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SHELBYVILLE, LAKE

SHELBYVILLE, LAKE FISHING GUIDE


Lake Information

County: Shelby

Acreage: 11100

Average Depth: 18.9 feet

Shoreline Length: 120 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Wilborn Creek Coal Shaft Bridge Whitley Creek Eagle Creek Wolf Creek Lone Point Coon Creek Oppossum Creek Lithia Springs Shelbyville Dam


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Coal Shaft Bridge, Coon Creek, Eagle Creek,
    Kaskaskia River Access, Lithia Springs, Lone Point,
    Oppossum Creek, Shelbyville Dam, Whitley Creek,
    Wilborn Creek, Wolf Creek

Maps are not intended for navigation.


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.


Fish Stocking

Year

Species

Size

Count

2018

Muskellunge

Adult

6894

2018

Walleye

Fingerling 1 - 3"

86075

2019

Muskellunge

Adult

8211

2019

Walleye

Fingerling 1 - 3"

108299

2020

Channel Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"

40144

2020

Sauger

Fingerling 1 - 3"

85565

2020

Walleye

Fingerling 1 - 3"

98128


Additional information for stocking on SHELBYVILLE, LAKE


Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BIGMOUTH BUFFALO

Good

A fishery for jumbo bigmouth buffalo (up to 20+ pounds) is getting more attention. Despite being primarily planktivores, these abundant and large fish can be targeted along drop-offs with jigging spoons and put up a great battle when hooked. Although bony, they can be scored and fried (smaller fish), canned, or smoked and have a more-mild flavor compared to carp.

BLUEGILL

Fair

Despite the positive effects of floods on the growth rates and body condition of other species, the bluegill population has been relatively unaffected. Although catch rates are good, the size structure of the bluegill population is poor with a very low percentage of bluegill exceeding 7.5 inches. Fishing prospects for bluegill and other smaller sunfish species (green sunfish and longear sunfish) on Lake Shelbyville is expected to remain poor-fair in 2020.

CARP

Excellent

Common carp are abundant, and reach lengths of 25+ inches and 8+ lbs. They are a common target of bow fishermen. When common carp are canned, they are said to make a good substitute for canned salmon. They are very good when smoked as well and smaller fish can be scored and fried.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Good

Catfish numbers have been low in standardized fall surveys for many years and the size structure of catfish collected indicates that recruitment is relatively poor for many years. However, improved catches of channel catfish of all sizes were reported by fishermen in 2019. Fishing prospects for channel catfish on the lake in 2020 should be improved (good) for the number of fish available and good for size structure. Fishing prospects for catfish below the spillway are somewhat better, especially for flatheads.

CRAPPIE

Excellent

Size structure, the number of fish, and body condition of crappie caught by anglers in 2019 was outstanding! Angler catch rates were excellent in winter, spring, and late fall. Some fishermen had good fishing through the summer. The fishing prospects for crappie are expected to be excellent for both the number of fish available and size structure in 2020! There is a very strong year class recruiting into the fishery that have grown very well through summer 2020. Most of these fish will provide a lot of 9.5-9.75 inch fish in 2020. Anglers are encouraged to keep their limit of five (5) crappie less than 10 inches, especially the more abundant black crappie. Thinning the number of smaller crappie, especially those less than 9.5 inches, will help improve growth and recruitment of the remaining crappie to larger sizes. Anglers are also encouraged not to voluntarily keep more than two crappie greater than 12 inches, and/or the largest crappie. Releasing some or all of these larger fish and harvesting their limit of crappie under 10-inches is the best way to improve the quality of this fishery.

FLATHEAD CATFISH

Good

Catfish numbers have been low in standardized fall surveys for many years and the size structure of catfish collected indicates that recruitment is relatively poor for many years. However, a good number of both juvenile and adult flathead catfish were collected in 2019. Fishing prospects for flathead catfish on the lake in 2020 should be improved (good) for the number of fish available and good for size structure. Fishing prospects for catfish below the spillway are somewhat better, especially for flatheads.

FRESHWATER DRUM

Excellent

Freshwater drum are abundant from 0.5 to 3 lbs. They are occasionally used to make “poor-man’s shrimp”, when filleted, sliced vertically, and quickly boiled with a small amount of sugar added to the water.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Fair

Despite good natural reproduction and recruitment in most recent years, the recruitment of bass to age-3+ (14-15”+) and larger sizes has been poor. The reason is due primarily to largemouth bass virus (LMBV). This virus kills adult bass and has had a significant and persistent effect since 2012. There is some good news however, the 2019 year class was very well represented, likely due to flooded brush providing abundant habitat throughout the summer. Anglers reported that tournament results in 2019 were again slightly better than the year before, but unfortunately not significantly. For these reasons, the largemouth bass fishing prospects for 2020 are similar to 2019 and still projected to be good for the number of fish available (primarily smaller fish) and only fair for size structure of the population. Unfortunately, there is little that can currently be done to help the largemouth bass population, except improve habitat and careful handling of bass caught. The results of stocking evaluations of largemouth bass from many previous years in Lake Shelbyville, found an insignificant contribution to the fishery (~7-8%) after many years of stocking fin-clipped (marked) bass. These are not numbers that would benefit the fishery significantly. The stocked bass were raised in the Fin & Feathers Nursery Pond and provided bluegill in addition to the fathead minnows normally provided for forage. This should have given these fish a better chance of survival over just minnow-reared bass, but results were still poor for the money and time invested.

MUSKELLUNGE

Poor

Only one musky was collected in the 2019 standard fall fish population or stocking success surveys on the lake. However, numerous muskie are observed incidentally below the spillway during smallmouth surveys. Despite recent increases in the number of muskie stocked, there has been a steady decline in the catch rate of muskie in fish population surveys on Lake Shelbyville. Although angler catch rates for muskie have been relatively consistent below the spillway, catch rates on the lake were poor in 2012 through 2019. However, a few diehard anglers reported catching a few fish in the lake in 2019. Fishing prospects for muskie in 2020 are expected to remain poor on the lake for both the number of fish available and size structure, but still good for size and number below the spillway. A study is currently being conducted in conjunction with the Illinois Natural History Survey to attempt to determine the reason for the loss of this once very successful and valuable fishery.

SAUGER

Fair

Previous introductory stockings of sauger, from 2006 through 2017, have contributed significantly to the fishery in past years. In 2019, a few young of the year sauger were collected in the lake, indicating a possibility of some minor level of natural recruitment in the lake. The 2017 year-class, stocked by state hatcheries, should be of legal size in 2020 providing a boost to this fishery. The fishing prospects for sauger in the lake should be fair for the number of fish available and good for size structure in 2020. Fishing prospects in the river below the spillway should be good for both number and size structure on 2020!

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Poor

Recent attempts to establish a self-sustaining population of smallmouth bass in Lake Shelbyville from the Kaskaskia River population have not produced expected results. Although anglers are catching a few of the stocked smallmouth bass, there has been no indication of spawning and natural recruitment. Fishing prospects for smallmouth bass are poor in 2020. Anglers are encouraged to release any smallmouth bass caught immediately to improve the survival of these valuable stocked fish and keep them in ideal locations. Continued efforts to raise and stock smallmouth bass are planned.

STRIPED BASS

Developing

Striped bass fingerlings were stocked for the first time into Lake Shelbyville in 2018 and repeated in 2019. Some were collected in surveys in fall 2019 and a few others reported caught by a few anglers. This is the very large anadromous true bass, historically found in salt water, but has been stocked into freshwater lakes across the nation in “recent” years. Lake Shelbyville should provide ideal conditions to support a high quality fishery for this species. Research indicates that striped bass will prey exclusively on gizzard shad and will not be a threat to other established game species. Increased predation on the usually over-abundant adult shad could actually benefit other game fish. The regulation for these fish in 2021 will be a 32” minimum length limit with a creel limit of 2 fish daily. Striped bass can be readily identified from the other two “true basses” in Lake Shelbyville, white bass and yellow bass, by a longer and narrower body in the striped bass (similar to a thin largemouth bass), a larger mouth in relationship to its size (again more like a largemouth bass), a completely white/silver background with very bold very dark stripes, and an elongated tooth patch on the back of the tongue which is slightly divided down the center of the patch. White bass have comparatively lighter grayish-stripes on a white background, a solid “heart-shaped” tooth patch on the tongue, a deeper body (resembling crappie), and a smaller mouth. Yellow bass, often mistakenly called “striped bass”, have an obvious yellow/gold hue (hence their name sake), rarely get larger than 9-10 inches, have a deeper body (again resembling crappie more than bass), a smaller mouth, and the spines on the anal fin are equal length for the second and third spine. ID cards will be printed and distributed to local retailers and other locations to help anglers identify these three species. Fishing prospects are still rated as poor, until these fish recruit into the fishery.

WALLEYE

Good

Although collections in surveys were quite variable, angler catch rates of walleye in 2019 were reported as very good! It appears that three or four relatively strong year classes are present in the lake (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019). The walleye fishing prospects for Lake Shelbyville and the Kaskaskia River (above the lake) are rated as excellent for the number of fish available and good for size structure in 2020! In 2019, a record number of walleye were produced in the Fin & Feathers Nursery Pond (280,000+), which in addition to 110,000 stocked by the IDNR hatcheries, should materialize into an even better fishery in 2021 and beyond. Fishing prospects below the spillway for walleye are expected to be good for the number of fish available and excellent for size structure in 2020, with good reports already being received.

WHITE BASS

Good

Despite predictions that the white bass population on Lake Shelbyville was rebounding, the quality of fishing expected in 2019 was not realized. The catch rate of white bass by anglers is often reduced in flood years, as many of the fish move into the upper most reaches of the lake. As is common in recent years, a strong year-class of white bass was produced in 2019. Barring excessive flooding, the fishing prospects for white bass are expected to be improved over 2019 and are rated fair-good for the number of fish available and good for size structure in 2020.

YELLOW BASS

Excellent

Yellow bass are very abundant, but rarely get longer than 9 to 10 inches. They are very good to eat and despite the smaller size some fishermen keep as many as possible.

Fishing Report

There is no fishing report for this week. View recent reports.

Location: Lake Shelbyville is located in Shelby and Moultrie Counties in east-central Illinois, with the dam situated on the Kaskaskia River, east of the City of Shelbyville, Illinois.

Description: This lake has a surface area of 11,100 acres, with a maximum depth of 65 feet, and an average depth of 18 feet. Numerous public boat launching facilities are available, with a fee assessed on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed access area boat ramps, and free access on state park or Corps gravel boat ramps. All tournaments must be scheduled through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The fish population in Lake Shelbyville is surveyed annually. Lake Shelbyville is home to at least 32 species of fish. In addition to the lake, a popular fishery exists in the Kaskaskia River just below the spillway and in the West Okaw and Kaskaskia Rivers upstream of the lake. In cooperation between the USACE and the IDNR, two nursery ponds, 6.5 and 0.7 acres, are utilized to improve fishing quality in Lake Shelbyville.

An annual fish attractor project is coordinated by the USACE in coordination with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) on the third Saturday in March. Fish attractor maps can be found here: http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Lake-Shelbyville/Recreation/Fish-Attractor-Maps/

Additional Lake Information: See the Illinois Fishing Information guide for a complete list of regulations for Lake Shelbyville and other USACE and IDNR project ponds and lakes. Regulation signs are posted at all boat ramps and major access points. All fishing tournaments on USACE ramps require a permit from the USACE office.

