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Gone Fishin'

“Many Men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they’re after “ -Henry David Thoreau

With spring right around the corner, many of us have cabin fever and are just aching to run rejoicing into the great outdoors the moment the weather breaks. When I was a little girl, my father always used to take my little brother and me fishing. It was something that he enjoyed and so he wanted to share it with his family. I am more of a fish than a fisherman; I usually lasted about 5 minutes with my pole and then would always somehow manage to end up out of the boat splashing around in the water, collecting rocks or harvesting tadpoles from the banks of the river.

Dad said that scared the fish, but he was an awesome sport about it and bought me some water skis.

Dad still enjoys the sport as do many people who frequent the Channahon and Minooka areas to get their fishing fix.

To get the details I spoke to Bruce Hodgdon, Public Information Officer for the Will County Forest Preserve District and avid fisherman Andrew Wilson, to get some better insight into fishing in the area.  I learned quite a bit more on the subject than I ever thought possible.

Where are the best places to fish in the area?

 “There are 3 bona fide fishing lakes in Will County," Hodgdon said. "The oldest and most popular being the Monee reservoir in Monee, IL., which features a  46-acre, man-made lake that is stocked with fish through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.”

“There is a fully staffed concessions building and a boat launch for canoes kayaks and fishing boats."

It should be noted that no gas powered motors are allowed in the Monee reserve, trolling motors only.

For those of you looking to drown some worms there are 3 area locations where you can launch a boat as well as numerous others where you can hike and bike and just get out into the woods even if fishing isn’t your thing.

“It’s important to remember however that while you can fish on the shoreline any time, boating season does not start for Will County until April first,” Hodgdon said.

When you flip that calendar page, though, here are a couple local options.

~Canoe Launch on the DuPage River at McEvilly Road (right on the Minooka Channahon border)

~Boat Launch on the I&M Canal State Trail in Channahon (on Front Street)

~ Big Basin Marina, Channahon

Why is fishing such a popular pastime? And what do you think Thoreau meant when he said: “fish… aren’t what they’re after”?

"It’s relaxing because you’re out there on the water, which is tranquil in itself and you get to do it while you’re outdoors enjoying nature,” Wilson said. “If you take it metaphorically; we are all out there fishing in life and it (the sport) gives you the excitement of not knowing what’s going to be at the end of that line…life is a lot like that” Wilson mused.

Fishing licenses are available locally at the and online through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources  For more details on where to get outdoors in your area, even if you would last as long as I did as a fisherman, visit the Will County Forest Preserve District Web site.

“Another big draw are our trail systems where there are over 100 miles of recreational trails for hiking, inline skating running and biking” Hodgdon said.

Andrew Wilson is an avid fisherman who has been a resident of the Plainfield/Joliet area for most of his life.  He is a techie by trade and stays current on fishing trends and marine equipment via “any means available."

Bruce Hodgdon is a 17 year veteran of the Will County Forest Preserve District who is committed to conservation and related educational efforts throughout Will County.

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