Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area is a picturesque area along the east side of the Illinois River. Among its features are many artesian wells, which make the manmade channels an excellent winter fishing area. The 2,900-acre site, of which 2,462-acres are water, is a favorite stopping point for waterfowl during migration.
The area comprises bottomland forest and backwater lakes of the Illinois River and features a wide variety of fauna and flora. Cottonwood, silver maple and willow cover much of the low-lying land. Deer, raccoon, muskrat, mink and beaver find this habitat to their liking and sometimes can be observed at dawn and dusk. Tall and stately great blue herons also are found in large numbers on the backwaters, and during winter it is not unusual to see a bald eagle soring above the frozen lakes or perched atop a snag.
A major waterfowl refuge of 1,400 acres exists on the area. While less attractive to wildlife due to heavy siltation in recent years, backwater lakes still attract large flights of waterfowl during migration. However, only wood ducks and Canada geese commonly nest and raise their young here. Hawks and owls, especially barred owls, are common to the area, as are an assortment of songbirds and woodpeckers.
Woodford State Fish & Wildlife Area is located on State Rt 26 and can be reached from either I-80 from the north or I-74 from the south. From I-80, take I-39 south for approximately 25 miles to State Rt 17 west for 20 miles to Lacon. Than take State Rt 26 south for 10 miles. The entrance is on the right and is well signed.
From I-74 at East Peoria, take State Rt 116 north for 5 miles to State Rt 26 north for 15 miles. The entrance is on the left and is well signed.
- While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
- At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.t least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.