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Closure for season: The closure of the east and west arms of the lake is in effect (October 21, 2021). They will be closed to fishing from today until waterfowl season goes out. You can still utilize the middle arm of the lake for fishing. The areas will reopen for all and in full on February 1st.

Lake Information

County: Christian

Acreage: 2325

Average Depth: 13.12 feet

Shoreline Length: 97.4 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 25hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Ellis East Harbor Tovey West Hill Sangchris North East Arms

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    East Arms, East Harbor, Ellis, North, Tovey, West Hill

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status


Very Good

The channel catfish population is doing well both in quantity and quality. Fish up to 8 pounds are surveyed most years. A total of 39 channel catfish were collected while electrofishing in 2016 (7 fish/hr). Channel catfish collected in 2016 measured from 8.5 – 21.5” and weighed up to 3.7 lbs. Anglers can catch channel catfish in the warmer months using bottom fishing techniques near deadfalls and woody debris with cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or night crawlers. The largest channel catfish ever collected by electrofishing measured over 27” and weighed 9 lbs.



Site Regulation: 10" minimum length limit; 10 fish per day limit.'>Lake Sangchris contains both black and white crappie. The black crappie are a strain originally brought in from Arkansas in 1985 that have a ¼” wide black stripe running from just under the chin up over the nose to the dorsal fin. They are called black-nosed or black-striped crappie by anglers and are a beautiful and a prized sportfish. The crappie population is still developing at Lake Sangchris. The 2014 fish population survey showed dramatic increases in both black and white crappie numbers, but the 2016 survey showed lower catch rates. However, the general trend in crappie numbers over the last 10 years is positive trend. White crappie ranged from 8 – 12.5”, while black crappie ranged from 5 – 12.5”. The majority of the crappie collected in the 2016 fall survey measured over the 10” minimum length limit. The population structures are still not yet within management goals. Natural spawning may be limited due to sporadic water temperatures during the spawning season.There has been evidence of natural reproduction in the past, but it doesn’t seem to be consistent, therefore the crappie stocking program will continue until populations are stable. White and black crappie have been raised in the Lake Sangchris rearing pond since the ponds' construction in 1992. The pond was out of service for 4 years due to a bad leak, but it has been rehabilitated and is currently back in use. Brood black and blacknose crappie were stocked into the rearing pond in spring 2015, and the pond was harvested in fall 2016. We stocked approximately 13,000 black crappie averaging 5.8”. Brood blacknose crappie will be stocked into the rearing pond in spring 2017. Anglers can catch crappie on hundreds of submerged Christmas trees and other structures within the entire lake with spinners, jigs and minnows year round. A 16 ½”, 3 pound black crappie was recently brought to the biologist for weighing and identifying! Site Regulation: 10" minimum length limit; 10 fish per day limit.


Very Good

Flathead catfish are difficult to survey, but anecdotal evidence suggests angler catches are becoming more common. Lake Sangchris is now over 50 years old and is developing a reputation for producing flathead catfish weighing over 40 lbs. The largest flathead ever collected in a survey weighed 69 pounds and the largest caught by an angler weighed 81.45 pounds, which is the current state record. Flathead catfish exceeding 40 pounds are harvested every year. We collected 1 flathead measuring 14” and weighing 1 pound during the 2016 fall fish population survey. Anglers can catch flathead catfish using live bait such as minnows, sunfish, shad, or crayfish around submerged logs and deadfalls in the warmer months and deep holes in the colder months.


Very Good

Lake Sangchris is known for its high density bass population with electrofishing surveys. We collected a total of 627 bass (108/hr electrofishing) ranging from 5 – 20.5” and weighing up to 5.2 lbs. Our survey showed that 47% of the catchable population measured over 12”, 18% measured over the minimum length limit of 15”, and 5% measured over 18”. Less than desirable body condition of largemouth bass seems to be normal for this cooling lake. Hot water discharge into the lake may cause largemouth bass to burn more energy than they can consume during the hot summer months. Gizzard shad have exhibited erratic spawns in Lake Sangchris in the past and threadfin shad survival is dependent on power plant operation in the winter. Breeder threadfin shad are often stocked in an effort to offset the results of winter kills. Anglers can catch largemouth bass on points, deadfalls, and stickups within the entire lake year round with plastic worms, jigs, spinners, crank baits, minnows, crayfish and worms. The largest bass ever collected by electrofishing measured 22” long and weighed over 7 lbs! Site Regulation: 15" minimum length limit; 3 fish per day limit.


