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Lake Information

County: Grundy

Acreage: 34

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Yes

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Camping? No

Mazonia South Unit Lakes

mazonia 00 woody lake bass lake mazonia 4 mallard lake goose lake Carp Gar Clear Big Dog Bullhead

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Mazonia Lake, Woody Lake, Bass Lake, Mazonia 4 Lake,
    Mallard Lake, Goose Lake, Carp Lake, Gar Lake, Clear Lake,
    Big Dog Lake, Bullhead Lake

Maps are not intended for navigation.

For individual Mazonia North lakes information click the links below:

Bass Lake #3

Goose Lake #6

Bullhead Lake #7

Carp Lake #8

Gar Lake #9

Clear Lake #10

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



While not common, larger bluegills are present in good numbers in some of the impoundments within the Mazonia area. 14% of the bluegills collected from Bullhead and Carp Lakes were 7” or larger. Better bets for larger fish can be found at Clear Lake and Ponderosa Lake as well as the smaller ponds at the Wilderness Area.



This species is present in most all of the larger water areas with densities greatest in lakes receiving annual supplemental stockings. During the spring 2015 survey on Gar Lake, gill netting yielded channel catfish that averaged 20.5”, with the largest fish approaching 7 pounds.


Very Good

Of the three lakes surveyed, better collections were obtained from Bullhead and Gar Lakes with black crappie dominant in Bullhead Lake and white crappie more prevalent in Gar Lake. Good numbers of larger fish were sampled and in each lake 10”-plus crappie (both species combined) accounted for nearly 37% of the adult population. Although they were not common, crappie exceeding 12” were also collected.



Flathead catfish are present in Monster Lake and can be caught near the Granary Creek cut-off.


Very Good

Several of the larger lakes within the Mazonia Main Unit provide anglers with the unique opportunity to catch one of three gar species. Longnose, shortnose and spotted gar have all been collected from the larger Mazonia lakes. Appropriately named Gar Lake, which is somewhat connected to the Mazon River, likely supports the best gar population within the Main Unit. The largest specimen collected from that lake in 2015 was a longnose gar which measured 44½” weighing nearly 11½ lbs.



Bullhead Lake, located in the Main Unit, was surveyed in the spring of 2015. Largemouth bass catch rates declined from the previous survey and fell slightly below the ten-year average. The average size bass collected during this survey was 12.2”, which was somewhat less than the average size collected in 2013, but a full inch larger than the long-term average. Nearly 5% of the adult bass collected were at least 18” in length, while legal-size bass comprised over 26% of the adult collection. Carp Lake and Gar Lake were also surveyed in 2015 with bass catch rates showing very little change from the 2013 surveys. Both lakes exhibit a higher density of bass that are 12” or larger while roughly 10% of the adult population in either lake meets legal size. Bass greater than 18” were not as prevalent in either of these lakes as compared to Bullhead Lake. Best bets for bass fishing success continue to be Bass, Gar and Carp Lakes in the Main Mazonia Unit and Monster and Wilderness Lakes in the South Mazonia Unit. Bigger bass are taken each year by anglers targeting the more remote, harder to get to lakes and ponds.



Several years of annual additions of northern pike fingerlings have generally failed to produce a viable fishery and those stocking programs have been terminated. The current state record northern pike was caught from Monster Lake. Larger fish may be present in some of the south unit lakes, holdovers from when these lakes were leased by private fishing clubs. Northern pike are commonly confused with the diminutive grass pickerel, which are similar in appearance and fairly common in the Mazonia area, but are not protected by a length and/or creel limit.



Although present in several of the Mazonia lakes, Ponderosa supports the best population of redear sunfish. In the 2013 trap net survey, redear sunfish dominated the collection, ranging from 6.7" to 11.7" and averaging 9.9" and 12.5oz.

Location: The Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area main office is located in Grundy County, 3 miles southwest of Braidwood on Illinois Route 53 and Huston Road. The south unit, which includes the Ponderosa, Wilderness and Monster Lake areas, is located in Kankakee County north of County Highway 6 and west of the town of Essex.

Description: Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area consists of 2,679 acres of reclaimed strip-mine land which was purchased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) from Commonwealth Edison Company. The initial purchase was made in 1986 and included the old "Pit 16" area. An additional 1,662-acre parcel, which formerly included areas managed by sportsman's clubs, was purchased in 1999. The entire area was once surface-mined by the Peabody Coal Company from 1951-1970. The area consists of over 200 impoundments ranging from less than 1/4 acre to nearly 150 acres. Most all of these water areas are typified by steep drop-offs and many have maximum depths in excess of 30 feet with some twice that. Shoreline access to most lakes and ponds is limited by extensive stands of tall reed grass.

The site is divided into a North and South Unit. Concrete boat ramps access four of the largest lakes within the North Unit and here boats are restricted to trolling motors only. "Belly boats" have become an effective and popular way of accessing and fishing the smaller interior ponds. Please see "Mazonia Lakes - South Unit" for information on fishing the South Unit.

Please see "Additional Lake Information" Below for site hours and regulations.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Main lakes are surveyed on an alternate year basis. Spring trap netting is also incorporated at selected lakes. Lakes sampled in 2015 were Bullhead (Lake #7), Carp (Lake #8) and Gar (Lake #9) Lakes. Habitat enhancement projects have been completed on many of these lakes and ponds. Aquatic vegetation, while present, has currently not required any active management.

Most of the larger water areas contain largemouth bass, bluegill, white and black crappie, channel catfish, carp and various other species. Gizzard shad are the primary forage item. The IDNR presently stocks channel catfish into selected lakes on a rotational basis. Coolwater stocking programs (walleye and northern pike) on several lakes have been discontinued due to the failure of those species to successfully recruit. Redear sunfish have been stocked into Clear Lake and Ponderosa Lake as well. No special mercury advisory or other contaminant-related consumption advisories pertain.

A variety of other species that can be caught include common carp, freshwater drum, bullheads and green sunfish.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only, all other statewide regulations apply. Trolling motor only. Swimming is prohibited. Fishing at the North Unit is closed ten days prior to the opening of the Central Zone Duck Season and reopens after the season ends. During Upland Game Season, the North Unit is open Wednesdays - Sundays (sunrise to 4:00 P.M) and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. After Upland Game Season ends, the North Unit is open 7-days a week. During Winter, only one entrance might be open due to road conditions.

Contact Information:
Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Seth Love

There were 7 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2023.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 119

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

1     6.56 lbs
2     5.06 lbs
3     5.06 lbs
4     4.50 lbs
5     4.50 lbs

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

1 58.00 lbs
2 57.75 lbs
3 44.44 lbs
4 40.00 lbs
5 28.19 lbs