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Lake Information

County: Wayne

Acreage: 194

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 10hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

  Trout stocked in fall

  Trout stocked in spring

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



Fewer bluegill were collected in 2016 than in the previous three years, but the population status remained essentially the same. Fish over 6 inches comprised 50% of the sample, while 19% were larger than 7 inches. Body condition of bluegill was slightly lower than the management plan goal range.


Very Good

Nine channel catfish were collected per hour in Sam Dale Lake during the 2016 survey, which was nearly identical to the previous year. These fish ranged in size from 14 to 26 inches and displayed good body condition. Channel catfish are stocked annually to maintain the population. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit.


Very Good

Largemouth bass were collected in Sam Dale Lake at an impressive rate in fall 2016, and 36% were larger than 12 inches. Approximately 16% of these fish were also larger than the 14-inch minimum size limit. Body condition of Sam Dale largemouth bass was very good. Site Regulation: 14 inch length limit, 6 per day creel.



A remnant population of pure muskellunge exists in Sam Dale Lake as a result of stockings related to a statewide research project. However, no muskies were collected during the fall 2016 survey. Site Regulation: 48 inch length limit, 1 per day creel.


Very Good

Similar to the previous year, redear were much less abundant than bluegill in 2016, and just 19 were collected per hour of electrofishing. However, quality of these fish was impressive, with 81% over 8 inches in length. Redear body condition was also within the goal range.



The white crappie population in Sam Dale Lake is somewhat stunted with many fish 6 to 9 inches in length. The fall 2016 survey produced white crappie 3 to 13 inches with 70% larger than 8 inches and 9% over 10 inches in length. Crappie body condition was acceptable.

Location: Sam Dale Lake is located in northwestern Wayne County within Sam Dale Lake State Park five miles northwest of Johnsonville, Illinois.

Description: Sam Dale Lake is a relatively fertile, 194-acre, IDNR-owned impoundment. The lake is largely surrounded by forest and has two boat ramps.

Additional Lake Information: Boats are allowed on the lake, but are limited to 10 horsepower.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth bass: 14 inch length limit, 6 fish daily limit.
Channel catfish: 6 fish daily limit.
Muskellunge: 48 inch length limit, 1 fish daily limit.

Contact Information:
Sam Dale State Park
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Luke Nelson

There were 8 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 141

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1     7.43 lbs
2     6.94 lbs
3     6.06 lbs
4     5.05 lbs
5     5.00 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1 65.75 lbs
2 56.36 lbs
3 41.25 lbs
4 40.17 lbs
5 38.85 lbs