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Lake Information

County: Peoria

Acreage: 45

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 25hp Limit

Boat Ramps? No

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

larger map link West End East End

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    East End, West End

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There are zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



The bluegill population was sampled by 2 stock-size fish in 2016. The bluegill population continues to have a poor size structure and body condition. No fish were over 7 inches in length. The food and space competition with gizzard shad and common carp have continued the slow growth of the bluegill.



The channel catfish population are in good body condition and 98% of the fish were over 18 inches in length. An annual stocking of up to 700 non vulnerable channel catfish occurs each year. Site Regulation: Six fish daily limit.



In 2016, there was an improvement in the size structure for both of the crappie populations from the last 5 years. Over 30% of the crappie population was over the 9 inch minimum size limit. Site Regulation: 25 fish daily limit, 9" minimum length limit.



A brood stock introduction of flathead catfish was completed in 2000. 126 fish were stocked at an average weight of 4.9 pounds each. These fish should reproduce and maintain a low density population in the Marsh. Their diet has been shown to consist mainly of gizzard shad, bullheads, crawfish, carp, bluegill and crappie. In 2016, 10 fish from 22 to 43.7 inches were collected. Natural reproduction and recruitment has been occurring in Wheel Lake.



The largemouth bass population, evaluated by lectrofishing in 2016, showed a high percentage of fish from 7 to 20 inches with good relative weight values. The 2016 survey indicated a size structure that is continuing to maintain a good level and stability since 2001. Site Regulation: 3 fish daily limit, 12 – 18" protected slot length.


Very Good

A total of 26 muskie were sampled by the spring trapnet survey in 2016, and ranged in size from 24 to 45.3 inches long. The body condition of these fish was very good. Muskie had been stocked annually in Wheel Lake since the fall of 1996 at a rate of 350 fish per year. No muskie were stocked in 2015 or 2016. A triennial stocking is now scheduled to maintain a moderate density of healthy muskie. Illinois (Jake Wolf) muskie strain appear to be doing very good in this lake. Site Regulation: 1 fish daily limit, 42" minimum length limit.



A limited population of large fish is present from a single stocking. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit, 14" minimum length limit.

Location: Wheel Lake is located in Central Illinois in the 5,524 acre Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area, which lies adjacent to the Illinois River, 4 miles north of Banner, Illinois, along Route 24.

Description: Banner Marsh SFWA was characterized by narrow strip pits and upland ponds, but in 1994, the hydrology changed due to the intentional cessation of pumping operations in the levee district. The water level rose approximately 7 feet (435 M.S.L.) due mainly to groundwater recharge by seepage under the existing 1-100 year flood-tight levee with the Illinois River. The total surface water acreage for the site increased from 530 acres to approximately 2400 acres and created a large vegetated littoral zone.

Wheel Lake (approximately 350 acres) is a deep final cut lake which is connected to a large series of strip mine wheel cut lakes. The wheel cut portion contains points, islands, flooded brush and diverse aquatic vegetation, while the final cut portion has little littoral zone and gravel substrate. The maximum water depth is 60 feet. Water clarity averages 4 feet in the summer.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The former bottomland lake and marsh was leveed and drained for agricultural practice from 1910 through 1958. From 1958 to1974 approximately 90 percent of the site was strip-mined for coal. The strip-mined areas have since been reclaimed and purchased by the State of Illinois. Under the management of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (1978 - present) the primary objective for the site is to establish a freshwater marsh providing fish and wildlife habitat in the Illinois River Valley.

For fishing reports: Banner Marsh Ponds

For other lakes in the Banner Marsh SFWA:

Johnson Lake
Shovel Lake

Additional Lake Information: The East Point access area has a concrete boat ramp, 50 vehicle and trailer parking lot, restrooms and a picnic pavilion. The lake has a 25 hp motor limit. The site is open 24 hours a day, except for the Central Zone Duck Season, at which time only shoreline fishing is allowed after 1:00 p.m. Two-pole and line fishing only, except carp can be taken by bow and arrow devices, gigs or spears during May through August.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth/smallmouth bass: 3 fish daily limit, 12 – 18" protected slot length
Channel catfish: 6 fish daily limit
Walleye: 6 fish daily limit, 14" minimum length limit
White and black crappie: 25 fish daily limit, 9" minimum length limit
Muskie: 1 fish daily limit, 42" minimum length limit

Contact Information:
Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Rob Hilsabeck

There were 16 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2019.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 202

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2019 tournaments:

1     5.53 lbs
2     5.44 lbs
3     5.44 lbs
4     5.35 lbs
5     4.93 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2019 tournaments:

1 42.58 lbs
2 42.06 lbs
3 41.96 lbs
4 35.99 lbs
5 35.67 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.

2020 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
May-1714034ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
May-1715013ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
25Largemouth Bass
June-1414191ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
18Largemouth Bass
July-1114635ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
15Largemouth Bass
July-1914430ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
15Largemouth Bass
August-0815442ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
30Largemouth Bass
August-2214253ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
August-2214276ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
20Largemouth Bass
September-2015574ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
3Largemouth Bass
September-2714089ApprovedBanner Marsh Wheel Lake boat
18Largemouth Bass