Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area consists of 1,017 acres and is located in Grundy County 3 miles southeast of Braidwood on Illinois Route 53 and Huston Road.
Braidwood Lake, owned by Commonwealth Edison, is a partially perched, cooling lake. Braidwood Lake was constructed in the late 1970s and impounded in 1980-81 with water pumped from the Kankakee River. Several surface mined pits were flooded within the lake, so fisheries management actually began in 1978, before the lake existed. The lake was considered a semi-private area used by employees of Com Ed till the fall of 1981 when the Department of Conservation (now the Department of Natural Resources) acquired a long term lease agreement from Com Ed which allowed for general public access. Braidwood Lake currently is used for fishing, waterfowl hunting, fossil hunting by permit and as a waterfowl refuge.
The area contains more than 200 water impoundments ranging from 3/4 acre to 30 acres. The water area currently contains largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, crappie, channel catfish and bullhead. Additional species will be stocked as the site is developed. Good wildlife habitat can be found on the site in the 700 acres of grassland, brushy draws and limited woodland cover.
Mazonia is managed primarily for sport fish and waterfowl. Its purpose is to provide a quality sport fishery within the surface-mined lakes through habitat enhancement and supplemental stockings which, in turn, will provide the public quality bank and boat sport fishing opportunities. The site also will provide quality mid-migration and resident waterfowl habitat, including food, water and sanctuary components which, in turn, will provide the public a quality waterfowl hunting opportunity.
The area also will be managed for other resident or migratory game and non-game fish and wildlife species, particularly those listed as threatened or endangered.
Although Mazonia features sport fishing and waterfowl hunting, a variety of other outdoor recreational opportunities are provided throughout the year. Upland game hunting, furbearer trapping, limited picnicking, nature study/birding, fossil hunting, and water dog training is also available.
While minimal facilities currently are available, future development will include a paved access road to the main lakes, boat launches, ramps, parking lots and toilets.
The Mazonia South Unit was purchased by DNR from Commonwealth Edison in 1999. This was the first acquisition under the landmark Open Land Trust, a program that sets aside dollars to be used to purchase acreage for multiple purpose recreation and to protect open space for future generations.
The land making up the south unit was formerly surface mined, resulting in rugged terrain, four large lakes and 10 smaller water impoundments that contain excellent fish populations. Access to most of the water will be available via boat launches, while some of the smaller lakes will be walk-in only. The area will be used for fishing, wildlife habitat, hunting and other recreational activities.
Braidwood Lake Fish and Wildlife Area consists of 2,640 acres and is located in Will County south of Braidwood off Illinois Route 53.
Braidwood Lake can become very dangerous. Special precautions should be utilized. A wind warning system is in place by a flagpole located at the Cemetery Boat Ramp and the Kankakee Boat Ramp. The flag system displays predicted weather conditions for that day. Different colored flags will be raised to depict the weather conditions. The lake will be closed with 25 m.p.h. winds.
Boats with a minimum length of 14’ are recommended. Motor size is unlimited but a 40 m.p.h. speed limit is strictly enforced.
Mazonia is well known for Pennsylvanian age fossils. A day permit is required to collect fossils and may be obtained from the park office or website. A reporting form is also available for reporting what was found. Excavations and collecting for commercial purposes are prohibited. In addition, fossil collecting is restricted to March 1st to September 30th.
P.O.Box 126, Braceville, IL 60407 -- 815.237.0063