Pea body-River King
Once a surface-mined area, Peabody Rrver King Stale Fish and Wiklife Area is used today by anglers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts looking for recreational opportunities in southwestern Illinois Located in southern St. Clair County about a half mile east of New Athens, Peabody-Rrver King ts adjacent to Kaskaskia River Slate Fish and Wildlife Area, which oversees the site Access is available east from New Athens via Old Highway 13 and Darmstadt Road.
Some 1,800 acres of the 2,000-acre site were donated to the Illinois Department ot Natural Resources by the Peabody Coal Co. in 1994. Peabody Coal had mined the area from the late 1950s through the late 1980s, operating its surface mines under a series of mine reclamation measures. As a result, the area contains a varied topography, including more than 20 lakes and ponds totaling 534 acres. All of the water impoundments are a result of the surface mining operations.
Fescue is common throughout the site and was planted during the reclamation process to reduce soil erosion. Recently, some of the grasslands have been planted with prairie grasses and other native grasses to provide varied habitat for wildlife In addition, each year approximately 200 acres are planted to sunflowers, corn. milo. wheat, alfalfa and soybeans.
With abundant largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish. Peabody-River King's many lakes and ponds provide excellent fishing opportunities to thousands of anglers annually. The location of the main boat ramp in the northern part of the area allows fishermen access to several of the site's larger lakes. Ponds provide good fishing opportunities in more secluded settings for anglers with small boats or canoes.
Boating and fishing regulations vary with the size of the water body being fished. Larger lakes more than 60 acres in size have a 10 horsepower limit and a 'no-wake" rule. On smaller lakes, either trolling motors or bank fishing only is permitted. All fishing regulations are posted.
Perhaps the most popular hunting activity at Peabody-River King is dove hunting, which occurs in the East Subunit. Steel shot is required. Upland game, archery deer hunting and limited furbearer hunting are also allowed.
From Nov. 1 through Feb. 28, the North Subunit serves as a waterfowl rest area and is closed to all public activity, including fishing. The East Subunit is closed to hunting from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. although trapping is allowed by permit. Hunter fact sheets, available from the site, provide specific information.
Large numbers of migrating ducks and Canada geese visit Peabody-River King State Fish and Wildlife Area each (all. and occasionally swans are seen. A resident Canada goose population nests on the lakes' shores and islands. Other nesting waterfowl species include wood ducks, mallards and blue-winged teal. In addition, a roosting area for short-eared owls is maintained at the site.
Picnic tables and toilets are available. In addition to fishing and hunting, hiking is popular among those who enjoy viewing wildlife.
For mote information about Peabcdy-River King State Fish and Wildlife Area, contact the site superintendent at Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area. 10981 Conservation Road. Baldwin. IL 62217, phone (618) 785-2555.