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Lake Information

County: Richland

Acreage: 137

Average Depth: 10.99 feet

Shoreline Length: 15 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? No

Camping? No

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Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"


Additional information for stocking on Borah Lake

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



Bluegill body condition remained stable in 2023 while electrofishing catch rates increased and remained high at 208 per hour. Approximately half of the adult bluegill in the sample were between 6” – 8” long and only two bluegill over 8” were collected. The percentage of adult bluegill over 7” in length declined from 21% in 2022 to 14% in 2023. Unfortunately, the bluegill population size structure in this lake will likely always be hindered by the presence of gizzard shad. Bluegill fishing in the coming year should be fair to good with the biggest fish near 0.33 pounds.



The channel catfish population is in good shape and their body condition is good. Approximately 80% of the adult channel catfish collected were 16” or longer and 70% exceeded 18” in length. Channel catfish should provide good fishing opportunities in the coming year. Channel catfish in the 1 – 4 pound range should be common, with some fish nearing 8 – 10 pounds.



Both black and white crappie are abundant in the lake and the size structures for both of these populations are poor. Approximately, 43% of the adult white crappie in this year’s sample exceeded 10” in length and no fish in the 9”-10” size range were collected. However, only 7 white crappie were collected in the electrofishing sample, likely due to the abnormally warm water temperatures during the survey. No black crappie over 9” were collected for the second year in a row and none over 10” have been collected in four years. Average body condition for both species of crappie was just over the lake the management plan minimum target. Crappie fishing should be good in the coming year for catching abundant fish, but the size structure of fish caught will likely be poor. Most crappie in 2024 are expected to be between 6” – 9”, with a few fish possibly exceeding 10” and weighing more than 0.5 pounds. Harvest of smaller crappie is encouraged.



A small population of flathead catfish exists in Borah Lake and one was collected in 2023. This flathead catfish was 12.7 pounds and just over 30” long.



The size structure of the largemouth bass population was fair. Average body condition declined slightly to just below the lake management plan target, however electrofishing catch rates increased and remained high. The percentage of larger fish in the sample remained consistent with the 2022 sample Approximately 10% of the adult fish in the sample exceeded the 14” minimum length limit and 4% were 18” or longer. A large group of 7” – 12” bass were again sampled this year and they should contribute to angler catches in the coming years. Average body condition remained much higher for fish greater than 15” than for smaller fish and is likely due to the gizzard shad forage base in this lake. Gizzard shad collected in the 2023 sampled ranged from 4” to 15” and approximately 75% of those shad were in the 8” – 10” size range. These larger shad are too long for most of the bass in the lake to eat. Bass fishing should be fair to good in 2024 with most bass over the minimum length limit ranging from 14” – 18” in length and weighing 1 – 3 pounds.


Very Good

The redear sunfish population in Borah Lake is doing very well. Average body condition was really good and catch rates increased. Approximately 37% of the adult redear collected were over 9” long and 19% exceeded 10” in length. The redear sunfish population should provide quality opportunities for fishing in the coming year with some larger fish near 1 pound.

Location: Borah Lake is located in Richland County, approximately 1 mile north of Olney, Illinois.

Description: Borah Lake was constructed by the City of Olney in 1954 to serve as a water supply reservoir. Borah Lake has a surface area of 137 acres, a maximum depth of 26 feet, and a mean depth of 11 feet. The lake has 15 miles of shoreline and a watershed of 2,155 acres.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The sport fish population in Borah Lake is comprised primarily of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish. The lake is stocked annually with channel catfish. The lake also contains flathead catfish and yellow bullhead. The fish population is surveyed annually.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only. ANNUAL CITY OF OLNEY BOAT STICKERS AND CITY OF OLNEY TOURNAMENT PERMITS ARE REQUIRED. Annual boat stickers are available at Olney City Hall and local bait shops. Tournament permits are available at Olney City Hall.

Site regulations:
Largemouth Bass: 6 fish daily limit; 14" minimum length limit
Channel Catfish: 6 fish daily limit
Bluegill or Redear Sunfish: 25 fish daily limit collectively, no length limit

Contact Information:
Olney City Hall
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Boone LaHood

There were 21 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2023.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 85
Largemouth Bass 328

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

1     7.57 lbs
2     6.91 lbs
3     6.64 lbs
4     6.63 lbs
5     6.50 lbs

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

1 93.60 lbs
2 80.31 lbs
3 79.60 lbs
4 56.81 lbs
5 56.00 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?
August-0425397ApprovedRamp boat
15Largemouth Bass
August-1026052ApprovedRamp boat
15Largemouth Bass
26564ApprovedRamp boat
10Blue Catfish
Channel Catfish
October-0526286ApprovedRamp boat
12Largemouth Bass
October-0625457ApprovedRamp boat
12Largemouth Bass