Destination Illinois: Sankoty Lakes Resort

Destination Illinois

SPRING BAY, Ill. (WMBD) — One of the unusual features of Sankoty Lakes Resort in Central Illinois is that it has a trout stream. As Tom McIntyre reports from Spring Bay, IL, you may catch the fish there, but you can’t keep them.

Adam Singley is the director of outdoor activities at Sankoty Lakes. He is also a fly fisherman.

“The primary skill is being able to do multiple things at once. Keep everything in mind that you have to do as far as how you hold your rod, how you need to be standing. There’s a lot that goes into doing it right. Trout, you have to lay that fly down in the water just right. Or else they get wise to the game pretty quick,” Singley said.

The mile-long stream is artificial. Water is pumped up a hill and it flows down a mile through the Sankoty Lakes resort complex.

“You know, we’ve kind of modeled it after four or five different streams you’ll find out west, you know. This is a little more of your mountain streams,” Singley said.

“We got some areas downstream that are a little wider and deeper. We have four species of trout. We have Rainbow trout, Brook trout, Brown trout, and Palomino trout, which are the yellow ones that you see some down there. And they’re big. We’ve got some big trout in here. To offer this in Central Illinois is so cool because a lot of people do fly-fishing is something you can only do when you’re fishing for trout, which is not necessarily true. And so, you know, if you were catching these fish out west or in the wild streams, you know, they’d be a lot smaller than the fish you would be catching here. There’s some romance to that as well. I was talking about the big fish, and this is probably the smallest fish I’ve ever caught out of here. Fish have a way of making a liar out of you.”

Some of the trout here were spawned here and know no other home. Because of the number of fish in the stream, they’re comparative.

“You know, they’re a little more competitive for the food, and so they hit harder. You’ll create a feeding frenzy when you catch one, the rest of them will think it’s time to eat,” Singley said.

If this video whets your appetite for fly-fishing, so much the better. But that’s the only appetite that ought to be involved. It’s all catch and release at Sankoty Lakes, so the trophy you come home with will be in a picture.

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