Lake Information

County: Grundy

Acreage: 34

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Trolling Motor Only

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



Smaller bluegills dominated the 2019 spring collection although the total number captured increased greatly. Larger bluegills were not common in this survey but with good recruitment and fair growth of the prevalent 5 and 6-inch groups, better bluegill angling may be ahead for this lake.



Channel catfish up to 25” were collected in the spring 2019 although very few were collected. This is not unexpected given that gill netting, a fair superior sampling method, was not employed in 2019. With the exception of the 2011 survey, which yielded 20 fish, channel catfish have never been collected in high number (generally 10 or less). Stockings, when they have occurred, result in fish being released at the boat ramp to Lake #8. To enter Lake #9 these fish must navigate the narrow connection between the lakes, which may or may not happen. It is also possible that some catfish enter the lake from the Mazon River during high water periods.


Very Good

The collection of white crappie decreased from the previous survey with an identical number of black crappie were collected as well. The overall crappie collection was likely impacted by the omission of trap netting from the 2019 survey. In 2017 that gear type accounted for the majority of the crappie collected. Larger crappie were not common in the 2019 survey, which results in declines in most population structural indices as well as overall average size.



Three species of gar have been collected from this lake with longnose gar the most prevalent. Longnose gar in excess of 40” are routinely collected during IDNR surveys.



Although the number of largemouth bass collected in 2019 declined from the previous survey, those numbers were more in line with historic values. The 2017 survey was heavily influenced by a preponderance of young-of-the-year bass which were far less common in 2019. Averaging 11.8” the number of quality size and larger bass (12”-plus) increased slightly. At the same time the percentage of legal size bass increased and the percentage of bass 15” and larger climbed to a ten-year high.

Location: Gar Lake (Lake #9) is located within the Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area Main Unit, 3 miles southwest of Braidwood in Grundy County on Illinois Route 53 and Huston Road.

Description: Gar Lake is one of the largest impoundments in the Mazonia Main Unit, covering 34.0 surface acres. It is connected by a narrow channel to Carp Lake (Lake #8). Gar Lake also receives water from the Mazon River during high water periods, which has resulted in diversification of the fish population. Shoreline access is limited by extensive stands of tall reed grass. Boaters can access the lake by launching at the Carp Lake ramp. Gar Lake is closed to fishing during upland game and waterfowl season. Following the completion of the hunting seasons, it reopens for ice fishing dependent upon ice conditions.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Gar Lake is surveyed on an alternate year basis. Fish stocking has included channel catfish and northern pike (discontinued due to poor results). No special mercury advisory or other contaminant-related consumption advisories pertain.

A silver carp was observed in 2017, but avoided capture.

In addition to the species listed, a variety of other species that can be caught include common carp, bullheads and various sucker species.

Additional Lake Information: Trolling motor only. Two pole and line fishing only.

Site Regulations:
Bluegill or redear sunfish – 10 fish daily limit on Ponderosa, unlimited elsewhere
Channel catfish: 6 fish daily limit
Largemouth bass: 15” minimum length limit; 3 fish daily limit
White, black, or hybrid crappie – 10 fish daily limit

Contact Information:
Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish & Wildlife Area
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Seth Love