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Lake Information

County: Peoria

Acreage: 600

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 25hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

larger map link West End East End

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    East End, West End

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There are zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



The current bluegill condition is of a poor state with a poor growth rate. The competition with the gizzard shad and carp have maintained this growth slowdown.


Very Good

The channel catfish population sampled in 2016 ranged in size from 17.3 to 26.8 inches and were in excellent body condition. A low density population is present and an annual stocking of 800 fish is scheduled. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit.



In 2016, stock size black crappie and white crappie were sampled. Both species had average values. The body condition of both populations have decreased over the last 5 years. Anglers should be able to concentrate on these legal-size fish with the flooded brush providing excellent habitat. Site Regulation: 25 fish daily limit; 9" minimum length limit.



The largemouth bass population appears to be defined by a high percentage of fish from 7 to 19 inches in length with good average relative weights. The 2016 electrofishing survey indicated a size structure that has maintained a consistent level since 2007. The growth rate was good. The online IFISH tournament registration and result system was started in 2015. The tournament results showed these anglers spent 39,204 hours in 2015 and 43,912 hours in 2016 on Johnson Lake. They reported 353 legal fish in 2015 for .009 fish per angler hour. They reported 427 legal fish in 2016 for .010 fish per angler hour. Site Regulation: 3 fish daily limit; 12-18" protected slot length.


Very Good

Muskie sampled in the spring trapnet survey in 2016 ranged in size from 25.6 to 46.5 inches long. The body condition of these fish was good. In 2001, a total of 2,174 muskie at an average size of 11.4 inches were stocked; in 2002, 725 muskie at an average size of 10.9 inches were stocked; and in 2003, 1333 muskie at an average size of 10 inches were stocked into Johnson Lake. No muskie were stocked in 2004, but 600 at 10 inches long were annually stocked from 2005 through 2014. No muskie were stocked in 2015 or 2016. A triennial stocking is now scheduled to maintain a moderate density of healthy muskie. Site Regulation: 1 fish daily limit; 42" minimum length limit.



The walleye population trapnet sample in 2016 resulted fish ranging in size from 19.3 to 27.6 inches long. The body condition of these fish was good. A low density population of quality fish is present. At this time, the stocking of 2 inch walleye may have variable recruitment to the lake’s walleye population. An annual stocking of 24,000 walleye at 2 inches is anticipated. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit; 14" minimum length limit.

Location: Located in Central Illinois, the 5,524 acre Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area lies adjacent to the Illinois River, 4 miles north of Banner, Illinois, along Route 24.

Description: Banner Marsh SFWA was characterized by narrow strip pits and upland ponds, but in 1994, the hydrology changed due to the intentional cessation of pumping operations in the levee district. The water level rose approximately 7 feet (435 M.S.L.) due mainly to groundwater recharge by seepage under the existing 1-100 year flood-tight levee with the Illinois River. The total surface water acreage for the site increased from 530 acres to approximately 2400 acres and created a large vegetated littoral zone.

Johnson Lake is the largest lake in the Banner Marsh SFWA at over 600 surface acres. It is composed of a maze of final cut lakes interconnected by ditches to large shallow pond areas. The shallow areas (less than 6 feet) compose approximately 400 acres of flooded brush and diverse aquatic vegetation. The maximum water depth is 64.0 feet. Water clarity often exceeds 8 feet in the summer.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The former bottomland lake and marsh was leveed and drained for agricultural practice from 1910 through 1958. From 1958 to1974 approximately 90 percent of the site was strip-mined for coal. The strip-mined areas have since been reclaimed and purchased by the State of Illinois. Under the management of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (1978 - present) the primary objective for the site is to establish a freshwater marsh providing fish and wildlife habitat in the Illinois River Valley.

For fishing reports: Banner Marsh Ponds

For other lakes in the Banner Marsh SFWA:

Wheel Lake
Shovel Lake

Additional Lake Information: The main access area has a concrete boat ramp, 50 vehicle and trailer parking lot, restrooms and a handicap accessible fishing pier. The lake has a 25 HP motor limit. The site is open 24 hours a day, except for the Central Zone Duck Season, at which time only shoreline fishing is allowed after 1:00 p.m.

Two-pole and line fishing only except carp can be taken by bow and arrow devices, gigs or spears during May through August.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass: 3 fish daily limit; 12-18" protected slot length
Channel Catfish: 6 fish daily limit
Walleye: 6 fish daily limit; 14" minimum length limit
White and Black Crappie: 25 fish daily limit; 9" minimum length limit
Muskie: 1 fish daily limit; 42" minimum length limit

Contact Information:
Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Rob Hilsabeck

There were 20 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 563

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1     6.19 lbs
2     6.00 lbs
3     5.78 lbs
4     5.70 lbs
5     5.68 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1     375.87 lbs
2     128.56 lbs
3     81.90 lbs
4     77.09 lbs
5     71.19 lbs

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

2019 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
September-2113599ApprovedBanner Marsh Johnson Lake boat
15Largemouth Bass
September-2811084ApprovedBanner Marsh Johnson Lake boat
18Largemouth Bass
October-0513576ApprovedBanner Marsh Johnson Lake boat
10Largemouth Bass
October-1212118ApprovedBanner Marsh Johnson Lake boat
10Largemouth Bass