A pool of clear bubbling water which sparkles like silver on sunny days provides the basis for the name of Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area. Even on extremely cold days, this pool does not freeze, and visitors marvel at the bordering beds of watercress. Majestic oaks and prairie grasslands provide a panorama of natural beauty to park visitors. The Fox River runs through this picturesque area, which is also home to several small manmade lakes. A natural prairie restoration project gives visitors a feeling of the original landscape with native wildflowers, songbirds, waterfowl and upland game. Picnicking, fishing and hiking are popular pastimes in summer, with ice fishing, sledding, ice skating and cross-country ski trails available for the winter sports lover. For relaxing, exercising or just enjoying nature, Silver Springs is the perfect getaway location.
For a family outing, bring your picnic basket to any of several areas along the Fox River at Silver Springs SFWA. Picnic tables, charcoal grills, water and toilets are conveniently located. If a shelter is desired, three are located in the main park area. Shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted.
If you like fishing, two small lakes at Silver Springs SFWA offer catches of channel catfish, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill and crappie. Rainbow trout are stocked twice annually in Loon Lake. All fishing is prohibited in Loon Lake from March 15 until the first Saturday in April, at which time the trout are stocked and fishing may begin. Loon Lake is also closed prior to the fall trout stocking, from October 1 until the third Saturday in October. For the river fisherman, the Fox River provides good bank and boat fishing. The river yields excellent catches of large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, bullhead, carp, northern pike or muskie.
If you like to feel the spray of water on your face, bring your canoe and enjoy a trip down the Fox River. For lake anglers and those who like to just relax on the water, boating is permitted on Loon and Beaver lakes at Silver Springs SFWA. Gasoline motors are not allowed, however. For those who would like a motorized trip on water, the Fox River is an excellent choice. There's no restriction on motors there, but because of shallow waters in some areas, small motors are recommended. Local businesses offer canoe rental.
If exercise or nature study is your goal, a scenic four-mile trail winds along the river and through wooded areas overlooking the lakes at Silver Springs SFWA - perfect for an exhilarating walk or a relaxing stroll. If horseback riding is more to your liking, a seven-mile equestrian trail is located in the wildlife management area and is available for use. The equestrian trail is closed during hunting seasons.
For those who like rustic, primitive environs, an area overlooking the Fox River is available for Youth Group camping at Silver Springs SFWA. No vehicles are permitted in the camp area, so it requires backpacking a short distance. Only the sounds of nature surround campers in this heavily-wooded area along the river, a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life. The youth camp is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted.
Sportsmen will find a variety of game, including pheasant, rabbit, deer (archery only), dove, coyote and squirrel. For practice before the hunt, trap and archery ranges may be used when hunting is not taking place. Dog training areas are also available, with a permit.