Outdoor Activities

Forest Preserves of Cook County

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Forest Preserve District of Cook County Spring Events

Forest Preserves of Cook County Activity Schedule


Did you know some birds sing notes too high for humans to hear? Or that ospreys almost always carry fish parallel to their bodies to improve aerodynamics? Have you ever seen a heron eat a fish whole, or a crow using homemade tools catch their prey? The native and migrating birds that can be spotted in the Forest Preserves of Cook County are as unique and diverse as the Forest Preserves themselves!

New and experienced birders can enjoy this fun and versatile year-round activity while experiencing the many amenities offered throughout the Forest Preserves, including miles of marked trails, major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked, dedicated nature preserves, nature centers and more.

Bird the Preserves

Keep Track!!--Download the Birding Checklist Here

Spring Trout Fishing Season opens Saturday April 1st, 2017

Forest Preserves of Cook County Prepares for Spring 2017 Trout Fishing Season

More than 4,000 pounds of fish will be added to fishing lakes

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is pleased to announce the 2017 spring inland trout fishing season, opening on Saturday, Apr. 1, at Axehead Lake (Park Ridge), Belleau Lake (Park Ridge), Sag Quarry East (Lemont), Horsetail Lake (Palos Park) and Green Lake (Calumet City).

The Forest Preserves will be purchasing and stocking approximately 500 pounds of rainbow trout for Sag Quarry East, 1,250 pounds for Axehead Lake, and 1,250 pounds for Belleau Lake; while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be purchasing and stocking 700 pounds for Green Lake, and 600 pounds for Horsetail Lake. These are catchable sized rainbow trout, in the 1/2 –1 lb. size range.

The Forest Preserves’ trout lakes will be closed to all fishing from Monday, Mar. 27, until sunrise on Saturday, Apr. 1, allowing the trout to disperse throughout the lakes prior to opening. As part of the IDNR’s stocking program, fishing for and possession of any trout is illegal from Mar. 15 until sunrise on Saturday, Apr. 1.

Once the season opens, there is a five trout per day creel limit with no size restrictions. No more than two lines per person with no more than two hooks per line may be used.

A valid Illinois sport fishing license with an Inland Trout Stamp is required for anglers 16 years of age and older. An Illinois sport fishing license is not required for Illinois residents who are disabled and have a State of Illinois disabled I.D. card showing a Class 2 or 2A disability or a Veterans Disability Card, and Illinois residents who are on active military duty and are home on leave.

For a list of all of the lakes and waters open to public fishing within the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com/recreation/fishing and download the Fishing Guide. The guide includes maps that show the location and depths of each lake, and list principal fish species.

The public can contact the Forest Preserves’ Fisheries Section at 708-403-6951 for further information.


Forest Banner

"The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, with more than 69,000-acres, is the largest forest preserve district in the United States. It receives an estimated 40 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities. Within its boundaries are rare habitats that offer plant and animal diversity on par with the rainforests of the world. This natural heritage offers something for everyone:

Oak woodlands and savannas

Tallgrass prairies

Native wetlands

Migratory fly-ways that afford spectacular birding

22 dedicated nature preserves

40 managed lakes and ponds

7 major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked and offer glimpses of waterflow and shorebirds

300 miles of marked trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing

Scenic spots for painting, photography or quiet reflection"

For more information on the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit http://fpdcc.com/

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