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Lake Information

County: Tazewell

Acreage: 660

Average Depth: 2.89 feet

Shoreline Length: 5.2 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 25hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

larger map link Spring Lake North Spring Lake South

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    Spring Lake North, Spring Lake South

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status


Very Good

This lake is characterized by a heavy growth of aquatic vegetation for much of the spring, summer and fall. The largemouth bass population is in transition from many large fish to many young, intermediate-sized fish. A common carp spawn in 2011 produced this change in the bass fishery. The Lake is starting to produce a better largemouth bass population as some control of carp spawns has occurred. IDNR is in the process of undertaking management of the weeds to increase bass numbers and sizes available to anglers. There is a window of opportunity for anglers to access the fishery from March 15 through April 30, or until the aquatic vegetation becomes too dense to fish. Fishing with surface lures at night has been a traditional method of catching large bass at South Spring Lake. A review of the data generated by the 2014 fall fish population sample shows that 15.1 % of the largemouth bass collected were over 15.0 inches in length. The young-adult ratio of the sample showed that a tremendous bass spawn occurred in the spring of 2013 and will be developing into an excellent population in coming few years.



Spring Lake has an excellent population of northern pike and is the state’s brood source for this species. It is not uncommon to catch pike of 10-12 pounds early in the spring. These fish are found in the spring seeps adjacent to the bluff on the east side of the lake. Because of the shallowness of the lake (2.9 average depth), northern pike are well suited to this spring–rich environment. The largest northern pike caught from South Spring Lake was 20 pounds. The last population survey showed that the average size of fish caught was 26 inches in length with a weight of 5.4 pounds.

Location: South Spring Lake is a 610 acre body of water located 6 miles north and west of Manito, Illinois, adjacent to the Illinois River.

Description: South Spring Lake is an elongated backwater lateral marsh of the Illinois River. It was separated by a high levee from the Illinois River in 1916. The South Lake was separated from the North Lake in 1978 by a stop log structure and a spillway for discharge water. South Spring Lake receives 103 acre feet of recharge daily from springs and seeps. Spring Lake currently has a 25 horsepower limit for outboard motors. The main access is via the Spring Lake blacktop road. A single lane boat ramp is located south of the causeway which crosses Spring Lake. South Spring Lake is a shallow, very fertile backwater. It has a 60% coverage of aquatic vegetation after April and until November of each year.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: South Spring Lake was rehabilitated in 1986 to remove an undesirable carp-gizzard shad fish population. As a result of the rehabilitation, an excellent fish population resulted. Water clarity improved and aquatic weeds flourished. Good fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and catfish soon resulted. As part of an effort to develop a brood source for northern pike, Spring Lake has been stocked with that species for 25 years. Northern pike are trap netted at the lake and spawned at the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery in March of each year. A total of over half a million eggs are produced for state-wide northern pike needs each year. Because of its shallow water and clarity, South Spring Lake has a tremendous coverage of aquatic vegetation. As part of an effort to reduce coverage of Eurasian milfoil (an exotic invasive plant), South Spring Lake is treated with DMA4-2, 4D each year.

Additional Lake Information: The lake is closed to boat fishing one week prior to regular waterfowl season, and until the end of waterfowl season each year. Horsepower limit: 25hp. Rental boats available. Tournaments must register at the site office no later than 30 days before the tournament.

New Site Regulation Effective April 2018:
Largemouth bass: protected slot length from 12 to 18 inches, with the harvest of 3 fish either over or under this protected slot.

Contact Information:
Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Site Superintendent
7982 South Park Rd.
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Bushman

There were 3 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 50

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

1     6.33 lbs
2     5.74 lbs
3     5.56 lbs
4     5.48 lbs
5     5.28 lbs

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

1     39.89 lbs
2     26.71 lbs
3     11.50 lbs