***Due to the coronavirus outbreak, District programs through April 3 have been canceled or rescheduled. Most visitor centers also are closed.***
The Monee Reservoir Visitor Center reopened Tuesday, March 3, after a three-month winter hiatus.
Fishing licenses are on sale for anglers who want to get a jump on the season. Bait will be available starting in mid-March.
A reduced menu is available featuring coffee, hot chocolate and snacks, and more items will be added later. Fishing tackle will be available for rental, too, but watercraft rentals at Monee Reservoir will not resume until April 1.
If you are planning a fishing outing at the popular Forest Preserve lake, keep in mind that weather in March can be unpredictable, so be prepared for sudden changes and possibly extreme weather.
Early spring can be a good time to try to snare some largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill.
While the fish tend to stay deeper this time of year, which can make it tough for shoreline fishing, the largemouth bass are at their heaviest weight, so it could be a good time to try to hook a trophy fish.
In addition to selling fishing licenses and bait and renting fishing tackle, the visitor center rents anchors, pedalboats, rowboats and trolling motors during boating season, which typically begins April 1 and runs through October 31. The launch of personal fishing boats is not permitted at this preserve. Kayak and canoe rentals are available May 1-September 30. Daily and seasonal launch passes for personal kayaks and canoes are available for purchase.
Visitors also can purchase picnic permits for Monee Reservoir picnic areas at the visitor center.
Visitor center hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in March. But the hours lengthen as the weather gets warmer. The hours are 6 a.m.-5 p.m. in April, and 6 a.m.-7 p.m. May 1-September 14. Hours shorten in fall and winter and the visitor center will be closed annually from December through February.
Visitor center hours are separate from the hours for the 248-acre Monee Reservoir preserve. Preserve hours are: 6 a.m.-sunset April-October and 8 a.m.-sunset November-March.
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