Des Plaines Lake - Lake County IL

Des Plaines Lake Facts

Size: 19 acres
Max depth: 36 feet
Des Plaines Lake is located in Gurnee, IL in the Gurnee Woods Forest Preserve. Access is via the Wadsworth Canoe Launch area o Wadsworth Road 1/4 miles east of Rt. 41 in Wadsworth, Illinois. From there, it's a 1 3/4 miles walk south on the Des Plaines River trail, or just over 2 miles via the river.
Fish: Largemouth bass, crappie, northern pike, bluegill/sunfish, carp
Hours: Sunrise to sunset

Jay's General Comments

Des Plaines Lake is NOT located in the city of Des Plaines, as is often mistaken. This little gem of a lake is located in Gurnee, IL, with access via a 1 3/4 mile walk down the trail or a jouney paddling the river of just over 2 miles. An old gravel pit, the Des Plaines River was diverted through it during the 1987 Wetlands Restoration Project. The surrounding wetlands are a treasure of diverse wildlife.

Des Plaines Lake features several steep drop offs from 8 feet to around 28 feet. The deepest portions are listed at 36 feet, but I have not been able to find water deeper than 29 feet. There is not a whole lot of vegetation in Des Plaines Lake, but just enough to make it interesting. The shoreline features a few areas of bull rushes and timber which can be fished both from shore and by boat. The drop-offs and lake points seem to provide the most intriguing areas to catch fish.

Since the lake is actually part of the Des Plaines River, it features all of the fish that the river contains including largemouth bass and northern pike.

Accessing Des Plaines Lake via canoe/kayak down the Des Plaines River is quite a treat. The Wadsworth Canoe Launch provides entry, and the 2+ mile journey through the restored wetlands is extraordinary. The river flow from north to south so the return trip is against the current and should be taken into consideration.

Des Plaines Lake Accomodations

With parking almost 2 miles from the lake, and no nearby bathrooms running water, planning ahead is required before venturing to Des Plaines for any extended period of time. Gas stations and restaurants are within 1/2 mile of the Wadsworth Canoe Launch, but you're on your own near the lake itself. The trail does provide a few benches for resting.

Jay's Bottom Line

Des Plaines is a new lake for me to have visited in 2012. I've not heard stellar reports from others who have fished it, but the reports have been few and far between - especially with access being so far from parking. That said, the lake looks to hold some good potential. The dropoffs and lake points look as if they could be very productive and the lake would also provide great refuge from northern pike traversing the river. Looking forward to more outings there.

Des Plaines Lake Location

Des Plaines Lake - Google My Maps
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Parking available at Wadsworth Canoe Launch. See map below.
Wadsworth Canoe Launch - Google My Maps
View Wadsworth Canoe Launch in a larger map