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Lake Information

County: Effingham

Acreage: 614

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

larger map link Shumway Cove Larsons Landing Gypsy Cove Moccasin Cove Ridgerunner

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Gypsy Cove, Larson's Landing, Moccasin Cove, Ridgerunners Cove,     Shumway Cove

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"


Additional information for stocking on SARA, LAKE

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



The size structure of the bluegill population remained poor. Most of the sample was comprised of fish less than 7” in length. Body condition improved slightly, but remained poor, and growth rates remained below average. Anglers can expect to catch an abundance of fish 5” – 7” in length.



The channel catfish population was mostly comprised of older and larger fish. Natural recruitment remains low, keeping total numbers down. Growth rates remained average and body condition was just below target. Anglers can expect to see most fish in the 2 – 5 lbs. range, with some fish over 10 lbs.



Both black and white crappie are present in Lake Sara, but white crappie are the dominant species. Data collected from the annual population survey indicated that 42% of the adult white crappie were greater than 10” in length. Body condition for white crappie remained stable and was good. Very few black crappie were collected and their average body condition was less than the minimum target. Together these two species should provide good angling opportunities in the coming year.



In an attempt to improve the size structure of the population, regulations were changed on April 01, 2017 to a 15” – 18” protected slot limit. Early results indicate the new regulation appears to be working. The percentage of the adult bass in the sample over 15” improved to 20% (a 25% increase from 2018). The catch rate improved for the third straight year. The percentage of fish above the slot also remained stable for the third straight year. Bass numbers below the slot remained high and body condition was still poor, but should improve with time. For 2020, the majority of bass below the slot will range from 0.5 -1.5 lbs., while those exceeding 18” will be 3.5 pounds or greater. Harvest of some bass below the slot limit (less than 15”) is encouraged for this coming year.



White bass numbers declined again in the fall 2019 survey. Only one white bass was collected and its body condition was poor. Angling opportunities for white bass should be fair in 2020.

Location: Lake Sara is located in Effingham County approximately 5 miles southwest of Effingham, Illinois.

Description: Lake Sara was constructed in 1957, and it has a surface area of 614 acres, a maximum depth of 47 feet, and a mean depth of 19 feet. The lake has 38 miles of shoreline and a watershed of 7,560 acres.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The sport fish population in Lake Sara is comprised primarily of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, white and black crappies, white bass, and channel catfish. Other common species include common carp and yellow bullheads. The fish population is surveyed annually.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only. Boat permits are required and can be purchased at either of Lake Sara's two Marinas, the Mach 1 gas station on Rt. 33 West, or Lake Sara Marina in Effingham.

Site Regulation:
Largemouth bass: 6 fish daily limit, protected slot length limit of 15 – 18"
White, black, or hybrid crappie: 25 fish limit (collectively)

Contact Information:
Lake Sara Water Authority
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Boone LaHood

There were 41 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2019.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 243
Largemouth Bass 1988

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2019 tournaments:

1     7.12 lbs
2     6.88 lbs
3     6.88 lbs
4     6.74 lbs
5     6.50 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2019 tournaments:

1 329.13 lbs
2 239.71 lbs
3 239.30 lbs
4 231.87 lbs
5 196.44 lbs

Multiple day tournaments are listed with * end date.

Interested in participating in one of these public tournaments? Contact us with tournament ID for more information.

2020 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
16774ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
20Largemouth Bass
14085ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
10Largemouth Bass
15019ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
35Largemouth Bass