Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area
Open: Open all year
A tranquil setting, flowing rivers, and natural prairie land -- the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area has it all! Visitors will delight in the abundance of wildlife, restful picnic areas and variety of sportfishing species. Farmland and woodland, prairie and swamp, still water and shoreline offer unlimited opportunities for nature lovers and sportsmen.
A restful break from hunting, fishing or hiking can be a special event. Picnickers can choose to lunch along the Kankakee River or under the large shelter on the banks of Milliken Lake. Both sites provide tables, stoves and water along with cooling shade trees and picturesque views. A playground area is also provided at the Milliken Lake site.
Open water and ice fishing are popular events as well, and productive! Milliken Lake, as well as several ponds and the river backwaters, provide panfish, catfish, and bass fishing. Milliken Lake is stocked with catchable trout in the spring. The Kankakee River borders the site on the south with 3 miles of shoreline providing access to boating enthusiasts and excellent walleye and northern pike fishing.
Designated camping areas are available for those wishing to stay overnight at the site. These are Class C (vehicular access, no showers) areas with graveled pads, water and pit toilets. The campground is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, from mid-April (weather permitting) to mid-October, closed the rest of the year.
A public boat launch with 3 paved ramps is available on the Kankakee River for boating on the river or its backwaters. Motors are limited to 10 horsepower or less on the backwaters, but there are no limits on the Kankakee River. No boating is allowed on Milliken Lake.
A twelve mile trail is opne from mid April thru October weather permitting. The trail hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pheasant hunting is the most popular choice for sportsmen at Des Plaines, and the largest pheasant hunting (by permit only) facility in the state is located at the site. For variety, however, there are unlimited numbers of deer, rabbit, dove, and coyote. All hunters are required to have permits and check in at the site office. Waterfowl hunting is available at the nearby Will County Waterfowl Management Area, with hunting blinds being allocated via drawings.
Eighty acres of the Des Plaines Wildlife and Conservation Area make up a dedicated nature preserve which contains many remnants of the natural prairie of years past. The preserve is managed so it can protect and perpetuate this prairie heritage for future generations. Visitors are encouraged to view this area, but are reminded that all plants and animals here are protected and are not to be disturbed in any way.
Hand Trap Range
Two handtrap ranges and an archery range are open to the public daily except during pheasant hunting season. Sportsmen are welcome to practice and hone their skills so they will be ready to go on opening day.
In Addition to the two hand trap ranges and the archery range. Des Plaines hosts three wingshooting clinics and two Hunter Safety Classes annually. The wingshooting clinics are held on the first weekend following Mothers Day (Youth and Ladies Clinics), on the first weekend in June and the third weekend in September (both are for experienced shooters); the Hunters Safety Classes are available in June and August.
The Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area is well known for numerous field trials and dog training events held throughout the year. The plentiful open areas, swampy backwater areas, and woodlands provide a perfect spot for all types of training. Whether you are training your animal or just being a spectator, these events can be a great way to spend a day or weekend outdoors.
The following programs have disabled accessibility: Hunting, Fishing, Camping, and Picnicking.
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