Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 283
People interested in water sports, horseback riding, picnicking or hiking will find that Wayne Fitzgerrell has plenty to offer. The site also provides ample opportunities for birders, wildlife observers and photographers, fishing tournaments, pleasure boaters, water skiers and anglers.
Overlooking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 19,000-acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is a gateway to Southern Illinois’ biggest outdoor playground - a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. The park offers outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor recreational pursuits.
The beautiful waterside resort on Rend Lake offers first-class accommodations in one of southern Illinois’ finest recreation areas, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. All 105 rooms and cabins have balconies or decks with lakefront views, full baths, TVs and telephones. Some rooms have fireplaces, sleeping lofts and spas, and some are wheelchair accessible. Although cabins do not have cooking facilities, they are equipped with refrigerators.
Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Windows Restaurant at Rend Lake features a lounge and casual outdoor deck dining. House specialities include pork chops, catfish and steak, plus excellent homemade salads and desserts. The restaurant also offers a kid’s menu.
Amenities include a conference center that will accommodate groups from 25 to 600, an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, playground, golfing packages, a convenience store and gift shop, gas for boats, courtesy boat docking and rental of pontoon boats and wave runners.
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area, with its excellent camping, lodging and boat launch facilities,is a great headquarters for anglers using Rend Lake. Since 75 percent of the park’s boundary is Rend Lake shoreline, the site provides outstanding bank fishing opportunities.
Rend Lake is well-known as an outstanding sport fishery for white and black crappie, particularly in the early spring, as well as excellent fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegill. As a result of a Department of Natural Resources stocking program, the lake is one of the few southern Illinois locations to have a noteworthy white bass fishery. Current state records for bowfin and black crappie were creeled from Rend Lake.
Hundreds of upland game hunters flock to Wayne Fitzgerrell each fall to participate in a controlled pheasant hunt accommodating up to 120 hunters a day.
When game populations warrant, the site hosts hunting programs for upland game and deer. While no waterfowl hunting takes place at Wayne Fitzgerrell, the site is a popular location where waterfowlers can camp or rent a room for their hunting trip.
Wayne Fitzgerrell is noted for its extensive sporting dog field trial programs. The site annually hosts more than 25 field trialing events, in which some of the best trained beagles, retrievers and bird dogs compete for regional and national honors. Many of the competitions are equestrian trials, with dog handlers and observers following the action from horseback.
Wayne Fitzgerrell has 40 tent sites to accommodate primitive campers who relish a rustic outdoor experience. Those who want a few more amenities will want to take advantage of the 243 modern campsites, which offer electrical hookups and sanitary facilities. Three shower buildings are available for campers.
Campers should register with the Campground Host upon arrival. The fee for camping is $20 per night for sites with electricity, or $6 per night for a primitive site. There is an additional $10 fee added to the camping fee during the Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day holidays. The campground remains available on a first-come, first-served basis which gives everyone equal opportunity for campsites.
For horseback riders, a 9-mile bridle trail encircles the wildlife/field trial area, and opportunities to see and photograph wildlife abound. The trail is open to all equestrians for most of the year. From Sept. 15 to April 15, the bridle trail is closed during the hunting and designated field trial seasons.
With more than 150 picnicking sites situated throughout the park, Wayne Fitzgerrell visitors should have little problem finding the perfect spot for a summertime picnic. There are three major picnic areas and several small areas equipped with shelters, tables, fireplaces and playground equipment. Reservations are accepted at four of the five shelters. Shelter 1 in the south picnic area and Shelters 2 and 3 in the north area offer a protected cove for the convenience of boaters looking for a picnicking spot. Shelter 4, located in the County Line Picnic Area, is the largest shelter in the park. This shelter has a nice shaded setting, is handicapped accessible and has electricity and water with a large fireplace for cooking.
Hiking & Biking
For hikers and bikers, a newly constructed 4-mile hiking/biking trail is in place which runs from the day use areas through the campgrounds to Rend Lake Resort, and then connects to the Rend Lake College Bike Trail.
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