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Lake Information

County: Fulton

Acreage: 220

Average Depth: 14.01 feet

Shoreline Length: 7.2 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 85hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

larger map link Dam Ramp

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Dam, Boat Ramp

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Largemouth Bass











Additional information for stocking on CANTON LAKE

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



In 2019, 4 fish were sampled from 15 to 37.8 inches long. In 1999 and 2001, blue catfish were stocked into Canton Lake in three stockings with a total of 15,200 fish stocked. At stocking these fish averaged 4" to 8.5" in length. The turbid water conditions have permitted natural reproduction and recruitment to maintain the blue catfish population.



The bluegill population catch per unit of effort was low at 1.8 fish per minute in 2019. Very few bluegill are over 7 inches at this time. The bluegill population has been slow growing with stunting occurring before seven inches in length. This poor quality bluegill fishery is mainly due to severe food and space competition with the carp, yellow bass and now gizzard shad.



In 2019, 23 fish were collected by trap nets and the electrofishing survey. The body condition was excellent and 61% of the fish were over 18 inches in length. The turbid water conditions have permitted natural reproduction and recruitment to maintain the channel catfish population.


Very Good

The white and black crappie populations were represented by 28 and 18 fish respectively in 2019. The quality of the crappie population has improved dramatically over the past 10 years. A quality size population is now present at a low density of fish from 7.5 to 14 inches. The white crappie are present in a much higher density of quality fish. The white crappie population values showed 100% of the fish over 10 inches and the black crappie values showed 33% of the fish over 10 inches. The WR (Relative weight) values were at 96 and 90.



In 2019, 49 flathead catfish were sampled by D.C. electrofishing. The size range was from 13 to 41 inches in length. The turbid water conditions and riprap shoreline areas have permitted natural reproduction and recruitment to maintain the flathead catfish population.



In 2019, the electrofishing catch per unit for bass over 8 inches was at 1.4 fish/minute which is at the goal of at least 1 fish per minute. Maintaining a stable bass population density will require consistent recruitment at least every other year. The size distribution and the percentage of bass over 15 and 18 inches maintained a very good level in 2019. 35% were over 15 inches and 5% were over 18 inches.


Very Good

In 2019, 18 muskie were sampled in the spring trapnet survey. They ranged from 16.5 to 38 inches in length and were in excellent body condition with an average Wr of 100. The shad forage base will provide fast growth in Canton Lake. The main mortality in Canton Lake for muskie will probably be escapement over the spillway during annual high water events.

Location: Canton Lake is located 1 mile northest of the town of Canton in Fulton County.

Description: Canton Lake is a 250-acre lake constructed in 1939 and was the primary potable water source for the city of Canton. Canton Lake has a maximum depth of 35 feet and an average depth of 14 feet. This water reservoir holds approximately 3,500 acre feet of water with 7.2 miles of shoreline. The 9,728 acre watershed is 82% agricultural, 12% woodland, and 6% municipal and residential. Historical water quality samples revealed a secchi disk average of 23 inches, a pH of 8.3, and total alkalinity of 135 mg/L. Conductivity readings averaged 375 umhos.

No submerged rooted aquatic vegetation is present in Canton Lake.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The overall sport fishery of Canton Lake has been at an average level over the last 20 years. The high density carp population and sedimentation problem have a direct negative effect of the rooted, submerged aquatic plants. With turbid water conditions, the carp thrive and continue the poor water quality, thus affecting the food chain and sport fish population. The addition of gizzard shad and yellow bass have made Canton Lake very difficult to manage for quality largemouth bass and bluegill.

IDNR conducts annual surveys to measure trends in fishery population dynamics, angling regulations and progress toward management goals.

The sport fishery in Canton Lake has developed into a quality location for flathead, blue and channel catfish. In 1997, 1998 and 1999, a total of 990 flathead catfish were stocked into Canton lake from the Illinois River periodically from June until January. In 1999 and 2001, blue catfish were stocked into Canton Lake in three stockings with a total of 15,200 fish stocked. All three species have established naturally reproducing populations in Canton Lake with quality fish present.

Starting in 2000, pure muskie have been stocked semiannually in Canton Lake.

Supplemental largemouth bass stockings have occurred when surplus fish are available from the state hatchery. Food competition and/or lack of desirable food (aquatic insects, larval fish) for young bass under nine inches is probably a major factor in poor recruitment of young bass to larger sizes in Canton Lake. Once reaching approximately nine inches, the bass are able to eat larger food (small fish) and not have the food source competition with yellow bass, crappie, bluegill and carp.

Additional species that have historically been collected in limited numbers include golden shiner, black bullhead, white sucker, green wunfish, yellow bullhead, northern pike and white catfish.

Additional Lake Information: Listing of the Sport Fish Regulations in Effect
All FISH - 2 pole and line fishing only

Species Size Limit Creel Limit
Largemouth bass 15 inch minimum 3 fish/day*
& Smallmouth bass
Channel Catfish None 6 fish/day
& Blue Catfish
Tiger Muskie 42 inch minimum 1 fish/day
& Muskie

*daily limit includes all largemouth and smallmouth bass
either singly or in the aggregate.

Contact Information:
Canton City Hall
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Rob Hilsabeck

There were 4 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Flathead Catfish 1
Largemouth Bass 98

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1     5.90 lbs
2     4.94 lbs
3     4.78 lbs
4     4.58 lbs
5     3.97 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1 94.75 lbs
2 62.06 lbs
3 49.61 lbs
4 43.58 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.

2021 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
August-0717377ApprovedCanton Lake boat
20Largemouth Bass