Spring 2019 Conservationist

Go Fish!

by Dan Grigas, Natural Resources

For me, fishing is as much of an American pastime as baseball. Few other activities rally my excitement and fill me with anticipation. My experience is rich with memories of fishing northern Wisconsin lakes for crappie, perch, walleye and other game fish found in typical “north woods” waters. Today, these memories — for better or worse — influence my expectations when I’m fishing, no matter where I am. Lucky for me and other anglers, DuPage forest preserve lakes and ponds contain many favorites.

When I began working in fisheries ecology for the Forest Preserve District, I wanted to continue the agency’s goal of providing quality fishing opportunities in DuPage. Many of our fisheries management activities focus on bolstering or maintaining a robust and diverse fish community, not only for the ecological health of the county’s lakes and rivers but also for various recreational opportunities, especially fishing.

Most anglers I’ve encountered fit into one of three groups — Newcomer, Generalist or Diehard — and the Forest Preserve District works to create fisheries that suit everyone’s needs and desires. Which one are you? 

The Newcomer

The Newcomer is either new to fishing or trying to get someone else (especially a child) interested in the sport. If you’re either, there are several easy-to-reach lakes where you can catch fish (primarily small- to medium-sized bluegill) without much trouble.

If you’re not a Newcomer, you’re probably asking, “Who wants to just catch dink panfish?” But keep in mind that waters with constant action are able to capture the attention of young kids and new anglers who want to get “hooked.”

Where to Go

Blackwell — Silver Lake, White Pine Pond and Sand Pond
Wood Dale Grove — Grove Lake
Pratt’s Wayne Woods — Pickerel Lake and Catfish Pond

The Generalist

Generalists love to fish. Catching anything and being outdoorsis what it’s all about. When I talk with anglers in this group, they typically say they’re fishing for “anything that bites” and that “a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.”

All DuPage forest preserve lakes and ponds have been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish at some point. The lakes listed under Newcomer also have northern pike, yellow perch and black crappie. The lakes below have been stocked with a variety of species over the years and, according to recent surveys, have diverse communities with plenty of fish.

Where to Go
Hidden Lake — Round Meadow Lake and Eagle Lake
Mallard Lake — Mallard Lake and Cloverdale Pond
West Branch — Deep Quarry Lake 

The Die Hard

The Diehard is a special breed (and the one I associate with the most). These anglers fish rain or shine, in blizzards or during volcanic eruptions. For them, fishing is life. The trophy seekers in this group can take solace in knowing DuPage forest preserves have quite a few places to hook a monster. A handful have muskie, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass and catfish guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of any angler’s neck!

Where to Go
Mallard Lake — Mallard Lake
flathead catfish around 50 pounds

Blackwell — Silver Lake
Mallard Lake — Mallard Lake
northern pike over 30 inches, musky over 45 inches and
20 pounds, and walleye over 20 inches

Pratt’s Wayne Woods — Harrier Lake
walleye over 25 inches nearing 8 pounds

West Branch — Deep Quarry Lake
northern pike over 30 inches and largemouth bass over
20 inches and 5 pounds

McDowell Grove — Mud Lake
Songbird Slough — Songbird Lake
Hidden Lake — Round Meadow Lake
largemouth bass over 20 inches and 5 pounds

No matter which group you belong to (or if you have one of your own) you can find your next favorite fishing hole in the Forest Preserve District’s Fishing Guide, which has maps, species lists and creel limits for 31 lakes and ponds and local rivers. Download a copy at dupageforest.org, or call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 to have one mailed to you.