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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






Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Threadfin Shad

Fingerling 1 - 3"



Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"


Additional information for stocking on CRAB ORCHARD LAKE

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



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.



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.



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.



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.


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:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Luke Nelson

There were 37 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2019.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 130
Freshwater Drum 1
Largemouth Bass 1013
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
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
October-0315845ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
10Largemouth Bass
October-1715391ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
5Largemouth Bass
October-1815392ApprovedGreenbriar Ramp boat
5Largemouth Bass
October-1816258ApprovedWest End Ramp boat
15Largemouth Bass