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Lake Information

County: Franklin

Acreage: 18900

Average Depth: 14.99 feet

Shoreline Length: 162 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Nason Access Turnip Patch North Marina Gun Creek Marcum Access Ina Access

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
     Dam West, Gun Creek, Ina Access, Marcum Access, Nason Access,
    North Marina, Turnip Patch

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Avg Wt.


Fish Status


Very Good

0.1 lbs


The size structure of the bluegill population remained stable. The overall size structure of the bluegill population remains stable, and population indices remain above the target range. Bluegill will be abundant in the coming year, with most keepers 6.5"- 8" in length and averaging 1/3 lb. or less. The number of fish over 8” in length is also similar to last year with some reaching ½ lb. With above average growth rates and excellent body condition, the population should provide very good fishing in the coming year.



1.8 lbs


The fishing prospects for channel catfish remain excellent for the coming year. Natural reproduction and recruitment continue to be very strong, and are responsible for maintaining the large population of fish in the lake. The catch rate for channel catfish increased for the first time in three years, and remained excellent. The condition of these fish is fair and growth rates are good. In the coming year, channel catfish from 1 – 3 lbs should be abundant and larger fish up to 6 lbs common. This lake remains one of the premier channel catfish waters in southern Illinois, and should remain on your list of places to fish for channels in 2016. No creel limit or size restrictions apply for this lake.





Following two years of decline, the crappie population is showing signs of improvement. The size structure of the crappie population declined significantly in 2013 and 2014. During this two-year time period the number of crappie greater than 10” in length declined by 73%. Just as troubling was the 31% decline in the number of crappie 8”-10” in length during the same time period. Data from the fall 2015 trapnet survey show the size structure of the population is beginning to improve. The portion of the crappie population comprised of fish over 10” in length is at 14%. While this is still below the target of 20% of the total population, it is a 40% increase from the previous year. Equally important is the 58% increase in the number of 8” – 10” crappie. With stable growth rates, the size structure of the population should improve even further in the coming year. For 2016, crappie 10"-12" in length and averaging 1/2 to 1+ pound will be abundant enough to provide some quality angling opportunities. Crappie 8”- 10” are also abundant (58% of the population), and will also contribute to the creel. The number of crappie over 12” in length remains stable and relatively low. The condition of all sizes of crappie remains near the low end of the target range. Crappie reproduction was strong in 2015 for the third consecutive year. Regulations will remain unchanged in 2016, but the population will be monitored closely. Site Regulation: 25 fish daily, not more than 10 exceeding 10”.



1.3 lbs


The size structure of the bass population has declined over the past year, however, data from the most recent population survey show all population indices still remained within the target goals and the condition of all sizes of fish is excellent. Bass catch rates were up 25%. The percentage of the total population exceeding the 14" minimum length limit fell 26%. Currently 28% of the adult bass population exceeds the 14-inch minimum length limit. The excellent bass body condition is the direct result of another large shad population. With the abundant food supply, bass growth rates should be excellent, and this should help to improve the size structure of the population in the coming year. Bass fishing in 2016 should be similar to 2015. The majority of fish above the minimum length limit will be 14” – 18” and weigh between 1.5 – 3.5 pounds. The number of larger bass over 20" in length remains stable but low. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit, 14" minimum length.


Very Good

0.6 lbs


The number of white bass collected in the fall 2015 electrofishing survey rose significantly to the highest level in seven years. Reproduction was good in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and white bass fishing was good in the fall of 2015. This trend should continue into 2016 and for the next few years. Anglers can expect the catchable population in the coming year to be largely comprised of fish 12”- 15” in length and weighing 0.6 – 1.5 lbs. A smaller group of fish 6” – 8” in length will also contribute to the creel. Site Regulation: 20 fish daily, not more than 3 exceeding 17"

Detailed fishing report   

Fishing Report






Good using minnows spinnerbaits, worms & black/blue jigs. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks.



Excellent using meal worms, qtr pink/white tube jigs, small & medium minnows. From shore, fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky, Sailboat Harbor, Marcum coves, and Ina Boat Ramp. Try the Gun Creek Area. Fish the main lake drop off areas.



Good using small jigs, worms, meal worms, wax worms & crickets. From shore try Sailboat Harbor. Try fishing shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs. Fish in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks.



Excellent using large minnows, leeches, Hoss Haw Bait, nightcrawlers & Sonny stink bait. Try leeches in moving water. Drift fish the flats. Set line 3 to 4 feet from the shore over rocks. Try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch, and North Sandusky Day Use Area.



Good using in-line spinners, jig & curly tail grubs. Reports of fish being caught around the 154 bridges. Fish around along the rocks and drop-offs Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes.

Location: Rend Lake is located in Franklin and Jefferson counties along IL Interstate 57 approximately 15 miles south of Mt. Vernon and just northwest of Benton.

Description: Rend Lake was completed in 1971 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake was formed by constructing a 2-mile long dam across the Big Muddy River floodplain. At normal pool, Rend Lake has a surface area of 18,900 acres, a maximum depth of 35 feet, and a mean depth of 10 feet. The lake is thirteen miles long and three miles wide and has 162 miles of shoreline. It is the second largest impoundment in Illinois.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: There are more than 30 species of fish in Rend Lake. In addition to traditional sport fish, Rend Lake also contains large populations of carp, buffalo, gar, drum, and shad. The fish population is surveyed annually.

Additional Lake Information: Tournaments: For tournament permits, contact Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park at 618-629-2320.

Contact Information:
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park:
Mike Hooe, IDNR County Fisheries Biologist: 618-393-6732
Rend Lake Resort: 618-629-2211
Rend Lake Marina: 618-724-7651

Interested in participating in one of these public tournaments? Contact us with tournament ID for more information.

2016 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Max Boats Public?
October-29, SatOctober-30, Sun4090 Sailboat Harbor ( Harbor Oaks) 75Yes
October-29, SatOctober-30, Sun4098 Gun Creek South (Golf Course Ramp) 22No