Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com

Prairie State Outdoors Categories

Top Story :: Opinion :: Illinois Outdoor News :: Fishing News :: Hunting News :: Birding News :: Nature Stories :: Miscellaneous News :: Fishing :: Big Fish Fridays :: Big Fish Stories :: State Fishing Reports :: Other Fishing Reports :: Fishing Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Fish :: Fishing Calendar :: Hunting :: Hunting Reports :: Hunting Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Hunt :: Tales from the Timber :: Turkey Tales :: Hunting Calendar :: Big Game Stories :: Nature and Birding :: Birding Bits :: Nature Newsbits :: Critter Corner :: Birding Calendar :: Stargazing :: In the Wild :: Miscellaneous Reports and Shorts :: Links :: Hunting Links :: Birding Links :: Video ::

Big Buck Stories

1960s :: 1980s :: 1991-92 :: 1992-93 :: 1993-94 :: 1994-95 :: 1995-96 :: 1997-98 :: 1998-99 :: 1999-2000 :: 2000-01 :: 2001-02 :: 2003-04 :: 2004-05 :: 2005-06 :: 2006-07 :: 2007-08 :: 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 :: 2011-12 :: 2012-13 ::

Scattershooting

Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::


Print

Illinois muskie stocking highlights

February 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Muskie stocking

The Illinois muskie stocking program produced nearly 12,000 surplus muskie fingerlings in 2008. This allowed the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to stock one new muskie lake and stock a number of lakes not on the proposed stocking list.

Brood stock were collected from Spring Lake (North) in Tazwell Co. in early March. The fish were spawned and 157,657 of the resulting swim-up fry were transferred to tanks and started on feed in late April. An additional 88,140 excess fry were stocked into a one acre pond. Zooplankton never developed in this pond and none of these excess fry survived when the pond was drained on May 9. The Otohime Hirame diet was used for the first time last year. The fry were fed the Otohime Hirame diet for the first thirty days, at which time the Bio-Oregon diet was mixed in for six days. At this point the feed was switched to the Bio-Oregon diet until the fingerlings were five inches long and ready to feed on minnows.

In late June, 20,314 of the 5-inch fingerlings were stocked in Lake Shelbyville, 150 of the 5-inch fingerlings were given to the Illinois Natural History Survey for research and the remaining 33,053 of the 5-inch fingerlings were stocked into two net protected and one unprotected ponds. The overall return rate was 88.6 percent. These fish were stocked into 31 lakes, while 150 fish were turned over to the Illinois Natural History Survey for research and 770 were stocked into the three Project Green Gene lakes, Mingo, Pierce and Sam Dale.

The 2008 muskie stockings were supplemented by the purchase by the member organizations of the Illini Muskies Alliance which purchased Leech Lake strain fingerlings for Project Green Gene.  Additionally, Project Green Gene received Ohio River Drainage strain fingerlings from Cave Run Lake in Kentucky.

The Illinois hatchery system produced a total of 29,296 fish that were 10 inches or larger. The grand total of muskie fingerlings (larger than 5 inches) stocked into Illinois waters in 2008 from all sources was 29,746.

Here is a list of stockings: Lake name, number of fish stocked, size, date and source.
Busse, 840, 10.8 inches, 8/19, IL
Captain-Super (at Pyramid State Park, a new lake), 460, 10.8 inches, 8/20, IL
Canton, 750, 10.8 inches, 8/21, IL
Canvasback, 100, 10.8 inches, 8/20, IL
Carlton, 76, 10.8 inches, 8/20, IL
Deep, 25, 10.8 inches, 8/21, IL
Double T, 64, 10.8 inches, 8/21, IL
Evergreen, 926, 10 inches, 8/14, IL
Fox Chain, 2,000, 10.8 inches, 8/19, IL
Fox Chain, 500, 11.4 inches, 8/26, IL
Fox Ridge, 100, 11.4 inches, 8/26, IL
Fulton Co. Rec. Area #3,90, 11.4 inches, 8/28, IL
Fulton Co. Rec. Area #4, 36, 11.4 inches, 8/28, IL
George, 167, 10.8 inches, 8/20, IL
George, 334, 11.4 inches, 8/27, IL
Goldeneye, 100, 10.8 inches, 8/20, IL
INHS, 150, 5 inches,6/26, IL
INHS, 50, 11.4 inches, 8/26, IL
Johnson, 600, 10.8 inches, 8/21, IL
Kinkaid, 2,000, 10 inches, 8/14, IL
Mallard, 180, 11.4 inches, 8/26, IL
Mill Creek, 366, 11.4 in, 8/26, IL
Mingo, 170, 11.4 in, 8/26, IL
Otter, 1,530, 10.8 in, 8/20, IL
Pana, 440, 10.8 in, 8/22, IL
Pierce, 300, 11.4 in, 8/27, IL
Sam Dale, 300, 11.4 in, 8/28, IL
Sam Dale, 193, 12.7 in, 9/18, KY/OH
Sam Dale, 257, 8.5, 9/19, MN/Miss
Shabbona, 319, 11.4 in, 8/27, IL
Shelbyville, 20,314, 5 in, 6/26, IL
Shelbyville, 5,500, 10 in, 8/13, IL
Shelbyville, 1,901, 10.8 in, 8/22, IL
Shelbyville, 6,006, 11.4 in, 8/28, IL
Shovel, 200, 10.8 in, 8/21, IL
Spring (McDonough), 277, 11.4 in, 8/28, IL
Spring (Tazewell), 1,156, 10 in, 8/14, IL
Spring (Tazewell), 578, 11.4 in, 8/27, IL
Staunton, 168, 10.8 in, 8/20, IL
Sterling, 150, 10.8 in, 8/19, IL
Sule, 231, 11.4 in, 8/28, IL
Wheel, 350, 10.8 in, 8/21, IL

