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PRAIRIE LAKE (Site M)- JEPCSFWA


Lake Information

County: Cass

Acreage: 190

Average Depth: 18.01 feet

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Avg Wt.
(pounds)

Avg.
Length
(inches)

Fish Status

BLACK CRAPPIE

Poor

0.6 lbs

11

The black crappie population is below average, but they were unintentionally stocked by an unknown source. The numbers are currently poor, but there are some very high quality fish in the lake. Black crappie over 14” are not uncommon. A black crappie stocking program may develop in the future upon successful gizzard shad establishment. Anglers can catch crappie in the spring and fall on submerged structures and stickups with spinners, jigs and minnows.

BLUEGILL

Poor

0.1 lbs

5

The original management plan for Prairie Lake was to provide a trophy panfishery, but the bluegill populations did not progress as planned. Therefore, a new management strategy was implemented in 2010 that focused on other facets of the fishery. Bluegill populations in Prairie Lake are poor, displaying large numbers of small fish.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

1.3 lbs

16

The channel catfish population is excellent both in quantity and quality. Many 2-8 lb. fish are collected in surveys every year. Channel catfish are stocked into Prairie Lake on a biennial basis to supplement the population. Anglers can catch channel catfish around brushy areas, coves, and along the shoreline in the warmer months of the year using bottom fishing techniques with cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or night crawlers.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Excellent

0.3 lbs

9

Prairie Lake has one of the better bass populations in the area. All largemouth bass population structural indices were within the management goals for 2014. Twenty-five percent of catchable fish collected in the fall 2014 survey measured over the 15” minimum length limit, while 7% measured over 18”. Largemouth bass catch rates increased in 2014 to a rate much higher than it has been for several years. It is unknown to what degree the survey was affected by a fall pulsed-DC sample compared to a spring 3-phase AC sample. Prairie Lake largemouth bass body condition was the lowest it has been in over 10 years, but still within management goals. This lake can be difficult to fish due to its maximum depth of 45’, steep sides, and abundant vegetation and woody cover, but very rewarding. Anglers can catch largemouth bass during the warmer months of the year around beds of aquatic vegetation, points, and deadfalls with plastic worms, jigs, spinners, crank baits, minnows, crayfish and worms.

MUSKELLUNGE

Very Good

3 lbs

25

The muskie population is well established with surveys producing up to 6 fish per hour of electrofishing or net set. Muskie were first stocked in 1999, therefore there is a chance 50”+ fish are present in the lake. Anglers report fish of that size, although the largest muskie ever surveyed measured 45”. Muskie in Prairie Lake tend to be in less than desirable body condition, which is most likely due to the lack of a strong forage base. Gizzard shad stockings began in 2010 to supplement the predator forage base. Anglers can catch muskie in the spring and fall around beds of aquatic vegetation using minnows, spinners, spoons, jigs, jerk and crank baits.

REDEAR SUNFISH

Poor

0.1 lbs

5

The original management plan for Prairie Lake was to provide a trophy panfishery, but the redear sunfish populations did not progress as planned. Therefore, a new management strategy was implemented in 2010 that focused on other facets of the fishery. Redear sunfish populations in Prairie Lake are poor displaying large numbers of small fish.

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Developing

0.3 lbs

8

Smallmouth bass stockings began in 2009 to diversify the fishery. In all likelihood they will not reproduce naturally, but stockings may continue in an attempt to establish the population. No smallmouth bass were collected in the 2013 surveys, but have been collected up to 12.6” in the past. Anglers can attempt to catch smallmouth bass along rocky areas near the dam using minnows, night crawlers, crayfish, spinners and small crank baits.

Location: Prairie Lake is located at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State and Fish and Wildlife Area, 8 miles north of Ashland and 40 miles northwest of Springfield.

Description: In the early 1990s, the Department of Natural Resources purchased 15,575 acres of ground from Commonwealth Edison. Ten old farm ponds on the site were rehabilitated and restocked, and three new larger lakes were constructed. Gridley Lake was completed and stocked in 1997, followed by Prairie and Drake lakes in 1999 and 2002, respectively. Prairie Lake is the largest lake, spanning 210 acres. It has a maximum depth of 45' and an average depth of 18'. It is steep sided, has extensive beds of aquatic vegetation and woody cover, and is very clear with visibilities of 10-14'.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: For information on the other bodies of water in the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish Wildlife Area:


Gridley Lake

Drake

Gurney Road Pond

Additional Lake Information: 2 pole and line fishing only. Prairie Lake has unlimited horsepower with a no-wake zone for the entire lake. Sail boats are allowed.

Contact Information:
Site Office
217-452-7741
Nerissa McClelland, IDNR County Fish Biologist
(309) 543-3316 (ext. 224)

2017 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Public?
April-225076Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
April-234621Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
17Largemouth Bass
No
May-064885Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
May-13May-145019Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
May-175620Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
May-204351Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-214394Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
May-275022Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-034904Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
June-044476Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-104660Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-114736Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
19Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-155671Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
June-175618Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
June-175941Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
June-186220Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-186221Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-254614Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
July-025759Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
July-084268Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
No
July-086470Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
3Largemouth Bass
No
July-094414Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
July-164638Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
July-235825Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
July-305840Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
5Largemouth Bass
No
August-064923Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
August-124884Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
August-134886Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
August-165608Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
September-095496Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-105544Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
September-106212Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
September-164290Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
No
September-244641Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-30October-014289Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
35Muskellunge
Yes
October-07October-085221Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
October-144427Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Muskellunge
Yes
October-21October-225039Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
October-28October-294918Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
30Muskellunge
Yes