Your Trophy Awaits

Only on a boat on a cool, summer morning can you immerse in the serenity of the Central Illinois outdoors. Light fog drifts across the water as you sit, waiting as your reel clicks and your lure, glistening in the early sun, glides just below the surface, periodically sinking deeper before jolting upward.

Without warning, the water explodes and your rod bends under pressure. You lean back, pulling the rod closer as you reel against the incredible force trying to pull you and your boat across the lake, or so it seems. Then, you see it — green scales sparkling in the sunlight covering a body that thrashes in what seems like slow motion with a mouth as wide as a softball. The North American game fisher’s top prize: the largemouth bass. You reel faster, teeth grinding, sweat beading on your brow as your prize draws closer to the boat. A swoop of the net and you exhale, hoisting your trophy onboard. You marvel in its beauty and imagine your friends’ reactions when you tell them the story.

Jacksonville is paradise for any angler in search of their next fish tale. Voted the No. 1 bass fishing destination in Illinois by Field & Stream — and No. 4 in the entire Midwest — hotspots like Lake Jacksonville and Mauvaisterre Lake promise unparalleled fishing opportunities, whether you fish by boat, dock, or dry land. Cast a line in Jacksonville and prepare for a battle unlike any other.

For more information on state fishing regulations and licensing information, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

two men holding recently caught fish