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Lake Information

County: McLean

Acreage: 148

Average Depth: 10.1 feet

Shoreline Length: 5.1 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? idle speed/no wake 10hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

large map link campground dam

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Campground, Dam

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



The crappie fishery is assessed by using frame nets in the spring. The catch rate in the most recent survey was 30.1 black crappie per net-night. The average catch rate for the past 6 surveys is 45.1 crappie per net-night. The majority of the crappie collected were between 8 and 10 inches. There are good numbers of crappie in Dawson Lake, but most will be less than 10 inches. Approximately 17% were longer than 10 inches in the spring of 2016. Site Regulation: 15 fish daily limit.



During the most recent survey, bluegill were collected at a rate of 283.3 per hour. Approximately 6% of the bluegill collected were over 6 inches and 1% were over 8 inches. The bluegill fishery is rated as average. In order to improve the bluegill fishery, only 5 bluegill over 8 inches will be allowed to be harvested. Site Regulation: 20 fish daily limit, only 5 fish over 8" limit.



Channel catfish are stocked each year. The latest survey collected 26 catfish per hour. The average catch rate for the past 6 surveys is 28.4 per hour. Approximately 33% of the catfish collected were over 16 inches. Site Regulation: 15 fish daily limit.



The most recent bass survey resulted in a catch rate of 151 bass per hour. The average catch rate is 177.7 bass per hour. Of the bass collected over 8 inches, 61% were over 12 inches, but only 8% were over 15 inches. A new regulation was implemented in 2015 to increase the number of larger bass in the lake. Site Regulation: 3 fish daily limit, size regulation of 2 fish less than 15" and 1 fish greater than 15".

SAUGEYE (Walleye/Sauger Hybrid)

Very Good

Saugeye have been stocked into Dawson Lake since 2003. During the most recent survey, saugeye collected ranged in length from 8 inches to 18 inches. The heaviest saugeye weighed 1.84 pounds and the average weight for all saugeye was 0.93 pounds. During the most recent spring netting survey, a catch rate of 10.5 saugeye per net was obtained. The average catch rate for the past 8 surveys is 16.1 saugeye per net. Approximately 36% of the saugeye collected were longer than 15 inches and 11% were longer than 20 inches. The strategic management plan for walleye/saugeye has a catch rate objective of 2.5 per net. The walleye/saugeye population at Dawson Lake is a great fishery in a small lake. Site Regulation: 3 fish daily limit, size regulation of 15" and 1 fish greater than 20".

Fishing Report

There is no fishing report for this week. View recent reports.

Location: Dawson Lake is located in Moraine View State Recreation Area. Dawson Lake is located between Bloomington/Normal and Champaign/Urbana north of I-74 at the LeRoy exit.

Description: This fertile 160.8 acre lake was built in 1962 and has a maximum depth of 25.5 feet and an average depth of 10 feet. Presently, an idle-speed/no-wake speed limit exists for boat motors over 10 horsepower and no speed limit for motors 10 horsepower or less. There is a two-lane launching ramp and docking facility. A concession stand, located near the boat dock and launch, offers dock and boat rental, fishing tackle, bait, refreshments and various supplies. A restaurant, seating 60, serves breakfast and lunch daily. Bowfishing is allowed from a boat.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The IDNR Division of Fisheries has been active in the management of the fisheries in Dawson Lake since the lake was constructed in 1962. The lake receives stockings of saugeye, channel catfish, redear sunfish, and black crappie.

Additional Lake Information: 2 pole and line fishing only, except that bowfishing is allowed from a boat.

Contact Information:
Moraine View Recreation Area
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Mike Garthaus

There were 15 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 403

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

1     5.14 lbs
2     4.74 lbs
3     4.06 lbs
4     3.59 lbs
5     3.56 lbs

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

1     80.94 lbs
2     70.36 lbs
3     66.70 lbs
4     62.02 lbs
5     50.00 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-2113579ApprovedMain Ramp bank
0Common Carp