Cart |

Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area in Illinois

by  yakaddict

A self-supported trip created by yakaddict

Trip Overview

Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area is located approximately 25 miles southwest of Peoria, Illinois on U.S. Route 24 and is protected from the Illinois River by a major levee. Teeming with fish and wildlife, Banner Marsh provides various outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, boating, dog training, picnicking, wildlife observation and photography. Three public access areas lead into Banner Marsh, all of which have parking lots, boat ramps, restrooms and picnic areas.

Prior to the Department of Natural Resources purchasing tracts of land bordering the Illinois River in Fulton and Peoria counties during the 1980s, the area was used for agricultural purposes and surfaced mined for coal.

Today, Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area serves as a 4,363-acre freshwater marsh. More than 200-plus water bodies, and its vast acres of grassland and shrubland habitats provide excellent habitat for migrating and local waterfowl, numerous species of gamefish and other wildlife, while providing opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts. Three public boat ramps, offer visitors easy access to the waters of Banner Marsh as well as scenic views of the area. Row boats, canoes, kayaks and small motor boats are popular watercraft at Banner Marsh. Jet skis, water skiing, swimming and operation of boat motors in excess of 25 horsepower are prohibited at Banner Marsh.

Whether you prefer bank fishing, kayak fishing or boat fishing or are fishing for one particular species, you won't run out of fishable water at Banner Marsh.

With more than 200 clear water bodies holding numerous species of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, bluegill, redear, green sunfish and channel cat, fishing is a common interest among many who visit the area.

The site works to ensure a well-balanced fishery for today's anglers and future generations with three fish brooding ponds, extensive stocking efforts and site-specific size and creel limits, posted at all three public access areas.

Boat fishing is prohibited during waterfowl season, but bank fishing is allowed after 1 p.m. daily. Fishing is otherwise permitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

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.


The only type of camping allowed at Banner Marsh is youth group camping. Nearby Rice Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area has camping facilities available and is less than 3 miles away.

A great little spot for food and beverage awaits you post paddle less than a mile from the entrance to Banner Marsh and is called Boss Hog's BBQ 111 E. Valley View Banner, IL 61520, (309) 647-RIBS (309) 647-7427 Your host, Bob Eid, Phil Caplis, and Scott Schendorf. Take a lovely drive to Boss Hogs in Banner, Illinois for great BBQ, horseshoes, and more!


I've never been told of any fees and have not noticed any signage anywhere in The Marsh.


Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Areas and Rice Lake are both accessible by US Rte 24. Both sites are well signed with Banner Marsh providing four access points and Rice Lake one.

Traveling from the north, via I-55 to Bloomington-Normal, take I-74 west to 474 which will bypass Peoria to the south. Exit 474 onto US Rte 24 west, travel approximately 15 miles on US Rte 24 west to access Banner Marsh and approximately 20 miles to the entrance to Rice Lake.

Traveling from the south, you can access these sites by utilizing these same routes.

Traveling from the east or west, travelers may utilize US Rte 136 to state routes 78 & 97, one miles west of Havana. Travel north approximately five miles to US Rte 24, then approximately 12 miles to the Rice Lake entrance and 17 miles to the Banner Marsh entrance.


Office of DNR Banner Marsh

19721 N. US 24

Canton, IL 61520

phone: 309.647.9184


To find local attractions and restaurants, please visit the Fulton County Tourism Council:

Trip Details

  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location