Cast Away: The Best Fishing Spots in Illinois

You are sure to find a fishing spot in Illinois that scratches your angling itch.

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They don't call it the Great Lakes region for nothing. All across Illinois, there are numerous lakes and rivers that make for a fantastic fishing trip. Whether you’re a pro or a novice, you are sure to find a fishing spot in Illinois that scratches your angling itch.

Whether you're looking for a Memorial Day fishing trip or a week-long vacation, so as long as fishing is on the itinerary, Illinois is perfect for a getaway. Here are some of the most exciting places to cast your line in Illinois.

by Erica Abdnour of Concierge Preferred

Chicago

Lake Michigan | Belmont Harbor

While fishing might not be the first thing people think about when they think about visiting Chicago, there are a surprising number of charters along beautiful Lake Michigan where you can get your fishing fix. Fishing charters like Why Knot Chicago Fishing Charters, KingFisher Charters, and Skyline Fishing Charters all dock off of Belmont Harbor and take you on daylong excursions into Lake Michigan to catch a variety of salmon, trout, and more.

Where to Stay

Stay near Belmont Harbor at one of Chicago’s boutique hotels for a true neighborhood experience.

Hotel Versey

Located in Chicago’s vibrant Lincoln Park neighborhood and a short walk from Belmont Harbor, Hotel Versey offers a quirky, yet historic lodging experience. With rooms decorated to commemorate Chicago’s iconic past, a stay at Hotel Versey gives you local flavor in a fun and exciting way.

Majestic Hotel

This classic hotel option is just steps away from Belmont Harbor, making it a great accommodation for a fishing getaway in Chicago. Majestic Hotel is a European-style boutique hotel located in the East Lakeview neighborhood and is conveniently located near popular restaurants, bars, and shopping.

What to Do

The Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago — where Belmont Harbor is located — offers a plethora of exciting attractions, restaurants, bars, and shopping. Grab brunch at Hutch American Bistro for their chilaquiles and chicken and waffles, or at Yolk for their inventive eggs Benedicts. For a local beer and fresh American cuisine, head to DryHop Brewery, where you can treat yourself to a flight of locally-brewed beer and flavorful shared plates.

In addition to your fishing excursion, make sure you take advantage of the attractions that the Lakeview/Lincoln Park area has to offer. The popular (and free!) Lincoln Park Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon for individuals and families alike. Walk to Wrigleyville to take in the sights and sounds of the Chicago Cubs and explore the bustling new neighborhood additions like the Park at Wrigley and souvenir shopping at Addison & Clark.

Marion

Devil's Kitchen Lake | Lake of Egypt

Head south for a quiet fishing getaway. Marion, Illinois is home to the beautiful 810-acre reservoir known as Devil's Kitchen Lake, where rainbow trout, yellow perch, and largemouth bass are among the fish that settle here. The stunning foliage around Devil's Kitchen Lake sets the tone for a relaxing getaway.

A few miles east, Lake of Egypt is a popular fishing destination. Though the lake is privately owned, public access is allowed to fish for bluegill, largemouth bass, and crappie. Lake locals and visitors alike love to hang out at Mack’s Lake of Egypt Marina, where you can rent a pontoon boat or just settle in for snacks and drinks. 

BONUS: Read more about visiting Lake of Egypt — including the story behind its name.

Where to Stay

Jasones Bed & Breakfast & Restaurant

For a hyper-local experience, Jasones Bed & Breakfast & Restaurant is a great option. Located just 15 miles from Devils Kitchen Lake, this quaint B&B offers amenities such as massages, a library, a full onsite restaurant and outdoor space.

Olde Squat Inn Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast

Treat yourself to an original log cabin from the 1800s! Olde Squat Inn Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast offers lake views, split rail fences, and wrap-around porches for a scenic experience each day. A full breakfast is served daily in the main lodge, and outdoor activities are prevalent, so if you’re looking for a truly immersive outdoor getaway, this is a great option.

What to Do

Located near Devils Kitchen Lake is Honker Hill Vineyard, a family-owned winery and vineyard which offers an array of semi-sweet and semi-dry wines produced from homegrown grapes. Stroll through the vineyard and enjoy live music on weekends.

The Marion area is chock full of wonderful restaurants like Tequilas Mexican Restaurant, which offers authentic Mexican cuisine and live music, and 17th Street Bar and Grill which boasts renowned barbecue (we’re talking Food Network accolades, people!).

Springfield

Lake Springfield

Head to Lake Springfield to enjoy a getaway near our state Capitol for a fun-filled getaway on the water. From fishing to boating to cruising on a jetski, there are an array of activities to fill a day on Lake Springfield. As for fishing, it's easy to rent a boat and enjoy the abundance of largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish.

Where to Stay

Country Inn & Suites

Several hotels are conveniently located along Lake Springfield. Country Inn & Suites offers complimentary breakfast and is just a quick drive from Lake Springfield. Amenities include a swimming pool and free hotel shuttle service, which is available to Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport and major events at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center.

Baymont by Wyndham Springfield

Located near the southern end of Lake Springfield is Baymont by Wyndham Springfield, a cozy lodging option that includes an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, in-room kitchens, and it even welcomes pets. Just a quick drive from the Henson Robinson Zoo and Cozy Dog Drive-In, this hotel is perfect for families looking to relax and enjoy a fishing getaway.

What to Do

Right on Lake Springfield, you’ll find plenty of aquatic activities to enjoy. Rent ski boats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, WaveRunners, and much more to fully embrace the lake life and take a break from fishing.

If you’re looking to get away from the water, check out the historical sites that Springfield offers like the Air Combat Museum or the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Grab a bite at one of Springfield’s popular haunts like the 110-year-old Dew Chilli Parlor, where you can enjoy all-American cuisine, or Engrained Brewing Company, a locally owned microbrewery boasting farm-to-table cuisine and specially crafted beer.


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