SPRING BAY, Ill. (WMBD) — On this episode of Destination Illinois, reporter Tom McIntyre takes a look at a new resort that’s just opened up along the Illinois River. It’s a location specializing in “glamour-camping” and fly-fishing.

Since December 2019, workers have been moving dirt at this location in Woodford County, near Spring Bay, IL — population 452. Other crews constructed roads, poured concrete and foundations, built buildings, moved rocks and timber. That work went on, carefully, while COVID-19 swept the country. Now, Sankoty Lakes is open.

Sankoty Lakes is built on what was a 230-acre gravel pit. Now, thanks to the efforts of developer Kim Blickenstaff, and the spending of millions of dollars, Sankoty Lakes is a destination in Central Illinois.

Blickenstaff grew up in this area. All of us might want the best for our old hometown, but Kim Blickenstaff has the drive, vision, and money to make it happen here.

There’s a swimming beach, three lakes for fishing, glamour camping tents, RV pads, hiking trails, bird watching, canoeing, a restaurant, and a nearly mile-long trout-fishing stream that winds around the complex.

“It’s really we want them to be able to, you know, come here and have this wow factor reaction. We want them to say, you know; ’Wow, this is here in Central Illinois’,“ said KDB Group General Manager Lori Birkland.

Birkland said fly-fishing in the man-made trout stream has been particularly popular. There’s a resident expert on hand to teach novices how to fly fish for the wily trout.

Lori Birkland said there is just one purpose behind Sankoty Lakes.

“It’s all about making memories with their families. So just really creating a destination where families are happy, they’re enjoying each other, they’re outdoors, really having a great time,” Birkland said.

Plans are in the works to add a five-story boutique hotel to the Sankoty Lakes property. You can find out more about fly-fishing at Sankoty by clicking here.