 

The following article is based on the Status of Muskie Fishery in Illinois (January 2009 report produced by various regional biologists in Illinois. It has been updated to include muskie stockings by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, out of state sources and donated fingerlings purchased by the member organizations of the Illini Muskies Alliance.

Argyle Lake
Previously stocked with tigers since 1985, this 95 acre lake, located in McDonough Co., was added to the muskie stocking list in 2000. This lake was stocked with 186-11.2” muskie in 2007. There is a 10 H.P. and 36” minimum size limit at Argyle.

Busse, Cook County
First lake to be stocked in the county with natural muskie by the IDNR, the main pool of about 400 acres was stocked with muskie fingerlings in 2007. Busse received 840-10.8” muskie in 2008. Just under 200 of the 2007 fish were implanted with PIT tags (Passive Integrated Transponders) to attempt to track these fish over time. Newly stocked fish won’t be vulnerable to our sampling gear, in large numbers, until spring 2010 at age 3+ years old when males approach sexual maturity. Females should take another year reach maturity. Growth rates are expected to faster than in the Chain O’ Lakes but not as fast as lakes further south where growing seasons are even longer. Part of the Forest Preserve District, Busse contains steep shorelines, downed timber, stumps and submergent vegetation. Gizzard shad should be the main forage. There is a boat launch available, a 36” size limit and electric trolling motors only restriction at this lake.

Canton Lake, Fulton County
This 250-acre water supply lake, which has a gizzard shad forage base, was stocked with tiger muskies from 1985 through 1997. In 2000 Canton was added to the natural muskie stocking list. In a trap net survey during the spring of 2008, 30 muskie were captured up to 26”. This lake was stocked with 750-10.8” muskie fingerlings in 2008. There is a concrete boat ramp, camping, various user fees, a 42” size limit and 85 HP limit at this lake. Canton has a maximum depth of 35 feet, housing developments on about half of its shoreline and wood as the main structural element in the lake. Call the Canton City Hall (309) 647-0288 for more information.

Canvasback, Perry County
This former strip-mine lake is 60 acres in size with high visibility and depths approaching 100 feet. It is located in the Denmark Area of Pyramid State Park and was added to the muskie stocking list in 2002. This lake was stocked with 100-10.8” muskie in 2008. Muskie up to 37” have been captured at this lake There is a 10 H.P. and 36” minimum size limit at Canvasback. Fishing is prohibited from October 28 through February 28. 

Captain-Super, Perry County
This 230 acre former strip mine lake is located in Pyramid State Park and was added to the muskie stocking list in 2008 when it received 460-10.8” muskie fingerlings. This lake has a 10 HP motor limit. Fishing is prohibited from October 28 through February 28.

Carlton
In addition to being one of the best muskie lakes in the state, this 76 acre lake located in Whiteside Co. has produced more legal sized bass than any other lake in the state. A survey
concluded that Carlton receives 606 man hours per acre of fishing pressure. A trapnet survey in
2008 produced 16 muskies, 11 of which were over were greater than 36” and 4 were greater than 40”. This lake was stocked with 76-10.8” muskie in 2008. The lake has steep shorelines, timber, vegetation, rip-rap along the dam and camping. There is a 10 H.P. and 36” minimum size limit at Carlton.

