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Rice Lake

Fulton County, Illinois
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Located in Central Illinois, the Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area lies adjacent to the Illinois River, 4 miles south of Banner, Illinois, along Route 24 in Fulton County.
The principal water bodies within the Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area are Rice Lake (1400 acres), Big Lake(1000 acres), Duck Island Main Lake(166 acres), Duck Island Little Lake(57 acres), Goose Lake, Slim Lake, and Beebe Lake. Rice Lake, Big Lake, Goose Lake, Slim Lake and Beebe Lake are shallow backwater lakes that are sustained primarily by groundwater seepage and overflow from the Illinois River. Duck Island Main Lake and Duck Island Little Lake are the only deepwater areas within the site and are located in the quarry at the downstream end of Duck Island.

Because the Rice Lake SFWA is not separated from the Illinois River by a high levee, its fish populations fluctuate in composition, numbers, and condition as the area is alternately flooded and dewatered by river levels. The basin of Rice Lake and Big Lake are broad and dish-shaped, constraining the quality and quantity of year-round fish cover.

Ongoing water level management activities involve midsummer drawdowns to promote moist-soil plant production. As a result, water levels in Rice Lake and Big Lake during July and August are typically no more than 12 to 16 inches, with water temperatures during drawdown approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions severely limit both the composition and survival of fish populations. Rice Lake has had recent low dissolved oxygen fish kills occurring in the summers of 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2018. High Illinois River levels in 2008, 2009 and 2010 prevented major water level draw downs in Rice Lake and no major fish kills occurred. No major fish kills occurred in Big Lake or the attached Duck Island Main Lake during these same time frames. The attached Duck Island Main Lake serves as a deepwater refuge and/or escapement for fish in Big Lake.
Sport fishing seasons and limits are uniform with statewide rules. However, boat fishing is not allowed during the waterfowl hunting season and the week preceding it. Effective 4/1/2000, largemouth and smallmouth bass have a 12-inch minimum size limit on the Illinois river and all backwaters.

Bank fishing is allowed year-round in the vicinity of the Complex headquarters. Bank and boat fishing will be allowed year-round on Duck Island Main Lake and Little Lake. Boat fishing will be permitted year-round, except for October 1 to April 1 on Rice Lake, Big Lake, Bebee Lake, Goose Lake and Slim Lake. Ice fishing, sport or commercial, is not permitted at the Rice Lake Complex. Open water commercial fishing is available with a site permit from April 1 to August 31st.
How big is Rice Lake?
Rice Lake is approximately 1,383 sq acres (6 sq km) in size with 15 miles (24.1 km) of shoreline.
What kind of fish are in Rice Lake?
Anglers can expect to find a variety of fish including Bluegill, Carp, Channel Catfish, Drum (Sheepshead), Largemouth Bass and Yellow Bullhead in Rice Lake.
When are the best fishing times for Rice Lake?
Today fishing looks to be fairly active with peak fishing times around 9-11 am and 5-6 pm. For more more best fishing times visit our Rice Lake Fishing Forecast page. Lake-Link Pro Members can get detailed fishing forecasts for up to 10 days in advance and species specific for Rice Lake.
What are the closest cities to Rice Lake?

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