Woodford State Fish & Wildlife Area
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.