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. More than 350,000 people annually visit Des Plaines SFWA - an area of more than 5,000 acres, including approximately 200 acres of water.
The following programs have access for people with disabilities: hunting, fishing, camping, and picnicking.
A public boat launch with three 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 no limits exist on the Kankakee River. No boating is allowed on Milliken Lake. Boat ramps are closed seasonally from the end of October for pheasant hunting season thru mid-April (weather depending).
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.
A 12-mile trail is open from mid-April thru October (weather permitting) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Fishing is popular at Des Plaines SFWA. Several ponds and the river backwaters provide panfish, catfish, and bass fishing. 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.
Pheasant hunting is the most popular choice for sportsmen and women at Des Plaines SFWA, and the largest pheasant hunting (by permit only) facility in the state is located at the site. For variety, the site also offers deer, rabbit, dove and coyote hunting. 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 allocated via drawings.
Hand Trap Range
Two hand trap ranges and an archery range are open to the public daily except during pheasant hunting season. Sportsmen and women are welcome to practice and hone their skills.
Eighty acres of the Des Plaines SFWA are dedicated as a nature preserve which contains many remnants of the Illinois' natural prairie. The preserve is managed to protect and perpetuate this prairie heritage for future generations. Visitors are encouraged to view this area, but are reminded that all plants and animals within the nature preserve are protected and are not to be disturbed in any way.
A restful break from hunting, fishing or hiking can be a special event. Picnickers can choose to lunch along the Kankakee River, with cooling shade trees and picturesque views.
In addition to the two hand trap and archery ranges, Des Plaines hosts wingshooting clinics and Hunter Safety Classes annually.