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Lake Information

County: Franklin

Acreage: 18900

Average Depth: 14.99 feet

Shoreline Length: 162 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Nason Access Turnip Patch North Marina Gun Creek Marcum Access Ina Access

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
     Dam West, Gun Creek, Ina Access, Marcum Access, Nason Access,
    North Marina, Turnip Patch

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status


Very Good

The size structure of the bluegill population remained stable. Bluegill will be abundant in the coming year with most keepers 6.5"- 8" in length and averaging 1/3 lb or less with a few larger fish reaching 1/2 lb. With above average growth rates and excellent body condition, the population should continue to provide good fishing in the coming year.



The fishing prospects for channel catfish remain excellent for the coming year. Natural reproduction and recruitment continue to be very strong, and are responsible for maintaining the large population of fish in the lake. The catch rate for channel catfish increased for the second consecutive year, and remained excellent. The condition of these fish is fair and growth rates are good. In the coming year, channel catfish from 1 – 3.5 pounds should be abundant with larger fish up to 6 pounds common. This lake remains one of the premier channel catfish waters in southern Illinois, and should remain on your list of places to fish for channels in 2017.



The size structure of the crappie population declined significantly in 2013 and 2014, but improved in 2015 and remained stable in 2016. The portion of the crappie population comprised of fish over 10” in length remained at 14%. This is still below the target of 20% of the population, but significantly higher than the low mark in 2014. The catch rate fell from a record high of 123 crappie per net-night in 2014 to 64 per net-night in 2016. This decline combined with the improved size structure of the population suggests mortality and growth rates are both high enough to prevent the population from stunting. With stable growth rates, the size structure of the population should improve even further in the coming year. For 2017, crappie 10"-12" in length and averaging 1/2 to 1+ pound will be abundant enough to provide some quality angling opportunities. Crappie 8”- 10” remain abundant as well and will also contribute to the creel. The number of crappie over 12” in length remains stable and relatively low. The condition of all sizes of crappie remains near the low end of the target range. Crappie reproduction was strong in 2016 for the fourth consecutive year. Regulations will remain unchanged in 2017, but the population will be monitored closely. Site Regulation: White, Black or Hybrid Crappie: 25 daily limit, not more than 10 exceeding 10".



The size structure of the bass population improved over the past year, and data from the most recent population survey show all population indices still remained within the target goals and the condition of all sizes of fish is excellent. The percentage of the population exceeding the 14" minimum length limit increased 36%. Currently 38% of the adult bass population exceeds the 14-inch minimum length limit. The excellent bass body condition is the direct result of another large shad population. With the abundant food supply, bass growth rates should be excellent, and this should help to improve the size structure of the population even further in the coming year. Bass fishing in 2017 should be similar to 2016. The majority of fish above the minimum length limit will be 14” – 19” and weigh between 1.5 – 4 pounds. The number of larger bass over 20" in length remains stable but low. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit, 14" minimum length limit.


Very Good

The number of white bass collected in the fall 2016 electrofishing survey fell significantly. Difficult sampling conditions likely influenced this decline. Reproduction was good in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and white bass fishing was good throughout most of 2016. Fishing should be good in 2017. Anglers can expect the catchable population to be largely comprised of fish 12”- 16” in length and weighing 0.6 – 2 pounds. A smaller group of fish 6” – 8” in length will also contribute to the creel. Site Regulation: 20 daily limit, not more than 3 exceeding 17".

Detailed fishing report   

Fishing Report






Good using rooster tails and spoons. In-line spinners, jigs & curly tail grubs. Reports of fish being caught anywhere the shad are moving. Try the main lake points first. Fish around the rocks and drop-offs, near brush cover / bushes.



Excellent using large minnows, shrimp, leeches, cut shad, dip bait, nightcrawlers & Sonnys stink bait. Try leeches in moving water. Drift fish near the creek channels on the main lake. Also, try Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, and Jackie Branch as well. Creeks are doing well.



Good using small jigs, worms, meal worms, wax worms & crickets. From shore try Sailboat Harbor and Mine 21 Road. Fish shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs. Try in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks. Set bait at half of water depth.



Excellent using small or medium minnows on a cork over the brush. Also using qtr oz pink/white tube jigs & meal worms. Shallow water! Work the fish attractors. From shore, fish near structures. Hot spots are Sailboat Harbor, Sandusky Cove, and North & South Marcum. Some brush piles are holding lots of fish, keep moving and you will find the right spot. Try the main lake drop off areas.



Good using minnows, spinnerbaits, worms, black/blue jigs & crankbaits. Reports of fish being caught around Turnip Patch, Sandusky Cove, and South Marcum Cove. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Try around submerged trees and along the rocks.

Location: Rend Lake is located in Franklin and Jefferson counties along IL Interstate 57 approximately 15 miles south of Mt. Vernon and just northwest of Benton.

Description: Rend Lake was completed in 1971 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake was formed by constructing a 2-mile-long dam across the Big Muddy River floodplain. At normal pool, Rend Lake has a surface area of 18,900 acres, a maximum depth of 35 feet, and a mean depth of 10 feet. The lake is thirteen miles long and three miles wide and has 162 miles of shoreline. It is the second largest impoundment in Illinois.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: There are more than 30 species of fish in Rend Lake. In addition to traditional sport fish, Rend Lake also contains large populations of carp, buffalo, gar, drum, and shad. The fish population is surveyed annually.

Additional Lake Information: Tournaments: For tournament permits, contact Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park at 618-629-2320.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth, Smallmouth or Spotted Bass: 6 fish daily limit, 14" minimum length limit
White, Black or Hybrid Crappie: 25 daily limit, not more than 10 exceeding 10"
White, Yellow or Hybrid Striped Bass: 20 daily limit, not more than 3 exceeding 17"

Fish Attractors:

Contact Information:
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park:
Shawn Hirst, IDNR Fisheries Biologist: 618-687-4546

There were 79 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2017.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 80
Crappie 318
Largemouth Bass 4584

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2017 tournaments:

1     8.75 lbs
2     7.19 lbs
3     6.92 lbs
4     6.88 lbs
5     6.62 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2017 tournaments:

1     862.13 lbs
2     671.75 lbs
3     469.94 lbs
4     382.38 lbs
5     381.81 lbs

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

2018 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Open to Public?
September-299391ApprovedGun Creek South (Golf Course Ramp) boat
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
September-307906ApprovedSailboat Harbor ( Harbor Oaks) boat
75Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-06October-077934ApprovedSailboat Harbor ( Harbor Oaks) boat
75Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
October-1410562ApprovedSailboat Harbor ( Harbor Oaks) boat
12Largemouth Bass
October-20October-219851ApprovedSailboat Harbor ( Harbor Oaks) boat
8Largemouth Bass
October-20October-2110442ApprovedDam West (20 boat limit) boat
7Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
October-2110560PendingSailboat Harbor ( Harbor Oaks) boat
15Largemouth Bass