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ROCK RIVER


Lake Information

County: Ogle

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

Channel catfish are extremely abundant in the Rock River in most all areas. A study done in 2013 found that 91% of the adult size fish in the population were over 16” in length, and 21% of these were over 24”, which bodes well for anglers looking for good-sized fish. The average weight of the 633 fish collected in this study was 3.78 pounds with the largest fish over 30 inches in length and weighing 13.2 pounds.

FLATHEAD CATFISH

Excellent

The Rock River is one of the best rivers in the state for catching trophy-sized flathead catfish. A study done in 2013 found that of a total of 395 adult size flathead catfish collected, 73% were over 24” in length, 49% were over 28”, 15% were over 36”, and 3.3% were over 40”. The 36” fish averaged 22 pounds in weight. The largest flathead catfish collected during this study was a 44” fish weighing 50 pounds.

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Very Good

Smallmouth bass are common and abundant in the Rock River. A survey conducted in the summer of 2014 found very large numbers of young fish, indicating an excellent spawn. The catch rate was low for the larger fish though, (> 7”) with a rate of 0.6 fish/minute, but the catch rate of 1.2 fish/minute for all sizes was within the target rate. The overall number of adult fish (>11”) collected was a little low, with only 28% of the population in this size range, but this rate has increased slightly as compared to the survey of 2013. Prophetstown had the best number of larger fish with 44% of the adult smallmouth collected in this area > 11”! With the strong year classes produced in 2012, 2013, and again in 2014, the number of larger fish should improve significantly in the near future. Best fishing areas are in South Beloit, below the dam in Dixon, and downstream of Prophetstown State Park. Regulation: 6 black bass, singly or in combination, with no more than 3 smallmouth bass in the daily creel; 14” minimum length limit for smallmouths. Note: There is a closed season on smallmouth bass. All smallmouth bass caught between April 1 and June 15 must be immediately released alive and in good condition back into the waters from which they came.

WALLEYE

Very Good

Walleye are stocked each year into the Rock River to provide a quality sport fishery for this species. Fishing is generally good below the dams and at the mouths of the tributaries. Walleye ranging in size up to and over the state record weight have been caught in recent years in the upper Rock River and the Pecatonica River, a tributary of the Rock near Rockford. A survey conducted in the fall of 2014 near Dixon found a catch rate of 1 fish/ minute with a total of 101 fish of all sizes collected in one hour, well over the target rate for stocking success. The largest collected was just over 3 pounds. Anglers regularly report catching memorable-size walleye from Sterling up through Rockford. Best fishing for walleye is in the upper Rock River, north of Rockford, however anglers sometimes report good fishing near Dixon and at Prophetstown State Park. Regulation: Walleye, Sauger, or Hybrid Walleye – Wisconsin state line downstream to the Sears and Steel dams at Milan: 6 either singly or in combination; 14” minimum length limit. Walleye, Sauger, or Hybrid Walleye — Sears and Steel dams downstream to confluence with Mississippi River, State of Illinois (Rock Island County): 6 fish daily creel with no more than 1 walleye greater than 27” in total length; 15” minimum length limit with a 20-27” protected Slot Length Limit.

Location: The Rock River arises in Washington County, Wisconsin and enters Illinois near Rockton, IL. It flows in a general southwesterly direction for approximately 163 miles before entering the Mississippi River near Rock Island, IL. The river drains 10,280 square miles with about _ of this area in Illinois. The Illinois portion of the river has major population centers at Rockford, Dixon, Sterling/Rock Falls, and Rock Island. The remainder of the Illinois portion of the basin is primarily agricultural. The Rock River has low-head dams at Rockton, Rockford, Oregon, Dixon, 2 at Sterling/Rockfalls, and a split dam at Milan.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: There are more than 80 species of fish in the Rock River Basin, including several species of sport fish. The most sought after of the sport fish are the catfish, with both channel catfish and flathead catfish abundant and of trophy size. Smallmouth bass and walleye fishing are also popular, and close to 70,000 walleye are stocked each year to support this excellent fishery. Panfish such as bluegill and crappie can be found in some of the back water areas, along with largemouth bass. Northern pike can be found in the northern end of the river near Rockford, but in limited numbers.

Additional Lake Information: There is a closed season on smallmouth bass. All smallmouth bass caught between April 1 and June 15 must be immediately released alive and in good condition back into the waters from which they came.

2017 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Public?
August-125048Erie Boat Ramp boat
hook
40Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Yes
August-206760Lowell Park - Dixon boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
September-066113Oppold Marina boat
hook
10Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
No
September-08September-105567Page Park - Dixon bank
hook
0Common Carp
Yes
September-095050Roadside Park - Prophetstown(10 boat maximum) boat
hook
40Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Yes
September-15September-175568Page Park - Dixon bank
hook
0Common Carp
Yes
September-166761Page Park - Dixon boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
September-22September-245569Page Park - Dixon bank
hook
0Common Carp
Yes
October-075051 Prophetstown SP boat
hook
40Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Yes