Visitors Guide to the
Mississippi River
Fish & Wildlife Area

Calhoun, Jersey and Madison Counties, Illinois

The Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Area (MRA) is comprised of 24,386 acres and includes 15 wildlife management areas and 11 public access areas scattered along 75 miles along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Of this total, 16,875 acres are actively managed for wetland habitat enhancement and public recreation by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The MRA's main emphasis is wetland management, with waterfowl as the primary species of concern, but there are plenty of activities where the public can enjoy the beauty of the area. Fishing is allowed, but certain clearly posted areas are restricted during waterfowl season. There are many opportunities for boaters with a variety of boat launches available in the area. Smaller boats and canoes can traverse the backwater lakes and sloughs. Waterfowl and forest game provide sport for hunters. A large variety of birds await birdwatchers. A printed checklist of birds can be obtained at nearby Pere Marquette State Park or by visiting our bird watching page.

Area Map Map to Public Boat Ramps
Piasa Island / Eagle's Nest Island Wildlife Management Areas   Picnic Facilities Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Piasa Creek Access Area is located 6 1/2 miles north of Alton along the Great River Road.
Piasa Island Wildlife Management consists of two islands, Piasa and Eagles Nest, and includes the Piasa Creek Boat Access Area. This access area was completely refurbished in 1992 and offers the only free public boat access between Alton and Grafton.
Stump Lake Wildlife Management Area   Picnic Facilities Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Located 1 1/2 miles north of Pere Marquette State Park off of Highway 100.
The Stump Lake Management Area is made up of six different bodies of water: Upper and Lower Stump, Flat, Long, Deep and Fowler lakes. Boat access is available at Long Lake Access Area, Dabbs Road Access Area and on the south end of Lower Stump at the Pere Marquette harbor. During the summer months the Upper and Lower Stump Lakes are drawn down to promote the growth of moist soil plants. This draws many types of birds and makes the area popular with bird watchers. Herons and Egrets concentrate on the shallow waters to take advantage of the easy fish prey and the exposed mudflats attract flocks of shorebirds. In the winter the adjacent bluffs are home to Bald Eagles.
Glades / 12 Mile Island Wildlife Management Areas   Picnic Facilities Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Located approximately 4 1/2 miles north of Pere Marquette State Park approximately 1 mile west of Highway 100.
The Glades has 1198 acres of woodland and over 300 acres of water. The single water body is broken up with large clumps of buttonbush and a small willow island. Boat access is available to both the Glades proper and the Illinois River. 12-mile Island is 223 acres of mostly woodlands located west of the Glades in the Illinois River.
Godar-Diamond Complex Wildlife Management Areas   Picnic Facilities Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Located 2 1/2 miles north of the Joe Page Bridge in Hardin directly off of Highway 100.
The Godar-Diamond complex consists of Diamond and Hurricane Islands, Michael Bottoms and the Godar Refuge. Small lakes in the area are drained allowing moist soil plants to germinate. In the early fall water is pumped back into the lakes providing hundreds of acres of wetland habitat. The Illinois River is accessible by boat ramps at Godar-Diamond and Michael Landing. Michael Bottoms is accessible by ramp and the islands are accessible by boat pullovers. The Godar-Diamond complex is the most popular waterfowl hunting area in the MRA.
Michael Landing Access Area   Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Located approximately 5 1/2 miles north of the Joe Page Bridge in Hardin off of Highway 100.
Michael Landing is part of the Godar-Diamond complex with the Illinois River accessible by boat ramp.
Helmbold Slough Wildlife Management Area  
Located approximately 7 1/2 miles south of the town of Hardin on County Road 1.
Helmbold Slough consists of 729 acres. Its 59 acres of water are managed as a seasonal wetland mainly utilized for waterfowl hunting. There is no vehicular access to the water at Helmbold.
Fuller Lake Wildlife Management Area   Picnic Facilities Boat Ramp Wildlife Viewing
Fuller Lake is approximately 7 1/2 miles south of the town of Hardin on County Road 1.
Fuller Lake Management Area consists of almost 1100 acres with 347 acres of water. The water acreage is broken up into 3 sections: Fuller and Upper Swan Lakes and Beaver Pond. Boat access is available at Fuller Lake and also to the Illinois River at Hadley Landing which is located on the road to Fuller Lake. The Fuller Lake area is on the north end of the Swan Lake which is part of the Brussels District of the Mark Twain Federal Refuge. The area is home to shorebirds and in the winter Bald Eagles can be seen as they hunt for fish in the Illinois River.
Calhoun Point Wildlife Management Area   Picnic Facilities Boat Ramp
Located just west of the Brussels Ferry on County Road 1.
Calhoun Point lies at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers at the tip of Calhoun County. Calhoun Point totals 2215 acres including a series of interconnected backwater lakes and sloughs. There are 4 boat ramps, with Calhoun Point and Pohlman Slough providing access to backwater lakes and sloughs and Royal Landing providing access to the Mississippi River. Calhoun Point lies next to the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge of the Mark Twain Federal Refuge and is home to the endangered salt meadow grass.
Batchtown Wildlife Management Area   Boat Ramp Wildlife Viewing
Access to this area is made through Cockrell Hollow located below the town of Batchtown.
This area is made up of a large backwater bay with side channels and sloughs which are accessible from the main channel of the Mississippi. Of the 2436 acres in this refuge, almost 1800 consist of water. With the remainder consisting of woodlands and wet meadow. A large variety of birds can be seen during the spring and fall migrations. During the winter large numbers of Bald Eagles can be seen. Just north of this wildlife management area is the Batchtown District of the Mark Twain Federal Refuge.
Red's Landing Wildlife Management Area   Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Located about 4 miles south of the town of Hamburg on West County Road.
Red's Landing consists of over 1100 acres with 250 acres of backwater sloughs and 300 acres of flooded ponds and timber. There are launching facilities on both the river and middle slough. The area contains a large heron rookery and a Bald Eagle's nest.
Rip Rap Landing Wildlife Management Area   Boat Ramp Toilet Facilities
Located about 2 miles north of Mozier on Route 96.
Rip Rap Landing offers boat launching access to the Mississippi River and the 200 acre Waverly Lake. Natural life enthusiasts can see an example of the once abundant bottomland hardwood forest community along the river and the area has become the home of an ever expanding population of river otters.
   
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