From Chicago to the Mississipi River, the Illinois River offers many popular locations for fly fishing along its 273 miles across Illinois.
The Illinois River has numerous tailwater fly fishing opportunities for Tailwater habitat, found below each navigation dam, is fast turbulent water caused by the passage of water through the dam. Tailwaters receive heavy fishing pressure because fish congregate in these rough waters. White bass are particularly fond of tailwaters, and channel catfish and drum are often caught there. Otherwise, you can expect to find white bass, channel catfish and sauger or walleye. One of the most popular sections is from Starved Rock State Park near Utica to Henry. From Henry south to the Peoria Dam, the Peoria "narrows" near McCluggage Bridge (Ill. Route 150), the Woodford County Conservation Area, the East River area which enters it, Lacon Harbor and the Henry Island areas are good fishing spots. There are at least a half dozen launch sites along this stretch. Camping is available at both the Woodford and Marshall County Conservation areas which also provide bank fishing opportunities.
Overall, Illinois River is the 5th most popular fly fishing river of all 8 fly fishing spots in Illinois.