Choose another lake


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

Click on map for expanded view

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



Blue catfish stockings were initiated in 2003 and, with few exceptions, have occurred annually to 2016. The 2017 survey provided one of the best collections number-wise of blue catfish, with fish ranging from 11.0” to 36.6”. Length frequency distribution, while somewhat spotty, does indicate the presence of multiple year classes. The largest collected in the 2017 survey weighed 26 pounds.



Found throughout the lake, bluegills are more commonly collected in or near rip-rapped shorelines. Larger fish seem to be in decline, as the average size bluegill in the 2017 survey was 5.3”. Bluegills larger than 7” are generally uncommon.



A combination of very successful natural reproduction and high survival of young fish leads to a population dominated by smaller fish. Channel catfish collected in the 2017 survey ranged from 3” to 30” and 15 lbs. As it has been for the past several years, the average size is just over 13” and ½ pound.



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



This stocking program commenced in 2011 and striped bass hybrid fingerlings have been stocked annually, except in 2013 to 2016. Stocking rates ranged from 6.9 to 17.9 fish per acre with most averaging less than one inch at stocking. The exception was 2015 when larger fingerlings (4.5”) were produced and stocked through Exelon’s Quad Cities fish hatchery. Returns in fall surveys have been somewhat disappointing, although site reports indicate good catches had been made by anglers. Due to a decline in shad numbers in the past few surveys, a moratorium has been placed on this stocking program until such time that the forage base has had a chance to recover.



The largemouth bass population continues to improve as fall collection numbers trend upwards. The 2017 collection increased by nearly 10% over the preceding survey and represented the most largemouth bass ever collected in any IDNR survey. Bass that were less than 8” accounted for 44.4% of the total collected, while those 8” and larger reached record-setting numbers and were more than twice the long-term average. The density of smaller bass is largely due to the addition of 48,072 4-inch fish just months prior to the survey as well as the successful survival of the previous year’s stocking. The results from 2107 are encouraging as the density of legal size bass showed a favorable increase, accounting for 28% of the adult bass collected. The percentage of 18”- plus bass in recent surveys continues to account for less than 5% of the adult bass collected. Braidwood Lake is also popular with tournament anglers. In 2017 the average size for the biggest bass caught in these tournaments weighed 4lbs. 8 oz.



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 most recently hybrid striped bass. 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.Flathead catfish were also stocked several years ago and a remnant population exists today. 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.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass: 15” minimum length limit; 3 fish daily limit
Hybrid Striped Bass: 3 fish 17” or longer; 10 fish daily limit

Fish Attractors:

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

There were 23 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Blue Catfish 2
Channel Catfish 4
Largemouth Bass 1461
Smallmouth Bass 4

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

1     6.25 lbs
2     4.97 lbs
3     4.88 lbs
4     4.75 lbs
5     4.71 lbs

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

1     594.00 lbs
2     309.85 lbs
3     298.28 lbs
4     292.15 lbs
5     258.88 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-2211232ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
75Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
September-2811368ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
60Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
September-2911227ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
75Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-0510970ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-0612051ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
50Largemouth Bass
October-1211230ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
75Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-1311017ApprovedNorth Ramp boat
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass