Top 5 Things to Do in the Preserves This Week
The spring rainbow trout season opens for anglers of all ages Saturday, April 4 at 6 a.m. at three forest preserve lakes: Grove Lake at Wood Dale Grove in Wood Dale, Silver Lake at Blackwell in Warrenville and Pickerel Lake at Pratt’s Wayne Woods in Wayne. Pickerel Lake has been stocked with approximately 2,000 pounds of rainbow trout, Grove Lake with 1,000 pounds and Silver Lake with 3,200 pounds. Anglers 16 and older must have valid Illinois fishing licenses with inland trout stamps in their possession. The creel limit is five trout per day with no length restriction.
Don’t know how to fish and want to learn how? Register for the season’s first Fishing Clinic for Beginners on April 10 at Mallard Lake. Learn fish ecology and identification as well as techniques and regulations.
And just in time for trout season, the boat launch at Silver Lake is now open. Rental canoes, kayaks and rowboats are available on weekends through May 1, and privately owned boats with permits can be launched as well.
Monday, April 6 marks the start of Forest Fitness Walks. Join a naturalist for a brisk weekly walk as you take in the wonders of the woods. The weekly walks take place at various forest preserves and run through June 1. If you’d like to combine your hike with some birdwatching, the weekly Fullersbird Fridays begin on April 10 at 7:30 a.m. at Fullersburg Woods. Join these naturalist-led hikes and see how the diversity of birds in a forest preserve changes throughout spring.
3. Delight in spring
See if you can find signs of spring. While the trees are still budding, delicate spring wildflowers are beginning to make an appearance. At Danada Forest Preserve, Parson’s Grove offers abundant displays of spring beauties, including toothwort, trout lilies, bloodroot , wild geranium, red trillium, violets, Jacob’s ladder and Virginia waterleaf. Join the Parson’s Grove site steward for a Wildflower Walk at Parson’s Grove on May 2 to see what flowers are emerging in this beautiful hickory savanna. Vernal pools are another sign of spring. Vernal pools are depressions in the land that hold rain and melted snow spring through summer. DuPage County’s vernal pools host quiet amphibian creatures like newts and salamanders and fill with the loud calls of chorus frogs, green frogs, leopard frogs and toads. The best places to see — and hear — vernal pools in the preserves without leaving the trail are at Blackwell in Warrenville and Waterfall Glen in Darien.
4. Discover wildlife
Spring migratory birds and chorus frogs can be heard in the preserves. Recent wildlife sightings have included a bald eagle near the Blackwell youth camp, a muskrat at Silver Lake at Blackwell, a pine-billed grebe at West DuPage Woods near the shelter, two egrets at Springbrook Prairie, and sandhill cranes were spotted at West DuPage Woods and flying over Mallard Grove. Great blue herons are returning to the rookery at Danada Forest Preserve in Wheaton. You can sneak a peek at the herons while walking the Danada-Herrick Lake Regional Trail until mid-May when the trees fully leaf out.
5. Learn about prescription burns
District staff took advantage of this week’s nice weather to conduct quite a few prescription burns at area preserves, including Dunham, Maple Grove, Mayslake, Meacham Grove, Pratt’s Wayne Woods, Springbrook Prairie, Timber Ridge, Willowbrook, Waterfall Glen, West DuPage Woods and Wood Ridge.
Controlled burns are a natural resource management tool used to preserve natural habitats and better control non-native plant species. Burns are usually conducted in the early spring before new vegetation emerges and in late fall after the season’s vegetation has died. Learn more about the District’s prescription burn program by attending an April 5 program on them and/or viewing this video.