Get Outside and Experience Illinois Rivers
Illinois has 120,00 miles of beautiful rivers waiting for you to visit. Illinois’ rivers and streams offer a diversity of landscape and wildlife, offering new sights and experiences for those who explore them.
Our river experiences lists below have numerous outdoor recreation opportunities to enjoy, giving you plenty of reasons to get outside!
Click on an image for a description of
river recreation opportunities in that region or to download the flyer!
|River Map & 11 Top
The National Park Service has also compiled a list of significant Illinois streams for their biological, geological, and recreational value. You can make plans to visit many of these streams, and enjoy Illinois’ natural beauty. Whether you like bird watching, fishing, canoeing, or simply visiting beautiful scenery, our streams will provide you with an unforgettable experience.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has more information on hiking trail access, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor opportunities.
Canoe & Kayak
There are many outfitters to rent canoes and kayaks listed in our River Experience Sheets above for a trip on the rivers of Illinois. If there are other businesses that provide canoe and kayak rental, please contact us to help us update our list at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on canoeing or kayaking rentals visit the Illinois Paddling Council. Paddling clubs are also a great way to get started or maintain your skills with other paddling enthusiasts. There are clubs throughout the state offering social, recreations, and instructional opportunities. Get paddling!
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Fishing Page allows you to purchase Illinois fishing licenses online, and provides good information on fishing inIllinois. Will also provide links for boating licenses and hunting.
The Illinois Smallmouth Alliance (ISA) is an organization of catch and release anglers helping to preserve the smallmouth bass and its habitat through education and conservation, and are a resource for learning more on the latest fishing techniques.
- Health Advisories: The EPA lists which fish are safe to eat and which ones should you avoid.
- Seafood Selector
The Environmental Defense Fund identifies the seafood that is the healthiest for us and the best for the environment. http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1521
More tips on choosing seafood and information on the sustainability of different species.
Rivers, streams, wetlands and lakes are home to many species of wildlife. The land connected to these surface waters, the riparian zones or buffer zones which connects water to land, is home to many species as well as vital to the health of a waterway.
Illinois is home to an amazing array of wildlife from river bottom to tree top and sky. The following links connect you to valuable resources and tools you can use to learn more about the wildlife in Illinois who depend on our waterways.
Fish: Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ fish guide for a comprehensive list (with photos) of Illinois’ native fishes.
Birds: Visit www.illinoisbirds.org for tons of information on the birds of Illinois.
Other Animals: For information on other types of animals that currently live and used to live in Illinois explore the University of Illinois Extension website.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources can be reached at (217) 782-6302.
- Safety tips for paddlers from the Illinois Paddling Council
- American Canoe Association Safety Resources webpage
- Information on dams in northeasternIllinois
Upcoming River Events
Many organizations hold river-related events on our rivers and streams. Check our Events Calendar for more information.