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Lake Information

County: Clinton

Acreage: 24580

Shoreline Length: 80 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

Coles Creek Access Boulder Creek South Shore State Park Carlyle Dam West Tamalco Patoka Access Allen Branch Keyesport

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Allen Branch, Boulder Creek, Coles Creek, Dam West,
    Keyesport, Patoka Access, South Shore, Tamalco Access

Maps are not intended for navigation.

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Blue Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Largemouth Bass

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Largemouth Bass

Fingerling 1 - 3"



Largemouth Bass

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"



Redear Sunfish

Fingerling 1 - 3"




Fingerling 1 - 3"



Striped Bass x White Bass (Wiper)

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Striped Bass x White Bass (Wiper)

Fingerling 1 - 3"



White Crappie

Fingerling 1 - 3"


Additional information for stocking on CARLYLE LAKE

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



Blue catfish were stocked for the first time in 2021. These fish should grow well and add an additional trophy fish to the existing catfish fishery.



The bluegill population at Carlyle remains fair. Catch rates during the fall survey in 2021 were lower than the previous survey with 141 fish collected per hour of electrofishing compared to 328 fish per hour in 2020. There is a good number of fish in the population reaching 6 inches, but very few over 7 inches. These fish should provide decent angling opportunities in the upcoming year. Bluegill fishing should be fair in Carlyle Lake in 2022.


Very Good

The channel catfish population is very consistent in Carlyle Lake. Catches of channel catfish in the fall population survey were good with 7 channel catfish collected per hour. This is very similar to the numbers collected in the past 5 surveys. There is still an abundance of large fish in the population that should provide angling opportunities for quality-size fish. Catfish fishing should be good in Carlyle Lake in 2022.



The crappie population in Carlyle Lake remains very good. The catch rate has increased from the previous survey. The combined catch rate of white and black crappie was 39 fish per hour of electrofishing compared to 30 fish per hour in 2020. 25% of the stock-sized white crappie were over the minimum length limit of 10 inches and 48% of the black crappie were over 10 inches. This shows a high percentage of quality-sized fish present. A good number of young of the year crappie were collected in the 2021 survey. This should help ensure the quality of the crappie population in coming years. Crappie fishing should be very good in 2022 with very good numbers of quality-sized fish and good numbers of smaller fish.


Very Good

49 flathead catfish were collected in the 2021 survey. They ranged from 4-33 inches. A good population of flathead catfish is present in the lake.



The catch rate for largemouth bass was down a little in the 2021 survey. The catch rate was 22 per hour compared to 35 per hour in 2020. This lower catch rate could be the result of low water levels and windy conditions during the 2021 survey. However, the largemouth bass numbers still appear lower than we would like. Many of the fish collected were in the smaller size classes. 17% of the stock-sized fish collected were over 15 inches and 4% were over 18 inches. The largemouth bass collected were in excellent condition due to an abundant shad population. The smaller-size classes of fish should grow quickly and provide improved numbers of quality-sized fish in the coming years. Stable high water levels throughout the spawning and recruitment period appears to be a primary factor in the improvement of the largemouth bass numbers. Angling opportunities for largemouth bass during 2022 should be fair/good.



The Dept. of Natural Resources is stocking redear sunfish. Redear sunfish feed heavily upon snails and tend to stay closer to the bottom than bluegill. They are large sunfish, often averaging one half to one pound in weight.



6 sauger were collected in the 2021 survey. They were in multiple year classes ranging in length 6-17 inches. The sauger in the lake appear to be growing well and should provide a good fishing opportunity.



White bass numbers are down from the previous survey. Catch rate for white bass was 28 per hour compared to 67 per hour in 2020. The lower catch rate for white bass may also be a result of the poor conditions during the 2021 survey. Multiple year classes were collected in 2021, including young of the year, indicating a successful spawning effort. There are plenty of quality-sized fish in the population with 64% of the stock sized fish over 12 inches. These fish should provide a good fishing opportunity. The fish are in good condition with thirteen inch fish averaging over a pound in weight. I would expect good white bass fishing in 2022 as these fish continue to feed and grow.

Location: Carlyle Lake is located in southwestern Illinois, 50 miles east of St. Louis, principally in Clinton County, with Carlyle being the largest city bordering the water.

Description: Carlyle Lake was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1967 and was formed by damming the Kaskaskia River, the same stream that is the main tributary to Lake Shelbyville, upstream to the north. This lake has a maximum depth 35 feet and an average depth 11 feet.

If you enjoy catching catfish, mammoth Carlyle Lake, the largest man-made lake in the state, could be your Utopia. The 24,580-acre lake very well might be the finest channel cat fishery in Illinois, and they are eagerly sought by pole-and-line fishermen and trotliners alike. Virtually rectangular shaped, the lake is about 15 miles long and two to three miles wide. It is shallow, averaging about 11 feet in depth, and lies in flat, gently rolling country. Carlyle Lake is a typically open body of water and can soon kick up high, dangerous waves when strong winds occur. The lake is divided by the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks, which span the water from the towns of Keysport to Boulder. The upper portion is quite shallow, averaging about three feet deep, and consists mostly flooded timber and brush which was left standing when the lake filled. Besides the main Kaskaskia River Tributary, this area of the lake has a number of smaller creeks feeding it: Hurricane, Bear, Maggot, East Fork and North Fork. These streams offer excellent fishing opportunities. There are two public access areas for easy entry to this portion of the lake: Tamalco on the west and Patoka on the east. Below the railroad tracks, the lower two-thirds of the lake is quite open except for some timber left standing in three of the major bays.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Carlyle Lake is home to many different species of fish. The primary sport fish include: largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, white bass, sauger, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Carlyle Lake provides good fishing for most of these species. The populations of some of the primary sport fish tend to cycle year to year. Currently the lake supports excellent populations of crappie, catfish, and white bass. Fish population surveys are conducted annually.

Christmas trees are placed regularly for habitat improvement.

Additional Lake Information: There is no outboard motor size limit. Eleven boat ramps are located at various recreational areas around the lake. In addition, there are three boat ramps on the Kaskaskia River, one just above and two below the reservoir. Carlyle Lake offers several camping facilities as well as cottages. There are two bait shops located in town and three full-service marinas.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth or smallmouth bass: 14" minimum length limit, 6 fish daily limit
Crappie (black, white, or hybrid): 10” minimum length limit, 15 fish daily limit
Sauger, walleye, or hybrid, 14” minimum length limit, 6 fish daily limit

Contact Information:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Fred Cronin

There were 7 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2021.

Species Total Fish Caught
Crappie 77
Largemouth Bass 75

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2021 tournaments:

1     3.80 lbs
2     3.74 lbs
3     3.59 lbs
4     3.50 lbs
5     3.47 lbs

Top 5 Total Tournament Weight of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2021 tournaments:

1 42.44 lbs
2 40.02 lbs
3 23.24 lbs
4 19.88 lbs
5 14.41 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.

2022 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
August-0621527ApprovedKeyesport boat
5Blue Catfish
Channel Catfish
Flathead Catfish
August-1421641ApprovedEldon Hazlet SRA Allen Branch boat
25Largemouth Bass
August-2021905ApprovedKeyesport boat
25Largemouth Bass
22139ApprovedEldon Hazlet SRA Allen Branch boat