Choose another lake

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


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.

2019-2020 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
November-1613732ApprovedForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoNo
April-1814678PendingForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoNo
April-2513835PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
April-2514771PendingWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
15Crappie
NoYes
April-2614574ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0314525PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-0614811PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
200Crappie
NoNo
May-0913879PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0914268ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-0914411PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-0914679PendingForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
80Crappie
NoYes
May-0914930PendingWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoYes
May-16
*May-17
14772ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
15Crappie
NoNo
May-1714045PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1714060PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1714526PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-30
*May-31
14421PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
21Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-3114320PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0613896PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0614412ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0614681PendingForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoNo
June-0714041ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0714496ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
YesYes
June-0714625PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
6Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
NoNo
June-0714643PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1313785PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-13
*June-14
14073PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1414575ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-1414812PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
6Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2014815PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
125Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-2713909PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-2714413ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2814321PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2814576ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
July-1113788PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1813923PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
July-1814427ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1913793PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1914516PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-2513794PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-25
*July-26
14481PendingOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-2613797PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-2614577ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
August-0114414ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-0914083PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-1513933PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
August-2213803PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-2913938PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
August-2914235PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-3014382PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-3014580ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-1214077PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1214415ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1314062PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1914236PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1914468PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-2014581ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-2014773ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
15Crappie
NoNo
September-26
*September-27
14423PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
21Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-26
*September-27
14816PendingDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
125Largemouth Bass
NoYes
October-0314637PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-0414185PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-0914864ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-1014416ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-17
*October-18
14840ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-17
*October-18
14931PendingEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
25Crappie
NoYes
October-2414685PendingForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoNo
October-3114201PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
16Largemouth Bass
NoNo
November-0714687PendingForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoNo