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CLOSURE: The road that leads to White Oak Bayou from US 41 will be closed from July 18 through mid-August for re-surfacing. Kankakee River access is still available at the State Line Public Access Site on LaSalle FWA.
LaSalle Fish & Wildlife Area is dedicated to providing quality hunting and fishing opportunities while maintaining 3,797 acres hardwood forests, cropland and fallow fields, marshes, brush and open water. Bisected by the Kankakee River, LaSalle is an ideal stopover for migratory birds.
The area around LaSalle was once part of the grand Kankakee Marsh. Acquisition of the land began in 1952. About 1,800 acres were purchased and became Kankakee River State Park. In 1963, after additional acreage was acquired, it was determined that the land was better suited for use as a fish and wildlife area. It was renamed LaSalle Fish & Wildlife Area.
When is Black Oak Bayou open to the public?
Black Oak Bayou will open each year at the end of waterfowl season (consult waterfowl seasons for exact dates) and will remain open through Aug. 15 each year.
Will we still be allowed to fish, kayak, etc?
Yes. Once waterfowl season closes and the gate is opened, all access is once again allowed until Aug. 15.
Will the road be open to traffic?
Yes. Once waterfowl season closes, the gate will be unlocked and traffic will once again be allowed on the road.
Are you going to let all of the water out of Black Oak?
No. Our goal in managing Black Oak is to lower the water just enough to expose some mud flats and allow vegetation to grow each year. We want to achieve a variety of water depths throughout Black Oak to promote the greatest diversity of species.
When will the drawdowns take place each year?
The target for drawdown will be around March/April each year. This will likely vary depending on weather and river levels. This will be a gradual drawdown to allow for the greatest diversity of vegetation to establish. These drawdowns are not new. Black Oak has water control structures on both the east and west ends to allow for water manipulation to mimic the natural rising and falling levels of the river.
When will Black Oak Bayou water levels be raised back up?
Water levels will begin to increase around August at a gradual pace until the desired depth is reached.
Can we still ice fish on Black Oak Bayou?
Yes. Ice fishing will open at either the end of waterfowl season or complete ice up, whichever comes first. Call the LaSalle Check station during office hours at (219 )992-3019 to find out if Black Oak Bayou is open for ice fishing.
Is hunting allowed?
No. Hunting is not allowed within Black Oak Bayou. This area now serves as the property’s resting area, meaning no hunting is allowed year-round.
Why are you spraying herbicide on Black Oak Bayou?
Herbicide is used to control aggressive native and non-native species that have established in the bayou. These species include common reed (Phragmites spp.), American lotus (Nelumbo lutea), buttonbush (Cephalantus occidentalis) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). The reason for controlling these plants is to allow for the greatest diversity of vegetation possible that will in turn benefit the greatest number of species.
Will this herbicide affect wildlife in the bayou?
No. The herbicide used is approved by the EPA for aquatic application in a wetland and will not affect wildlife in the treatment areas. The herbicide will be applied by a certified applicator (either by helicopter by a licensed professional or by hand by registered property staff) and will be used in a selective and targeted manner in areas that have become overrun with a monoculture of aggressive plants. This is not a new practice and has been used with positive results on other state Fish & Wildlife Areas. Other state and federal wildlife agencies have also used this herbicide throughout North America to control invasive plant species and promote plant diversity in wetland wildlife habitat.
What are the overall benefits of doing these drawdowns and herbicide treatments?
The benefits include increasing the diversity of vegetation and wildlife in Black Oak Bayou. Wetlands were once the dominant habitat in northwest Indiana. This project will help to restore a roughly 240-acre wetland to once again benefit all wildlife along the Kankakee River. The resulting increase in diversity will allow for wildlife viewing opportunities for the public. Another benefit is that once restored, Black Oak will provide an ideal stopover for migrating shorebirds and waterfowl in the winter and spring, providing them with the necessary food and cover during their migration. In spring and early summer during drawdown periods, Black Oak will provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat to many wetland species.
What other areas on the property will we be able to fish?
The Kankakee River and all of its bayous will be open to fishing outside of waterfowl season as always. Also White Oak bayou is receiving attention to increase the quality of fishing opportunities. An ADA accessible fishing pier is scheduled to be installed this spring/summer, along with a new boat ramp this summer. The channel connecting White Oak Bayou to the Kankakee River will be dredged this spring to allow users to travel by boat to and from the bayou.
Registration is required for all hunting, but not for hiking, fishing or wildlife watching.
There is no need to sign in for hiking, fishing or wildlife watching.
Three boat ramps are available, two accessing the Kankakee River.
Berries, mushrooms and nuts may be gathered from the property. Mushroom hunting is allowed after noon.
There is no shooting range.
NO Camping and NO Swimming Allowed.
Please Read and Obey All Signs.
In addition to state fish and wildlife laws, this property is governed by posted regulations affecting the public use of lands and facilities owned, leased or licensed by the Department of Natural Resources.
Safety zones, refuges, waterfowl resting and other restricted areas are marked with appropriate signs. PLEASE READ AND OBEY ALL SIGNS.
Violation of any law, rule or regulation governing this property may be cause for forfeiting your hunting, fishing, or visiting privileges on this area.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, will not be held responsible for any accidents or deaths occurring from the use of these facilities.
In addition to a hunting and/or fishing license the following permits are required:
Traffic on public roads through the area is governed by state and county laws. Traffic over service roads and trails, except by authorized vehicles, is restricted to walking. Park in designated lots only.