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CRAB ORCHARD LAKE

Beginning July 2021: Crab Orchard Lake will be lowered 4 feet for spillway repair. CAUTION: Boaters and anglers should use caution at boat ramps and be more aware of shallow areas. The drawdown will be maintained until the repairs are completed in Spring 2022.


Lake Information

County: Williamson

Acreage: 6965

Shoreline Length: 125 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

large map link Pump House Boat Club Refuge Headquarters West End


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Pump House Neck, Refuge Headquarters, Boat Club,
    West End Boat Ramp

Maps are not intended for navigation.

Fish Attractors:


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.


Fish Stocking

Year

Species

Size

Count

2020

Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"

14676

2021

Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"

12339


Additional information for stocking on CRAB ORCHARD LAKE


Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Good

The abundance of Crab Orchard Lake bluegill decreased for the fifth year in a row in 2020, but the proportion of fish over 6 inches in length increased from 40 to 62%. Abundance however still exceeded the management goal for the fifteenth year in a row. The proportion of bluegill larger than seven inches doubled at 23%. Bluegill body condition remained excellent, indicating another good forecast for bluegill anglers.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

Crab Orchard Lake channel catfish quality and body condition, similar to previous years, was excellent, and 55% of the fish collected were larger than 22 inches in length.

CRAPPIE

Excellent

The percentage of white and black crappie larger than 8 inches remained high in 2019 at 53% for black crappie and 86% for white crappie. The percentage of white crappie larger than ten inches in length was good at 40%, while 19% of black crappie in the sample achieved that size. Body condition of both white and black crappie was good, but near the lower end of the management plan goal range. Crappie smaller than 10 inches in length tend to be overabundant in Crab Orchard Lake, and anglers are encouraged to remove these fish to thin the population and improve the quality of the fishery.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Good

The bass fishing forecast for Crab Orchard Lake is good to very good. In 2019, the percentage of bass larger than 16 inches continued to increase (33%). Of these, 18% were also larger than 18 inches slightly higher than the previous year. Largemouth bass abundance in the 2019 sample increased compared to the previous year (69/hr), and the general management plan goal of 60 per hour was easily met. Body condition of largemouth bass in Crab Orchard Lake has remained excellent.

WHITE BASS

Very Good

Numbers of Crab Orchard Lake white bass collected during the fall 2020 survey, although relatively small at 12 fish per hour of electrofishing, represented the second highest in fourteen years, and the proportion over 10 inches (84%) was impressive. Fish in the sample ranged in size from 5 to 15 inches, and 49% were larger than 12 inches. White bass body condition just met the management plan goal. management plan goal.

Location: Crab Orchard Lake is a 6965-acre impoundment located in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge between Marion and Carbondale in Williamson County Illinois.

Description: The Crab Orchard Lake fishery is cooperatively managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A user permit is required to access the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Information can be obtained by calling the refuge visitor center at 618-997-3344.

Additional Lake Information: A user permit is required to access the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Information can be obtained by calling the refuge visitor center at 618-997-3344.

Largemouth bass have a 16-inch minimum length limit and a 3-per-day creel limit. No other size or creel limits are in effect.

Contact Information:
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge:
618-997-3344
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Luke Nelson
618-985-1112

There were 25 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2021.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 42
Largemouth Bass 546

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

1     8.00 lbs
2     6.61 lbs
3     6.47 lbs
4     6.46 lbs
5     6.19 lbs

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

1 508.57 lbs
2 291.89 lbs
3 84.21 lbs
4 77.87 lbs
5 63.81 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-0321489ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
18Crappie
NoYes
April-23
*April-24
20491ApprovedPrairie Creek boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-2821512ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-0121156ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-0121553ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1420907ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-2221192ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0420502ApprovedPrairie Creek boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-1121650ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-1120055ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2421640ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
YesNo
June-2520520ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2619968ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-0721412ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-1421417ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
10Crappie
NoNo
August-2021606ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
19Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1820821ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo