After a long winter filled with bone chilling temperatures and plenty of ice and snow, it’s time to start dusting off the life preservers, oars and anchors to prepare for the return of boating season on four Forest Preserve lakes.
Here’s everything you need to know to go with the flow and not make waves this boating season.
Rock Run Rookery and Whalon Lake
The Forest Preserve’s two boat launches will reopen Monday, April 1, at Rock Run Rookery Preserve in Joliet and Whalon Lake in Naperville.
As with all Forest Preserve lakes, only non-gasoline powered watercraft up to 18 feet are permitted, including fishing boats, rowboats, canoes and kayaks. Sailboats, float tubes (belly boats) and paddle boards are not permitted on District lakes. And only electric trolling motors can be used. (Gas-powered motors must be raised and out of the water at all times.)
Only vessels that can be carried on top of a vehicle are permitted because there is no boat trailer parking at Lake Chaminwood in Minooka. Boats, including kayaks and canoes, can be launched from an area that has grass or gravel, depending on the water level.
Personal boats cannot be launched at Monee Reservoir in Monee Township. But pedal boats and rowboats will be available for rental from April 2-October 31. Fishing is permitted from rowboats, and trolling motors are also available for rental. Boats are rented on a first-come, first-served basis from the visitor center, which is closed on Mondays.
Canoes and kayaks also are available for rental for use on the lake from May 1-September 30. Personal canoes and kayaks can be launched at this site only with a launch pass. Annual launch passes will be available for purchase starting April 2; daily launch passes will go on sale May 1.
Federal and State regulations require that watercraft contain one well-fitting personal flotation device for each person on the watercraft. Children under the age of 13 must wear PFDs when on water. The Forest Preserve District requires all individuals regardless of age to wear PFDs when in private canoes and kayaks.
Inflatable watercraft is permitted. Swimming and wading are prohibited. Persons must be entirely secured in watercraft.
All statewide fishing regulations apply, including daily creel and size limits. Illinois fishing licenses are required for everyone age 16 years or older who fishes on a public waterway, with the exception of persons declared legally disabled or blind. Licenses are available for purchase at the Monee Reservoir Visitor Center.
Additional information regarding statewide fishing regulations may be obtained from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
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