Beck Lake – Cook County, IL
Size: 38 acres
Max Depth: 20 feet
Shoreline: 6000 feet (1.1 miles)
Location: Central and East River Road in Cook County (Glenview/Des Plaines border)
Fish: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass?, northern pike, walleye, crappie, bluegill, catfish, carp
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Jay’s General Comments
Beck Lake is located in the Cook County Forest preserves bordered by Des Plaines, IL and Glenview, IL. Fishing at Beck Lake can be very good with strong numbers of largemouth bass 18″+ and a decent northern pike population.
For over a decade (I have numbers going back to 1999), Beck Lake has been aggressively stocked with a number of game fish including largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, and smallmouth bass. In 2010 there was no smallmouth bass stocking which is probably good as the results have been minimal at best. Walleye exist in the lake, some good sized too, but the numbers are rarely consistent. It seems boaters who specifically target the walleye have the best chance. For the shore fisherman the walleye reports are few and far between. The top species at Beck Lake is Largemouth bass. Their numbers are strong and the size can be real good. I’ve caught largemouth bass of 18″ – 21″ at Beck Lake and 14″+ fish are common. Over the past couple of years, the northern pike at Beck Lake for been strong. What was once sporadic reports of pike are now quite common – even for the shore anglers. Many of the largemouth bass anglers are catching northern pike on traditional lures such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and RatLTraps.
Most of the pressure Beck Lake receives is of course, close to the parking lot. This impact is minimal however as the parking lot shoreline does indeed produce nice numbers of fish. Almost the entire shoreline can be worked, with the exception of a large portion of the western shoreline, which can only be traversed on foot during time of very low water. You won’t find a whole lot of timber or wood structure along the shoreline, but weed pockets, points and rock piles, etc., will make up the majority of the shoreline structure. A boat will give you access to some deeper channels and holes that hold fish, as well as access to working the shoreline of the island, which can be quite productive.
The goose population at Beck Lake is very populous and has been for many years – to the point of being a nuissance. During spring the noise and commotion of the geese can be extreme. The mess they make in the grassy areas surrounding the lake can be extensive.
The weeds and subsequent weed kills by the Cook County Forest Preserve District are another topic of debate for anglers at Beck Lake. The lake does indeed get extensive aquatic weed growth during the summer months. After the weed kills the lake often is baron of most vegetation and fishing can be difficult. In some years, only selective portions were killed off and this appeared to have minimal impact on the fishing, perhaps even improved it. Apparently, these weed kills are done to rid the lake of invasive species of vegetation and open up water for boaters.
Beck Lake 2011 Fish Stocking Information:
Northern Pike 114
Beck Lake 2010 Fish Stocking Information:
Northern Pike – 114
Walleye – 3000
A nice new addition to Beck Lake in 2010 was the new boat ramp and pier located in the southwest section of the lake. This makes it much easier to launch without having to scrape up the bottom of your boat and get all wet in the process.
Beck Lake Accommodations
Restroom facilities consist of a nice/handicapped-accessible porta-potty in the parking lot near the entrance for the dog area. By the lake there is an old outhouse. No sinks or running water. Restaurants, shops, etc are not far from Beck Lake – mostly located about a mile east along Milwaukee Avenue.
Boating is allowed at Beck Lake. Only trolling motors may be used.
Jay’s Bottom Line
Beck Lake is a very nice Cook County Forest preserve lake for fishing. There are good numbers of quality fish, decent depths, structure, drop-offs, and scenic surroundings.
Can you plan an outing to Beck Lake? Sure. Maybe not an all day affair, but getting out for a few early morning hours or sunset hours can be fun and productive. I wouldn’t plan a family picnic there though because of the geese.
For current Beck Lake conditions, fishing reports and news, visit the Beck Lake Forum of our message boards.