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Lake Information

County: Putnam

Acreage: 1200

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? yes

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Northern Pike

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"



Alligator Gar

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"



Northern Pike

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"


Additional information for stocking on Hennepin-Hopper Lakes



Fish Status


Very Good

2023 population indices show 64.5% of the population are above 8” and 41.9% are above 10” with a body condition of 113, indicating fast growth potential for the crappie population.



The 2023 population indices show 40% are above 6” and 6.9% are above 8”, representing quality fish available for anglers. The body condition was excellent with a value of 108.


Very Good

The 2023 bowfin population was evaluated by the collection of 75 fish from 14 to 23 inches in length. These fish were in excellent body condition and appear to have become well established with recruitment in the lake.


Very Good

The 2023 brown bullhead population was evaluated by the collection of 182 fish from 3.9 to 17.7 inches in length. These fish were in excellent body condition and appear to be self-sustaining with fish up to 3 lbs.



The 2023 indices of this population are very good with 70 percent of the fish over 15 inches in length. The body condition was also very good with a value of 100.



The muskellunge population has begun showing up our sampling, most likely due to recent stockings of 13” fish which have a much higher survivorship rate than the previously stocked size classes of 6 inches or less. The 2023 sampling effort collected 22 stock sized fish with 40.9% being over 30 inches in length with a body condition of 133. Angler reports are very satisfactory, with high catch rates.


Very Good

2023 Population indices show that 71.4% of the population are over 28 inches. IDNR stocks northern pike on and annual basis.



The 2023 pumpkinseed sunfish population was evaluated by the collection of 130 stock size fish, a much higher sample number than previous years. The population indices show 40% are above 6”, and 6.9% are above 8”. The body condition was excellent with a value of 110. During the 2022 sampling efforts, 2 individuals were collected that were larger than the newly certified state record pumpkinseed (1.12 lbs.) that was caught by an angler from the lakes in 2020 with the largest weighing in at 1.19 lbs.

Location: Hennepin & Hopper lakes are located 3 miles south of the of the town of Hennepin in Putnam County off of Route 26.

Description: The Wetlands Initiative (TWI), a nonprofit organization, created and manages the Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes. Since 2001, TWI has been restoring the 2,700-acre site from row crops to diverse native ecosystems, including lakes, wetlands, and prairies. Throughout the project’s history, the IDNR has partnered with TWI to lend expertise in managing fisheries, stocking native fishes, and assisting in monitoring the lake and marsh.

Additional information at: The Wetlands Initiative

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: In the fall of 2009, TWI pumped out the water in the lakes so that the IDNR could apply the fish toxicant rotenone to remove the common carp. In the spring of 2010, the healthy marsh habitat returned, and the IDNR restocked the lakes with native and sport fish. Other native flora and fauna returned, including thousands of migrating canvasback ducks in the spring of 2011. However, by the summer of 2012 the aquatic vegetation began to diminish and the common carp population had completed a successful spawn and recruitment at the site. The site was drained in sections in 2012, and a fish rehabilitation was completed in November. In 2013, the site was restocked with native brood fish and fingerlings from the State of Illinois Hatchery, Jake Wolf.

Since 2013, the native fish stockings have grown rapidly and created a fishing destination for anglers. The improved water clarity has allowed the establishment of dense beds of submerged rooted aquatic plants and emergent aquatic plants.

A new IL state record pumpkinseed sunfish of 1.12 lbs. was caught from Hennepin & Hopper Lakesby an angler in 2020.

Additional Lake Information:

  • Open to fishing May 1 - Labor Day, from sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
  • The last day of the public fishing season is always Labor Day.
  • NEW FOR 2023 - Open to fishing 7 days a week
  • Anglers MUST fill out free fishing permit located at the kiosk by the boat launch
  • Electric trolling motors only! No gas powered motors allowed on boats (even if trimmed up).
  • Fishing is allowed from boats only. NO shore fishing is allowed.
  • Fishing allowed only within the designated fishing zone (marked by buoys)

Fishing Regulations
SpeciesSize Limit Creel limit
Bluegill/PumpkinseedNoneNo Limit
White/Black/Hybrid Crappie9" minimum length25 fish/day
Largemouth Bass15" minimum length3 fish/day
Walleye18" minimum length 3 fish/day
Muskie42" minimum length1 fish/day
Northern Pike24" minimum length3 fish/day
Channel/Blue/Flathead CatfishNone6 fish/day

Contact Information:
The Wetlands Initiative
(312) 922-0777
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Bushman
(309) 435-1010