Deep, Peoria Co.
Located in the Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria County, Deep was formed in 1987 and is only 14 acres in size. This lake is 33 feet deep and 50% of the basin has flooded timber. Deep was stocked in 1992 with tigers and received natural muskies for the first time in 2001. This lake was stocked with 25-10.8” muskie in 2008. Deep has a user fee, 42” minimum size limit for muskie and only portable boats and trolling motors are allowed. For more information, call (309) 676-0998.

Double T, Fulton Co.
Double T, at about 64 acres is the largest lake in the Double T State Fish and Wildlife Area, located about three miles northwest of Canton. Purchased by the state in 2001, this area was previously known as the Fulton County Goose Management Area. A former stripmine lake, Double T has steep shorelines and high visibility. The lake was created in 1983, is long and narrow and forms a T shape. Maximum depth is 65 feet. In 2002, Double T received its initial stocking of muskie. This lake was stocked with 64-10.8” muskie in 2008. A spring 2006 trap net survey captured muskie to 39”. Gizzard shad are among the prey species at Double T. There is a 42” minimum size limit on muskie at Double T. Two concrete ramps were added to provide access in 2005 and only trolling motors are allowed. The site office can be reached at 309/647-9184.

Eagle, St. Clair Co.
Located near New Athens, this 101 acre lake was added to the muskie stocking list in 2007. This former strip mine has a maximum depth of 100 feet, natural springs, clear water with little vegetation and a gizzard shad forage base. There is a gravel boat launch and special hours of 6 am to 9 pm (March-December) and 8 am to 4 pm (January-February). This is the first public lake stocked with hybrids (tiger muskie) in quite some time. Largely through the efforts of the Shawnee Muskie Hunters, Chapter of Muskies, Inc. and donations from the member organizations of the Illini Muskies Alliance, 200-13” hybrids were purchased from a Minnesota hatchery and stocked into Eagle in 2007. There is a 10 HP limit and a 36” size limit at this lake.

Evergreen
This 900 acre lake in McLean County received 926-10.8” muskie in 2008. In 2008, approximately 92% of the muskie captured in the IDNR survey were longer than 30 inches, 24% were longer than 38 inches and 5% were longer than 42 inches. Muskie exhibited ideal weights at all sizes in Evergreen Lake. Muskie have now been in Evergreen Lake long enough to allow them to reach a large size. The muskie population in this lake is developing nicely and starting to show its true potential. Muskie were collected over the current state record during spring netting surveys in 2006 and 2007. The McLean Co. Parks and Recreation Department has worked with local anglers to erect a barrier below the spillway to lower the escapement potential of muskie downstream. When needed, muskie are collected below the lake and returned to the lake. In 2007, approximately 225 muskie were collected and put back in the lake. In an average year, there may be 30 to 40 muskie returned to the lake. Once again, an angler fishing Evergreen received the 2008 annual Illini Muskies Alliance trophy for his 49” capture at this lake. Evergreen Lake has two boat ramps, a 48” minimum size limit and has a 10 horsepower limit on all boats. In order to launch a boat on Evergreen Lake, a sticker must be purchased. The stickers can be purchased at the boat ramps, Comlara Park Visitor Center, or by calling 309/726-2022.

Fitch and Bond, Fulton Co.
Located on the NW edge of Lakeland Park in the city of Canton in Fulton County, this 64 acre former strip mine lake was first stocked with hybrids from 1885-1991. It received the first stocking of 13” naturals in 2000 and was stocked again with 11” naturals in 2002. A spring 2005 trap net survey produced muskie to 38”. The lake has a large basin (38 acres) connected to a long narrow section (26 acres). The main forage is gizzard shad. There is a concrete boat ramp, access fee, electric motor only restriction and a 42” minimum size limit. Call (309) 647-1345 for more information.

Forbes, Marion Co.
Located in the State Park in Marion Co., this 525 acre lake received an initial stocking of natural muskie fingerlings in 1999. In the 2003 muskie survey, 7 fish from 20 to 39 inches were captured. The largest was 26.23 pounds. In 2004, Forbes was stocked with 500-11 ” Illinois, 101-9” Ohio River Strain, 238-7.5” Ohio River Strain and 57-12” Mississippi River Strain natural fingerlings as part of the Green Gene Project. In 2005, Forbes was removed from the Green Gene Project because of poor muskie survival when it was last stocked with 350-10” (IL) and 350-12.6” (IN strain). There is a 48” minimum size limit on this lake.

