With four miles of shoreline and covering 377 acres, Saganashkee Slough in the Palos Preserves of southwest Cook County is one of the Forest Preserves’ largest bodies of water. Visitors can fish and view migratory waterfowl from the open shoreline and trails, or they can launch a rowboat or canoe to get out on this peaceful expanse.
Enjoying Saganashkee Slough
The average depth of the Saganashkee Slough is about five feet, with the shallowest parts around one foot and the deepest about six-and-a-half.
The Saganashkee Slough East entrance, along 104th Avenue, provides shoreline fishing from a wheelchair-accessible concrete fishing wall and access to multi-use unpaved trails. Pick up the trails from the south side of the parking lot. For the blue unpaved trail (1.2 miles), take a right turn off the asphalt walkway and follow the trail west up the hill and along the south shore of the slough. The blue trail connects with 30 miles of Palos trails north of Saganashkee Slough. To access the purple unpaved trail, which heads west along the south bank of the Cal-Sag Channel, continue south from the asphalt walkway and cross the channel bridge.
These trails are open to hikers, bikers, cross country skiers and horseback riders. The unpaved blue trail is narrow and unpaved, with varied and occasionally muddy terrain. If conditions are wet and muddy, the trail will be closed to biking to protect the trail and the surrounding habitat. The trail is open to cross-country skiing in the winter months.
Two entrances along 107th Street provide additional access to Saganashkee Slough. The Central entrance offers shoreline fishing; the West entrance provides areas for shoreline fishing as well as a boat launch.
Only motorless boats—rowboats, canoes, kayaks and approved inflatables —are permitted on the slough. Boats must be registered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and follow all Forest Preserve boating regulations. To accommodate seasonal waterfowl migration, all boating is prohibited (and boat ramp is closed) during fall and spring months. Exact opening and closing dates are determined by the Forest Preserves’ fisheries and wildlife sections.
For fishing guidelines, download the Forest Preserve’s official Fishing Guide (32.55 MB PDF). The slough is open to ice fishing during the winter months, but the Forest Preserve District does not monitor the ice conditions. Ice fishing is at your own risk.
Nature at Saganashkee Slough
Just as humans are drawn to Saganashkee Slough’s vistas and breathtaking sunsets, a great variety of birds, particularly waterfowl, are attracted to this large, open water body. During spring and fall migration, the slough is a stopover for loons, herons, grebes, mergansers, white-winged scoters, double-crested cormorants, goldeneyes and many others. Bald eagles have been known to roost in the area. Perching birds such as cedar waxwings, red-eyed vireos and blue-gray gnatcatchers fill the woods with their calls.
The slough supports a number of aquatic species. Fish such as crappie, catfish, largemouth bass, northern pike and bullhead all live here–Saganashkee’s yellow bass population is one of the best in the county. With a variety of materials making up the slough’s bottom, natural structures such as sunken trees and inaccessible stretches of shoreline, Saganashkee offers fish plenty of good breeding and hiding places. Combined with the slough’s large size, these factors support thriving fish populations.
Abundant fish and amphibian populations also make the slough prime hunting territory for nonvenomous northern water snakes.