It’s not required to drive hours to lakes around the state when you can go fishing in Chicago. While it may not be the same as escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city into some place a little more quiet and serene, it’ll definitely help to satisfy your need for tight lines– especially if you don’t have the time or means to leave the city limits. Whether you prefer a spinning reel or fly fishing setup– there is water awaiting you.
Chicago Fishing Resources:
Before you grab your rod and head out to the water, there are a few things to be aware of– perhaps the most important thing is fishing legally.
Almost everyone 16 years old and older is required to obtain a fishing license.
The easiest method is to purchase a fishing license online through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It’s a mere $15ºº (16-64 y.o.) and only $7.75 for 65 years and older. Children under 16 years old are free– which makes this family friendly activity relatively cheap.
The Chicago Park District has a comprehensive website dedicated to essentially everything that you need to know about fishing in Chicago – from parking to fishing tips and seasonal information. They also hold events throughout the summer to help gain interest in fishing for both children and adults.
Chicago Fishing Shops:
Unfortunately, many of Chicago’s trusted fishing shops have closed their doors over the years. Supporting local business is everything, especially when it comes to trade and hobby services. It’s the locally owned shops that will fill you in on fishing secrets and tips on how to limit out on that particular day. These are some of the last locals in Chicago, otherwise the suburbs have more options and there are some chains (such as ORVIS and Bass Pro).
Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters
1279 N Clybourn Ave
Henry’s Sports and Bait
3130 S. Canal St.
Park Bait Company
600 W. Montrose Ave.
Vet’s Live Bait
10150 S. Indianapolis Blvd.
Fishing Chicago Harbors and Lakefront:
Fishing from the shoreline of Lake Michigan not only provides you with a phenomenal view, but it gives you the opportunity to catch fish– such as:
Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Steelhead, Yellow perch, Smallmouth and other sunfish species.
You can find in-depth information on fishing the Lake Michigan shoreline at Chicagoland Fishing.
4400 N. Lake Shore Drive
3200 N. Lake Shore Drive
2800 N. Lake Shore Drive
Grand Ave & Lake Shore Drive (north side of the building only)
400 E. Randolph St.
100 N. Lake Shore Drive (across from Buckingham Fountain)
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive (on the Museum Campus)
31st Street Harbor
3100 S. Lake Shore Drive
59th Street Harbor
5900 S. Lake Shore Drive
Jackson Park Inner & Outer Harbors
6400 S. Lake Shore Drive
95th St. Calumet Park
9600 S. Walton Drive
Fishing Chicago Parks:
Many of the ponds that are situated in Chicago parks are actually stocked with fish. While everyone else is lounging in the grass or running on the pavement, you can toss in a line and potentially pull out Coho and Chinook salmon, Steelhead, Brown Trout, Yellow Perch, Smallmouth, Largemouth and Rock Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Carp and Channel Catfish.
That’s a pretty respectable variety for still having the skyline in view.
406 W. Winneconna
9801 S. Avenue G
2750 S. Ashland Ave.
2900 S. Ashland Ave
500 S. Central
1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
100 N. Central Park Ave.
4222 W. Foster Ave.
1400 N. Sacramento Ave.
6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
6743 S. Kedzie Ave.
2210 W. Pershing Rd.
1301 W. 52nd St.
5531 S. King Dr.
With a multitude of locations around Chicago to get your line wet, there really is no excuse not to go out (if fishing is your thing). Not much compares to actually being on a quiet lake or on the banks of a babbling river– but these locations still provide a sense of escape from daily distractions and pulling a fish out of the water is satisfying where ever you are.
Whether you are a solo angler, want to take out the family or make an event out of it with some friends– fishing in Chicago is a unique form of entertainment in the vastness of Chicagoland.