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Lake Information


Acreage: 149

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unlimited HP, No Wake

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Channel Catfish

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"


Additional information for stocking on Mazonia - Ponderosa Lake

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



Bluegill catch rate improved in the 2021 Spring nighttime survey but was still quite low (0.63/min). Average length remained unchanged (4.1 inches). The proportion of adult fish over 6 inches increased to 33% and the proportion over 8 inches was 19%. However, the sample size was quite small (number of fish > Stock size was 21). Age data revealed slightly above average growth despite the lake’s poor productivity.



Surveys tend to produce a very low number of Channel Catfish and the 2021 Spring nighttime electrofishing survey was no different (only two Channel Catfish were collected [8 and 11 inches]). Electrofishing is not typically used to evaluate Channel Catfish populations, and as such this survey does not provide a good assessment of the fishery. Channel Catfish are stocked biennially.



Crappie were absent from the 2021 Spring nighttime survey.



The 2021 Spring nighttime survey resulted in an improvement in the Largemouth Bass catch rate (1.1 fish/min). Average fish length remained unchanged (10.7 inches). The proportion of adult fish over 12 inches slightly declined (36%) but the proportion over 15 inches increased to 7%. Age data revealed slow growth, which is corroborated by fair body condition (values for most size groups were below the 90th percentile). Growth is expected to be somewhat limited due to the unproductive, oligotrophic nature of this lake.


Very Good

The number of Redear Sunfish collected in the 2021 Spring nighttime survey improved from previous surveys (n = 64) and was the highest on record. Average length was 7.0 inches. Size structure was excellent, with 56% of the adult fish over 7 inches and 10% over 9 inches. Despite the good size structure, age data suggests that growth may be somewhat limited. Growth is expected to be somewhat limited due to the unproductive, oligotrophic nature of this lake.



Seven Yellow Bullhead were collected ranging from 8 – 11 inches. Despite their underutilization, Bullhead offer anglers another excellent sportfish to catch.

Location: Ponderosa Lake is located within the Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area South Unit, 2 miles northeast of South Wilmington in Kankakee County off West 5000 Road.

Description: Ponderosa Lake is the largest impoundment within the Mazonia complex, covering 148.9 surface acres with depths to 60 feet. It is isolated from all other water areas. Likely one of the most scenic of the Mazonia lakes, Ponderosa is characterized by cedar-lined shorelines, gin-clear water and a myriad of coves, cuts and large bays. Ponderosa Lake also supports a diverse aquatic plant community. A two-lane unimproved gravel ramp serves as boat access. Very little shore access is available.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Surveys are conducted on Ponderosa Lake on an alternating year basis. The lake currently receives Channel Catfish on a routine basis (triennial). Both Bluegill and Redear Sunfish have been supplementally stocked as they become available. Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, and Walleye have been historically stocked but were later terminated due to poor success.

A special mercury advisory is in effect for Largemouth Bass > 15-inches which limits consumption to one meal per week for both the most sensitive and general population.

Additional Lake Information: Swimming is prohibited. Gasoline motors (unlimited horsepower) are permitted on Ponderosa Lake with a no wake regulation in effect. Ponderosa Lake closes 10 days prior to the opening of the Central Zone Duck Season and reopens (7-days a week) after the season ends. Statewide fishing regulations apply.

Additional Site-Specific Fishing Regulations
All Fish: 2 Pole and Line Fishing Only
Bluegill or Redear Sunfish: 10 Fish Daily Harvest Limit
Channel Catfish: 6 Fish Daily Limit
Large or Smallmouth Bass: 15-inch Minimum Length Limit (3 Fish Daily Harvest Limit)
White, Black, or Hybrid Crappie: 10 Fish Daily Harvest Limit

Contact Information:
Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish & Wildlife Area
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Seth Love