CRYSTAL LAKE – Despite a projected high of just 46 degrees Saturday, outdoor enthusiasts are expected to break out the boats this weekend at Three Oaks Recreation Area.
Saturday marks the opening weekend of marina rentals at Three Oaks Recreation Area, and after a cold and lengthy winter, Crystal Lake Deputy City Manager Eric Helm said people are ready to get out of the house and onto the water.
“People have cabin fever,” Helm said. “We have such a short season in Illinois to enjoy the outdoors. People are anxious to get out there.”
Beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, patrons will be able to rent paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats and rowboats.
Crews brought in boats and other equipment Friday in preparation. Saturday also marks the beginning of the popular spring fishing season.
A recent Department of Illinois Natural Resources study found muskellunge, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow bass, rock bass, channel catfish, northern pike, walleye and panfish in the Three Oaks Recreation Area lakes.
Helm said he expects a good turnout over the weekend, but the larger crowds won’t arrive until school lets out in June.
The marina has been an attraction to the Chicago area since it opened in 2010, with only 50 percent of its customers coming from Crystal Lake, Helm said.
“It’s been amazing how the community and Chicagoland has embraced this,” Helm said. “There’s nothing like this for 200 miles. We’ve had customers from the South Side of Chicago all the way to Milwaukee.”
The beach officially opens to patrons on Memorial Day.