Sahara Woods State Fish and Wildlife Area

Quick Facts

Sahara Woods State Fish and Wildlife Area

Illinois

(618) 994-2022

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Sahara Woods, a portion of the Saline County Fish and Wildlife Area, is a hunting and fishing gem nestled in the woods just north of Carrier Mills.

The 4,001-acre property was donated to Illinois Department of Natural Resources by Sahara Coal Company in 1998 and after an extensive reclamation program was opened to the public on July 7, 2011. The site has numerous lakes and ponds; Sahara offers a little of something to appeal to any angler.

The two largest lakes, Sahara and Final Cut comprise 100 and 20 acres respectively, but with over 275 acres of total waters there are many small but productive ponds accessible only by foot.

Sahara and Final Cut lakes are both equipped with boat launches, piers and bathroom facilities. Swimming is not allowed in any lake or pond on the site. All the lakes and ponds are open to boats, canoes, kayaks, and angling tubes meeting state regulations with the stipulation that vehicles are not used to back up to the edges of lakes and ponds to launch watercraft.

Catfish, crappie, bass, bluegill and red-ear can be found in the waters of Sahara Woods with catfish restocked regularly. A very good way to get an overview of the locations of lakes and ponds is to use a satellite or aerial imaging application which provides aerial photos of Sahara Woods.

Sahara Woods is open for archery deer hunting, firearm doe hunting, upland game hunting, turkey and fur bearer hunting in season. In November, half the park briefly closes and is reserved for a special deer hunt for terminally-ill youth.

Sahara Woods boasts a plentiful deer and turkey population, as well as numerous flocks of Quail.

Mushroom picking, hiking, and picnicking are allowed, though as yet there are no picnic facilities available.

Sahara Woods is well worth a visit and whether visitors are fishing, hunting or just observing wildlife they will experience a very nice taste of rural Southern Illinois.

Map of Sahara Woods

Latitude, Longitude: 37.715860, -88.661966

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Activities

  • Boating

    The two largest lakes, Sahara and Final Cut comprise 100 and 20 acres respectively, but with over 275 acres of total waters there are many small but productive ponds accessible only by foot.

    Sahara and Final Cut lakes are both equipped with boat launches, piers and bathroom facilities. Swimming is not allowed in any lake or pond on the site. All the lakes and ponds are open to boats, canoes, kayaks, and angling tubes meeting state regulations with the stipulation that vehicles are not used to back up to the edges of lakes and ponds to launch watercraft.

  • Fishing

    Catfish, crappie, bass, bluegill and red-ear can be found in the waters of Sahara Woods with catfish restocked regularly.

  • Hiking

    Mushroom picking, hiking, and picnicking are allowed, though there are no picnic facilities available.

  • Hunting

    Free site Hunting Permits (windshield cards) are required for species as noted. These are available online at www.dnr.illinois.gov. Navigate to "hunting/trapping: and then "public hunting areas" to print these permits. Hunters will be required to return to this website prior to February 15th each year to record harvest information. Failure to submit data will result in loss of hunting privileges for the following year.

    Hunting is allowed under statewide seasons, hours, and bag limits. Sahara Woods is open for archery deer hunting, firearm doe hunting, upland game hunting, turkey and fur bearer hunting in season. In November, half the park briefly closes and is reserved for a special deer hunt for terminally-ill youth. Hunting is allowed only in those areas posted as open and as indicated on the hunter fact sheet map. All users are required to drive and park only on open roads and park in areas designated on the hunter site map. Hunters using portable stands must have their name and address attached. Stands are not allowed to pierce the bark of the tree. No permanent stands are allowed. Portable stands may be left overnight only during the regular season. Man pulled carts are allowed.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Available Species: Archery Deer; Dove; Quail; Rabbit; Squirrel; Turkey; Furbearers

Directions

Driving

All users are required to drive and park only on open roads and park in areas designated on the hunter site map. Motorized vehicles are allowed only on open site roads. Parking is allowed only at designated parking areas.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(618) 994-2022

Links