Fishing Chicago

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Fishing Chicago

Chicago Park District Fishing Programs and Information

There are many fishing opportunities in the City of Chicago. We are among the luckiest of big cities in the world to have such a wealth of fishing available, right on our doorsteps. With 11 stocked lagoons, a reviving Chicago River, 22 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan, access in eight harbors (courtesy of the good people at Westrec Marinas) and along the north side of Navy Pier (courtesy of the Navy Pier Authority), we are looking and fishing good.

We have a lot of fish to pursue: Coho and Chinook Salmon, Steelhead and Brown Trout, Yellow Perch, Smallmouth, Largemouth and Rock Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Carp, and Channel Catfish. That constitutes a fishery that lasts 12 months of the year.

We hope that you will be willing to put in the time and effort to get to know fishing in Chicago. And, you’ll meet a lot of nice people – after all, aren’t fishermen among the nicest people in the world?

But our world of fishing is changing. Many of today’s young and young-to-middle-aged adults don’t fish, and never have. Local bait shops are somewhat endangered and overwhelmed by the big boys. To keep fishing strong and visible, YOU will have to be involved. Involved in keeping bait shops alive, tackling issues of access to the water, parking within reach of the water, and in all of the other mundane and down-and-dirty, pain-in-the-butt issues that every user group in this City has to be involved in o keep their resources open and available.

And, help a kid learn to fish, will ya? Help them catch a Goby, if nothing else (and they are easy and fun to catch – a great first fish).

For more information about the fishing programs sponsored by Mayor Daley’s Fish`N Kids Program of the Chicago Park District and Mayor Daley’s Fishing Advisory Committee (Mayor Office of Special Events), call Bob Long, Jr., “The Fishin’ Guy!” at (312) 742-4969.

For more information about your Chicago Park District call(312) 742-PLAY or (312) 747-2001 (TTY) or visit

Fish`N Kids Fishing Program

Over the course of seven weeks, we supply the beginner fishing rod and reel, bait, and instruction. You? Well, you supply the kids. There are daily fishing sessions conducted by our “Fishin’ Guys & Gals” for up to 30 kids per session. We can accommodate up to 300 children per day.

Fishing takes place at Chicago Park District lagoons and at four lakefront locations. Fishing sessions last an average of 35 minutes. Classes are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is REQUIRED!

For more information, call Bob Long, Jr., “The Fishin’ Guy!” at (312) 742-4969 or Carl Vizzone (312) 735-8997. Go to for more information.

The Mark Williams Memorial Youth Fishing Derby

Catch a Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass (catch-and-release only) at either location and register your fish at either site to qualify to win a Zebco 33 Rod and Reel combo, courtesy of Bill Cullerton of the Cullerton Company, and Zebco Rod and Reels. For kids only, ages 8 to 15. No license required.

Drawings will be held at the end of each month for that month. Winners will be called.

Call Bob Long, Jr., (312) 742-4969,

Carl Vizzone (312) 735-8997 for more information.