2019 Fishing Rules for Hennepin & Hopper Lakes at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

May 15–September 2, 2019

Closed Mondays Except for Memorial Day and Labor Day

The Wetlands Initiative’s Dixon Waterfowl Refuge is private property. Public fishing is allowed by the Wetlands Initiative subject to the following rules:

  • Fishing is open to the general public at no charge BY WETLANDS INITIATIVE PERMIT ONLY. Permit applications will be available at the kiosk by the boat launch at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes beginning May 15.

  • Wetlands Initiative permits issued to an individual will cover all immediate family members listed on the permit application.

  • All state regulations apply. A valid State of Illinois Sport Fishing License is also required for all anglers over the age of 16, unless legally declared blind or disabled. Catches may be checked by Illinois Department of Natural Resources personnel and appropriate state fines assessed if found in violation thereof.

  • All fishermen may be checked for bait, creel limits, and all state and site-specific regulations. Those who do not comply with an inspection will be deemed guilty by default. All violators will have their permit to fish at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes revoked for the season, after which an application for a new permit will be considered at the sole discretion of the Wetlands Initiative.

  • All men, women, and children will fish at their own risk. Children under 12 years of age may not fish unless under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

  • A logbook will be kept at the kiosk by the boat launch. All permittees are required to enter their name, permit number, and the date and time in the logbook prior to leaving the boat launch dock to fish. After fishing, all permittees are required to enter the number of each species caught, their size, and the number of each species kept and/or released.

  • NO animals of any kind other than game fish meeting the species size and creel limits are to be taken at any time (species size and creel limits are listed at the bottom of this page).

  • NO gas-powered motors are allowed on boats even if raised and out of the water. Only electric trolling motors are allowed.

  • Fishing will be allowed from boats only. NO shore fishing is allowed.

  • NO live bait is allowed except for red worms, wax worms, and night crawlers. NO minnows, crawfish, leeches, cut bait, etc., are allowed.

  • The 2019 fishing season extends from May 15 through September 2. Fishing during the season is allowed on each Tuesday through Sunday. MONDAYS ARE CLOSED TO FISHING EXCEPT FOR MEMORIAL DAY AND LABOR DAY.

  • Fishing is allowed from sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

  • Fishing is allowed only within the designated fishing zone. The fishing zone encompasses all of the lakes south of the buoys extending west from the boat launch to the western shore of the lakes and ending at the buoys in the southern portion of the lakes. (A map of the lakes showing the fishing zone can be found here.)

  • NO littering is allowed. No garbage cans are on the premises; whatever you bring in must be packed out.

  • The parking lot by the boat launch is limited to a maximum of 40 vehicle and boat trailer units on a first-come, first-served basis. When the boat launch parking lot is full no more boats will be allowed onto the lakes for fishing.

  • NO alcoholic beverages are allowed on the lakes at any time.

  • Fishing may be closed at the discretion of the Wetlands Initiative Dixon Refuge Site Manager.

  • The Wetlands Initiative Dixon Refuge Site Manager is the final authority on all decisions.

2019 Fishing Rules.jpg

For any questions regarding fishing at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes, please call the Wetlands Initiative at 312-922-0777 or email at twi@wetlands-initiative.org.