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FORBES LAKE


Lake Information

County: Marion

Acreage: 542

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

2020

Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"

5000

2020

Channel Catfish

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"

2725

2020

Striped Bass x White Bass (Wiper)

Fingerling 1 - 3"

5569

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


Additional information for stocking on FORBES LAKE


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

Good

Catfish remain abundant in Forbes Lake and should provide good fishing opportunities in the coming year. Body condition improved above target and catch rate increased. 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

The 2019 and 2020 surveys produced zero hybrid striped bass. The 2018 survey produced three year classes of hybrid striped bass. They ranged in size from 12” – 20” in length and up to 4.5 pounds.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Very Good

On April 01, 2019 the 14” – 18” protected slot limit was replaced by a 14” minimum length limit. The size structure of the bass population remained fairly stable from 2019 to 2020. All of the largemouth bass size structure indices met, or exceeded, their target ranges. The electrofishing catch rate increased. However, average body condition decreased, but remained above the lake management plan target level. The percentage of bass over the 14” minimum decreased from 30% in 2019, but nearly 25% of the adult bass collected in 2020 were over 14”. For 2021, anglers can expect bass over 14” to weigh between 1.3 – 5 pounds, with some fish approaching 7 pounds.

SAUGEYE (Walleye/Sauger Hybrid)

Fair

Saugeye are not very common in the annual lake surveys. In 2020, no saugeye were collected. The 2019 survey produced 4 saugeye representing four different year classes. These fish ranged from 9” – 23” in length and up to 5.25 pounds.

WHITE CRAPPIE

Fair

The size structure of the white crappie population remained relatively poor, but crappie are abundant. Average body condition for all sizes of crappie decreased to below the lake management plan target. Average body condition for crappie less than 8” long was especially poor and crappie less than 8” comprised more than 47% of the sample in 2020. Beginning on April 01, 2021, a new crappie regulation will take effect on Forbes Lake. There will be 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 2021 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" minimum length. NO creel limit 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.

2021 – 2022 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
April-2320688PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0120743ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1420590ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
6Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-2120804PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-2219913PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-04
*June-05
21107ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
19Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
June-1220543PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1820861PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-2619988ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1020279PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1020303PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
17Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-2420306ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
17Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-3021020PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-0620264ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-1320583ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
YesNo
August-1320805PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
August-19
*August-20
20579ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
6Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-2020862PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
August-2120093PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-0319790ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1120010ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1720475PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-2420130PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
19Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-2520744ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-2221072PendingEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo