Busse Woods has 32 formal picnic groves, along with numerous other locations within Busse, to picnic within the preserve. Families, corporations, class reunions, and friends take advantage of the numerous picnic areas available. You may register online with the FPDCC in order to reserve a picnic grove.


Busse Woods possesses an eight-mile paved trail loop that is heavily used by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and bikers. The trail is easily accessed from any parking lot within the preserve. In addition, there are trails that can be accessed from Biesterfield Rd and Golf Rd which will provide access to the main loop.


The 590 acres of water within this lake opened to fishing on September 1, 1980. The north pool contains 25 acres of water, the south pool 146 acres and the main pool 419 acres. Fishes stocked were largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, northern pike, brown bullhead, channel catfish, crappie and walleye. The wide variety of shallows, drop-offs, brushy areas and open water afford an extremely productive and interesting fishery from the shoreline and boats. The six fishing walls provide “deep” water fishing adjacent to the shoreline and four have wheelchair ramps to the parking areas.

An Illinois fishing license is required for all persons except those under 16, disabled or blind. These waters are designated Fish Preserves – only two poles with no more than two-hooks per pole per person. No bow and arrow fishing. State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources 2010 sport fishing regulations for Busse Lake are as follows:

  • Channel Catfish – 6 Fish Daily Creel Limit
  • Large or Smallmouth Bass – 14″ Minimum Length Limit
  • Bluegill, Redear or Pumpkinseed Sunfish – 15 Fish Daily Creel Limit
  • Walleye, Sauger, or Hybrid Walleye – 18″ Minimum Length Limit
  • White, Black or Hybrid Crappie – 15 Fish Daily Creel Limit

Please refer to the statewide sport fishing regulations for limits on all fish that have not been specifically identified above.

Ice fishing is permitted upon designated areas of the south and main pools. The inflowing creeks, resulting in unsafe ice, will prohibit the use of some of the waters.


Canoes, rowboats and sailboats are allowed only on the South and Main Lake with launching ramps available into both water areas. Electric trolling motors are allowed. Watercraft rental is available from April through October. Gas outboard motors are not permitted.


A heard of elk resides within Busse Woods. Stop by and marvel at their size and enjoy the unique sound of their bugle.

Winter sports

Snowmobiling is allowed in designated areas south of Golf road and east of the frontage road. There must be a snow base of four inches and vehicles must be registered with the State of Illinois and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Cross country skiing is permitted on all paths and open areas with the exception of the snowmobiling area and lake surfaces.

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