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CHARLESTON SIDE CHANNEL


Lake Information

County: Coles

Acreage: 317

Average Depth: 5.71 feet

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted, no wake entire lake

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? No


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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

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Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Fair

Bluegill fishing is fair. Bluegill are abundant, with a few fish exceeding 8 inches. The body condition is good. Fishing prospects are rated as fair - good for 2016.

CARP

Excellent

Common carp are abundant with fish exceeding 8 lbs. Fishing prospects are rated as excellent for 2016.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Good

Channel catfish are abundant in the lake. The average catch goes from 3/4 - 2 ½ lbs., with the occasional fish over 10 pounds caught. Fishing prospects are rated as good for 2016. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily creel limit, no minimum length limit.

CRAPPIE

Excellent

Crappie, both white and black, are abundant. Growth rates vary from slow to fast within this population. Anglers may catch crappie up to 14 inches and 1+ lbs. Fishing prospects are rated as excellent for 2016. Site Regulation: 10 fish daily creel limit for fish under 10"; 10 fish daily creel limit for fish 10" or longer.

FLATHEAD CATFISH

Poor

Flathead catfish are low in abundance. Anglers catch a few large flatheads infrequently. Catch and release is encouraged. Fishing prospects are rated as poor for 2016.

FRESHWATER DRUM

Good

Freshwater Drum, commonly called drum “perch”, are moderately abundant with fish exceeding 5 lbs.

HYBRID STRIPED BASS (WIPERS)

Good

Hybrid striped bass (striped bass X white bass hybrids) are stocked annually from IDNR hatcheries. Good numbers of hybrid striped bass have been caught in recent years by anglers. Hybrids in excess of 15 lbs are reported caught and have been collected in fish population surveys. Fishing prospects are rated as good for 2016. Site Regulation: 3 fish daily creel limit, 17" minimum length limit.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Fair

Largemouth bass are moderate in abundance due to a lack of aquatic vegetation for nursery habitat. Improved numbers of bass from ½-2 lbs. are present with fish over 6 lbs. caught on occasion. Fishing prospects are rated as fair for 2016. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily creel limit, 14" minimum length limit.

SAUGEYE (Walleye/Sauger Hybrid)

Excellent

Saugeye (sauger X walleye hybrids) are stocked annually from IDNR hatcheries which has developed a good fishery. Saugeye are abundant from 12 to 26 inches, with fish in excess of 6 lbs. have been caught in the lake annually. Fishing prospects are rated as excellent for 2016. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily creel limit, 14" minimum length limit.

Detailed fishing report   

Fishing Report

WEEK

FISH

FISHING CONDITIONS

9-13-2018

SAUGER

FAIR to GOOD: Mostly trolling for them with lipless crank baits, white rattle traps or red eyed shad near the aeration area.

9-13-2018

CHANNEL CATFISH

FAIR to GOOD: Fish being taken from below the spillway when the current is flowing over by using cut bait, shad guts, cheese bait, and chicken liver. Early and late hours best.

9-13-2018

CRAPPIE

BARELY FAIR: Catching a few small (6" - 8") Fish with minnows off the banks; fishing from a boat in deeper 20 feet water is better. Best success is from the river above the spillway on minnows and a few jigs. Use various colors with chartreuse.

Location: Charleston Side Channel Lake is located approximately three miles southeast of Charleston, just off Route 130 in Coles County.

Description: The Charleston Lower Channel Lake is the impounded Embarras River. The lake covers 330 surface acres with a maximum depth of 12 feet and average depth of 5.7 feet. The Charleston Side Channel Lake is the primary water supply for the City of Charleston and is separated from the Embarras River by a dike that provides excellent shoreline access. Recreational opportunities include fishing and limited boating. Public boat launching facilities are available. There is a no-wake regulation in effect on the entire lake.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The fish population in Charleston Side Channel Lake is intensively surveyed every two years. The fish are measured, weighed, and scales collected before releasing them alive. Annual evaluations of saugeye and hybrid striped bass have been made. Saugeye and hybrid striped bass populations have been maintained by annual stockings. Desirable species of aquatic vegetation have been introduced in an attempt to establish populations to improve water quality, reduce shoreline erosion, and provide valuable and necessary fish habitat.

Yellow bass, longear sunfish, green sunfish, warmouth, and yellow bullheads are present, but are seldom harvested by anglers due to the small size attained by these species.

Additional Lake Information: Pole and line fishing only, with no more than two poles allowed per person, with only two hooks or lures per pole. All statewide regulations are in effect. Carp and carpsuckers can be taken by bow and arrow and gigs. There is a no wake regulation in effect on the entire lake.

Contact Information:
IDNR District Fisheries Biologist
Mike Mounce
217-345-2420

There were 11 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2017.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 20
Hybrid Striped Bass 1
Largemouth Bass 61

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

1     5.12 lbs
2     4.71 lbs
3     4.56 lbs
4     3.56 lbs
5     3.50 lbs

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

1     45.30 lbs
2     32.75 lbs
3     17.75 lbs
4     16.44 lbs
5     8.19 lbs