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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.

Des Plaines River Fishery Facts

   (Click on image for expanded view.)

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.


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 42 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Common Carp 310
Largemouth Bass 1575
Smallmouth Bass 88

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1     5.75 lbs
2     5.12 lbs
3     4.88 lbs
4     4.33 lbs
5     4.31 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1     255.49 lbs
2     170.69 lbs
3     160.94 lbs
4     135.97 lbs
5     132.30 lbs


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

2019 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Open to Public?
December-3110466ApprovedBig Basin bank
hook
0Common Carp
Yes
March-2310676ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
March-2410833ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
March-3111841ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
March-3112214PendingBig Basin boat
hook
6Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
April-0610614ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-06April-0711641ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
bow
20Multiple SpeciesYes
April-0710672ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
No
April-1410901ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2710975PendingBig Basin boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
April-2711620ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2811222ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2811843ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0110857ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0512088ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1211183ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
May-1510864ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1911182ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
May-2910872ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0211845ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-1210880ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-2311778ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-2610885ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
July-0711847ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
July-1010889ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
July-1312232ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
13Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
July-2010866ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
July-2111000ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
July-2111262ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
July-2410891ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
August-0710899ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
August-1111849ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
August-2110905ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
August-2511850ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
September-0811007ApprovedHarborside Marina boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
November-0310841ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes