Although the name Snakeden Hollow State Fish and Wildlife Area is rather intimidating, there are no more snakes here than in other areas of the state. Actually the site is the namesake of a small creek that “snakes” its way through the property.
This 2,500-acre parcel was a surface mining site for coal from 1962 to 1970 and was considered by many to provide a wealth of opportunity for the development of fish and wildlife habitat. In 1987, the State of Illinois purchased the property from Midland Coal Company and began working with the Soil Conservation Service to mitigate any environmental concerns at the location. Today, Snakeden Hollow is truly a wildlife paradise.
The site contains 125 water impoundments totaling 400 acres. All lakes and ponds, except the 160-acre Snakeden Hollow Lake, were formed as the result of surface mining operations. The water areas currently contain largemouth and smallmouth bass, rainbow and brown trout, muskie, bluegill, redear sunfish, walleye, green sunfish, black crappie, channel catfish and bullhead.
Good wildlife habitat provides a home to numerous species of mammals, birds and reptiles. A favorite nesting spot of giant Canada geese, the site has 2,100 acres of grassland, brushy draws, briers, shrubs, cropland and limited hardwood forest. The remaining 400 acres are in agricultural leases managed for wildlife habitat.
Snakeden Hollow's major management focus is to improve nesting cover, plus resting and feeding areas for the resident flock of giant Canada geese.
Additional management activities are directed toward upland game, forest and waterfowl production, along with fish and furbearer production in order to allow activities such as hunting and fishing for the general public. Excellent hunting opportunities exist each fall and winter for Canada geese and dove hunting is said to be good. Importance is placed on the development of grassland habitat for non-game species through the establishment of warm season grasses, forest plantings and seasonal marshes.