West of Chicago, the Fox River is a popular river for fly fishing. The river comes into Illinois from Wisconsin near Antioch and then proceeds downstream 115 miles to the confluence with the Illinois River near Ottawa. Since this river passes through relatively populated areas, it tends to have a bad reputation. However, over the pass several years, the water quality has improved greatly. You can expect to find walleyes, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel catfish, carp and other panfish.
The favored Fox River fly fishing spots are in the upper reaches near the Wisconsin border. There are also 14 dams providing excellent tailwater fly fishing. Most of the dams are found in the Elgin-Aurora area and are located at Carpentersville, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Aurora (2), Montgomery, McHenry, Algonquin, Yorkville and Dayton. The McHenry Dam is one of the best spots for channel cat on the stream and also produces excellent carp fishing for those interested in this fish.
Overall, Fox River is the 1st most popular fly fishing river of all 8 fly fishing spots in Illinois.