Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area is dedicated to providing quality hunting and fishing opportunities while maintaining 9,956 acres, which includes 1,200 acres of open water, marshes and flooded crop land.
Willow Slough began with the purchase of 7,800 acres of land in 1949. Land acquisition continued to bring the total size to 9,956 acres. J.C. Murphey Lake was completed in 1951. Parts of Willow Slough were formerly grazed, hayed and cultivated. A railroad once ran through the property, and portions of an old station can be found in the area. Most revenues used in land acquisition, development, operation and maintenance of Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area are derived from the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. Funds are also received from the federal Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson programs to aid fish and wildlife restoration. These funds are derived from taxes levied on sport hunting and fishing equipment. Indiana hunters and fishermen are proud to provide this property for the enjoyment of all people.
Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area provides 1,200 acres of available fishing in J.C. Murphey Lake and numerous ponds.
No boat fishing is allowed during duck season, including the early teal and goose season (even during Labor Day weekend). Ask at headquarters for details.
Primary species include bass, bluegill, channel catfish, redear, crappie and northern pike.
Motor restrictions: Electric only. No outboard motors are allowed.
Shoreline fishing available only on designated piers and below the picnic area.
There is an 18-inch minimum size limit and daily bag limit of 2 fish for largemouth bass for all Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife area waters. There is a panfish limit of 25 fish per day, including bluegill, redear, and crappie in aggregate.
All other size and bag limits apply.
Two boat ramps are provided near the headquarters. Boats may be launched only at the headquarters area.
For the ice-fishing season, access to the back of the lake is afforded after deer muzzleloader season has ended.
Pond anglers must park in designated lots.
Hunting and fishing areas accessible to persons with disabilities are available. Ask for details.
Deer, quail, rabbit, squirrel, dove, woodcock, waterfowl and wild turkey hunting are common at Willow Slough Fish & Wildlife Area.
Daily check-in is required. All hunting seasons and bag limits apply.
Deer tree stands and ground blinds may be used and left unattended from noon, Sept. 15 through Jan. 10. Tree stands and ground blinds must be legibly marked in English with either the owner's DNR customer identification number or the owner’s name, address and telephone number. A fastener used in conjunction with a tree stand and a tree or pole climber that penetrates a tree more than ½ inch is prohibited (anything that penetrates a tree more than a ½ inch is prohibited, i.e. screw-in steps and screw-in bow and gun hangers).
During waterfowl season, daily drawings begin at 4:30 a.m. local time. See waterfowl hunting rules for details.
Stands are not allowed to be placed and left unattended on Kankakee Sands (TNC). All vehicles need to be parked in designated parking lots and are not allowed on access trails.
Pre-registration is required for wild turkey hunting, put/take pheasant hunting, and some duck hunting.
Reserve hunters and stand-by hunters all need to be signed in before the assigned draw time for whichever species the hunter is interested in pursuing. Draw Times are: Dove: 11 a.m. Duck/goose: 4:30 a.m. Youth duck: 5 a.m.
Spring turkey: 4:30 a.m. Put-and-take pheasant sign-in begins at 8 a.m. Firearms/muzzleloader deer at Kankakee Sands (TNC): 5 a.m. Upland hunting at Kankakee Sands (TNC): 7 a.m.
Willow Slough has deer hunting rules and dove hunting rules that are specific to the property.
Trapping drawing is first Saturday in October at 10 a.m.
A dog training area is provided in area 9.
Each year property staff partner with other groups to host youth hunter events. Events change from year to year, but typically consist of fishing, shooting, dove hunting, and pheasant hunting events.
9,956 acres of high sandy hills and oak barrens, poorly drained wetlands, farm land, ponds and marshes surround a 1,000 acre lake attracting deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, hawks, owls, osprey, bald eagles and a wide variety of songbirds. No sign-in is required to scout, hike, fish or wildlife watch.
Willow Slough FWA provides primitive camping on a first-come, first-served basis. A picnic area is also available. For details on camping fees and amenities, call the property office at (219) 285-2704.
The rifle range is open. Fall 2016 improvements included moveable target stands, additional pistol stations, modern restroom facilities, a sales area and additional safety measures. View hours and contact information.
Wild blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, walnuts and spring and fall mushrooms may be gathered from the property. Mushroom hunting is allowed and no sign-in is necessary. Mushroom hunting is prohibited during the spring turkey hunting hours, which is 30 minutes before sunrise to noon during spring turkey season.
NO Swimming Allowed.
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