Going fishing together is a time-honored family tradition that brings generations together. I remember my grandpa taking us down to fish from the little pond outside his condo — and while my grandparents’ condo association probably wasn’t too pleased, I’m happy to have those memories.
The key to fishing is coming prepared. Here’s what you need to bring, a few tips to get you started, and where to go fishing in the south and west suburbs. This article is sponsored by Oak Brook Park District.
Oak Brook Park District offers two incredible family-friendly fishing locations. Central Park, 1450 Forest Gate Road, features a fishing pier on Ginger Creek and three fishing ponds. Families with young anglers can enjoy a short fishing trip and then take advantage of several miles of walking paths, three state-of-the art playgrounds, and more!
If you’re looking for a more serene fishing location, the 40-acre Dean Nature Sanctuary, 115 Canterberry Road, boasts a stocked fishing pond with a pier as well as access to the Salt Creek River Trail by way of a canoe launch. Please note that all fishing at the Oak Brook Park District is catch and release only, and a valid Illinois fishing permit is required. No motorized boats are permitted in park waterways.
Local Fishing Spots, Shops, Tips, and Essentials
Where to Fish in the South and West Suburbs
The Cook County, DuPage County, and Will County forest preserve websites have awesome information on where to fish and what kinds of fish are in each body of water.
- Forest Preserve District of Cook County Fishing Information
- Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Fishing Information
- Forest Preserve District of Will County Fishing Information
The links above have great maps and detailed information about each location. Start your fishing adventure there!
There are also some family-friendly fishing spots that we have gone to or heard of from readers, such as:
- Central Park (Oak Brook)
- Dean Nature Sanctuary (Oak Brook)
- Mayslake (Oak Brook)
- Lakeview Nature Center (Oakbrook Terrace)
- Martin Park Pond (Hickory Hills)
- Dolphin Lake Park (Homewood)
If you and your family enjoy fishing at another location, please let us know by commenting at the end of this article or emailing Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Fishing Shops in the Suburbs
17036 Oak Park Avenue
Tinley Park, IL 60477
In addition to fishing supplies, you can also get insight into local spots to fish, help obtaining a fishing license, and more.
Bass Pro Shops
709 Janes Avenue
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
Giant outdoor store with tons of fishing gear.
Corley’s Bait Shop
21648 S. Schoolhouse Road
New Lenox, IL 60451
This local bait shop is in the same building as Jack’s Automotive and stocks live bait, fishing accessories, and other gear.
DuPage Fly Fishing Co.
1512 N Naper Boulevard, Suite 136
Naperville, IL 60563
Fishing gear, fly tying classes, and fly casting lessons. The company also leads guided kids’ fly fishing trips.
7897 W. 159th Street
Tinley Park, IL 60477
This fishing tackle pro shop has been outfitting fishing enthusiasts since 1995.
What to Bring Fishing
- Fishing Pole: Child-sized poles are typically inexpensive and you can find them at Target, Menards, and Bass Pro Shop, as well as many of the fishing stores listed in the bait section below.
- Hooks and Bobbers: First, check the fishing pole to see if a hook and bobber is included. The bobber is a ball tied onto the fishing line. When it goes underwater, it signals that something is attached to your line!
- Tackle Box: You’ll be able to purchase a small tackle box wherever you find a fishing pole. Just a few extra supplies are needed such as extra line, fishing hooks, bobbers, plastic worms, needle-nose pliers (to help remove the hook from the fish), a small first aid kit, and sunscreen. (Seriously, don’t forget the sunscreen.)
- Bait: Take Me Fishing has a great guide to fishing with live bait. Here’s a tip: if you are bringing live worms as bait, use plastic to-go cups (such as the ones used at restaurants to hold condiments).
More Tips for Fishing in Chicagoland
If you are fishing in a boat or near deep water, it is a good idea to have your child wear a life jacket.
Check out your local library for some books on fishing. Looking through the books together will get your kids excited to fish!
Remember: fishing takes patience. Relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and your surroundings. Pack water, food and snacks to keep everyone happy.
To help fish survive after you’ve caught and released them:
- Use barbless hooks
- Use a landing net
- Keep the fish in the water until you’re ready to release them
- Wet your hands
- Hold the fish upside down while you remove the hook
- Remove the hook quickly
- Cut the line if you can’t remove the hook
- Don’t touch the gills
Thanks so much for reading. You’ll always find tons of outdoor fun for kids here on Kidlist!