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SHELBYVILLE, LAKE

SHELBYVILLE, LAKE FISHING GUIDE


Lake Information

County: Shelby

Acreage: 11100

Average Depth: 18.9 feet

Shoreline Length: 120 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Wilborn Creek Coal Shaft Bridge Whitley Creek Eagle Creek Wolf Creek Lone Point Coon Creek Oppossum Creek Lithia Springs Shelbyville Dam


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Coal Shaft Bridge, Coon Creek, Eagle Creek,
    Kaskaskia River Access, Lithia Springs, Lone Point,
    Oppossum Creek, Shelbyville Dam, Whitley Creek,
    Wilborn Creek, Wolf Creek

Maps are not intended for navigation.


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BIGMOUTH BUFFALO

Good

A fishery for jumbo bigmouth buffalo (up to 20+ pounds) is getting more attention. Despite being primarily planktivores, these abundant and large fish can be targeted along drop-offs with jigging spoons and put up a great battle when hooked. Although bony, they can be scored and fried (smaller fish), canned, or smoked and have a more-mild flavor compared to carp.

BLUEGILL

Fair

Despite the positive effects of floods on the growth rates and body condition of other species, the bluegill population has been relatively unaffected. Although catch rates are good, the size structure of the bluegill population is poor with a very low percentage of bluegill exceeding 7-7.5 inches. A few bluegill near the 8-inch range were collected in 2016 with the Lithia arm producing somewhat larger fish. Fishing prospects for bluegill and other smaller sunfish species (green sunfish and longear sunfish) on Lake Shelbyville is expected to remain poor-fair in 2019.

CARP

Excellent

Common carp are abundant, and reach lengths of 25+ inches and 8+ lbs. They are a common target of bow fishermen. When common carp are canned, they are said to make a good substitute for canned salmon. They are very good when smoked as well and smaller fish can be scored and fried.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Fair

Catfish numbers have been low in standardized fall surveys for many years. Size structure of catfish collected indicates that recruitment is relatively poor in recent years. Moderate catches of larger fish are reported by fishermen, especially on trot lines. Fishing prospects for channel catfish on the lake in 2019 are fair for the number of fish available and fair to good for size structure. Fishing prospects for catfish below the spillway are somewhat better.

CRAPPIE

Excellent

Size structure and the number of fish caught by anglers in 2018 was just short of amazing! Angler catch rates were outstanding in both spring and fall. The fishing prospects for crappie are expected to be excellent for both the number of fish available and size structure in 2019! Anglers are encouraged to keep their limit of five (5) crappie less than 10 inches, especially the more abundant black crappie. Thinning the number of smaller crappie, especially those less than 9.5 inches, will help improve growth and recruitment to larger sizes.

FLATHEAD CATFISH

Fair

Catfish numbers have been low in standardized fall surveys for many years. Size structure of catfish collected indicates that recruitment is relatively poor in recent years, but a few more small flathead catfish were collected in 2018. Moderate catches of larger fish are reported by fishermen, especially on trot lines. Fishing prospects for flathead catfish on the lake in 2019 are fair for the number of fish available and fair to good for size structure. Fishing prospects for catfish below the spillway are somewhat better, especially for flatheads.

FRESHWATER DRUM

Excellent

Freshwater drum are abundant from 0.5 to 3 lbs. They are occasionally used to make “poor-man’s shrimp”, when filleted, sliced vertically, and quickly boiled with a small amount of sugar added to the water.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Fair

Despite good natural reproduction and recruitment in most recent years, the recruitment of bass, age-3+ (14-15”+) to larger sizes, has been much lower than expected, with the reason likely due to alargemouth bass virus. The 2018 year class was very poorly represented due to water level fluctuations not conducive to nesting success, nor fry survival. Tournament results in 2018 were slightly better than 2017, but not by enough. For these reasons, the largemouth bass fishing prospects for 2019 are similar to 2018 and still projected to be good for the number of fish available and only fair for size structure of the population.

MUSKELLUNGE

Fair

No adult muskie were collected in the 2018 standard fall fish population or stocking success surveys. Despite recent increases in the number of muskie stocked, there has a steady decline in the catch rate in fish population surveys on Lake Shelbyville. Although angler catch rates for muskie have been consistent below the spillway, catch rates on the lake were poor in 2012 through 2018, although a few anglers reported catching fish. Fishing prospects for muskie in 2019 are expected to remain poor on the lake for the number of fish available and size structure, but still good for size and number below the spillway.

