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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 34 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2019.

Species Total Fish Caught
Bowfin 4
Common Carp 133
Largemouth Bass 1196
Smallmouth Bass 74

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2019 tournaments:

1     4.31 lbs
2     4.11 lbs
3     3.94 lbs
4     3.94 lbs
5     3.84 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2019 tournaments:

1 180.81 lbs
2 164.00 lbs
3 157.01 lbs
4 138.18 lbs
5 93.91 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.

2020 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
June-0314049ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0714400ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1414437ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1714057ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2116395ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2815704ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
NoYes
July-0114061ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1216396ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1514064ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1914401ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
July-2616397ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
July-2914066ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0116372ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0216373ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0913801ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-1214072ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-1515552ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-2314403ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-2614079ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2916143ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-3016400ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1313818ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1313891PendingHarborside Marina boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesNo
September-2014406PendingBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
September-2014535ApprovedHarborside Marina boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesNo
September-2713827ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-0114021ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-1415889ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes
November-2815890ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes
December-1215891ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes