Fox River

7 Fishing Charters

Search top fishing charters in Fox River

Fishing in Fox River

There are so many fisheries to choose from in Illinois, and anglers will tell you that it’s worthwhile to spend some time on the Fox River fishing the best of them. Located close to Chicago, the Fox River is over 200 miles long and runs into Wisconsin. The northern part of the river in Illinois opens up into the Chain O’Lakes and in the south the river joins up with Illinois River.

You’ll be able to catch a range of species here, such as Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Bluegill, Channel and Flathead Catfish, Crappie, and smaller numbers of Smallmouth Bass.

Fox River Fishing Spots

When fishing the Fox River, you can choose to fish one of its many dams, the nine lakes connected to the river, or the river itself. Creek mouths are good for Muskellunge and Walleye in particular.

Top lakes to visit include Grass Lake, Channel Lake, Bluff Lake, Lake Marie, Pistakee Lake, and more.

You can launch from the Chain O’Lakes State Park, as well as hundreds of public access points. Notable dams include Montgomery, St. Charles, Yorkville, McHenry, and North Aurora.

Dayton Dam

Located close to Illinois River, the Dayton Dam is one of the southernmost dams along Fox River. You’ll be able to fish for White Bass, Walleye, Channel Catfish, and Crappie here. Fish the west side of the river for great results in spring and fall.

Depot Pond

Along the Batavia Dam on the west side is Depot Pond. You can catch a range of species here, including Yellow Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, and other Panfish. The best time to fish here is during the spring and fall. The channels around Depot Pond are fantastic for ice fishing.

Upstream Dam

One of the northernmost dams is Upstream Dam, located near McHenry. This is the best spot for Walleye and one of the top places for Channel Catfish. You’ll also be able to target Crappie, White Bass, Northern Pike, and Yellow Bass here. April is the best month for fishing here.

Channel Lake

This lake is one of the deepest lakes around Fox River, and at its deepest point is 42 feet. You can catch a huge range of fish here, including Largemouth Bass, Muskellunge, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, Northern Pike, and more.

Fishing Tips

  • A 6’ medium-action rod works best on Fox River, paired with line ranging from 8–14 lb strength.

  • Invest in a good pair of waders – you’ll want the extra flexibility these rods offer when fishing the river and surrounding lakes.

  • Top baits include crawfish style bait, or a ⅛ oz jig in black, white, or brown.

Need to Know

There are around a dozen tournaments on this river each year, usually heading out of Fox River Preserve or LaSalle Ramp. Check with local clubs for ones you can join in.

Ice fishing can be done on the lakes connected to the Fox River in the winter. This includes Carp, Northern Pike, Yellow Bass, Walleye, and more.

Check the local rules about how many lines are allowed in the water at once for where you are fishing, as these change from area to area.


You’ll need to purchase a fishing license before the trip

There are many regulations when river fishing, from the gear you can use to the number and size of the fish you can keep. Your captain will let you know the latest rules.

Getting there

Fly into Chicago Midway International Airport. From there, jump on the I-290 W for 40 miles to get to the Fox River.


Trip prices vary depending on where on the river you choose to fish. Expect to pay around $500 for three people.

It’s time to book a Fox River fishing trip. You’ll have a great time trying out a collection of techniques. Whether you’re an avid fly fisherman or want to jump into the water and start wading, there’s a trip along Fox River for you.

Fox River
Based on 17588 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Fox River Fishing Seasons

You’ll be able to fish for Yellow Perch this month. Temperatures reach a minimum of 15°F so wrap up warm!


Join in the Chain O’Lakes Fishing Derby this month – will your fish be the biggest?


Take a trip to the Chicago River and see it dyed bright green for St. Patrick’s Day! Check out new boats at the Northern Illinois Boat Show.

Perch can't be caught this month – catch your fill of Crappie instead. Smallmouth Bass is also great this month.


From Memorial Day to Labor Day partake in the “Blarney Island Boat Races” on the Chain O’Lakes.

Join in the Chicago Blues Festival in the Millennium Park. Temperatures reach a high of 57°F. Fishing is good for Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike this month.

On land, head to the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. Don’t let the name fool you, there are kid-friendly performances, too.

Head up to Wonder Lake and watch their Lake Water Ski Show Team perform. Temperatures reach a high of 60°F.

Temperatures start to drop this month. Lake Trout and Musky are still good to catch in September.

Target plenty of Walleye and Musky this month. October is a good month to fish the Fox River.

Temperatures can reach lows of 20°F. Most fish will head to deeper waters now, but Rainbow Trout can still be caught.

Ice fishing on the lakes can be available as early as December. Always fish with a buddy and stay safe on the ice.

Fox River Fishing Calendar

Loading Fish Calendar!
Please Wait...

Top Targeted Species in Fox River

Bass (Largemouth)

Bass (Largemouth)



Pike (Northern)

Pike (Northern)

Muskellunge (Musky)

Muskellunge (Musky)

Bass (Smallmouth)

Bass (Smallmouth)



Perch (Yellow)

Perch (Yellow)

Lake Trout

Lake Trout