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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Big fish, little fish: A few memories of catch and release in Naperville and beyond


Local fishing opportunities abound all around Lake Osborne, located just west of  the Naperville Public Safety Center along Aurora Avenue and from the north along Oswego Road.

Ponds at May Watts Park and Commissioners Park as well as fishing piers along the Riverwalk and the DuPage River also provide shorelines, footbridges and many free opportunities to drop a line.

Whalon Lake in the Will County Forest Preserve is another good place to fish.

Sometimes local fishermen head up north to Minnesota or out west to Colorado to help create an even bigger fish story.

This post of photos was last updated July 1, 2024. Buddy up! Go fish!

Young anglers at May Watts Pond sent a photo (upon request) of their “catch of the day” on Fri., June 21, 2024. According to the scale, the youngsters said the big catfish weighed 7 pounds!

“Be patient and calm—for no one can catch fish in anger.”
—Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st U.S. President 

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PN “fish” photos date back to 2011, including many times we simply happened upon folks, all ages, fishing at local fishing spots. Imagine all the photos of anglers with fish we missed! Pictures were originally reposted here on June 17, 2024. Watch for updates that include local fishermen traveling for fun to tackle even bigger fish!

Fishing permitted throughout Naperville Park District

From sunrise to sunset, Naperville residents who enjoy recreational fishing (catch and release) can find a spot right here in Naperville with 19 parks that offer fishing in ponds, streams or rivers.

Bait that works ranges from night crawlers to slices of hotdogs to frozen corn. Sometimes wadded up bread has been tried with limited success. In early June 2024, folks along the path at May Watts Park suggested trying cicadas.

When budgets permit, Naperville Park District staff stocks ponds to create opportunities to learn fishing. Sometimes the pond at May Watts Park has benefited from grant programs through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Fishing teaches calm and patience as well as learning the difference between hooking a fish and wet trash.
  • Knoch Knolls Park
  • Sportsman’s Park
  • Hobson West Ponds
  • May Watts Park***
  • Commissioners Park
  • Lincoln Greenway
  • Riverwalk Park***
  • Pioneer Park
  • Weigand Park
  • Rock Ridge Park
  • Brighton Ridge Park
  • Westglen Commons
  • Winding Creek Park
  • Baileywood Park
  • Springbrook Crossings
  • Summerfield Lake Park
  • Ashbury Park
  • Brook Prairie
  • Tall Grass Lakes

***Pictured above

Fishing Licenses & Regulations at Naperville Parks

As a reminder, all state fishing regulations apply to fishing at Naperville Park District locations.  Anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 needs a fishing license to fish in Illinois waters. Fishing licenses may be purchased through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources online or at local retail outlets.

Naperville Park District’s rules for fishing can be found in Section 2.19 of Ordinance 641.

Remember to follow Phase 4 Protocols that apply to parks and recreation.

Listing includes fishing ponds throughout Naperville parks. (PN File Photos)

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.