Fox Chain
The Chain received 2,000-10.8” and 500-11’4” natural fingerlings from the Jake Wolf Hatchery in 2008. The Fox Chain has developed into an outstanding muskie fishery, thanks, in part, to the donations of larger than normal size Leech Lake strain fingerlings provided by the SOB chapter of MI. The overall spring trap net catch rate was 2.3 muskie per trap net night and targeted effort was 2.6 fish per trap net night. Both exceeded management objectives established by the Esocid Task Group of 0.3 fish per spring trap net night. The Chain was above flood stage for the entire spring sampling season with high flows and a no-wake order. Male muskie averaged 32.4” long and 9.6 lbs., females averaged 39.3” long and 16.7 lbs. The largest fish was 47.4” long and the heaviest 29.2 pounds. The largest muskie collected in the spring samples by the IDNR to date was 49.5”, and exceeded 36 pounds. Tagged fish have been reported from all lakes in the Chain and in the Fox River as far south as Yorkville and north into Wisconsin. The longest, a floy tagged fish, swam at large before being recaptured was 8 years!  Most fish grow approximately 2 inches per year until they reach 36” to 38” then male growth rates slow dramatically and females continue to grow at just under 2” per year. A cleithra collected from a 47” dead muskie (in 2006) was estimated at 12 years old.  Generally speaking, male muskie in the Chain only occasionally exceed 40 inches but females easily grow beyond 40 inches and make up almost all fish over 42”. There is a minimum size limit of 48” on the Fox Chain from the Wisconsin line south to the Algonquin Dam. 

Fox Ridge, Coles Co.
This 17 acre Coles County lake was added as a new designated muskie lake in 2007. In 2008 this lake was stocked with 100-11.4” natural fingerlings, as part of a research program by the Illinois Natural History Survey. There is an electric motor only, 36” minimum size limit and special site regulations enforced at this lake.

Fulton Co. Recreation Area #3
This 46 acre lake located south of Canton, near St. David, was added to the muskie stocking list in 2007. In 2008 this lake received 90-11.4” fingerlings. This long and narrow, former strip mine lake has two boat launches and camping in the County Park. There is an electric motor only restriction, entrance fee and a minimum 36” size limit enforced on this lake. This lake has two gravel boat ramps. Call (309) 668-2931 for more information.

Fulton Co. Recreation Area #4
This 19 acre lake located south of Canton, near St. David, was added to the muskie stocking list in 2007. In 2008 this lake received 36-11.4” fingerlings. This former strip mine lake is narrow, steep, deep and clear and has two gravel boat launches and camping right on the lake. There is an electric motor only restriction, entrance fee and a minimum 36” size limit enforced on this lake. Call (309) 668-2931 for more information.

George, Rock Island Co.
This 167 acre lake in Rock Island Co. was built in 1966 and has a maximum depth of 62 feet with an average depth of 24 feet. George was stocked with 167-10.8” and 334-11.4 muskie in 2008. The volunteer muskie creel program from 1987 to 1991 recorded 106 legal muskie caught with 90 being released. Creel report data from 1994 reported 83 muskie caught with only 3 harvested. In 2007 and 2008, 6 trapnets were set and they collected 10 muskie each year. All except 1 were greater than 36 inches. The lake has good numbers of 40 inch plus muskie with several collected near the state record. Fishing George can be tough due to the restricted trolling motor only access, abundant gizzard shad and an annual fishing pressure, estimated between 200 and 350 man hours per acre. However, George does have state record muskies swimming in her depths. There is a trolling motor only restriction and 36” minimum size limit at George.

Goldeneye, Perry Co.
This former stripmine lake is about 125 acres in size with high visibility and depths approaching 100 feet. It is located in the Galum area of Pyramid State Park and was added to the muskie stocking list in 2002. Muskies up to 39” have been captured at Goldeneye. This lake was stocked with 100-10.8” muskie in 2008. There is a 10 H.P. and 36” minimum size limit and seasonal fishing hours at Goldeneye.

Heidecke
This 1,955 acre cooling lake was added back to the muskie stocking list in 1999. This lake was last stocked with 390-10.8” and 1,565-11.2” muskies in 2007. Muskie catch rates have been increasing as the population grows in both number and size. With the success of recent stockings, it should not take long for this lake to produce 30 pound natural muskies, as it did in the past. Collins Station, the electrical generating plant, for which the lake was created, has been demolished. Without the warm water discharge from the plant, Heidecke has evolved into a more typical northern Illinois lake. The muskie population is evaluated by the biennial standardized survey, formal angler creel surveys, voluntary angler survey (green card) and via annual spring trap netting. Since 2005, a total of 68 muskellunge have been fitted with PIT tags (internal) which provide valuable age and growth data. A number of fish have also been marked with Floy tags (external). A total 73 of muskie (the most ever) were captured in the 2007 spring survey. Annual spring trap netting conducted in 2008 resulted in the capture of 35 muskies. Water temperature plays a key role in the success of this sampling. Average daily surface water temperatures were higher in 2008 (61°F) than 2007 (56°F). As has been the norm, males dominated the 2008 spring survey and accounted for 66% of the catch. Pure muskellunge captured in 2008 ranged from 25.7” to 45.6” at an overall average length of 35.9”. Six fish captured in spring 2008 netting were recaptures. Eight additional fish were collected by electrofishing during the biennial fall survey, one of which was a male tagged in 2006 which had increased in size by nearly 5 inches. Although “green card” information for 2008 was not yet available when this report was being compiled, conversations with muskie anglers indicate both increases in catch frequency as well as quality. For the first time ever Heidecke Lake hosted a sanctioned muskie tournament, an event which was sponsored by the IMTT. This is an up-and-coming fishery which has the potential to produce fish of trophy caliber. Heidecke Lake is open to fishing from April 1st to mid-October, closing ten days prior to the opening of the North Zone waterfowl season. There is a 36” minimum size limit at Heidecke.

