Hennepin & Hopper Fishing Opens May 15

Image courtesy of the News Tribune
The fishing season will be May 15 through Sept. 5 at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in The Wetlands Initiative's Dixon Waterfowl Refuge.

Anglers caught 3,606 bass and 778 northern pike during a special 24-day fishing season last fall, the first fishing allowed there since 2009. Hennepin and Hopper Lakes was closed to fishing in 2009 so that The Wetlands Initiative and Illinois Department of Natural Resources could reduce numbers of common carp and stock the lakes with native fish. Re-infestation of carp, not native to North America, scratched a plan to reopen it in 2012.

Only fish of the following species may be kept and all other species must be released:

Minimum sizes and number limits:
Bluegills, pumpkinseeds — Any size, no limit.
Crappies, any type — 9 inches, 20 fish.
Largemouth bass — 15 inches, three fish.
Walleye — 18 inches, three fish.
Muskellunge — 42 inches, one fish.
Northern pike — 24 inches, three fish.
Channel catfish — Any size, six fish.

The refuge is private property and public fishing is allowed by The Wetlands Initiative under these rules and regulations:

    Closed Mondays except Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day.
    There is no charge to fish but a permit is required. Permit applications will be available at the kiosk by the boat launch beginning May 15. Permits issued individuals cover all immediate family members listed on the application.
    All state fishing regulations apply. A valid state of Illinois sport fishing license is required for anglers over age 16 unless legally declared blind or disabled. Catches may be checked by Illinois DNR and state fines assessed for violations.
    Fishermen may be checked for bait, creel limits and state and site regulations. Those who do not comply with inspections will be deemed guilty by default. Violators will have their permit revoked for the season and an application for a new permit will be considered by The Wetlands Initiative.
    Men, women and children fish at their own risk. Children under 12 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 permitted anglers are required to enter their name, permit number and date and time prior to leaving the boat launch dock to fish. After fishing, all anglers are required to enter the number of each species caught, sizes and number of each species kept or released.
    No animals of any kind, other than game fish, are to be taken at any time.
    No gas-powered motors are allowed even if raised 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, and no other live baits, are allowed.
    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. See the map.
    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 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 site manager is the final authority on all decisions.
    For information call The Wetlands Initiative at (312) 922-0777 or email at twi@wetlands-initiative.org.

Source: News Tribune