It may be a little cold to think about going fishing, but that hasn’t stopped Forest Preserve District of Kane County staff from prepping for the coming season following approval of expanded recreational fishing by the Forest Preserve Commission.
Fishing has been solely catch and release within the Kane County forest preserves. but beginning March 31, anglers will be able to keep certain fish at specific interior ponds and lakes within the preserves.
The Forest Preserve District collaborated with fishery biologists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to draft rules that would enable Kane County anglers to keep some of their catch while maintaining a sustainable, recreational fishery.
The district will now have a combination of catch and release, protected slot limits and creel limits, based on species.
The preserves where the new fishing limits will be in effect include Lake Patterson at Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora, Siegler Lake at Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock, and ponds at Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve in Elburn, Barnes Forest Preserve in Aurora, and within Paul Wolff Campground at Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin.
Catch-and-release only rules still apply at all other ponds and lakes within the district. Additionally, the new rules do not impact fishing on streams or the Fox River, both of which are managed by IDNR.
The newly approved fishing limits for the aforementioned preserves are:
- Common Carp: No harvest limit
Bluegill: 10 fish daily harvest limit
• Largemouth Bass: Protected slot limit between 14-18 inches. Harvest limit of one fish greater or equal to 18 inches and three fish less than 14 inches
• Smallmouth Bass: Catch and release, only
• Channel Catfish: 3 fish daily harvest limit• Crappie (white or black): 10 fish daily harvest limit
• Northern Pike: One fish daily harvest limit, 24-inch minimum lengthSignage that includes the new regulations will be posted at applicable forest preserve locations.District Wildlife Biologist Bill Graser sees the changes as a good balance between recreation and natural resource management.
“Fishing is an important form of outdoor recreation, both here and nationally. We’ve had requests for enhanced fishing opportunities here in the preserves. Expanding fishing options is one of the ways we can meet that need, improve recreation and maintain sustainable fish populations,” he said.
Graser added that the District will continue to work with IDNR fishery staff to sample District lakes and ponds, to ensure that a healthy fish population remains that way. Sampling and IDNR recommendations will guide the District’s fish-stocking efforts, and help the District manage natural resources with the best available information.
For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, visit the Kane County Forest District online or find the district on social media by searching @forestpreserve.