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Lake Information

County: Christian

Acreage: 2321

Average Depth: 12.99 feet

Shoreline Length: 97.4 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 25hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Ellis East Harbor Tovey West Hill Sangchris North East Arms

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    East Arms, East Harbor, Ellis, North, Tovey, West Hill

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Maps are not intended for navigation.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status


Very Good

The channel catfish population is doing well both in quantity and quality. Fish up to 8 pounds are surveyed most years. Anglers can catch channel catfish in the warmer months using bottom fishing techniques near deadfalls and woody debris with cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or night crawlers. The largest channel catfish ever collected by electrofishing measured over 27” and weighed 9 lbs.



Lake Sangchris contains both black and white crappie. The black crappie are a strain originally brought in from Arkansas in 1985 that have a 1/4” wide black stripe running from just under the chin up over the nose to the dorsal fin. They are called black-nosed or black-striped crappie by anglers. They are a beautiful and a prized sportfish. Crappie in Lake Sangchris do not maintain predictable yearly spawns, which is common in a cooling lake. Both crappie species populations are still developing, however the 2014 fish population survey showed dramatic increases in both black and white crappie numbers. Catch rates of black crappie increased from 8 to 17 fish/hr of electrofishing between 2013 and 2014. Catch rates of white crappie increased from 14 to 41 fish/hr between 2013 and 2014. The 2014 black and white crappie catch rates were higher than they have been for more than 10 years. About 32% of the white crappie collected in 2014 measured over the 10” minimum length limit, while 19% of the black crappie collected in 2014 measured over the 10” minimum length limit. Only two crappie over 12” were collected in 2014. The population structures are not yet within management goals, but are heading in the right direction. Natural spawning is limited due to sporadic water temperatures during the spawning season, therefore Lake Sangchris has a crappie stocking program. White and black crappie have been raised in the Lake Sangchris rearing pond since the pond's construction in 1992. The pond has not been functional for the last 3 years due to a bad leak, but it has been rehabilitated and will be back in use beginning in the spring of 2015. Anglers can catch crappie on hundreds of submerged Christmas trees and other structures within the entire lake with spinners, jigs and minnows year-round. A 16-1/2”, 3 lb black crappie was recently brought to the biologist for weighing and identifying!


Very Good

Flathead catfish are difficult to survey, but anecdotal evidence suggests angler catches are becoming more common. Lake Sangchris is approaching 50 years old and is developing a reputation for producing flathead catfish weighing over 40 lbs. The largest flathead ever collected in a survey weighed 69 lbs and the largest caught by an angler weighed 76 lbs. Flathead catfish exceeding 40 lbs are harvested every year. We collected 7 flatheads measuring between 17-35” and weighing between 2-22 lbs during the 2014 fall fish survey. Anglers can catch flathead catfish using live bait such as minnows, sunfish, shad, or crayfish around submerged logs and deadfalls in the warmer months and deep holes in the colder months.


Very Good

Lake Sangchris is known for its high density bass population. The 2014 fall fish survey showed some promising changes in the largemouth bass population structure. We have observed an increase in 18”+ fish over the last two years. About 10% of the population was shown to measure over 18”, which is twice that of the ten-year average. Largemouth bass in Lake Sangchris tend to be in less than desirable body condition, but still within the management goal. Lower body conditions are most likely caused by unstable forage fish reproduction and the high summer water temperatures in the lake. Gizzard shad exhibit unstable spawns in Lake Sangchris and threadfin shad survival is dependent on power plant operation in the winter. Breeder threadfin shad are often stocked in an effort to offset the results of winter kills. Bass most likely burn more energy than they can consume in the hot summer months, resulting in less than average body condition. Anglers can catch largemouth bass on points, deadfalls, and stickups within the entire lake year round with plastic worms, jigs, spinners, crank baits, minnows, crayfish and worms. The largest bass ever collected by electrofishing measured 22” long and weighed over 7 lbs!


Very Good

Pure striped bass are non-native and have been stocked into Lake Sangchris every other year since 1983. The striped bass stocking program has produced some great fishing opportunities. The past several years have not produced many fish over 20 pounds, but there is a good density of striped bass up to 14 lbs. Anglers can catch stripers near “striper point” located in the northern portion of the lake in the warmer months and in the hot water middle arm of the lake when water is being discharged in the winter. Anglers can catch stripers using large spinnerbaits , crankbaits, spoons, jigs, crayfish or large minnows. The current state record of 31 pounds 7 ounces was caught at Lake Sangchris!

Fishing Report

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

Location: Sangchris Lake is located 20 miles southeast of Springfield off of IL Route 104, 7 miles north of Bulpitt.

Description: Sangchris Lake is 2325 acres. The lake was developed as a result of damming Clear Creek in 1964. The Division of Fisheries has been involved in the management of this lake from its beginning in 1965. It was owned by Commonwealth Edison and served as a cooling lake for their coal-fired power plant. The fish community is therefore highly dependent on power plant operation. Commonwealth Edison sold the plant to the current owner, Dominion Power, in the early 2000s. The maximum depth in the lake is approximately 38 feet with and average depth of approximately 13 feet. Sangchris Lake has three boat access points; one on each arm.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The lake boasts 100 miles of shoreline and is characterized by a west and middle arm cooling loop and an east ambient arm. The east arm receives much of the water within the watershed, and therefore suffers from siltation. Much of the shoreline and cove habitat was once composed of dense beds of water lily and submersed aquatic vegetation. Those communities have recently collapsed and no cause has been determined at this point. A total of 26 fish species have been collected in Sangchris Lake since 1982. While their numbers and potential for successful angling are low, anglers may catch bluegill, green sunfish, green sunfish x bluegill hybrid, freshwater drum, white bass, or yellow bass.

Additional Lake Information: Sangchris Lake has three boat access points; one on each arm. Rowboats, canoes and boats with motors of 25 horsepower or less are welcome to use the ramps. The long-awaited West Boat Ramp opened in fall 2014; improvements include: a new boat ramp that extends further into the water for safer boat launching, larger parking lot, new access road, and handicap-accessible sidewalks and parking. Two pole and line fishing only. No commercial devices, such as trot lines, jugs, or bank poles, are allowed. Archery fishing is allowed for rough fish, but not within 200 yards of a developed area, such as a campground.

In August 2017, fish habitat structures were deployed into Sangchris Lake. See the map here: Fish Structures Location Map.

Contact Information:
Site Staff
Blake Ruebush, IDNR District Fisheries Biologist

There were 57 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2016.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 86
Largemouth Bass 2669

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this
waterbody in 2016 tournaments:

1     7.19 lbs
2     6.30 lbs
3     6.25 lbs
4     6.06 lbs
5     6.02 lbs

2017 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Open to Public?
December-257009Strawkus Boat Ramp boat
20Blue Catfish
Grass Carp