Kaskaskia River State Fish & Wildlife Area is one of the largest
state-owned and managed sites in Illinois. Located 35 miles southeast of
St. Louis, Missouri, the area comprises more than 20,000 acres and extends
along the Kaskaskia River from Fayetteville to the Mississippi River in
St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph counties. The Illinois Department of Transportation
owns the land along the river and leases most of the land to the Department
of Natural Resources to manage for fish, wildlife and other recreational
activities. A few areas are managed by the Kaskaskia River
Port District for industrial use and are not available for public use.
Lake, a 2,018-acre reservoir built by Illinois Power Company, is contained
within Kaskaskia River SFWA. This lake serves as a source of cooling water
a nearby electric generating station. Baldwin Lake is open to the public
for fishing and is a major part of the areas waterfowl refuge.
Southwestern Illinois, which includes Kaskaskia River SFWA,
has traditionally been rich in fish and wildlife resources and was occupied by both American Indians and early settlers to the state.
The Kaskaskia River remained essentially unchanged until the late 1960s
when it was modified by channelization to promote commercial development
and navigation. This led to eventual state ownership of the site and increased
the public use of the area.
Kaskaskia River SFWA possesses a wide variety of terrestrial
and aquatic habitats. Water acres include not only the Kaskaskia River
with its associated side channel and backwater areas (2,200 acres), but
also Baldwin Lake (2,018 acres) and Peabody-River King State Fish and
Wildlife Area (2,200 acres).
A land area of about 16,000 acres includes
an extensive mixed bottomland forest comprised of pecan, soft maple, bur
oak, pin oak, shellbark hickory and willow. Many cultivated and fallow
fields, native grass patches, brushy areas and other "open"
areas are interspersed with the stands of mature bottomland timber. Due
to this great diversity of habitats, good wildlife populations exist
on the site.
Fishing is the most popular activity on the Kaskaskia River.
The area contains 36 miles of channelized river, plus additional oxbows,
creeks and river bottom lakes for the anglers to enjoy.
Fishing for channel and flathead
catfish is especially popular and offers both day and night
angling opportunities. Other species include largemouth bass, crappie,
bluegill, carp and freshwater drum. All exist in good numbers and provide
excellent fishing throughout the year. Fishing tournaments must be
scheduled through the site office.
Concrete launch ramps are provided on the Kaskaskia River
at Fayetteville, New Athens, on Highway 154 west of Baldwin, and at Evansville.
"No-wake" zones exist near the ramps, industrial sites and at
all of the oxbows.
Boaters must operate their watercraft accordingly in these areas.
Weekends and holidays throughout the summer
receive the most boat usage and boaters are urged to be extra safety conscious
during this time. Boaters also should be aware of barge traffic on the
river and at the lock and dam site at the mouth of the river.
Approximately 14,000 acres are available
for hunting. Due to the amount of wooded acreage at Kaskaskia River SFWA, forest game
species, such as squirrels and white-tailed deer, are very common and offer
sportsmen many hours of hunting enjoyment. Extensive wetland areas
associated with the river provide ample opportunities for waterfowl hunting.
In addition, a public waterfowl hunting area, Doza Creek Waterfowl Management
Area, exists in the area. Upland game, such as rabbits and quail, can be
found in the open areas adjacent to the wooded portions of the site. Dove
hunting is provided in several sunflower fields.
Hunter check stations are maintained in the area and access
is primarily from the boat ramps and parking lots. A hunter fact
sheet is available for additional information. Hunter
A 12-mile trail system exists on the site and is used by hunters, hikers,
bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Trails are closed
to vehicular traffic. Contact the site office for a trail brochure.
To reach the Site Headquarters from the south
one would access State Hwy. 154 and go to the town of Baldwin. In Baldwin
turn north on 5th Street and travel 4 miles, passing the Illinois Power
generating facility. At the intersection of 5th Street and Risdon School
Road, turn west (left) and travel one mile to the park entrance gate. Turn
left at the gate and follow the black top road to the site office sign.
The site office is 1/4 mile south of this sign.
To reach the Site Headquarters from the
north one would access State Hwy. 13 and travel toward the village of
New Athens. While on Hwy. 13 look for the "Baldwin Lake" Highway sign
and turn south. Travel this blacktop road for 5 miles to the intersection
of Risdon School Road and turn west (right). Travel one mile to the park
entrance gate. Turn left at the gate and follow the black top road to
the site office sign. The site office is 1/4 mile south of this sign.
- 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
- 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 Economic Opportunity,
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.