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CRAB ORCHARD LAKE


Lake Information

County: Williamson

Acreage: 6965

Shoreline Length: 125 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

large map link Pump House Boat Club Refuge Headquarters West End


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Pump House Neck, Refuge Headquarters, Boat Club,
    West End Boat Ramp

Maps are not intended for navigation.


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Very Good

Although the quality of Crab Orchard bluegill decreased somewhat in 2016 compared to that of the previous year, the proportion of fish over 6 inches in length met or exceeded the management goal for the thirteenth year in a row, and bluegill body condition remained excellent, indicating another good forecast for bluegill anglers. The proportion of bluegill larger than six inches was 44%, and the component over seven inches was 12%.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

Crab Orchard channel catfish quality and body condition, similar to previous years, were excellent, and 77% of the fish collected were larger than 22 inches in length.

CRAPPIE

Very Good

The percentage of white crappie larger than 8 inches remained relatively high in 2016 at 78%, while 38% of black crappie were larger than this size. Similarly, the percentage of white crappie larger than ten inches in length was very good at 44, while no black crappie in the sample achieved that size. Body condition of black crappie was within the goal range, while white crappie condition was slightly less than that mark.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Good

The bass fishing forecast for Crab Orchard Lake is good, but somewhat less impressive than one year ago. The proportion of largemouth bass larger than the 16-inch minimum size limit had been more than 20% since 2004, but the fall 2016 survey produced a sample in which 16% were larger than 16 inches. Of these, 6% were also larger than 18 inches, another indicator of a slight decrease in quality. Largemouth bass abundance in the 2016 sample increased slightly compared to the previous year, and the general management plan goal was easily met. Body condition of largemouth bass in Crab Orchard Lake has remained excellent. General good condition of the Crab Orchard Lake bass population in recent years can be at least partially attributed to a combination of more stringent harvest regulations, increased bass fingerling and threadfin shad stocking, habitat enhancement (through fish attractor installation and vegetation planting), and establishment of a spawning refuge area with artificial spawning substrates. The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is also limiting each bass club to one fish-off event per year to reduce angling pressure and angler conflicts. Site Regulation: 16 inch minimum length limit, 3 per day creel limit.

WHITE BASS

Very Good

Numbers of Crab Orchard white bass collected during the fall 2016 survey represented the second highest in eleven years, and the proportion over 9 inches (89%) was impressive. Fish in the sample ranged in size from 6 to 15 inches, and 76% were larger than 10 inches, while 27% exceeded 12 inches. White bass body condition decreased somewhat compared to the previous year, and did not meet the management plan goal.

Location: Crab Orchard Lake is a 6965-acre impoundment located in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge between Marion and Carbondale in Williamson County Illinois.

Description: The Crab Orchard Lake fishery is cooperatively managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A user permit is required to access the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Information can be obtained by calling the refuge visitor center at 618-997-3344.

Additional Lake Information: A user permit is required to access the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Information can be obtained by calling the refuge visitor center at 618-997-3344.

Largemouth bass have a 16-inch minimum length limit and a 3-per-day creel limit. No other size or creel limits are in effect.

Contact Information:
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge:
618-997-3344
IDNR District Biologist, Chris Bickers:
618-993-7094

There were 26 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2017.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 71
Largemouth Bass 520

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

1     7.12 lbs
2     6.91 lbs
3     6.88 lbs
4     6.61 lbs
5     6.31 lbs

2018 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Open to Public?
March-259078Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Crappie
No
April-14April-158145Prairie Creek boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-067877West End Ramp boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
May-068342Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-128571Prairie Creek boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-198817Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
May-199017West End Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
May-207959Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-028321Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Buffalo
Spotted Bass
No
June-038630Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-098755West End Ramp boat
hook
7Largemouth Bass
No
June-109161Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
June-168148Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-168226Old State Rt. 13 boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-179341West End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-238247Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-247395West End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-309084Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
July-018081West End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
July-018964Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
8Largemouth Bass
No
July-088608Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
July-218749West End Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
August-069200Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
August-118004West End Ramp boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
September-298214Greenbriar Ramp boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No