2012 fishing forecast: Lake Jacksonville

February 22, 2012 at 09:53 AM

This is the latest in a series of fish population reports provided by Dan Stephenson of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. All of the lake reports have been linked together. Scroll to the bottom and click on the link to the next report.

Lake Jacksonville, Morgan county (475 acres)

Twenty-five years after draining, rehabilitation and restocking, Lake Jacksonville remains one of the best bass lakes in the state. 

In four hours of electrofishing in the Fall of 2011 we collected a very good 488 bass or 122 per hour. 

An excellent 37 percent of those were over the 15-inch minimum length limit, with 14 percent and 7 percent over 18 inches and 20 inches respectively. 

Twenty-three bass were five pounds or better in that four hour period.

The largest weighed seven pounds 10 ounces. 

So Lake Jacksonville is still the place to go in west central Illinois for big bass. 

The white crappie looked better than they have in years. 

While not as strong as Taylorville, they are still very good and will provide some good angling in the Spring of 2012. 

The largest was over 14 inches long and weighed over a pound and a half. 

There were many over 10 inches and five different years classes were present. 

A few black crappie were collected as well.

The channel catfish population is excellent with good numbers and great body conditions.

Finally, the hybrid striped bass that are stocked in the lake every other year will provide a nice additional species to go after.

In most of our lakes the hybrids do very well but are not targeted as they should be. 

I’m sure more die of old age than are caught so we need more people out fishing for the hybrid stripers. 

I collected nine in the fall survey that averaged seven pounds each.