Very Good

Pure striped bass are non-native and have been stocked into Lake Sangchris every other year since 1983 when available. The striped bass stocking program has produced some great fishing opportunities. Past surveys have shown that the lake has not produced many fish over 20 pounds, but there is a good density of striped bass up to 14 pounds. Anglers can catch stripers near “striper point” located in the northern portion of the lake in the warmer months and in the hot water middle arm of the lake when water is being discharged in the winter. Anglers can catch stripers using large spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, jigs, crayfish or large minnows. The current state record of 31 pounds 7 ounces was caught at Lake Sangchris! Site Regulation: No limit under 17; 3 fish a day over 17" limit.

Location: Sangchris Lake is located 20 miles southeast of Springfield off of IL Route 104, 7 miles north of Bulpitt.

Description: Sangchris Lake is 2325 acres. The lake was developed as a result of damming Clear Creek in 1964. The Division of Fisheries has been involved in the management of this lake from its beginning in 1965. It was owned by Commonwealth Edison and served as a cooling lake for their coal-fired power plant. The fish community is therefore highly dependent on power plant operation. Commonwealth Edison sold the plant to the current owner, Dominion Power, in the early 2000s. The maximum depth in the lake is approximately 38 feet with and average depth of approximately 13 feet. Sangchris Lake has three boat access points; one on each arm.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The lake boasts 100 miles of shoreline and is characterized by a west and middle arm cooling loop and an east ambient arm. The east arm receives much of the water within the watershed, and therefore suffers from siltation. Much of the shoreline and cove habitat was once composed of dense beds of water lily and submersed aquatic vegetation. Those communities have recently collapsed and no cause has been determined at this point. A total of 26 fish species have been collected in Sangchris Lake since 1982. While their numbers and potential for successful angling are low, anglers may catch bluegill, green sunfish, green sunfish x bluegill hybrid, freshwater drum, white bass, or yellow bass.

Additional Lake Information: Sangchris Lake has three boat access points; one on each arm. Rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and boats with motors 25 horsepower or less are welcome. A motor greater than 25 horsepower may be on a boat, however it should be in the up position (out of the water), and an alternative motor 25 horsepower or less should be used on the lake. Motors of any size may be used to load or unload from the trailer. Sailboats are not permitted. The long-awaited West Boat Ramp opened in the fall of 2014. Improvements include: a new boat ramp that extends further in the water for safer boat launching, larger parking lot, new access road, and handicap-accessible sidewalks and parking.

Two pole and line fishing only. No commercial devices, such as trot lines, jugs, or bank poles, are allowed. Archery fishing is allowed for rough fish, but not within 200 yards of a developed area, such as a campground.

In August 2017, fish habitat structures were deployed into Sangchris Lake. See the map here: Fish Structures Location Map.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth bass: 15" minimum length limit; 3 fish per day limit
Crappie: 10" minimum length limit; 10 fish per day limit
Striped bass: No limit under 17; 3 fish a day over 17" limit

Contact Information:
Site Staff
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Tad Locher

There were 43 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 58
Crappie 104
Flathead Catfish 8
Largemouth Bass 1970

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

1     6.34 lbs
2     6.19 lbs
3     6.13 lbs
4     6.05 lbs
5     5.94 lbs

Top 5 Total Tournament Weight of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1 412.04 lbs
2 397.87 lbs
3 382.58 lbs
4 350.15 lbs
5 286.17 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?
November-0719688ApprovedEast Boat Ramp boat
10Largemouth Bass