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Lake Information

County: Cass

Acreage: 25

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Electric only

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

  Trout stocked in fall

  Trout stocked in spring

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Channel Catfish

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"


Additional information for stocking on Gridley Lake - JEPCFWA

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



In the spring 2017 survey, we collected bluegill ranging from 2-7.5”, with the majority ranging from 3-4”. Bluegill body condition was average, but all other population characteristics are poor. We will be working toward improving the bass population, which should have a positive effect on the bluegill population.



One channel catfish was collected in the spring 2017 fish survey. The population is most likely doing well even though catch rates are low in Gridley Lake. Non-vulnerable channel catfish will continue to be stocked biennially to sustain the population as hatchery production allows. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit.



Fish community monitoring via electrofishing has shown to be very difficult in this lake with sample sizes being less than desired. The 2016 spring survey showed very few fish under 12”. The majority of bass collected ranged from 12-18”. The bass collected showed average body condition. About 2,100 4.1” bass were stocked in August 2016 from the state hatchery system to supplement the population. Data collected from Gridley Lake has been highly variable over the last several years, therefore it is difficult to determine whether reproduction and recruitment are an issue, or if the lack of small bass and sample size is an artifact of sample bias. Site Regulation: 15" minimum length limit; 3 fish per day.



We only collected five redear sunfish in the spring 2017 survey. Redear ranged in size from 4 – 8”. Redear showed average body condition values.

Location: Gridley Lake is located at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State and Fish and Wildlife Area, 8 miles north of Ashland and 40 miles northwest of Springfield.

Description: In the early 1990s, the Department of Natural Resources purchased 15,575 acres of ground from Commonwealth Edison. Ten old farm ponds on the site were rehabilitated and restocked and three new larger lakes were constructed. Gridley Lake is 24.6 acres with a maximum depth of 42’. The lake is very clear and is steep-sided, making electrofishing surveys difficult. Gridley Lake was to be managed to produce a quality sunfish population. It was initially stocked in 1997, and in the early years did very well. It initially progressed ideally, but eventually began to prove unsuccessful. A catchable rainbow trout program was opened at Gridley Lake in 2014, along with an early catch-and-release fly fishing season. Northern Pike were introduced into Gridley Lake through a one-time stocking event in the summer of 2014 to add predatory pressure to the fish community and assess growth rates and survival.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Gridley Lake had some new additions in 2014. A new fall, catchable trout program was implemented, which has replaced the Gurney Road Pond trout program, and northern pike were stocked into the lake to help restructure the largemouth bass and sunfish populations.

Gridley Lake is stocked in the spring and fall when the special "catch-and-release only fly fishing season" opens on the Saturday 2 weeks prior to the regular trout harvest seasons. The regular spring trout harvest season on Gridley Lake begins on the 1st Saturday in April, and the regular fall trout harvest season begins on the 3rd Saturday in October. Wade fishing is permitted. An Illinois fishing license and an Inland Trout stamp are required and should be purchased before arriving at the park.

Anglers may not use more than two poles and four hooks. Trolling motor and canoe access are allowed at Gridley and Drake Lakes.

For information on the other bodies of water in the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish Wildlife Area:

Prairie Lake


Gurney Road Pond

Additional Lake Information: 2 pole and line fishing only.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth bass: 15" minimum length limit; 3 fish daily limit
Channel catfish: 6 fish daily limit
Trout: 5 fish per day during open season

Contact Information:
JEPC Site Office:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Tad Locher