Hennepin-Hopper, Putman Co.
his is a new backwater lake off the Illinois River, first stocked with muskie in 2002. It’s approximately 1,000 acres with extensive marshy flats and deep water areas. This lake was last stocked with 1,000-10” muskie in 2005. There is a minimum 42” size limit at this lake.

Johnson
Located in the Banner Marsh area in Peoria Co., this 600 acre lake was added to the muskie stocking list in 2001. Johnson is a former strip mine and consists of a maze of deep water areas connected to shallow flats of flooded timber. Gizzard shad are among Johnson’s prey species. This lake was stocked with 600-10.8” muskie in 2008. Muskie up to 44” were collected in spring trap net surveys in 2008. There is a concrete boat ramp, 25 HP limit and 36” minimum size limit on this lake. For more information, call (309) 647-9184.

Johnson Sauk Trail, Henry Co.
This 58 acre lake is restricted to trolling motors only. This lake was stocked in 1976 with tigers (hybrid muskie) and in 1988 with naturals. In 2001, a 42# muskie was captured in the IDNR nets during the spring lake sampling. This lake was stocked with 116-11.2” muskie in 2007. There is a minimum 36” size limit at this lake.

Kinkaid
This lake was built in 1972 and first stocked with muskie in 1985. Muskie habitat at Kinkaid is abundant with high water clarity, good depth, and 82 shoreline miles of necks, bays, and points. Weed beds can be found in certain shoreline areas. Large numbers of spotted suckers are available and preferred as forage. Growth rates and conditions are exceptional. A spillway barrier net was installed in the fall of 1998 at this 2,750 acre lake. No muskies have been observed below the spillway since the net was installed. In fact, the average muskie collected at Kinkaid has increased in size the last few years. The spring 2002 survey produced the largest muskie to date, a 50”-34.7 pound female (who had dropped her eggs) The spring 2008 trap netting resulted in the collection of 240 muskie with the largest fish measuring 47 inches and the heaviest fish weighing 26 pounds. The 2008 spring trap netting was the best on record in terms of catch per unit effort. There are a “tremendous number of muskie in the 30-40 inch range” at Kinkaid. A muskie tagging study is being conducted at Kinkaid. Anyone catching a tagged fish should contact Shawn Hirst at (618) 687-4546 with the tag No. (DO NOT REMOVE THE TAG-If the number is covered with algae simply scrap the algae away with your fingernail or a knife). Anyone providing a tag number will receive the history of that particular fish. Kinkaid was stocked with 2,000-10” muskie in 2008. There is a minimum 48” size limit at this lake.

Lake of the Woods, Champaign Co.
This 25 acre Champaign County lake was initially stocked with hybrids, between 1982 and 1997. In 1992 natural muskie were introduced. In 2007, this lake received 52-11.2” natural fingerlings as part of ongoing research by the Illinois Natural History Survey. A boat ramp and boat rentals are available. Forage species include gizzard shad and no motors are allowed. There is a minimum 36” size limit at this lake.

Mallard, DuPage Co.
At 89 acres, Mallard is the largest lake in DuPage County and became the only lake to be stocked with muskie, when it was initially socked in 2006. In 2008, this lake received 180-11.4” fingerlings. Mallard is a re-claimed gravel pit with a maximum depth of 25 feet and an average depth of 12 feet. Forage consists of large gizzard shad and yellow bass populations. The water is moderate to clear with some vegetation. Electrofishing during May 2008 produced a catch of six muskies from the 2007 stocking that had a mean length of 14.3 in. and a mean weight of 0.5 lbs. No juveniles from the initial stocking were sampled by electrofishing in 2007 nor were any caught during an early spring trap net survey. However, an estimated 150 juvenile muskie averaging 0.78 lbs. were caught and released by anglers from March through October 2008. This estimate was based on data from a stratified-random angler creel survey conducted for IDNR by the Illinois Natural History Survey. Most of the muskies caught by anglers were taken incidentally, as effort directed toward muskies was only 1% of the 22,493 angler-hours of total fishing effort. The plan is to survey anglers again in five years to determine effects of muskie introductions on the Mallard Lake fishery. Electrofishing and trap netting surveys also will be conducted annually to monitor survival and growth of the developing population Only shoreline access is available currently, but further accessibility is planned. A 48” minimum length limit is in effect at this lake.

