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Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail

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Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: Total acres-1,100; General Habitats: Open acres: 200; Wetland/Water acres: 200; Timbered Acres: 500; Trappable acres: 1100.
  • Habitat: This canal provided the first complete water route from the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River by way of the Illinois River. The canal was completed in 1848. It begins at the south branch of the Chicago River at Bridgeport and extends 96 miles to the Illinois River at LaSalle. In 1933, the Illinois Waterway was completed and the I&M Canal was closed to navigation. Since then, the canal has been re-developed for recreation, with the addition of shelters and picnic areas and renovation of the tow path for hiking, bicycling and other recreational uses. Several state parks are connected by the I&M Canal and include a variety of facilities. Running adjacent to the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers, trapping is an important tool in the ongoing management of the canal. Trapping for beaver and muskrat keep damage and wear and tear to the canal down, a variety of other species may be trapped as well.

Site Specific Regulations


  • To participate – A drawing will be held prior to the season to determine trapping units. The date shall be publicly announced. First name out will get first pick of units. You must be present to draw.
  • All traps must be marked in accordance with state rules. Statewide hours and season dates apply. Only Egg Traps®, D-P (Dog-Proof) Traps®, box traps, cage traps, and traps of similar design may be used for land sets.
  • I&M Canal is NOT in the open area for hunting or trapping bobcats.
  • Certain units may be held open to those trappers that are proficient in trapping muskrats and beavers as needs of the Canal dictate.
  • Remember that this is a multiple use facility. Please present yourself and trapping in a professional light.
  • You will be required to track your effort and harvest and provide a trapping report to the site at the conclusion of your trapping season, but no later than April 20th. Trap nights, times traps, equals trap/nights for your effort.
  • Trapping units will be posted annually.