Brilliant Stories

Eight Fishing Spots to Try in Champaign County

May 30, 2022

As spring really kicks into gear around our area, some of our favorite activities come back into the fold in a fun and exciting way. A great example of this is fishing. There are many great spots to fish around the greater Champaign County area for newcomers and long-time aficionados. If you're thinking of casting a reel this spring, then be sure to try one of these community favorites for fishing in Champaign County!


The above photo was taken before 2020 and COVID-19 distancing guidelines. 

There are several hotspots for fishing in the greater Champaign County area. From ponds and lakes in our local parks to rivers within the Champaign County Forest Preserve Districtthe options are plentiful! Here are a few of the best places to fish in Champaign-Urbana and beyond!

Crystal Lake Park in Urbana offers plenty of opportunities to fish to the west of The Lake House. Choose the bank or pier to set up camp, and fish for everything from channel catfish, largemouth bass, white crappie, and yellow bullhead.

Trout season kicks off the first weekend in April across Illinois, and 1,155 pounds of rainbow trout await you at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. The scenic Elks Pond in the preserve also offers a relaxing place to catch panfish and catfish. 

Kaufman Lake, a part of the Champaign Park District, features 30 acres of water stocked with channel catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, and bluegill sunfish. Keep in mind enforced daily catch limits during your visit.


Possibility Pier at River Bend Forest Preserve is a favorite amongst regional fishers. Designed for universal accessibility, the pier allows a seated person to fish through railing slots and use tackle tables at just the right height. 

Middle Fork River Forest Preserve also features three separate ponds of over 3 acres each that offer a whole weekend's worth of action for those looking to take a trip in-state.

A quick trip to Savoy's Colbert Park will guide you to an 8-acre stocked lake with bass, bluegill, and more. It's a great park to explore if you tend to stay more towards Champaign-Urbana but want a nearby adventure somewhere out of your routine!

Near Homer, the Homer Lake Forest Preserve features the titular lake as well as fishing access along the Salt Fork River for a stretch just under two miles. Additionally, Collins Pond in the preserve provides another space to fish, making a trip to Homer Lake a dynamic fishing experience.

Lastly, Sangamon River Forest Preserve features a stretch of river fishing with a very diverse population of possible catches. Variations of bass and catfish, as well as black crappie, bluegill, and more await during your visit to Fisher.


A valid Illinois sport fishing license is required for anglers 16 years of age and older. You do not need a license if you are:

Fishing licenses can be purchased online on the IDNR website at 

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