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FORBES LAKE


Lake Information

County: Marion

Acreage: 585

Average Depth: 15.16 feet

Shoreline Length: 22.2 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

  Trout stocked in fall

  Trout stocked in spring

larger map link Mountain Phillips Dam


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Dam, Mountain, Phillips

Maps are not intended for navigation.


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.


Fish Stocking

Year

Species

Size

Count

2021

Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"

5000

2021

Striped Bass x White Bass (Wiper)

Fingerling 1 - 3"

14733

2021

Walleye x Sauger (Saugeye)

Fingerling 1 - 3"

30219

2022

Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"

5000

2022

Striped Bass x White Bass (Wiper)

Fingerling 1 - 3"

5420

2022

Walleye x Sauger (Saugeye)

Fingerling 1 - 3"

30821


Additional information for stocking on Forbes Lake - SFSP


Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Poor

The size structure of the bluegill population remains poor. Body condition was much higher for smaller fish (< 6”) than larger fish (> 6”). The fishery continues to be comprised almost entirely of fish < 7.5” in length. Anglers can expect most fish to be between 5” – 7” and weigh 0.1 – 0.25 pounds.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Very Good

Catfish remain abundant in Forbes Lake and should provide good fishing opportunities in the coming year. Body condition remained above target and catch rate remained high. Most fish will range from 1 – 3 pounds, with larger fish exceeding 5 pounds. This lake provides excellent bank fishing opportunities. Drift fishing the main lake is also very productive.

HYBRID STRIPED BASS (WIPERS)

Poor

Hybrid striped bass are also uncommon in the annual Forbes Lake surveys. Approximately 30% of the adult hybrid striped bass collected were longer than the 17” minimum length limit. The largest hybrid striped bass collected was 23.7” long and weighed just over 8 pounds. Most hybrid striped bass in 2022 are expected to be less than 14” long, but fish over the 17” minimum length should exceed 5 pounds. Hybrid striped bass fishing in 2022 will likely be poor to fair.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Very Good

On April 01, 2019 the 14” – 18” protected slot limit was replaced by a 14” minimum length limit. Following the removal of the slot limit, the bass population size structure has declined. In the 2021 survey, approximately 35% of the adult bass in the sample were longer than 12” in length. Approximately 18% of the adult bass collected were 14” or longer and only 4% exceeded 18” in length. Electrofishing catch rate decreased from 2020 to 2021, but still exceeded the lake management plan target. Average body condition remained stable and above lake management goals. For 2022, anglers can expect bass over 14” to weigh between 1.4 – 4.5 pounds and bass in the 8” – 12” range should also be abundant.

SAUGEYE (Walleye/Sauger Hybrid)

Fair

Saugeye are not very common in the annual Forbes Lake surveys. All 19 saugeye sampled in 2021 exceeded 15.5” inches in length and the largest saugeye was 21.5” long. Most saugeye collected in the survey were between 1 - 2.5 pounds, but a few larger fish were collected. Saugeye fishing in 2022 will likely be poor to fair.

WHITE CRAPPIE

Fair

The size structure of the white crappie population remained relatively poor, but crappie were very abundant. Average body condition for all sizes of crappie improved but remained below the lake management plan target. In 2021, 65% of the crappie collected were less than 7” long and 35% exceeded 8”. Approximately 61% of the total crappie collected were between 6” – 8”, while 25% were between 8” – 9” (86% between 6”–9”). On April 01, 2021, a new crappie regulation will take effect on Forbes Lake. There is no creel limit on crappie under 8” in length, but only 10 crappie 8” in length and longer may be harvested per day. Crappie fishing in 2022 should be good and anglers can expect most fish to range from 6” – 9” in length with a few larger fish over 10”. Harvest of crappie less than 8” is strongly encouraged.

Location: Forbes Lake is located in Marion County, approximately 13 miles northeast of Salem Illinois.

Description: Forbes Lake was constructed in Stephen A. Forbes State Park near Salem in 1963. The Lake has a surface area of 585 acres, a maximum depth of 31 feet, and a mean depth of 12 feet. The lake has 18 miles of shoreline and a watershed of 13,800 acres.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The sport fish population in Forbes Lake is comprised primarily of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, white crappie, and channel catfish, and is stocked annually with saugeye (walleye/sauger hybrid). The lake also contains a strong population of yellow bullheads and large common carp (20+ lbs). The fish population is surveyed annually.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth Bass: 6 fish daily limit; 14" minimum length limit
Striped, White, Hybrid Striped Bass: 3 fish daily limit; 17" minimum length limit
Channel Catfish: 6 fish daily limit, no length limit
Crappie: 10 fish daily limit; 8" or longer. Unlimited creel on crappie under 8"



Contact Information:
Stephen A. Forbes State Park
618-547-3381
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Boone LaHood
618-393-6732

There were 48 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2021.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 914

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2021 tournaments:

1     11.65 lbs
2     10.04 lbs
3     7.60 lbs
4     7.25 lbs
5     6.95 lbs

Top 5 Total Tournament Weight of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2021 tournaments:

1 136.30 lbs
2 101.12 lbs
3 99.10 lbs
4 93.75 lbs
5 71.33 lbs


Multiple day tournaments are listed with * end date.

Interested in participating in one of these public tournaments? Contact us with tournament ID for more information.

2022 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
October-2221072ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo