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Lake Information

County: Wayne

Acreage: 194

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 10hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

  Trout stocked in fall

  Trout stocked in spring

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"


Additional information for stocking on Sam Dale Lake

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



Fewer bluegill were collected in 2021 at a rate of 57 per hour, comparable to the previous year. Bluegill quality essentially remained essentially the same. Fish over 6 inches comprised 36% of the sample. Body condition of bluegill was acceptable and easily within the management plan goal range.


Very Good

Five channel catfish were collected per hour in Sam Dale Lake during the 2021 survey, double the previous year. These fish ranged in size from 17 to 24 inches and displayed excellent body condition. Channel catfish are stocked annually to maintain the population.Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit.


Very Good

Largemouth bass were collected in Sam Dale Lake at a reduced rate of 122 per hour of electrofishing in fall 2021, and 58% were larger than 12 inches. Approximately 36% of these fish were also larger than the 14-inch minimum size limit. Body condition of Sam Dale largemouth bass was very good.



A remnant population of pure muskellunge exists in Sam Dale Lake as a result of stockings related to a statewide research project. However, no muskies were collected during the fall 2019, fall 2020, or fall 2021 survey. Site Regulation: 48 inch length limit, 1 per day creel.


Very Good

Similar to the previous year, redear were much less abundant than bluegill in 2021, and just 6 were collected per hour of electrofishing. Quality of these fish is still very good, with 67% of the sampled population comprised of 8-inch fish . Redear body condition was slightly higher than bluegill and easily within the goal range.



The white crappie population in Sam Dale Lake is normally stunted with many fish 6 to 9 inches in length range. The fall 2021 survey produced white crappie 7 to 11 inches in length with 41% larger than 8 inches and 16% over 10 inches . Crappie body condition was good and within management plan goal range.

Location: Sam Dale Lake is located in northwestern Wayne County within Sam Dale Lake State Park five miles northwest of Johnsonville, Illinois.

Description: Sam Dale Lake is a relatively fertile, 194-acre, IDNR-owned impoundment. The lake is largely surrounded by forest and has two boat ramps.

Additional Lake Information: Boats are allowed on the lake, but are limited to 10 horsepower.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth bass: 14 inch length limit, 6 fish daily limit.
Channel catfish: 6 fish daily limit.
Muskellunge: 48 inch length limit, 1 fish daily limit.

Contact Information:
Sam Dale State Park
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Luke Nelson

There were 9 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2021.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 190

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

1     7.00 lbs
2     6.56 lbs
3     6.13 lbs
4     5.63 lbs
5     5.62 lbs

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

1 78.92 lbs
2 74.36 lbs
3 61.50 lbs
4 58.00 lbs
5 55.50 lbs