Regulation note: Unfortunately the regulations for striped bass were not included in the 2019 booklet. Regulations signs are posted at all boat ramps and major access points. You are encouraged to direct any questions or concerns to Mike Mounce, IDNR Fisheries, 217-345-2420.

NEWS: The Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance (LSFHA) was formed in 2017 with the purpose to apply to granting agencies for funding to improve angling quality on Lake Shelbyville. Many individuals, fishing clubs, tournament organizers, businesses, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, and governmental agencies came together to form and successfully support the LSFHA.

Fundraising prior to and after organization, resulted in enough funds received to build ~800 Shelbyville and Georgia cube fish attractors, and an additional 100+ artificial stumps, which have all been placed in the lake through 2019. So far the cubes have been paying off very well, with numerous reports of good catches coming from the cubes. Large numbers of fish are congregating on the structures in as little as two days after deployment, including bass and walleye caught by anglers! Research results indicate good fish use on these structures.

The LSFHA successfully applied for grants through the “Friends of Reservoirs” and receives $30,000, plus an additional $17,000, in winter in 2018. An additional $40,000 FOR grant was won in fall 2019 and will be distributed to the LSFHA in fall/winter 2020! In addition to the cube and stump attractors, an aquatic plant nursery was developed by the USACE, and 1000s of plants produced and planted into Lake Shelbyville in 2017- 2019. These plantings are protected by wire-mesh “exclosures” which can be found in each of the major arms of the lake. Rip-rap is being ordered to develop some rock “reefs” for the near future. The LSFHA “adopt-a-cube” program has been very popular, with over $5,000 donated to name cubes after loved-ones and businesses. Results and activities can be followed on our Facebook page; Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance. Check us out and give us a “LIKE!” Watch for future structure building events this coming year, as several are planned! Maps of habitat locations can be found on the Facebook page or the USACE web site by using “Lake Shelbyville Habitat Maps”.

Contact Information:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
217-774-3951
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Mike Mounce
217-345-2420

There were 64 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Channel Catfish 38
Crappie 438
Largemouth Bass 2821

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

1     6.75 lbs
2     6.41 lbs
3     6.12 lbs
4     6.11 lbs
5     5.97 lbs

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

1 842.50 lbs
2 501.94 lbs
3 422.90 lbs
4 386.80 lbs
5 286.98 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
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
April-1017682ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
25Crappie
NoYes
April-2418095ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
15Crappie
NoYes
May-0217443ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
May-0217582ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1516880ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
May-1516886ApprovedOpossum Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-0516857ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
70Largemouth Bass
YesYes
June-0516908ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0516936ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0617053ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-0617367ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1317030ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1317127ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1317444ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-1916919ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-1917248ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
125Largemouth Bass
NoYes
June-2617590PendingWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
40Crappie
NoYes
June-2617857ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2618062ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2717301ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
June-2717445ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
July-1016931ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-10
*July-11
17805ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1117133ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
45Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1117881ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-1716843ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
July-1817031ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
July-2416845ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoYes
July-2517446ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
July-2517882ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-0716945ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-0817376ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-0817712ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-1417949ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-2116951ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-2117027ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-2217139ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
August-2217447ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-11
*September-12
17270ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
125Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-11
*September-12
17806ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-11
*September-12
18143ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1218197ApprovedLithia Springs Rec. Area boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-17
*September-19
17073ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
200Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1816957ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1817207ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoNo
September-1917449ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
60Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-1918097ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
10Crappie
NoNo
September-2517684ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
25Crappie
NoYes
September-2517800ApprovedEagle Creek State Park boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
NoYes
September-2618246PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-0117475ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-0217390ApprovedWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-0916974ApprovedDam West Rec. Area boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
October-16
*October-17
18096ApprovedWilborn Creek Rec. Area boat
hook
10Crappie
NoNo
October-1618247PendingWolf Creek State Park boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
NoNo
November-0618224ApprovedForrest "Bo" Wood Rec. Area boat
hook
100Crappie
NoYes