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Lake Information

County: Grundy

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Yes

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? No

mazonia 00 woody lake bass lake mazonia 4 mallard lake goose lake Carp Gar Clear Big Dog Bullhead

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Mazonia Lake, Woody Lake, Bass Lake, Mazonia 4 Lake,
    Mallard Lake, Goose Lake, Carp Lake, Gar Lake, Clear Lake,
    Big Dog Lake, Bullhead Lake

For individual Mazonia North lakes information click the links below:

Bass Lake #3

Goose Lake #6

Bullhead Lake #7

Carp Lake #8

Gar Lake #9

Clear Lake #10

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



0.1 lbs


While not common, larger bluegills are present in good numbers in some of the impoundments within the Mazonia area. 14% of the bluegills collected from Bullhead and Carp Lakes were 7” or larger. Better bets for larger fish can be found at Clear Lake and Ponderosa Lake as well as the smaller ponds at the Wilderness Area.



1.6 lbs


This species is present in most all of the larger water areas with densities greatest in lakes receiving annual supplemental stockings. During the spring 2015 survey on Gar Lake, gill netting yielded channel catfish that averaged 20.5”, with the largest fish approaching 7 pounds.


Very Good



Of the three lakes surveyed, better collections were obtained from Bullhead and Gar Lakes with black crappie dominant in Bullhead Lake and white crappie more prevalent in Gar Lake. Good numbers of larger fish were sampled and in each lake 10”-plus crappie (both species combined) accounted for nearly 37% of the adult population. Although they were not common, crappie exceeding 12” were also collected.





Flathead catfish are present in Monster Lake and can be caught near the Granary Creek cut-off.


Very Good



Several of the larger lakes within the Mazonia Main Unit provide anglers with the unique opportunity to catch one of three gar species. Longnose, shortnose and spotted gar have all been collected from the larger Mazonia lakes. Appropriately named Gar Lake, which is somewhat connected to the Mazon River, likely supports the best gar population within the Main Unit. The largest specimen collected from that lake in 2015 was a longnose gar which measured 44½” weighing nearly 11½ lbs.



0.5 lbs


Bullhead Lake, located in the Main Unit, was surveyed in the spring of 2015. Largemouth bass catch rates declined from the previous survey and fell slightly below the ten-year average. The average size bass collected during this survey was 12.2”, which was somewhat less than the average size collected in 2013, but a full inch larger than the long-term average. Nearly 5% of the adult bass collected were at least 18” in length, while legal-size bass comprised over 26% of the adult collection. Carp Lake and Gar Lake were also surveyed in 2015 with bass catch rates showing very little change from the 2013 surveys. Both lakes exhibit a higher density of bass that are 12” or larger while roughly 10% of the adult population in either lake meets legal size. Bass greater than 18” were not as prevalent in either of these lakes as compared to Bullhead Lake. Best bets for bass fishing success continue to be Bass, Gar and Carp Lakes in the Main Mazonia Unit and Monster and Wilderness Lakes in the South Mazonia Unit. Bigger bass are taken each year by anglers targeting the more remote, harder to get to lakes and ponds.



0.7 lbs


Several years of annual additions of northern pike fingerlings have generally failed to produce a viable fishery and those stocking programs have been terminated. The current state record northern pike was caught from Monster Lake. Larger fish may be present in some of the south unit lakes, holdovers from when these lakes were leased by private fishing clubs. Northern pike are commonly confused with the diminutive grass pickerel, which are similar in appearance and fairly common in the Mazonia area, but are not protected by a length and/or creel limit.



0.6 lbs


Although present in several of the Mazonia lakes, Ponderosa supports the best population of redear sunfish. In the 2013 trap net survey, redear sunfish dominated the collection, ranging from 6.7" to 11.7" and averaging 9.9" and 12.5oz.

Location: The Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area main office is located in Grundy County, 3 miles southwest of Braidwood on Illinois Route 53 and Huston Road. The south unit, which includes the Ponderosa, Wilderness and Monster Lake areas, is located in Kankakee County north of County Highway 6 and west of the town of Essex.

Description: Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area consists of 2,679 acres of reclaimed strip-mine land which was purchased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) from Commonwealth Edison Company. The initial purchase was made in 1986 and included the old "Pit 16" area. An additional 1,662-acre parcel, which formerly included areas managed by sportsman's clubs, was purchased in 1999. The entire area was once surface-mined by the Peabody Coal Company from 1951-1970.

The area consists of over 200 impoundments ranging from less than 1/4 acre to nearly 150 acres. Most all of these water areas are typified by steep drop-offs and many have maximum depths in excess of 30 feet with some twice that. Shoreline access to most lakes and ponds is limited by extensive stands of tall reed grass. Concrete boat ramps access four of the largest lakes within the main Mazonia area and here boats are restricted to trolling motors only. Gravel ramps are present on Eagle, Ponderosa and Monster Lakes. Gasoline motors are allowed on these water areas and while there are no horsepower limitations, a strict no-wake regulation is enforced. "Belly boats" have become an effective and popular way of accessing and fishing the smaller interior ponds.

With the exception of Monster Lake, which offers year ‘round fishing opportunity, Mazonia is closed to fishing during upland game and waterfowl season. Following the completion of the hunting seasons, Mazonia reopens for ice fishing dependent upon ice conditions.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Main lakes are surveyed on an alternate year basis. Spring trap netting is also incorporated at selected lakes. Lakes sampled in 2015 were Bullhead (Lake #7), Carp (Lake #8) and Gar (Lake #9) Lakes. Habitat enhancement projects have been completed on many of these lakes and ponds. Aquatic vegetation, while present, has currently not required any active management.

Most of the larger water areas contain largemouth bass, bluegill, white and black crappie, channel catfish, carp and various other species. Gizzard shad are the primary forage item. The IDNR presently stocks channel catfish into selected lakes on a rotational basis. Coolwater stocking programs (walleye and northern pike) on several lakes have been discontinued due to the failure of those species to successfully recruit. Redear sunfish have been stocked into Clear Lake and Ponderosa Lake as well. No special mercury advisory or other contaminant-related consumption advisories pertain.

A variety of other species that can be caught include common carp, freshwater drum, bullheads and green sunfish.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only, all other statewide regulations apply. Swimming is prohibited. Fishing is closed ten days prior to the opening of waterfowl season in the central zone and reopens at the conclusion of the upland game season, or as ice becomes safe.
Note: Monster Lake is open to fishing year-round.

Trolling motors only, except on Monster and Ponderosa Lake, where gasoline outboards are allowed, but are no wake.

Contact Information:
Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area
Rob Miller, IDNR County Fisheries Biologist

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

2016 — 2017 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Max Boats Public?
April-08, Sat5155 Carp Lake 8 20Yes
April-09, Sun4707 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
May-07, Sun4708 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
May-13, Sat5233 Carp Lake 8 20Yes
June-03, Sat4709 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
June-04, Sun4814 Carp Lake 8 20Yes
June-24, Sat5272 Carp Lake 8 20No
June-25, Sun4710 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
July-02, Sun4816 Carp Lake 8 20Yes
July-08, Sat5273 Carp Lake 8 20No
July-09, Sun4711 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
July-30, Sun4817 Carp Lake 8 20Yes
August-05, Sat4712 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
August-20, Sun4713 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
August-26, Sat5274 Carp Lake 8 20No
September-03, Sun4872 Carp Lake 8 20Yes
September-10, Sun4714 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
September-30, Sat4715 Carp Lake 8 40Yes
October-01, Sun4716 Carp Lake 8 40Yes