McMaster, Knox Co.
This 160 acre lake is located in the Snakeden Hollow State Fish and Wildlife Area. McMaster lake has a maximum depth of 65 feet with extremely high water clarity which occasionally extends to 25 feet. Physical characteristics include a central main basin with adjacent shallow gravel bars, abrupt drop-offs, numerous bays, points and islands, a standing timber area, extensive shallow flats of submerged vegetation and cattail flats. The management goal for muskie at this lake is to maintain a population density of 1 to 3 fish/acre that will produce a trophy fishery of healthy fish. To date, several muskie over 50” have been caught at Lake McMaster. This lake was last stocked with 270-11.2” muskie, provided by the IDNR in 2007. Spring trap net data for 2008 revealed a favorable muskie catch rate of 1.9 fish/net night with the largest fish at 23 lbs. Muskie anglers in 2009 can expect this unique lake to offer fish up to and over 50” and a satisfactory rate of catch for smaller muskie. There is a 42” minimum size limit and a maximum 10 H. P. size limit on this lake. This lake is also closed to fishing during waterfowl hunting season. (October-February)

Mill Creek, Clark Co.
This 731 acre lake was first stocked in 1999. This lake was stocked with 366-10.8” muskie in 2007. Mill Creek has a maximum depth of 60 feet and an average depth of 22 feet with an abundant gizzard shad and white sucker population. Muskie of over 48” were reported in 2007. There is a 42” minimum size limit for muskie and an access fee charged at this lake.

Mingo, Vermilion Co.
Located north of Danville in Vermillion Co., this 170 acre lake is the first body of water to be selected for Project Green Gene in 2002. In 2008, Mingo received 170-11.4” muskie from the Jake Wolf Hatchery. The muskie in this lake are exhibiting great growth rates and survival. The spring 2007 netting survey produced 98 muskie to over 40”. There is a minimum 48” size limit at this lake.

Otter, Macoupin Co.
Located in Macoupin Co., this 765 acre lake is periodically stocked with threadfin shad to supplement the gizzard shad forage base. The IDNR has also been stocking adult spotted suckers in an effort to establish a self-sustaining population to supplement the sporadic shad reproduction. Due to two 100 year flood events that have occurred in recent years, surveys showed a substantial drop in overall muskie numbers at this lake. The IDNR has reinstated an annual stocking policy. Otter was stocked with 1,530-10.8” muskie in 2008. Data received from the 2008 spring netting evaluation showed muskie densities increased slightly from the 2007 sample (16). Twenty-three (23) muskellunge were found during March of 2008. These muskie measured 26” to 42”, and weighed 4.6 lbs. to 26 lbs. In talking to some local, avid Muskie anglers, some have had one of their best angling seasons in years. These anglers have caught, and seen many year classes of muskie swimming in this impoundment. As usual, anglers have noted the excellent condition of these fish. With more stable water levels over time, this population should rebuild, and create improved fishing opportunities into the future. There is a 115 HP limit, 48” minimum size limit and a user fee at Otter.

Pana, Shelby Co.
Located in Shelby Co., this 219 acre former tiger lake received hybrid stockings annually from 1985 to 1997, of anywhere from 1 to 3 times its acreage. These tigers ranged from 5”-10.5” at the time of stocking. Pana has been stocked with naturals since 2000. This lake received 440-10.8” muskie in 2008. There is a minimum 36” size limit at this lake.

Pierce, Winnebago Co.
This 162 acre Winnebago Co. lake was added to Project Green Gene in 2003. As part of the study 300-11.4” Illinois were stocked in 2008. Trap nets captured a total of 81 muskies in 2008.  Good muskie population densities are indicated by this result.  Of the fish collected, 56 were implanted with PIT tags as part of the genetics study. Gizzard shad are among Pierce’s prey species. The Flatlanders Chapter of Muskies, Inc., working with the IDNR has introduced water willow to supplement the natural vegetation in this lake and help control erosion. There is a 10 HP and a 48” minimum size limit on this lake.

