Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area

Quick Facts

Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area


(815) 423-5326

Map Directions

Things To Do


A tranquil setting, flowing rivers, and natural prairie land -- the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area has it all! Visitors will delight in the abundance of wildlife, restful picnic areas and variety of sportfishing species. Farmland and woodland, prairie and swamp, still water and shoreline offer unlimited opportunities for nature lovers and sportsmen.

Prior to 1948 what is now called the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area was owned by the federal government. The Illinois Department of Conservation acquired the site in 1948 and established its use as a recreation area. Additional land was accessed following the completion of Interstate 55 in the 1960s. From that time to 1975, the area was used primarily by hunters and unmanaged day use. The Division of Land Management took over the area in 1976 and since then, extensive upgrading of facilities has occurred. In recent years, more than 350,000 people annually visit Des Plaines -- an area of over 5,000 acres, with approximately 200 acres of water.

Map of Des Plaines Fish & Wildlife Area (IL)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.372373, -88.207222



  • Boating

    A public boat launch with 3 paved ramps is available on the Kankakee River for boating on the river or its backwaters. Motors are limited to 10 horsepower or less on the backwaters, but there are no limits on the Kankakee River. No boating is allowed on Milliken Lake.

  • Camping

    Designated camping areas are available for those wishing to stay overnight at the site. These are Class C (vehicular access, no showers) areas with graveled pads, water and pit toilets. The campground is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, from mid-April (weather permitting) to mid-October, closed the rest of the year.

  • Fishing

    Open water and ice fishing are popular events as well, and productive! Milliken Lake, as well as several ponds and the river backwaters, provide panfish, catfish, and bass fishing. Milliken Lake is stocked with catchable trout in the spring. The Kankakee River borders the site on the south with 3 miles of shoreline providing access to boating enthusiasts and excellent walleye and northern pike fishing.

  • Horseback Riding

    A twelve mile trail is opne from mid April thru October weather permitting. The trail hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Hunting

    Pheasant hunting is the most popular choice for sportsmen at Des Plaines, and the largest pheasant hunting (by permit only) facility in the state is located at the site. For variety, however, there are unlimited numbers of deer, rabbit, dove, and coyote. All hunters are required to have permits and check in at the site office. Waterfowl hunting is available at the nearby Will County Waterfowl Management Area, with hunting blinds being allocated via drawings.

  • Picnicking

    A restful break from hunting, fishing or hiking can be a special event. Picnickers can choose to lunch along the Kankakee River or under the large shelter on the banks of Milliken Lake. Both sites provide tables, stoves and water along with cooling shade trees and picturesque views. A playground area is also provided at the Milliken Lake site.



Located ten miles south of Joliet and 55 miles southwest of Chicago in Will County, the site is accessible from Interstate 55 at mile marker No. 241, Wilmington exit.

Phone Numbers


(815) 423-5326