Fishing in the lakes, ponds and streams of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people each year.  The District manages over 40 lakes for recreational sport fishing. Some of the many species found within District waters include largemouth bass, walleye, muskie, northern pike, bluegill, crappie and channel catfish.


The District’s Fisheries Section in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources stock a number of the District’s lakes with sport fish on an annual bases. Twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, rainbow trout are stocked. For a list of District trout lakes see the District’s Fishing Guide. The District receives hybrid sunfish and channel catfish through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Fisheries Program, which also provides fishing instruction.


Some District waters allow the use of approved private watercraft while others offer boat concessions. Concessions also offer bait and food.


The Fishing Guide lists all fishing and boating regulations, locations and other fishing and boating information.  Maps of the fishing lakes, ponds, quarries, reservoirs and sloughs within the Forest Preserve District of Cook County can also be found in the guide. The Guide is available here for downloading in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Printed copies of the Fishing Guide are available at the FPDCC Headquarters in River Forest and also our Nature Centers.


To view individual maps of the 40 fishing areas, displaying water depths and more information on FPDCC fishing waters, visit the Lake Maps page.


Stocking Reports


Fishing Regulations


The FPDCC works with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to provide quality hook-and-line fishing.  All State laws and regulations apply to District waters, with some additional restrictions:  bow and arrow fishing for rough fish is not permitted in the preserves. Also all waters within the forest preserves are designated FISH PRESERVES – each fisherman is limited to two lines with no more than two hooks per line and no trolley lines.


A valid Illinois sport fishing license is required except for persons that are under 16 years of age, disabled or blind. In addition, anyone required to have a valid State fishing license must have a valid State Inland Trout Stamp when fishing for trout within the District’s trout lakes. To obtain an Illinois sport fishing license or an inland trout stamp go to


The following daily creel and size limits pertain to all fishable waters within the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Not all species are found in all lakes; check the District’s Fishing Guide for availability.


Daily Creel and Size Limits:


Species* Size Limit Creel Limit
Largemouth/Smallmouth Bass 14 inches 6 per day
Walleye 18 inches 6 per day
Northern Pike 24 inches 3 per day
Muskellunge 36 inches 1 per day
Channel Catfish None 6 per day
Bluegill/Sunfish None 15 per day
Black/White Crappie None 15 per day
Rainbow Trout None 5 per day

*All species may not be found in all lakes


Special Forest Preserve Regulations regarding size, creel limit and/or closings may be imposed on designated waters of the District and will be so posted. These special regulations are used for management of the District’s waters and to improve fish populations within. We ask the fishing public to respect and obey these regulations on lakes so posted.


Inland Trout Program: Rainbow trout are stocked in the spring and fall. Lakes receiving trout in the spring are Axehead Lake, Belleau Lake and Sag Quarry – East. Lake receiving trout in the fall are Axehead Lake, Belleau Lake and Horsetail Lake.


Trout fishing is closed from March 15 to the first Saturday in April and from October 1 to the third Saturday in October. A valid State of Illinois Fishing License with an Inland Trout Stamp is required to fish the District’s trout lakes.


Minnow seine use is not allowed, except for bait collecting on the Des Plaines River.


Ice Fishing is only permitted on designated District lakes in a FISH AT YOUR OWN RISK basis. Ice conditions are not monitored by the District. Ice fishermen should check ice thickness before going out on any frozen body of water. A minimum of four inches of solid ice over the entire lake is recommended before individuals attempt ice fishing.
To view individual maps of the 40 fishing areas, displaying water depths and more information on FPDCC fishing waters, visit the Lake Maps page.


It is unlawful to release any fish, including minnows and goldfish, in any Forest Preserve District of Cook County waters, except in the waters from which they were taken.


It is illegal to abandon, deposit or throw any wire, can, bottle, glass, paper, trash, rubbish, cardboard boxes, wood cartons, trees, parts of trees, brush, or other insoluble material, including animal or vegetable material, into the waters of Cook County, or in any place on the banks of waters in the County, where it shall be liable to be washed by storms, floods or other causes.


It is unlawful to enter the water for any reason, including wading or  swimming, unless authorized by administrative order of the General Superintendent.

Visit the Boating Page for all FPDCC boating information and regulations.

Tuma Lake Opening Postponed Indefinitely

Due to the severity of the fish kill that occurred during winter 2014, the opening of newly re-established Tuma Lake (map) for public fishing will be postponed indefinitely.


Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County