Prairie, Cass Co.
Located in the Jim Edger Panther Creek Fish and Wildlife Area in Cass Co., Prairie is 210 acres and 45 feet deep. It was first stocked in 1999. This is a relatively small lake for muskies and has a sunfish forage base so growth rates and body conditions are a little lower than larger lakes with gizzard shad.  On the other hand, the lake is a clear, deep, steep-sided, and has excellent woody cover and aquatic vegetation so the muskies have done pretty well. The spring 2008 netting and electrofishing survey produced just 5 fish, all from electrofishing. This was a poor number and too few to make any kind of population estimates. The largest was 39” and weighed about 14 pounds although numerous reports and pictures of large muskie, including at least one over 50” have been reported. Several reports of hybrids captured at this lake are in error. This lake was never stocked with hybrids and northern pike are not present. Prairie was last stocked with 200-10.8” muskies in 2007. There is a 48” minimum size limit on muskie and a no-wake rule for motors over 10 H. P. Two concrete ramps, campgrounds and rental cabins are available at this lake. For more information contact the site office 217/452-7741 or the district fisheries biologist’s office at 309/543-3316.

Sam Dale, Wayne Co.
This 194 acre, Wayne Co. Lake was added to the Green Gene Project in 2005, replacing Forbes lake in the on-going study. This lake has a maximum water depth of 18 feet and a 1-2 foot water clarity. It has a shad forage base. In 2008, 300-11.4” Illinois, 193-12.7” Ohio River Drainage strain muskie from Kentucky, and 257-8.5” Mississippi River Drainage (Leech Lake strain fish purchased by the member organizations of the Illini Muskies Alliance) muskie were stocked. Sam Dale has a 10 HP limit. There is a minimum 48” size limit at this lake.

Schuy-Rush, Schuyler Co.
This Schuyler County, 185 acre lake, located near Rushville, was added to the muskie stocking list in 2006. In 2007, this lake received 370-11.2” muskie fingerlings. The lake has a maximum depth of 35 feet, with an average depth of 20 feet. Stumps and deadfalls predominate the shoreline structure. Forage species are gizzard shad and small sunfish. There are two concrete ramps in the camping area and a 10 HP limit on the lake. A barrier net to prevent escapement is planned. There is a minimum 36” size limit at this lake.

Shabbona, DeKalb Co.
Members of the Quad County Hawg Hunters chapter of Muskies, Inc. periodically rescue muskies below the spillway barrier on this 320 acre impoundment. Trap net surveys last year produced 48 muskies, with 46 over 30” and the largest just under 28 pounds. This lake was stocked with 319-11.4” muskie in 2008. There is a 48” minimum size limit and a 10 HP limit on this lake.

Shelbyville
2008 stockings in this 11,100 acre impoundment were 20,314-5”, 5,500-10”, 1,901-10.8” and 6,006-11.4” muskie fingerlings. In recent years, this lake has developed into an outstanding muskie fishery. Shelbyville also produced the new state record of 50.75”-38#-8 oz., below the dam in 2002. In 2007 however, an extended spawning season resulted in an extensive muskie kill below the spillway. There is a minimum 48” size limit at this lake.

Shovel, Peoria/Fulton Co. Added to the muskie stocking list in 1999, Shovel is a former strip mine lake located in the Banner Marsh area in Peoria Co. Shovel Lake was enlarged to over 200 acres by the end of 2000. It is a “T” shaped final cut strip mine lake (74 acres) with a maximum depth of 65 feet that was attached to approximately 100 acres of littoral zone surrounding deep water pockets (25 acres of strip mine ponds).  Gizzard shad are among Shovel’s prey species. This lake was stocked with 200-10.8” muskie in 2008. In 2008 muskies were sampled up to 41 inches long. There is a 42” minimum length limit and a 25 H. P. limit on this lake. Call (309) 647-9184 for more information.

Spring, McDonough Co. -This 277 acre lake originally received its first muskie stocking in 1985. This lake was stocked with 277-11.4” muskie in 2008. There is a 10 H P and 36” minimum size limit on the lake. Access at Spring was scheduled to be improved with the addition of a concrete boat launch with docks, a restroom, concession stand, a parking lot and a fish cleaning station.

