An officially designated Important Birding Area, this complex of wetlands is composed of 5,660 acres with shallow floodplain lakes and bottomland forest habitats. Spring and fall shore birds, great flocks of waterfowl, nesting herons and osprey are all frequently seen. The forested areas, with mature stands of American elm, silver maple, cottonwood, and black willow, are a flitter with passerines in the spring. There is also one of the largest, northernmost, bald cypress trees near the marina. This is another site best toured by car or boat. Check the expansive mudflat near the north boat launch for Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets, and assorted gulls, plovers and sandpipers.
Many Illinois anglers list Rice Lake as one of the best lakes in the area for its large variety of game fish. Fifteen miles of shoreline provide plenty of space, or bring your boat and try your luck offshore. Paved boat ramp is located at site office.
During waterfowl hunting season, Rice Lake is popular with sportsmen, the area is open for hunting, and there is a daily draw for walk-in hunters. Because of its wetland acreage and river backwater, this area is a hunters paradise.