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Lake Information

County: McLean

Acreage: 161

Average Depth: 10.1 feet

Shoreline Length: 5.1 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? idle speed/no wake 10hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

large map link campground dam

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

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Redear Sunfish

Fingerling 1 - 3"



Walleye x Sauger (Saugeye)

Fingerling 1 - 3"



Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Walleye x Sauger (Saugeye)

Fingerling 1 - 3"


Additional information for stocking on Dawson Lake - MVSRA

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



During the most recent survey, Black Crappie were collected at a rate of 64 per hour and the average catch rate is 58.9 per hour. Of the Black Crappie collected over 5”, 100% were over 8” and 11% were over 10”. The crappie fishery is dominated by crappie just above 9 inches. Site Regulation: 15 fish daily limit.



During the most recent survey, Bluegill were collected at a rate of 171 per hour. Of the Bluegill over 3 inches, 35% were over 6 inches and none were over 8 inches. The Bluegill fishery is rated as fair. To improve the Bluegill fishery, only 5 Bluegill over 8 inches will be allowed to be harvested. Anglers will be allowed to harvest 20 Bluegill in total, which is an increase from the old regulation of 15 per day. It is important to not overharvest large Bluegill from the fishery. Site Regulation: 20 fish daily limit, only 5 fish over 8" limit.


Very Good

Channel Catfish are stocked each year from the State Hatchery System. The latest survey collected 16 catfish per hour and represents a high number of catfish in Dawson. The average catch rate for the past 10 surveys is 27.4 per hour. Approximately 23% of the catfish collected were over 16 inches. The catfish population is maintained from annual stockings. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit.


Very Good

The most recent bass survey resulted in a catch rate of 158 bass per hour. Of the bass collected over 8 inches, 53% were over 12 inches and 32% were over 15 inches. A new regulation was implemented in 2015 to increase the number of larger bass in the lake. The regulation will allow anglers to remove 2 bass under 15 inches and only one bass over 15 inches. Gizzard shad were first collected in 2018 and may improve the growth rate and size structure of the bass population. The catch rate for bass over 15 inches in 2023 was the highest catch rate recorded in over 20 years. Site Regulation: 2 fish less than 15" and 1 fish greater than 15", 3 fish daily limit

SAUGEYE (Walleye/Sauger Hybrid)


Saugeye have been stocked into Dawson Lake since 2003. During the most recent Saugeye electrofishing survey, 57 Saugeye were collected per hour of sampling. The Saugeye ranged in length from 14 inches to 26.6 inches. The heaviest Saugeye weighed 7.98 pounds and the average weight for all Saugeye was 3 pounds. Dawson has an excellent Saugeye fishery. Site Regulation: 15" minimum length limit, no more than 1 fish over 20", 3 fish daily limit

Location: Dawson Lake is located in Moraine View State Recreation Area. Dawson Lake is located between Bloomington/Normal and Champaign/Urbana north of I-74 at the LeRoy exit.

Description: This fertile 160.8 acre lake was built in 1962 and has a maximum depth of 25.5 feet and an average depth of 10 feet. Presently, an idle-speed/no-wake speed limit exists for boat motors over 10 horsepower and no speed limit for motors 10 horsepower or less. There is a two-lane launching ramp and docking facility. A concession stand, located near the boat dock and launch, offers dock and boat rental, fishing tackle, bait, refreshments and various supplies. A restaurant, seating 60, serves breakfast and lunch daily. Bowfishing is allowed from a boat.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The IDNR Division of Fisheries has been active in the management of the fisheries in Dawson Lake since the lake was constructed in 1962. The lake receives stockings of Saugeye and Channel Catfish.

Additional Lake Information: 2 pole and line fishing only, except that bowfishing is allowed from a boat.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth Bass: 2 fish less than 15" and 1 fish greater than 15", 3 fish daily limit
Walleye/Saugeye: 15" minimum length limit, no more than 1 fish over 20", 3 fish daily limit
Channel Catfish: 6 fish daily limit
Crappie: 15 fish daily limit
Redear Sunfish/Bluegill: Only 5 fish over 8", 20 fish daily limit

Contact Information:
Moraine View Recreation Area
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Mike Garthaus

There were 7 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2023.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 162
Walleye 1

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2023 tournaments:

1     4.53 lbs
2     4.30 lbs
3     4.20 lbs
4     4.04 lbs
5     3.77 lbs

Top 5 Total Tournament Weight of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2023 tournaments:

1 88.38 lbs
2 87.82 lbs
3 38.56 lbs
4 22.08 lbs
5 10.91 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.

2024 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
July-1426355ApprovedMain Ramp boat
15Largemouth Bass
August-1126080ApprovedMain Ramp boat
6Largemouth Bass
September-1725965ApprovedMain Ramp boat
20Largemouth Bass