Spring, Tazewell Co.
This 578 acre lake with an average depth of 2.9 feet, is used for brood stock for the muskie rearing program in Illinois. This lake is usually at least 75 percent covered by 17 different species of aquatic vegetation (mostly Eurasian milfoil) by late May each year. Under lake bed springs recharge the lake with cool water, making for a unique fish environment. Spring is the subject of a tagging project. This lake was stocked with 1,156-10” and 578-11.4” muskie in 2008. Spring is stocked every three years to cut down on predation of 1 and 2 year old fingerlings. In 2008, 170 muskies were collected by trap nets in March. Of these fish, 64 were females and 31 were flowing eggs when captured. All fish were taken to Jake wolf hatchery for processing and then were returned in good condition to the lake. As a result of this effort, 624,549 eggs were taken that resulted in 184,742 muskie fry being produced. There were 54 recaptures of muskie tagged in previous years, resulting in excellent growth data information. There is a 48” minimum size limit on muskie and a 25 HP limit at Spring. There are state record muskie at Spring.

Staunton City, Macoupin Co.
Staunton City Lake is located in Macoupin Co. (North of St. Louis). This lake was stocked for the first time with muskies in 1999. This lake was stocked with 168-10.8” muskie in 2008. There is a minimum 36” size limit at this lake.

Sterling, Lake Co.
This 74 acre lake is managed with the cooperation of the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Muskie fingerlings have been stocked by the Department since 1990. A spring survey in
2006 yielded muskie up to 37”. The catch rate of 6 fish per hour of electrofishing (A/C gear) exceeded management goals established by the Esocid Management Committee of 1.0 fish per hour of electrofishing. Sterling Lake has produced fish exceeding 48 inches long though none of these monsters have been collected by the IDNR. There are no concession facilities at the lake though it offers ample picnic, pit toilets, and shore fishing access. A 48 inch length limit and 1 fish per day creel limit exist on the lake for muskie. This lake was stocked with 150-10.8” muskie in 2008. Sterling has a 48” minimum size limit.

Storey, Knox Co.
Located in Knox Co., this 133 acre lake was first stocked with tigers in 1976. Despite heavy annual fishing pressure, estimated at 400-800 man hours/acre for all species, Storey has the potential to produce 30 pound muskie. A 2007 creel survey revealed that 3.3 percent of the Lake Storey anglers named muskie as their sought fish species. A fall water level drawdown of 5’ to 6’ for the purpose of predator-prey balance is an annual fish management practice. The management goal for muskie at Lake Storey is to maintain a population density of 1 to 3 fish/acre that will produce a trophy fishery of healthy fish. To date, several muskie over the 50” trophy size have been caught. This lake was last stocked with 270-11.2” muskie provided by the Jake Wolf Hatchery in 2007. Spring trap net data for 2008 at Lake Storey revealed a favorable muskie catch rate of 1.6 fish/net night with the largest fish at 19.1 pounds. Muskie anglers in 2009 can expect a satisfactory rate of catch with individual fish up the 50” trophy size. There is a 42” minimum size limit at Storey for both tiger and pure muskie. Only trolling motors are allowed on this lake

Sule, Ogle Co.
This 77 acre lake in Ogle Co. is owned by the city of Rochelle and is managed cooperatively by the park district and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to provide a public fishery. Lake Sule is a large barrow pit that was created when Interstate route 39 was built in 1981. Located just to the East of Rochelle, Lake Sule is uniform in shape with a maximum depth of 20 feet and an average depth of 12 feet. One of the tributaries of Kyte Creek outflows from Lake Sule. The lake has a large number of “rough” fish that have existed in the basin since it first filled. They include suckers and redhorse as well as buffalo, gizzard shad and carp. Muskellunge have been stocked at Lake Sule on a regular basis since 1992 to provide additional predator pressure on the large number of forage fish present in the lake. A good population of larger sized individuals now exists in the lake. In 2008 231-11.4” muskie were stocked. Sule has a 10 H P limit. There is a minimum 36” size limit at this lake.

Wheel, Peoria Co.
Llocated in the Banner Marsh area in Peoria Co., Wheel is composed of a series of former strip mine lakes with a 60 foot deep rocky section (70 acres) and a shallow portion in the shape of a wheel (280 acres). This larger portion is a maze of points, islands, flooded brush and diverse vegetation. Wheel has a forage base which includes gizzard shad. This 350 acre lake was last stocked with 350-10.8” natural muskie fingerlings in 2008. The spring 2008 trap net survey collected muskies up to 44”. There is a concrete boat ramp, 25 H P limit and a 42” minimum size limit on this lake. Call (309) 647-9184 for more information

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Comment Area Pool Rules

  1. Read our Terms of Service.
  2. You must be a member. :: Register here :: Log In
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Stay on topic.
  5. Be civil, honest and accurate.
  6. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Log In

Register as a new member

Next entry: Bill is bad, but so is lead

Previous entry: Iowa fishing report 2-19-09

Log Out

RSS & Atom Feeds

Prairie State Outdoors
PSO on Facebook
Promote Your Page Too

News Archives

November 2017
S M T W T F S
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons