Jackson County's Cedar Lake
1,750-acre impoundment .
numerous stripers from the high teens to low-20-pound range
Cedar Lake is located four miles southwest of Carbondale.
Two boat launches are available and there is a 10-horsepower
restriction on motors. All striped bass must be at least 17
inches with a 3 fish limit.
For more information, contact the Shawnee National
Forest Murphysboro District office at (618) 687-1731.
According to the 2005 Status of Striped Bass/Hybrid Striped Bass
Fishery in Illinois, numerous angler reports of hybrids up to 12
pounds have been tabulated in Coles County's Lake Charleston. A
productive fishery has developed in this small 346-acre supply
reservoir, and the upcoming year should be good because strong year-classes
of fish over 20 inches are present. In 2004, two big-fish nominations for
hybrid striped bass were submitted from Charleston.
Lake Charleston is managed by the City of Charleston. Boat ramps are
available, as are picnic and park facilities. The lake enforces a no-wake
restriction. There is a 17-inch minimum on all hybrids, with three fish per
day. For more information, contact
Region 3 fisheries at (217) 935-6860.
Coffeen Lake is one of the Prairie State's best largemouth bass fisheries,
is the best-kept striper secret in our entire state.
Eight- to 10-pound fish are very common."
Coffeen Lake is 1,100 acres. Boat launching and various park amenities are on
site. For more information, contact site
superintendent Brad Tedrick at (217) 537-3351.
HEIDECKE LAKE the top fisheries in Illinois for big hybrids.
According to the 2005 Status of Striped Bass/Hybrid Striped Bass in Illinois,
numerous hybrids from 20 to 30 inches were sampled. A few pure stripers in the
30- to 40-pound-class were also collected.
Heidecke Lake SFWA opens April 1. There is a 10-fish limit on all stripers, and
three can exceed 17 inches. Boat launching,
concession and bank-fishing are available. For more information,
call (815) 942-6352.
Although the 2005 Status of Striped Bass/Hybrid Striped Bass in
Illinois would rate overall fishing prospects in this 1,050-acre
reservoir eight miles south west of Mattoon as just fair, some
large hybrids call this reservoir home. And with a little searching,
Mattoon can provide anglers
with the possibility of running into a dandy hybrid.
Illinois' Supercharged Stripers
"Hybrids up to about 20 inches have been collected from Mattoon.
However, few anglers specifically target fish here," said biologist Mike Mounce.
A recent fish kill, however, revealed good numbers of fish greater
than 20 inches, and anglers have reported fish as large as 15 pounds.
Mattoon will produce some big fish in the upcoming year, and will be a
lake to watch in the near future.
During the spring, concentrate on transitional areas such as bridges
where migration is constricted. Points, humps and saddles can also
concentrate fish. In summer, hybrids move into the depths around the
spillway and levee. Fall sees hybrids corralling baitfish off points,
over humps and bars, and in the backs of coves. Spoons, jigs, live shad,
chrome Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits catch the most fish.
Lake Mattoon is managed by the city of Mattoon, and there is an access fee to
launch a boat. There is no limit for hybrids under 17 inches, but only three
fish greater than 17 inches can be kept. For more information, call (217) 234-3611
Biologist Dan Stephenson said that although you probably won't find
numbers of stripers over 20 pounds, Sangchris Lake in Sangamon and Christian
counties southwest of Springfield is still the state's premier striper lake.
stocked stripers every other year since 1983
Sanchris Lake covers 3,022 acres. A number of launches are located throughout, and Sangchris Lake State Park has excellent facilities.
For more information, call (217) 498-9208
Anglers in Chicagoland should give the lower
Kankakee River a try. Big hybrids migrate out of the
Illinois River and stack up in the tailwaters of the
Wilmington dam. Ten-pounders are common. April and May are
the top months. Call Angelo's Outdoor Sport Center for river
conditions at (815) 476-7524.
La Salle Lake in La Salle County is an early-spring magnet for
hybrids. Most are between 2 and 4 pounds, and catches of 30 or
more fish are common. For more information, call (815) 357-1608.
Clinton Lake hybrids have gone down in recent years, but below the
spillway in Salt Creek, good numbers of escapees have gathered, and
they provide anglers with an opportunity to take advantage of numbers
packed into a small area. Fish up to 12 pounds are possible. April
and May are best months. For more information, call (217) 935-8722.
Lake Jacksonville in Morgan County is a trophy hybrid lake. Most of
the fish in surveys are between 24 and 30 inches, and some pushing 20
pounds have been reported. For more information, call (217) 285-2221.