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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

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 Basin Report:

Click on image to download report.


Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Good

Although widespread throughout the Des Plaines, abundance was higher at the upstream, lower gradient locations, particularly at Wadsworth and Belvidere Roads. However, quality-sized fish made up only 12% of the catch.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Very Good

Catch rates throughout the river were 25/hr. Larger fish were more abundant downstream of Riverside, especially at Lemont Road and Isle La Cache.

NORTHERN PIKE

Excellent

Catch rates were 4/hr throughout the river. Sizes ranged from 6-26". Fourteen of 41 Pike were > 21".

ROCK BASS

Good

Catch rates throughout the river were 20 fish/hr. Highest catch rates were found at the former Dam #2, Riverside and Lemont road.

SAUGER

Good

IDNR has stocked an average of 19,000 2-inch fingerlings per year since 2000, primarily in the lower river. Catch rates ranged from 4-21/hr in higher gradient areas, with fish ranging from 6-19" in length.

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Fair

Catch rate was over 120/hr in 2020 at Isle La Cache, near Romeoville - a record high for the Des Plaines River. All size classes were present with 15/hr in the 14 - 16" size range. Young-of-the-year were abundant indicating very good reproduction, which was a first for the previously degraded 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 49 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2021.

Species Total Fish Caught
Common Carp 88
Largemouth Bass 3005
Smallmouth Bass 127

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2022 tournaments:

1     5.06 lbs
2     4.94 lbs
3     4.88 lbs
4     4.62 lbs
5     4.50 lbs

Top 5 Total Tournament Weight of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2022 tournaments:

1 376.00 lbs
2 363.67 lbs
3 254.46 lbs
4 227.25 lbs
5 212.44 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.

2022 – 2023 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
December-0322264ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes
December-1722265ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes
March-1122572ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
March-2522598ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
March-2622521ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-0822621ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-2222635ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-2922642ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0323520ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0622894ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
YesYes
May-0722709ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-1023521ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-1322503ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-1723522ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-2822512ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-3123523ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0422533PendingBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
Spotted Bass
NoYes
June-0423345ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0723524ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-1022917ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
YesYes
June-1123565ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
YesYes
June-1423525PendingBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-1722481ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
7Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
June-1822442ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2422528ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2823526ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-0122771ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-0523527ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-0822783ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1223528ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1522429ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1622479ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2223346ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2322447ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2323318PendingBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-2623529ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-3022461ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0223530ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0622546ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0923531ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-1322470ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2022550ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2323532ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2722624ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
85Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesYes
August-2722732ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesNo
August-3023533ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-0623534ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1022566ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1323535ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1722480ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
October-0722698ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
October-2122720ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-0422736ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-0522740ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-1822743ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes