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CURRENTLY 51°
FAIR
WINDS NORTH @ 0MPH
HUMIDITY 95%
VISIBILITY 10MI
DEW POINT 50°

Crab Orchard Lake

Williamson County, IL
Williamson County, IL
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Crab Orchard Lake is a 6965-acre impoundment located in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge between Marion and Carbondale in Williamson County Illinois.
The Crab Orchard Lake fishery is cooperatively managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A user permit is required to access the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Information can be obtained by calling the refuge visitor center at 618-997-3344.
A user permit is required to access the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Information can be obtained by calling the refuge visitor center at 618-997-3344.

Largemouth bass have a 16-inch minimum length limit and a 3-per-day creel limit. No other size or creel limits are in effect.
6,965 acres
LAKE SIZE
125.0 miles
SHORELINE
404 feet
ELEVATION
BOATING RESTRICTIONS
Unrestricted
AMENITIES
Boat Landing
Camping
Swimming
Boat Rentals
Picnicking
Skiing
FISH TO CATCH
Black Crappie
Bluegill
Channel Catfish
Hybrid Striped Bass
Largemouth Bass
Muskie
Striped Bass
White Bass
White Crappie
Wiper Bass
Yellow Bass
Yellow Bullhead
Carp
Drum (Sheepshead)
NOTE: This list may not be all inclusive of all speices present in Crab Orchard Lake.
TOPO MAP FOR MEMBERS
FISHING OUTLOOK
BLUEGILL
Average AVERAGE
The abundance of Crab Orchard Lake bluegill decreased for the fourth year in a row in 2019, and the proportion of fish over 6 inches in length decreased from 49 to 40%. Abundance however still exceeded the management goal for the fifteenth year in a row. The proportion of bluegill larger than seven inches stayed the same at 12. Bluegill body condition remained excellent, indicating another good forecast for bluegill anglers.
CHANNEL CATFISH
Excellent EXCELLENT
Crab Orchard Lake channel catfish quality and body condition, similar to previous years, was excellent, and 73% of the fish collected were larger than 22 inches in length.
CRAPPIE
Excellent EXCELLENT
The percentage of white and black crappie larger than 8 inches remained high in 2019 at 93% for both species. The percentage of white crappie larger than ten inches in length was good at 39%, while 15% of black crappie in the sample achieved that size. Body condition of both white and black crappie was good, but near the lower end of the management plan goal range. Crappie smaller than 10 inches in length tend to be overabundant in Crab Orchard Lake, and anglers are encouraged to remove these fish to thin the population and improve the quality of the fishery.
LARGEMOUTH BASS
Good GOOD
The bass fishing forecast for Crab Orchard Lake is good to very good. In 2019, the percentage of bass larger than 16 inches continued to increase (33%). Of these, 18% were also larger than 18 inches slightly higher than the previous year. Largemouth bass abundance in the 2019 sample increased compared to the previous year (69/hr), and the general management plan goal of 60 per hour was easily met. Body condition of largemouth bass in Crab Orchard Lake has remained excellent.
WHITE BASS
Very Good VERY GOOD
Numbers of Crab Orchard Lake white bass collected during the fall 2019 survey, although relatively small at 15 fish per hour of electrofishing, represented the second highest in thirteen years, and the proportion over 10 inches (76%) was impressive. Fish in the sample ranged in size from 5 to 15 inches, and 19% were larger than 12 inches. White bass body condition was just below the management plan goal.
PLACES TO SAY
STAY 22: Crab Orchard Lake
CONTACT / CONTROLLING AUTHORITY
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge:
618-997-3344
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Luke Nelson
618-985-1112
NOTICE: Lake-Link Inc assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information for Crab Orchard Lake. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.
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