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Kankakee River
(Kankakee and Will Counties, Illinois, U.S.A.)
We are not responsible for errors or omissions.
When boating, regardless of water depth, wear a PFD!


River History
Recent Updates
General Info
Pictures from the River
River Map
River Access
Trip Reports
Water Quality
Fish Information

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River History

The Kankakee River, like the Des Plaines River, has played a vital part in the exploration of our area. While Marquette and Jolliet traveled the Des Plaines, Sieur Rene-Robert Cavalier de la Salle entered the Land of Lincoln via the Kankakee. Sieur de la Salle preferred the St. Joseph River/Kankakee River route over the portage at Mud Lake and traveled the Kankakee River several times before his murder in 1687.

Gurdon S. Hubbard worked in the Kankakee area as a fur trader after completing his apprenticeship with the American Fur Trading Company. Hubbard worked in the area competing with an independent trader named Bourbannais for several years until Bourbannais became a trader for the American Fur Trading Company, at which point Hubbard was transferred farther south to the Watseka area. Gurdon Hubbard's autobiography is available for under $10 from amazon.com (Gurdon S. Hubbard, Fur Trader & Chicago Pioneer ISBN-0-912382-29-5, Note: As a non-commercial site, we do not have any agreement with amazon.com with regard to book sales however we do provide the book title and ISBN number as a service to you)

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Recent Updates

May 98 Rescue workers pull 8 people out of the river Mothers day weekend. When the Kankakee River is flooding, you should not take boats on the river!

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General Information

If you've ever traveled over the river on I-57, you'll see many powerboats traveling the river, but, before you get to the state park, there is a dam, and then, there are fewer powerboats. As you near the river at the state park, you'll see warning signs warning you of strong current and undertow in the river. The river has many islands, and the current can get quite strong on some of the side channels. It takes some effort to go upstream in the main river channel, in some of the side channels we traveled in, going upstream wasn't always an option. The banks vary between small bluffs and woodlands. While you can't entirely escape civilization, it's a very pleasant place to visit.

The Kankakee River is also home to some unusual fish in our area. The Ironcolor Shiner, Weed Shiner, Lake Chubsucker, Starhead Topminnow, Northern Longear sunfish, Least Darter, River Redhorses, and Blacknose Shiner are all species that live in the river.

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Pictures from the River

[River]
A few canoes and kayaks on the river in the State Park

[Bluffs]
Rocky outcrop in Kankakee River State Park

[Swans]
A pair of swans near Aroma Park.

[Matt]
When Matt first saw the warning signs of strong current and undertow, he was understandably concerned, but once out on the river, he found it quite enjoyable.

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Pictures from the River

[State Line to Aroma Park]
Illinois/Indiana State Line to Aroma Park

[Aroma Park to State Park]
Aroma Park to Kankakee River State Park

[State Park to Des Plaines River]
Kankakee River State Park to Des Plaines/Illinois/Kankakee Confluence

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Boating Information:

Other Information:

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Fish in this river include:

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Water Quality

Sewage Discharged into the Kankakee River (Based on 7 year, 0 day low reports from Illinois EPA)

Kankakee River Water Quality Information (Illinois EPA)

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Trip Reports

July 10th: I was out between Momence and Aroma Park. River was moving pretty good. Many boats and jetskis out in the water as I got closer to Aroma Park. Many of the side channels are very shallow and offered good protection from the jetskis as I neared the Iroquois River area. At times I was wishing my camera was waterproof just so I could take a picture of some of them as they got so close, but alas, I hadn't packed the waterproof camera for that trip so I was unable to get a good picture, but there were several times when they passed way too close for comfort (Jetskiers note: If a kayaker can see your chipped tooth, you are too close!)

Sept 98: Family picnic at Kankakee River State Park. I spent more time shuttling family members between Davis Creek and the takeout point than I spent doing anything else.

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