SAUGER

Good

Previous introductory stockings of sauger, from 2006 through 2017, have contributed significantly to the fishery in past years. Unfortunately, there has been no indication of natural recruitment and only one recent stocking since 2010. The fishing prospects for sauger in the lake should be fair for the number of fish available and excellent for size structure in 2019. Fishing prospects in the river below the spillway should be good for both number and size structure on 2019!

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Poor

Recent attempts to establish a self-sustaining population of smallmouth bass in Lake Shelbyville from the Kaskaskia River population have not produced expected results. Although anglers are catching a few of the stocked smallmouth bass, there has been no indication of natural recruitment. Fishing prospects for smallmouth bass are poor in 2019 due to low stocking rates and a lack of natural recruitment. Anglers are encouraged to release any smallmouth bass caught immediately to improve the survival of these valuable stocked fish. Expanded efforts to raise a greater number of smallmouth bass utilizing two nursery ponds, including the much larger Fin & Feathers Nursery Pond are planned in 2019.

STRIPED BASS

Developing

Striped bass fingerlings were stocked for the first time into Lake Shelbyville in 2018. This is the very large anadromous true bass, historically found in salt water, but has been stocked into freshwater lakes across the nation in recent years. Lake Shelbyville should provide ideal conditions to support a high quality fishery for this species. Research indicates that striped bass will prey exclusively on gizzard shad and will not be a threat to other established game species. Additional stocking are expected in 2019. The regulation for these fish will be a 32” minimum length limit with a creel limit of 2 fish daily. Striped bass can be identified from the other two “true basses” in Lake Shelbyville, white bass and yellow bass, by a longer thin body in the striped bass (similar to a thin largemouth bass), a larger mouth in relationship to its size (again similar to a largemouth bass), a completely white/silver background with very bold and very dark stripes, along with an elongated tooth patch on the tongue that is divided slightly down the center of the patch. White bass have comparatively light greyish stripes on a white background, a solid heart-shaped tooth patch on the tongue, and a deeper body and smaller mouth (resembling crappie). Yellow bass, often mistakenly called “striped bass”, have an obvious yellow/gold hue (hence their namesake), rarely get larger than 9-10 inches, have a deeper body and smaller mouth (again resembling thin crappie), and the spines on the anal fin are equal length for the second and third spine. ID cards will be printed and distributed to local retailers and other locations to help anglers identify these three species.

WALLEYE

Good

The collection rate of walleye varied highly among surveys, but several very large fish were collected in 2017 and two strong year classes appear to be developing (2016 and 2017). The walleye fishing prospects for Lake Shelbyville and the Kaskaskia River (above the lake) are rated as good for the number of fish available and good for size structure in 2019! Fishing prospects below the spillway for walleye are expected to be good for the number of fish available and excellent for size structure in 2019.

WHITE BASS

Good

The white bass population on Lake Shelbyville appears to be rebounding and stabilizing since the population crash in 2012-2013. The catch and size structure was improve and fishing reports were improved for white bass in 2018. The fishing prospects for white bass are expected to be improved over 2018 and are rated good for the number of fish available and good - excellent for size structure in 2019.

YELLOW BASS

Excellent

Yellow bass are very abundant, but rarely get longer than 9 inches. They are very good to eat and despite the smaller size some anglers keep as many as possible.

Location: Lake Shelbyville is located in Shelby and Moultrie Counties in east-central Illinois, with the dam situated on the Kaskaskia River, east of the City of Shelbyville, Illinois.

Description: This lake has a surface area of 11,100 acres, with a maximum depth of 65 feet, and an average depth of 18 feet. Numerous public boat launching facilities are available, with a fee assessed on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed access area boat ramps, and free access on state park or Corps gravel boat ramps. All tournaments must be scheduled through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The fish population in Lake Shelbyville is surveyed annually. Lake Shelbyville is home to at least 32 species of fish. In addition to the lake, a popular fishery exists in the Kaskaskia River just below the spillway and in the West Okaw and Kaskaskia Rivers upstream of the lake. In cooperation between the USACE and the IDNR, two nursery ponds, 6.5 and 0.7 acres, are utilized to improve fishing quality in Lake Shelbyville.

