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  Donnelley/DePue State Fish and Wildlife Area 

Northwest Region Ducks on a log in river
1001 W. 4th St.
P.O. Box 52
DePue, IL 61322

Boating Hiking Hunting DePue
Directions Horseback Riding Nature Preserve
Fishing Hunting Donnelley  

General Information:

The Donnelley/DePue State Fish and Wildlife Areas complex is managed primarily for migratory waterfowl. Frank C. Bellrose, world-renown waterfowl expert, designated this Great Bend as the entry point to the lower Illinois River valley, an important North American waterfowl migration corridor.

The Donnelley/DePue complex is home to a $1 million State Duck Stamp Project, which was funded through State Duck Stamp dollars, State of Illinois Capital Development Board funds and Ducks Unlimited M.A.R.S.H. contributions. This project greatly increased the complex's ability to provide significant sanctuary with dependable food resources as well as increased services to the high hunting demands of northern Illinois.

These state wildlife areas contain a variety of wetland habitats critical to migratory waterfowl. Consequently, much of the 3,015-acre complex is managed for waterfowl feeding, nesting, resting, hunting and viewing.

Fishing and Boating

Since these areas border the Illinois River, boating and fishing are popular activities. Species of interest to anglers include walleye, sauger, white bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, drum, crappie, bullhead and carp.

Nature Preserve

Hiking, photography and nature study attract visitors to nearby Miller-Anderson Woods Nature Preserve.

Two of the state areas in Putnam County are managed by the Putnam County Conservation District. Hiking and equestrian trails are available at Fox Run, while George S. Memorial Park is restricted to nature study.

Donnelley State Wildlife Area:

In 1982, Windblown Bottoms Duck Club, containing Coleman Lake, came under state management through the gifts and efforts of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.

Located in Putnam County, 2 miles north of Hennepin on Putnam County Highway 1, Donnelley Wildlife Area is open to the public during waterfowl season and open to school and study groups by appointment. Most of the year it is managed primarily for wildlife needs, and is to public use.


The site of one of the nation's first public youth waterfowl hunts, Donnelley continues to offer two youth hunts a year. The area also has an accessible blind, the first in the state.

This site has the reputation of offering a high-quality public hunting experience approaching the atmosphere of the traditional private club. Within a few miles, the two oldest private duck clubs in the state still operate and serve as reminders of "the way it used to be."

The daily blind draw, held one hour before shooting hours for 15 blinds, requires a $10 usage stamp per person. This covers the boat, blind and equipment use. Outboard motors are not allowed.

Donnelley Hunter Fact Sheet

Depue State Fish Wildlife Area:

Lake DePue and Spring Lake in Bureau County have rich histories of commercial hunting and fishing, attesting to the wildlife bounty of the area.

The DePue Rod and Gun Club was organized in the early 1900s, and it was not long before the hunting reputation of the area attracted members from around Illinois. When the state acquired the property in 1970, the clubhouse gun racks still carried well-known names of some past governors and influential businessmen.

Over the years the state has added several properties, bringing the backwater lakes and wetlands to 2,350 acres available for waterfowl needs and water-based recreation. The village of DePue offers access to Lake DePue. DePue and Spring lakes are accessible from the Illinois River, depending on the river levels.


Blind sites are allocated by yearly draw, with the exception of a few daily blind draws. Registered blind builders must claim blind use daily one hour before shooting hours, with unclaimed blinds becoming open to daily draw. Hunters must supply their own boats and decoys.

Depue Hunter Fact Sheet | Three I Unit Hunter Fact Sheet |

Hormel Landing:

Located adjacent to the village of Bureau Junction in Bureau County, Hormel Landing offers a pleasant location for family outings.

Originally, the Hormel Company built three impoundments as processing ponds for a meat-packing plant. When Hormel selected a different plant site, the land and ponds were transferred to the state.

The ponds are nestled in a secluded basin surrounded by wooden bluffs, marshland, the Hennepin Canal and a bottomland woods that beavers have flooded. The setting is relaxing and invites one to explore its diversity.

A state fish-stocking program supplements the ponds' natural restocking that results whenever the Illinois River exceeds its banks.

The entrance and upper level playground area are jointly cared for and developed by the Bureau United Men's Society and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Miller-Anderson Woods:

Along Route 29, at the Bureau-Putnam County border, wooded bluffs rise above the broad Illinois River valley to create Miller-Anderson Woods Nature Preserve. The preserve protects old-growth upland forest, ravines, valley forest and a floating bog.

A narrow, ribbon-marked, moderately difficult trail guides one through the woodland variety which displays endangered plants and Ohio buckeye in its most northern range.

Once on top and near the bluff's edge, one is treated to a panoramic view of some of the Illinois River valley's richest wetlands. Very often seen riding the air currents are turkey vultures and, occasionally, bald eagles.

Much of the preserve was donated to the state and dedicated to Dorothy Anderson in 1969. Groups of 25 or more need advance, written permission to enter this protected area.


To reach DONNELLEY, take I-80 to I-39. Head south to Exit Route 71. Turn west (right). Exit at Route 26 south to Hennepin. Take Putnam County Highway 1 north for 2 miles to the park.

TO reach DEPUE, take Interstate 80. Exit at Spring Valley (Route 89) and go south to Route 29. Turn west (right) for five miles. Turn south at DePue sign (Marquette Road) Follow Marquette Road through town to first stop sign. Turn left (Depot Street). At next stop sign, turn left (4th Street). Office is located at the end of the road.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

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