Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area is located approximately 25 miles southwest of Peoria on U.S. Route 24 and is protected from the Illinois River by a major levee. Teeming with fish and wildlife, Banner Marsh provides outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, boating, dog training, picnicking, wildlife observation and photography. Three public access areas lead into Banner Marsh, all of which have parking lots, boat ramps, restrooms and picnic areas. The only type of camping allowed at Banner Marsh is youth group camping. Nearby Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area has camping facilities available.
Three public boat ramps, offer visitors easy access to the waters of Banner Marsh as well as scenic views of the area. Row boats, canoes and small motor boats are popular watercraft at Banner Marsh. Jet skis, water skiing, swimming and operation of boat motors in excess of 25 horsepower are prohibited at Banner Marsh.
Banner Marsh is known as an excellent place for training hunting dogs and conducting field trials. Dog training requires a free permit that can be obtained at Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, located southwest of Banner Marsh. Some field trials are conducted at Banner Marsh, but require a permit from the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.
Whether you prefer bank fishing or boat fishing or are fishing for one particular species, you won't run out of fishable water at Banner Marsh. With more than 200 clear water bodies holding numerous species of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, bluegill, redear, green sunfish and channel cat, fishing is a common interest among many who visit the area.
The site works to ensure a well-balanced fishery for today’s anglers and future generations with three fish brooding ponds, extensive stocking efforts and site-specific size and creel limits, posted at all three public access areas. Boat fishing is prohibited during waterfowl season, but bank fishing is allowed after 1 p.m. daily. Fishing is otherwise permitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
During hunting seasons Banner Marsh is popular with Illinois outdoorsmen. Diverse in habitat, wildlife species and management practices, Banner Marsh offers a variety of hunting opportunities, including waterfowl, dove, upland game and deer (archery only).
Whether taking a break from fishing or just desiring a day in the outdoors, visitors enjoy picnicking at any of the three public access areas. Each picnic area offers shaded picnic tables, immediate access to fishable waters, boat ramps and restrooms. No potable water exists at Banner Marsh.
Youth Group Camping
No camping facilities exist at Banner Marsh, beyond walk-in or boat-in camping for youth groups. Advance arrangements must be made at the Rice Lake office.