3 Great Kid-Friendly Fishing Spots in Southern Illinois
– by Bill Brimm
It’s That Time
Well it’s that time of year again. School is out and the kids are running around with nothing to do.
When I was being raised up in Southern Illinois I had a choice of either working or going fishing, so of course I did A LOT of fishing.
Fishing can be fun for the whole family and is a great way for kids to get outside and away from the gaming systems and the television.
Fishing can be an inexpensive family time activity and for just a few dollars you can buy everything you need for a successful fishing trip.
Once you make the decision though, you will still need good kid-friendly places to go without worrying too much about tall weeds, ticks, or chiggers (makes sure to get some bug spray, though). The following places are three good kid-friendly places to go for a fun day of fishing and fun.
Ferne Clyffe Lake – The Best Kid-Friendly Lake?
Trees are plentiful along parts of the lake and even benches close to the water, which can help you relax and enjoy your time fishing. Boats are not permitted, so there is no problem with traffic. Parking is ample and restrooms are nearby.
A maintained trail goes all the way around the lake giving access to many different types of fishing spots and picnic tables are available near the Round Bluff trail across the dam.
Ferne Clyffe State Park can be reached from I-57 and I-24. The park is well signed from both interstate highways. If traveling south on I-57, take the Goreville exit, #40, approximately 12 miles south of Marion.
Cedar Lake – Good Fishing, Close to Carbondale
Cedar Lake near the Carbondale boat ramp is a great place to go because of a rocky bank and a wooden dock located away from the boat launch area. If the boat ramp gets busy, there is a another non-boat dock at the end of the rip-rap wall.
Fishing here will range vastly depending on the weather, but bluegill seem to be plentiful and are easy to catch which will keep a kid busy for some time. There are trees for shade nearby and even enough room for a lake side picnic.
The boat ramp is located just off Old 51 about five miles from Carbondale. The ramp is located off the end of Cedar Creek road where parking is plentiful and there are bathrooms on site.
Little Grassy Lake – Beyond the Cork and Bobber
Little Grassy Lake is just one of three main lakes located in the vast Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Like its counterpart Cedar Lake, it has a dock and rock banks, but that is where the similarities end.
Grassy is a more compact area for fishing. The dock is mainly used for launching boats, but during the week when boat traffic is slow this can be a great place to cast a rod.
Also, Grassy lives up to its name with dense water vegetation, which can offer challenges for younger and would be fisherman. For older kids though this is a great place to get rid of the cork and bobber and learn the art of casting a jig or crank bait.
If fishing off the dock doesn’t suit you then the boat launch on Campground Road just a few yards from the spillway and is dock free. Since there isn’t a dock the traffic coming in and out is low. The refuge keeps it mowed so the bank is clear most of the time. There is, also, a small path that leads away from the main launch that to a heads to a nice open spot.
Since you will be fishing on the refuge a visitors pass must be purchased, before you can fish. These passes are only two dollars a day per vehicle and can be purchased at the campground located on Grassy lake or the wildlife refuge office located on highway 148.
So Much More
Southern Illinois offers so many more places to fish other than just these three that I have mentioned and not just lakes either, there are ponds and creeks that hold plenty of fish that you could take your kids.
Keep in mind,though, that if you’re going to fish at a private pond that you have the owner’s permission. Be sure that you have the proper license to fish Illinois lakes. Kids will not need a license till the age of 16 which can can be purchased at places like Wal-Mart or online.
Just remember, fishing is a great way to relax and have fun with your kids, it’s not only fun for your kid, but I bet you will have fun, also. So get out there and have fun!
About Me – Bill Brimm
I have lived in Southern Illinois all my life and have experienced a lot of what the Shawnee Hills has to offer. I, also, grew up with fishing in my blood. Most of my free-time is often spent fishing or being outdoors. I love taking kids and family out fishing with me.
I thought I knew a lot about the outdoors until I met Gary Marks. He has shown me so much more than I imagined about the Shawnee Hills. Thank you, Gary for the opportunity to write for your website.
– Wanted to give a special Thanks to my friend, Bill Brimm. Bill has been an avid fisherman for most of his life and enjoys sharing his fishing stories to anyone who will listen. Thanks! – Gary Marks
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