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  Woodford - State Fish & Wildlife Area   

Northwest Region

R.R. 1
Low Point, IL 61545

River at Sunset
Area Facilities Natural Features
Boating Fishing Picnicking
Camping Hiking Trails
Directions Hunting  

The Area

Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area is a picturesque area along the east side of the Illinois River. Among its features are many artesian wells, which make the manmade channels an excellent winter fishing area. The 2,900-acre site, of which 2,462-acres are water, is a favorite stopping point for waterfowl during migration.

Natural Features

The area comprises bottomland forest and backwater lakes of the Illinois River and features a wide variety of fauna and flora. Cottonwood, silver maple and willow cover much of the low-lying land. Deer, raccoon, muskrat, mink and beaver find this habitat to their liking and sometimes can be observed at dawn and dusk. Tall and stately great blue herons also are found in large numbers on the backwaters, and during winter it is not unusual to see a bald eagle soring above the frozen lakes or perched atop a snag.

A major waterfowl refuge of 1,400 acres exists on the area. While less attractive to wildlife due to heavy siltation in recent years, backwater lakes still attract large flights of waterfowl during migration. However, only wood ducks and Canada geese commonly nest and raise their young here. Hawks and owls, especially barred owls, are common to the area, as are an assortment of songbirds and woodpeckers.


Picnicking: The area provides a day-use area with picnic tables, stoves and a shelter.

Camping: Sites for tents and trailers are provided. Water pit privies and a sanitary dump station are available. Due to periodic flooding of the Illinois River, it is advisable to call ahead and check on conditions before you visit.

Boating: The site provides boat docks and a public boat ramp. There is no horsepower limit. Large boats are unable to navigate the shallow backwater lakes.

Fishing: The fishing water consists of a broad expanse of the Illinois River known as Upper Peoria Lake and Goose Lake, plus 3,475 feet of manmade fishing channels. These channels provide excellent bullhead and crappie fishing in the late winter and early spring because the wells keep the channels free from ice.

Hunting: Squirrel hunting is allowed and designated blind sites are offered for waterfowl hunting.

Waterfowl Hunter Fact Sheet | Upland Game Hunter Fact Sheet

Trails: More than 3 miles of marked trails are available for hiking, cross-country skiing and hunter access from January 1st through October 1st. Because the trail area is composed of levees used as a waterfowl management area, trails are closed during fall migration. No bicycles or other vehicles are allowed on the trails.

Please: This area is for all to enjoy so help keep it clean. Put all litter in the nearest available trash container. No flowers, plants, shrubs or trees may be removed or damaged. If you need help or have a question, contact the site manager.


Woodford State Fish & Wildlife Area is located on State Rt 26 and can be reached from either I-80 from the north or I-74 from the south. From I-80, take I-39 south for approximately 25 miles to State Rt 17 west for 20 miles to Lacon. Than take State Rt 26 south for 10 miles. The entrance is on the right and is well signed.
From I-74 at East Peoria, take State Rt 116 north for 5 miles to State Rt 26 north for 15 miles. The entrance is on the left and is well signed.

  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

Parks & Recreation

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