Chain O'Lakes

Chain O'Lakes Fishing, Boating, and Year-Round Recreation

Located approximately 40-miles northwest of Chicago on Illinois Route 173 and Route 12, near the town of Antioch. The 7,200-acre Fox Chain O'Lakes is the largest single, inland, water-oriented recreational asset in Northeaster Illinois, according to a survey taken by the U.S. Coast Guard. Weekend usage on the Chain hits about 60,000 on average and on holidays that figure rises to approximately 100,000 people. Learn more about Chain O'Lakes boating here.

Easy access to the major cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and area, there are also many marinas, restaurants, pubs, bait and tackle stores, and recreational lakefronts.

The future of the Chain is being monitored by the Illinois Department of Conservation. They have recently expanded both the walleye and muskellunge populations throughout the Chain. The Fox Chain provides the best place to go fishing in Northern Illinois, with over forty species of fish in sizes and numbers desirable and sought-after by anglers.

Since the Chain O'Lakes is classified as a public navigable waterway and is managed under the authority of the Department of Transportation, Division of Waterways, the Fox Waterway Agency, and the Department of Conservation, Division of Fisheries, all state boating, hunting, and fishing regulations are applicable and enforced.

Make your trip a fun one by understanding the sport of fishing and the types of bait and tackle to use as well as when, where and how. As the old saying goes, "Ten percent of Fisherman catch ninety percent of fish." Safety should be a number one concern when on the Chain (or any other body of water). Make sure all of your equipment is in working order. Do not overload your boat or run it at high speeds in unfamiliar areas. Be courteous to everyone around you and give assistance where needed. Learn more about Chain O'Lakes fishing here.

Enjoy any and all of the lakes on the Chain, including Channel Lake, Nippersink Lake, Fox Lake, Pistakee Lake, and Dunns Lake. View maps here.

Look for the following fish when on the Chain: Yellow Perch, Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Largemouth Bass, Blue Gill, White Crappie, Black Crappie, White and Yellow Bass, Channel Catfish, Bullheads and Carp.

Everyone involved with the Fox Chain O'Lakes wants you to enjoy the Chain now and in the future. For more information on permits and licences, contact the following agencies:


Fox Waterway Agency

45 S. Pistakee Lake Road, Fox Lake, IL 60020



Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Division of Fisheries, Lincoln Tower Plaza

524 South Second, Springfield, IL 62706


Regional Fisheries Office



This information was compiled with the assistance of the Fox Waterway Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Regional Fisheries Office.

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