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



The Spring 2022 electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 82 Bluegill collected ranging from 3.3 – 7.2 inches, with an average length of 4.9 inches. The catch rate of Bluegill slightly decline from the Spring 2020 survey, though the number of Stock-sized fish and the average length increased. However, PSD declined from 32 to 16. This indicates that 16% of the adult fish are over 6 inches. Body condition (plumpness) was adequate overall.



No Channel Catfish were collected during this survey. This “poor” collection is likely not representative of the population as they often evade electrofishing capture. While Gar Lake does not directly receive routine Channel Catfish stockings, Carp Lake is scheduled to receive them on a triennial basis. Due to a direct connection, Channel Catfish can migrate between the two lakes. Fishing Regulation: 6 Fish Daily Harvest Limit.



The Spring 2022 electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 15 Crappie collected (one Black and 14 White Crappie). Lengths ranged from 7.1 – 13.6 inches, with an average length of 11.3 inches. Electrofishing is not considered a “standard” gear for evaluating Crappie populations and trap netting will be used to evaluate this fishery if net locations can be found (trap netting is challenging in waterbodies with steep slopes and quick drop-offs). Fishing Regulation: 10 Fish Daily Harvest Limit.



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



The Spring 2022 electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 45 Largemouth Bass collected ranging from 6 – 19.4 inches, with an average length of 12.3 inches. The catch rate of Largemouth Bass slightly decline from the Spring 2020 survey (1.0/min and 1.3/min, respectively). Average length increased from 9.6 to 12.3 inches, and PSD and PSD-P rose to 54 and 23, respectively. This indicates that 54% percent of the adult population is comprised of fish over 12 inches, and 23% of the adult population is over 15 inches (legal size). Body condition (plumpness) was excellent for all size groups. Fishing Regulation: 15-inch Minimum Length Limit (3 Fish Daily Harvest Limit).

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.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Gar Lake is surveyed on an alternate year basis. While not directly stocked, Carp Lake (Lake #8) receives Channel Catfish from the state hatchery system and these fish likely migrate between the two lakes via a small connection channel.
Besides the sportfish listed above, a variety of other species are present and include Common Carp, Buffalo fish, and other riverine fish species. A Silver Carp was observed in 2020 but avoided capture. Silver Carp have sporadically been sighted in Gar Lake. Silver Carp have access to Gar Lake through the Mazon River (which is, itself, connected to the Illinois River).

No special mercury advisory or other contaminant-related consumption advisories pertain. However, the statewide methylmercury advisory for sensitive populations is in effect (one meal per week of predatory sportfish for the most sensitive populations).

Additional Lake Information: Trolling motor only. Swimming is prohibited. Fishing at the North Unit is closed ten days prior to the opening of the Central Zone Duck Season and reopens after the season ends. During Upland Game Season, the North Unit is open Wednesdays - Sundays (sunrise to 4:00 P.M) and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. After Upland Game Season ends, the North Unit is open 7-days a week. During Winter, only one entrance might be open due to road conditions. Statewide fishing regulations apply.

Additional Site-Specific Fishing Regulations:
All Fish Species - Two Pole and Line Fishing Only.
Channel Catfish – 6 Fish Daily Harvest Limit.
Large or Smallmouth Bass – 15-inch Minimum Length Limit (3 Fish Daily Harvest Limit).
White, Black, or Hybrid Crappie – 10 Fish Daily Harvest Limit

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