An annual fish attractor project is coordinated by the USACE in coordination with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) on the third Saturday in March. Fish attractor maps can be found here: http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Lake-Shelbyville/Recreation/Fish-Attractor-Maps/

Additional Lake Information: See the Illinois Fishing Information guide for a complete list of regulations for Lake Shelbyville and other USACE and IDNR project ponds and lakes. Regulation signs are posted at all boat ramps and major access points. All fishing tournaments on USACE ramps require a permit from the USACE office.

Regulation note: Unfortunately the regulations for striped bass were not included in the 2019 booklet. Regulations signs are posted at all boat ramps and major access points. You are encouraged to direct any questions or concerns to Mike Mounce, IDNR Fisheries, 217-345-2420.

NEWS: The Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance (LSFHA) was formed in 2017 with the purpose to apply to granting agencies for funding to improve angling quality on the Lake Shelbyville. Many individuals, fishing clubs, tournament organizers, businesses, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, and governmental agencies came together to form and support the LSFHA. Fundraising resulted in building 262 Lake Shelbyville cubes and Georgia cube fish attractors, which have been placed in the lake. So far the cubes have been paying off very well, with numerous reports of good catches coming from the cubes. Large numbers of fish are congregating on the structures in as little as two days after deployment! The LSFHA will be developing further fish habitat in summer or early fall 2018. Additional funding sources have been identified and will be pursued in 2018 and 2019. In addition to the cube attractors, an aquatic plant nursery was developed by the USACE, and 100s of plants produced and planted into Lake Shelbyville. These plantings are protected by wire-mesh exclosures which can be found in each of the major arms of the lake. Results and activities can be observed on our Facebook page; Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance—watch for future structure building events this coming year, as several are planned!

Contact Information:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
217-774-3951
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Mike Mounce
217-345-2420

There were 78 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 1
Crappie 2283
Largemouth Bass 3374

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

1     6.30 lbs
2     6.10 lbs
3     5.89 lbs
4     5.88 lbs
5     5.88 lbs

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

1     745.06 lbs
2     483.17 lbs
3     436.25 lbs
4     312.51 lbs
5     263.15 lbs


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

2019 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Open to Public?
March-23March-2412639ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
April-0611106ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
No
April-0713087ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
9Largemouth Bass
No
April-1310894ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-13April-1412179ApprovedLithia Springs Rec. Area boat
hook
7Largemouth Bass
No
April-1411006ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2010758ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2013237PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
40Blue Catfish
Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Yes
April-2711857ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Crappie
Yes
April-27April-2812252ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
May-0112036ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
200Crappie
No
May-0112473ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0410900ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0411738ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
120Crappie
No
May-0412644ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Crappie
No
May-0511009ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0511360ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0812481ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1110771ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1811107ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
May-1811861ApprovedOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
No
May-1812126ApprovedForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
50Crappie
Yes
May-1910685ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1912127ApprovedForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
50Crappie
Yes
May-2212474ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-2912482ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0110908ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0210805ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0211011ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0211278ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0211482ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
June-0211917ApprovedForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
No
June-0212582ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-0811151ApprovedOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-0811276ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
230Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0812039ApprovedWhitley Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-08June-0912296ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
June-0910737ApprovedLithia Springs Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0910785ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
June-0912040ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-0912530ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-1212475ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-1511108ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
June-1611697ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-1912483ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-2210784ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-22June-2311645ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
bow
30Multiple SpeciesYes
June-2211920ApprovedOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
June-2312060ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-2312089ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
July-0312476ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-0610791ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-0710827ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-1012484ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-1311037ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
July-1311109ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
July-1311698ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
July-1312567ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-13July-1413238PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
40Blue Catfish
Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Yes
July-1411992ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
July-2010801ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-2011308ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-2012555ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
July-2110838ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-2112062ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
July-2412477ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-2710916ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-3112485ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1010809ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1011145ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
August-1110811ApprovedOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
August-1110847ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1111147ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
August-1111534ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
August-1412478ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1711148ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
August-17August-1811279ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
24Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2112486ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2410921ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2411014ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
August-24August-2511318ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
August-2510860ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2510971ApprovedOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
August-2511535ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
September-0412479ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-0711175ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
September-07September-0811277ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
230Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-1112487ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-1410924ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-1411110ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
September-1510794ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
September-2110825ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-2211398ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
September-2213239PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
40Blue Catfish
Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
Yes
September-2512480ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
October-0212488ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
October-0511041ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
October-0511974ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
October-0612065ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
October-1211111ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
October-19October-2011981ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
15Crappie
No
November-0212531ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
No
November-0912892PendingForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
30Crappie
Yes
November-2412893PendingWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
30Crappie
No