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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Some great fishing at Sahara Woods

  • Sahara Woods, a portion of the Saline County Fish and Wildlife Area, is a hunting and fishing gem nestled in the woods just north of Carrier Mills.
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  • Sahara Woods, a portion of the Saline County Fish and Wildlife Area, is a hunting and fishing gem nestled in the woods just north of Carrier Mills.
    The 4,001-acre property was donated to Illinois Department of Natural Resources by Sahara Coal Company in 1998 and after an extensive reclamation program was opened to the public on July 7, 2011. The site has numerous lakes and ponds; Sahara offers a little of something to appeal to any angler.
    The two largest lakes, Sahara and Final Cut comprise 100 and 20 acres respectively, but with over 275 acres of total waters there are many small but productive ponds accessible only by foot.
    Sahara and Final Cut lakes are both equipped with boat launches, piers and bathroom facilities. Swimming is not allowed in any lake or pond on the site. All the lakes and ponds are open to boats, canoes, kayaks, and angling tubes meeting state regulations with the stipulation that vehicles are not used to back up to the edges of lakes and ponds to launch watercraft.
    Catfish, crappie, bass, bluegill and red-ear can be found in the waters of Sahara Woods with catfish restocked regularly. A very good way to get an overview of the locations of lakes and ponds is to use a satellite or aerial imaging application which provides aerial photos of Sahara Woods.
    Sahara Woods is open for archery deer hunting, firearm doe hunting, upland game hunting, turkey and fur bearer hunting in season. In November, half the park briefly closes and is reserved for a special deer hunt for terminally-ill youth.
    Sahara Woods boasts a plentiful deer and turkey population, as well as numerous flocks of Quail.
    Mushroom picking, hiking, and picnicking are allowed, though as yet there are no picnic facilities available. The Site Superintendent Eric McClusky is pleased with the Wildlife Area and its visitors.
    "Everybody conducts themselves pretty well," McClusky said.
    McClusky is also site superintendent of the Glen O. Jones Lake portion of the Saline County Fish and Wildlife Area and Cave-in-Rock State Park. For further information on Sahara Woods contact Eric McClusky at 618-994-2022 or go to the IDNR website, www.dnr.illinois.gov.
    Sahara Woods is well worth a visit and whether visitors are fishing, hunting or just observing wildlife they will experience a very nice taste of rural Southern Illinois.
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