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Top 10 places to go for fishing in Chicago.


Chicago, the city of skyscrapers and deep-dish pizza, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of prime fishing locations. However, this bustling metropolis surprises many with its abundance of public fishing spots, offering anglers a unique urban fishing experience. In this blog, we’ll explore ten public fishing spots in Chicago that cater to both seasoned fishermen and beginners, providing a diverse range of settings and fish species.


1. Montrose Harbor

Anglers looking for a variety of catches frequent Montrose Harbor, which is tucked away along the Lake Michigan shoreline. You may catch perch, salmon, trout, and other species of fish by using the harbor’s shoreline and pier fishing options. With the iconic Chicago skyline as a backdrop, Montrose Harbor is a must-visit for anyone looking to combine urban exploration with a day of fishing.


2. Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk isn’t just a scenic walkway; it’s also a fantastic location for urban fishing. Whether you’re targeting catfish, bass, or carp, the Riverwalk provides a unique angling experience amidst the city’s architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll and cast your line into the Chicago River for a blend of city life and fishing serenity.


3. Busse Reservoir

For a nature-filled escape within reach of the city, head to Busse Reservoir in Elk Grove Village. This Forest Preserves of Cook County-managed location is a haven for bank and boat fishing. Expect to encounter bass, catfish, and bluegill in a peaceful, natural setting. Busse Reservoir is an excellent choice for those seeking a suburban fishing retreat.


4. Jackson Park Outer Harbor

The Jackson Park Outer Harbor on Chicago’s South Side provides fishermen with a calm fishing location and an expansive view of Lake Michigan. The area is renowned for having a variety of fish, such as steelhead and salmon. This port is ideal for fishermen who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city since it is easily accessible and has a relaxed ambiance.


5. Waukegan Harbor

Venture north of the city to Waukegan Harbor for a premier fishing experience along Lake Michigan. Waukegan Harbor is renowned for its deep waters and is a salmon, trout, and perch hotspot. The harbor’s amenities, which include a cleaning station and bait shop, satisfy the demands of serious fishermen and guarantee a relaxing and pleasurable fishing trip.


6. Lincoln Park Lagoon

The Lincoln Park Lagoon, which is a family-friendly fishing area, is located within the well-known Lincoln Park. This is a great place for families and beginners to fish because it’s conveniently accessible and stocked with a variety of species. Enjoy the greenery of Lincoln Park while trying your luck at catching bluegill, bass, and catfish.


7. Calumet Park

Calumet Park, which is on the South Side, has a gorgeous location beside Lake Michigan. This public park is a favorite spot for salmon and trout fisherman because of its long beachfront. The park is a great place for leisure and fishing because of its serene atmosphere and breathtaking vistas.


8. Northerly Island

Formerly Meigs Field, Northerly Island has transformed into a nature oasis in the heart of Chicago. Besides its walking trails and nature center, Northerly Island offers fishing opportunities along its shoreline. Anglers can try their luck at catching a variety of fish while enjoying the stunning views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline.


9. DuSable Harbor

Adjacent to Navy Pier, DuSable Harbor provides a unique urban fishing experience. The harbor is a hotspot for perch and other panfish. Anglers can cast their lines against the backdrop of Navy Pier’s attractions and the city’s vibrant atmosphere, creating a memorable fishing experience in the heart of downtown Chicago.


10. LaBagh Woods

Escape the urban hustle and venture to LaBagh Woods, part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. This wooded area along the Chicago River offers a peaceful setting for anglers. Whether you prefer shoreline fishing or exploring the river by boat, LaBagh Woods provides a natural retreat where you can catch a variety of fish species.


Chicago’s public fishing spots showcase the city’s diverse and surprising recreational opportunities. From the shores of Lake Michigan to the tranquil settings along the Chicago River, these ten locations offer a blend of urban excitement and the tranquility of nature. So, pack your fishing gear, explore these public fishing spots, and cast your line into the waters of Chicago for an unforgettable angling experience.


A few things to remember before you go fishing:

  1. Never trespass on private property to get to a fishing spot, only use public access or property you’ve received permission to access.
  2. Research your fishing spot(s) ahead of time so you know what to expect, and where the public access starts and ends.
  3. Be prepared – dress for the weather, bring a spare change of dry clothes/towels just in case, and bring everything you’ll need to fish and enjoy the day (bait, lures, rod, ice, snacks, etc.).
  4. Be aware of all the state regulations like catch limits, licenses, seasons, size & species restrictions.
  5. Be safe and have fun! No one wants to spoil the fun with hypothermia or a hook in the leg, so remember to have fun responsibly.

Posted on November 20, 2023

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