are the primary sport fish in the upper Des Plaines River, commonly caught on spinnerbaits. Concentrate on fallen timber, eddies, current breaks and drop-offs.

ROCK BASS

Good

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Fair

Smallies are present, but not common

WALLEYE

Fair

Walleye are present, but not common and are more prominent in the lower Des Plaines River.


Note: The upper Des Plaines River runs primarily through forest preserve property of Cook County, IL and Lake County, IL. Much of the shoreline is on property owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District and the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Some portions do run through land that is not publicly owned so please be aware of signs indicating private property. There are many access points on the river, as well as Kayak/Canoe launch points:

   Click on image for expanded view.

River Access Areas

Canoe/Kayak launch areas

Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area Information

There were 28 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 1
Common Carp 93
Largemouth Bass 1257
Smallmouth Bass 114

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1     4.88 lbs
2     4.60 lbs
3     4.25 lbs
4     4.19 lbs
5     4.13 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1 217.05 lbs
2 205.56 lbs
3 205.06 lbs
4 202.13 lbs
5 142.75 lbs


Multiple day tournaments are listed with * end date.

Interested in participating in one of these public tournaments? Contact us with tournament ID for more information.

2021 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
June-2018115ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2716960ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2717672PendingBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
June-3017379ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1019392ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1116975ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1417398ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1718951ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesNo
July-1818248ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2516980ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2817413ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0119391ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-1117419ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-1418699ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-1517464ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-1518668ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
7Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-2216994ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2517433ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesYes
August-2917003ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-0817439ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1216995ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesNo
September-1217465ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1218310PendingBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
September-1817122ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
September-2617467ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
October-0319393ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
October-0917577ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
October-2317578ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
November-0617579ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
November-0717264ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-2017580ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo