The waters and wetlands of Moraine Hills are home to abundant wildlife; more than 200 species of birds have been identified at the park. Fishing is available on both Lake Defiance and on the Fox River. The McHenry Dam area provides access to the Fox River, and a fishing pier accessible to visitors with disabilities is available. Regulations are posted at both sites. To help preserve the natural state of Lake Defiance, and because of the dangerous peat shoreline, bank fishing is prohibited except from designated piers along the boardwalk. The concession stand at the McHenry Dam provides refreshments, bait and tackle, and boat rentals for both the Fox River and Lake Defiance.
Shabonna Lake State Park
Boat and shore fishing are both popular and productive at Shabbona Lake. Declared the "Muskie Capitol of Illinois" and one of "Illinois' best Fishing Lakes" by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011, Shabbona Lake has produced 6 State record fish including 4 Muskies and 2 Hybrid Crappies. The lake is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, black and white crappie, black and brown bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, muskie and perch. Contact the park office for fish catch and size limits. Lake access is available from a double-lane launching ramp. Boat motors are limited to a 10 HP maximum. However, an 18-acre upper fishing area is a no-wake zone where only electric trolling motors or rowing is permitted.
Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve in Wayne is located on the outwash plain of the West Chicago Moraine. Made up largely of wetlands, this landscape combines calcium-rich water with wet sandy soil to support plant life more commonly seen near Lake Michigan. Pratt’s Wayne Woods offers 58 acres of the finest fishing in the county at Pickerel Lake, Catfish Pond, Horsetail Pond, Beaver Slough and Harrier Lake, which is catch-and-release only. The Forest Preserve District periodically stocks all but Beaver Slough with channel catfish and largemouth bass, but all five contain several popular species. In particular, Pickerel Lake, which features limestone shorelines and two fishing piers, offers rainbow trout, northern pike and crappie.
After the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier, the land that is now Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton grew into prairies with scattered woodlands. Home to an impressive variety of wildlife. Ecologists have recorded over 254 resident and migrant animal species among the preserve’s 470 different types of plants. Hundreds of largemouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, crappie, and sunfish provide sport for county anglers at the 22-acre Herrick Lake, which has been part of the District’s fisheries-management program for more than 30 years. Periodic stocking of catchable-sized sport fish supplements the natural fishery.
Formerly a cooling reservoir, Heidecke Lake in Morris has 1,955 surface acres of water with 75 percent of shoreline comprised of rock rip-rapped dikes. There are no horsepower limitations; maximum speed is 40 mph except in designated "no wake" areas; working gasoline engine required as main propulsion unit; boats under 14' are not recommended. Shore angler access is located on the east side of lake off Dresden Road with portions of the center and east dike open to bank fishing. A handicapped fishing pier is located on the east side of the lake as well. Bass spawning habitat has been installed at various locations and other habitat enhancement projects are planned. Heidecke Lake receives annual stockings of walleye and hybrid striped bass. Pure muskellunge are stocked every third year, while black crappie and largemouth bass are released based upon availability. Heidecke Lake is maintained by periodically pumping water from the Illinois River. As a result, the lake supports a variety of fish species in addition to those listed above, including common carp, quillback, freshwater drum and others. Two pole and line fishing only, all other statewide regulations apply.