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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.

Fish Attractors:


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.


Fish Stocking

Year

Species

Size

Count

2018

Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 8"

24125

2018

Threadfin Shad

Fingerling 1 - 4 "

6000

2019

Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 8"

500


Additional information for stocking on CRAB ORCHARD LAKE


Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUEGILL

Average

The abundance of Crab Orchard Lake bluegill decreased for the fourth year in a row in 2019, and the proportion of fish over 6 inches in length decreased from 49 to 40%. Abundance however still exceeded the management goal for the fifteenth year in a row. The proportion of bluegill larger than seven inches stayed the same at 12. Bluegill body condition remained excellent, indicating another good forecast for bluegill anglers.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

Crab Orchard Lake channel catfish quality and body condition, similar to previous years, was excellent, and 73% of the fish collected were larger than 22 inches in length.

CRAPPIE

Excellent

The percentage of white and black crappie larger than 8 inches remained high in 2019 at 93% for both species. The percentage of white crappie larger than ten inches in length was good at 39%, while 15% of black crappie in the sample achieved that size. Body condition of both white and black crappie was good, but near the lower end of the management plan goal range. Crappie smaller than 10 inches in length tend to be overabundant in Crab Orchard Lake, and anglers are encouraged to remove these fish to thin the population and improve the quality of the fishery.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Good

The bass fishing forecast for Crab Orchard Lake is good to very good. In 2019, the percentage of bass larger than 16 inches continued to increase (33%). Of these, 18% were also larger than 18 inches slightly higher than the previous year. Largemouth bass abundance in the 2019 sample increased compared to the previous year (69/hr), and the general management plan goal of 60 per hour was easily met. Body condition of largemouth bass in Crab Orchard Lake has remained excellent.

WHITE BASS

Very Good

Numbers of Crab Orchard Lake white bass collected during the fall 2019 survey, although relatively small at 15 fish per hour of electrofishing, represented the second highest in thirteen years, and the proportion over 10 inches (76%) was impressive. Fish in the sample ranged in size from 5 to 15 inches, and 19% were larger than 12 inches. White bass body condition was just below 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 Fisheries Biologist, Luke Nelson
618-985-1112

There were 36 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2019.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 130
Freshwater Drum 1
Largemouth Bass 982
White Bass 6

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

1     7.70 lbs
2     7.31 lbs
3     7.29 lbs
4     7.02 lbs
5     6.55 lbs

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

1 651.53 lbs
2 383.00 lbs
3 214.12 lbs
4 202.49 lbs
5 113.84 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
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
April-0415261ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
NoYes
April-0515100ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Crappie
NoNo
April-1815698ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
8Largemouth Bass
NoNo
April-1816245ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
YesYes
April-1916246ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoYes
April-25
*April-26
15247ApprovedPrairie Creek boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-3015499ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-0315933ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0316129ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1615159ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1715649ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-3014919ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-3114979ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-3115154ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0615248ApprovedPrairie Creek boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0615310ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
11Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1315896ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-1414478ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1415560ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
YesNo
June-2015671ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-2115040ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2715003ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2813817ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2815584ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-3115531ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoYes
August-0815663ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-1515311ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
11Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-1615643ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-3016196ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-0315845ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-1715391ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
5Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-1815392ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
hook
5Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-1816258ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-2514785ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
hook
10Multiple SpeciesNoNo