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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 56 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2021.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 1
Common Carp 461
Largemouth Bass 2257
Smallmouth Bass 249

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2021 tournaments:

1     5.76 lbs
2     5.38 lbs
3     5.12 lbs
4     4.78 lbs
5     4.47 lbs

Top 5 Total Tournament Weight of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2021 tournaments:

1 342.10 lbs
2 210.31 lbs
3 182.68 lbs
4 171.02 lbs
5 165.19 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 – 2022 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
December-1119564ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes
December-3119565ApprovedBillie Lemacher Park (bank fishing only) bank
hook
0Common Carp
NoYes
March-1220833ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
March-1920860ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
March-2620834ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
March-2719838ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-0919840ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
YesNo
April-1019699ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-1620836ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
April-2320837ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
April-2419701ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-2420973PendingBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
April-3019804ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
YesYes
May-0119924ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-1120282ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-1519733ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-2219710ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-2520302ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0519782ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0820905ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-11
*June-12
19980PendingDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
75Largemouth Bass
YesYes
June-2220332ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
June-2619807ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-0620345ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1019757ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-1719825ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2020351ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2320087ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2419778ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
July-2420582ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
9Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
July-3120054ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0320358ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-0620019ApprovedDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-0620049ApprovedThree Rivers Marina boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-0621050ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
August-1419844ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2019795ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2120697PendingDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
70Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesYes
August-2420364ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
August-2819809ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-03
*September-04
20243PendingDes Plaines SFWA boat
hook
55Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
September-03
*September-04
21159ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
September-0720368ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1020766ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
September-1119805ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesNo
September-1819863ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
October-0219831ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
October-0820840ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
October-2220841ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
November-0520842ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
November-0620275ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
November-1920843ApprovedBig Basin boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo