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CHaley

Looking for info re: wade fishing lower Fox River

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Hi - I'm a new member from the Bloomington/Normal area. I was thinking about trying to take a day away from work this week to do some fly fishing outside of my usual spots near home. One area that has been looking awfully appealing from the reports I've been seeing is the Fox River. However, I'm totally unfamiliar with it.

 

I know I won't have time to drive all the way up to the upper portions of the river so I was wondering if anyone could give me info about the lower stretch (from Ottawa to up river maybe 15-20 miles). I'm specifically trying to find out if that lower stretch is shallow enough to be wadeable and if there are places where there is access? If you've got info that would either save me a trip or confirm that's a fishable area I'd really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

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I grew up in Sheridan - canoe & fished the Sheridan to Wedron run alot. From Wedron to Ottawa is strictly boat water, way too deep. I think the dam at Dayton is about 30' of drop. Access & wade fishing all the way to yorkville is spotty with long stretches of unproductive water (for bass) in the lower parts. You can access several spots from Yorkville to Silver Springs park or at any bridge below that. Look for faster water to key into areas.

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Other than what Bill mentioned the only other access areas downstream from the Dayton dam are 1) just below the dam by taking 23 north off of Rt 80 to 18 (the road just north of Farm and Fleet) take a right here. This will run you into Dayton. Take a left before the bridge to the small lot below the dam's power plant. 2)The other area would be going east on 80 to 23 south into town take a left onto Rt 6 to Champlain St. which is just before the river. Take a right on Champlain and you will soon be in the vicinity of the Fox River Park which has lots for parking and a boat launch. 3) There is also access at the mouth from the park below the Illinois River bridge. Just take a right off of 23 before crossing the Illinois.

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The Fox River between Dayton and Ottawa is an easy canoe trip. There is parkiing at Dayton and in Ottawa. When the water is low you can put in on the west bank and paddle across, land and walk up to the dam. The water is deeper from there until the I-80 bridge with sand stone walls on the east bank. After I-80 the river gets shallow, the west bank is all private property. the east bank is now a nature area, the City of Ottawa bought it and has somebody look after it. Open to the public? There is houses on the west bank with clear land down to the river, where the trees and brush start on the west bank is state land for maybe 1/2 mile. This used to be listed as Fox River State Park. The remains of two shelters are still there. After that a few houses on the west side. The river turns west then gets deeper. You will then have to paddle to the take out. There are sand stone walls on the right all the way to the I & M Canal Aquaduct. Ottawa's Fox River Park is on the right with docks, launch ramps & parking.

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Thanks all for the great info! I decided to stay local and fish the upper Vermilion near Pontiac this week (and got skunked). I'll definitely post up again next time looking for info on the fishability of some new water.

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