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Lake Information

County: McHenry

Acreage: 46

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Carry-in only, Electric

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

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



During the recent survey, black crappie ranged in size from 6.0 to 6.4 inches long.



Bluegill numbers were lower than what we have seen in the past. While numbers may be low, 36% of the catch was over six inches. One thing to know about this particular lake is that many other species of sunfish occur here (green sunfish, pumpkinseed and warmouth).



This lake is stocked with channel catfish annually and large catfish (over 20 inches) have been caught here in the past.



Our most recent fall survey captured showed that right now numbers are low. The bass ranged in size from young of the year (2.9 inches) to a healthy 16.3 inch fish. Supplemental stocking and a few mild winters should help this bass population.



Fish up to 32 inches have been caught in Defiance Lake. Pike are stocked annually at a rate of about three per acre.

Location: Defiance Lake is a natural lake in Moraine Hills State Park, which is located three miles south of McHenry off of River Rd. between Illinois Rt. 120 and 176 in McHenry County.

Description: Defiance Lake is one of a handful of natural glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained relatively undeveloped. Its maximum depth is 18 feet. The lake stays fairly clear for most of the year, but vegetation does become quite thick. Treatment of vegetation is not an option due to threatened plant species. There is no boat launch at the lake, but carry-in boats/canoes/kayaks are allowed. Rental boats are available. Bank fishing is prohibited due to hazardous peat soils that surround the lake, except for designated piers along the boardwalk.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Defiance Lake is stocked annually with largemouth bass, northern pike and channel catfish. The lake is surveyed by IDNR every two years and supplemental sampling for northern pike occurs when conditions allow. Fish attractors were installed and fish have been observed using them. Unfortunately several harsh winters have taken their toll on the bass population. Overall, it is still a year-round productive and diverse lake and offers a chance to see some uncommon fish species (lake chubsucker, grass pickerel, bowfin, warmouth and brown bullhead).

Additional Lake Information: Anglers may use no more than two lines or poles when fishing at Defiance Lake. Rental boats are available. Carry-in canoes and kayaks may be launched at the boat ramp located behind the office. Bank fishing is prohibited due to hazardous peat soils that surround the lake, except for designated piers along the boardwalk. Note that piers quickly become surrounded by dense aquatic vegetation during summer months and vegetation treatment is not an option at this lake due to the presence of rare and sensitive plant species. Electric trolling motors are allowed.

Contact Information:
Moraine Hills State Park
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Andy Plauck
815-675-2386 ext. 214