Getting to Starved Rock was the easiest part of the trip. It took about 4 hours, going 8ish miles. Downstream, so it's a bit easier. Speedboats were a little problem. But, with the river so wide, they are fairly easy to dodge.
We broke for lunch at starved rock. After cooling off a bit, we started the trip back. This was a bit harder. The wind was at our backs, which did help.
We camped on Sheehan Island, on the west side in a cove. We hunted around for a site for a bit, and eventually found one that wasn't too muddy. It worked out, especially during an overnight storm. Good tree coverage kept us pretty safe from rain and wind.
The next day was tough. 4 miles upstream. After the rain from the previous night, the Illinois river had quite a current. It was about 1-2 MPH, with spikes in the 3s. We had to paddle full strength for over 2 hours to get back. In the heat... that was rough. But, we made it.
We did pass through a bunch of fish schools along the way. We got close enough to spook a few, and they'd jump out of the water by us. One hit off the boat, and another almost landed inside.