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Lake Information

County: Will

Acreage: 2241

Average Depth: 8.76 feet

Shoreline Length: 15 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? No

Camping? No

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Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



The 2015 survey yielded very poor results, which are likely not indicative of the population as site reports indicated that excellent catches were made during the 2015 angling season with fish exceeding 30 lbs. being caught. Initially stocked in 2008, blue catfish have shown excellent growth rates and provide an exciting compliment to species available to the angler at Braidwood Lake.



Collected with regularity throughout the lake, bluegills tend to be more prevalent along rip-rapped shorelines. In a continuing trend, bluegills collected in 2015 were generally smaller fish, only 17% of which were 6” and larger with few collected exceeding 7”.



A combination of successful natural reproduction and high survival of young fish results in Braidwood Lake functioning as a “catfish factory.” This combination has led to a population which is dominated by smaller fish. Channel catfish collected in the 2015 survey ranged from 4” to 30” and 13.4 lbs. Although collection rates increased from the previous survey, the average size channel catfish declined to just 11”.



Flathead catfish were stocked several years ago and a remnant population exists today.


Very Good

Stocked annually since 2011, striped bass hybrids have developed into an excellent addition to the lake’s fishery. Several year classes were represented in the 2015 survey collection with fish ranging from recently-stocked 4” fingerlings to fish reaching 34” and 7½ lbs. 10 fish daily creel/3 fish 17” or longer.


Very Good

Stocked annually since 2006, a total of nearly 26,000 bass fingerlings were released in 2015, and these fish were very prevalent in the fall survey. Catch rates for all sizes of largemouth bass were nearly double the long-term average, while bass which were 6” and larger were collected at an excellent rate of nearly 56 per hour of electrofishing. Larger bass were not common in the 2015 survey, although a few fish approaching 20” were collected. 15” minimum length limit ; 3 fish daily creel limit.



Excess production at the IDNR hatchery systems has allowed for the stocking of redear sunfish on a few occasions, and while not as prevalent as bluegill, larger specimens are caught.

Location: Braidwood Lake is located in Will County approximately 1.25 miles south of the Village of Braidwood adjacent to U.S. Route 53.

Description: Braidwood Lake is a 2,640 acre, partially perched cooling lake. When impounded in 1981 several old strip-mine pits were flooded within the lake proper. No horsepower limitations; maximum speed limit is 40 mph except in designated "no wake" and "hazard" areas; working gasoline engine required as main propulsion unit; boats under 14' are not recommended. County Line Road Access (south access) has a four-lane concrete boat ramp with 35 car/trailer parking. An additional 75+ car lot is located adjacent to the ramp area. Cemetery Road Access (north access) has a two-lane concrete boat ramp with parking for 35 car/trailers. A majority of the shoreline is open to bank fishing, and these areas are clearly marked. Access to the interior islands by anglers is prohibited. Steep drop-offs, rock piles, man-made habitat, current and thermal breaks and woody cover are all present. The nature of this lake requires extreme care in boating and a good topographic map is well worth the expense.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The fishery is evaluated via biennial major surveys and species-specific ancillary surveys. Fish habitat enhancement has been conducted for several years and most recently involved the installation of commercially made units. Braidwood Lake supports a persistent phytoplankton bloom that suppresses rooted aquatic vegetation.

Braidwood Lake receives annual stockings of largemouth bass, blue catfish and hybrid striped bass. No special mercury advisory or other contaminant-related consumption advisories pertain.

Braidwood Lake is maintained by periodically pumping water from the Kankakee River. As a result, the lake supports a variety of fish species which include common carp, quillback, freshwater drum and others. Braidwood Lake is supported by a thriving gizzard and threadfin shad forage base as well as various other minnow species.

Additional Lake Information: Swimming, wading, water skiing and sail boating are prohibited. Braidwood Lake is open to fishing daily from 6:00 a.m. till sunset from March 1 until ten days prior to the opening of the waterfowl season (central zone). All fish species — two pole and line fishing only. Portions of Braidwood Lake are restricted to unauthorized access; these areas are clearly marked. Bank fishing boundaries are posted. Since windy conditions can produce treacherous waves, the lake can be closed at the discretion of the site superintendent.

Fish Attractors:

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

There were 27 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2017.

Species Total Fish Caught
Blue Catfish 26
Bluegill 11
Channel Catfish 59
Hybrid Striped Bass 2
Largemouth Bass 1243
Smallmouth Bass 4

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2017 tournaments:

1     5.29 lbs
2     5.10 lbs
3     5.02 lbs
4     4.94 lbs
5     4.94 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2017 tournaments:

1     277.99 lbs
2     273.45 lbs
3     265.45 lbs
4     230.81 lbs
5     213.23 lbs

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

2018 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Open to Public?
September-2910352ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
September-307869ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-067615ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
40Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-077871ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-137870ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-148000ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass