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Illinois Striped Bass Fishing and hybrid striper fishing

Illinois Pure breds stripers

CEDAR LAKE Jackson County's Cedar Lake 1,750-acre impoundment . numerous stripers from the high teens to low-20-pound range Cedar Lake is located four miles southwest of Carbondale. Two boat launches are available and there is a 10-horsepower restriction on motors. All striped bass must be at least 17 inches with a 3 fish limit. For more information, contact the Shawnee National Forest Murphysboro District office at (618) 687-1731.

LAKE CHARLESTON According to the 2005 Status of Striped Bass/Hybrid Striped Bass Fishery in Illinois, numerous angler reports of hybrids up to 12 pounds have been tabulated in Coles County's Lake Charleston. A productive fishery has developed in this small 346-acre supply reservoir, and the upcoming year should be good because strong year-classes of fish over 20 inches are present. In 2004, two big-fish nominations for hybrid striped bass were submitted from Charleston. Lake Charleston is managed by the City of Charleston. Boat ramps are available, as are picnic and park facilities. The lake enforces a no-wake restriction. There is a 17-inch minimum on all hybrids, with three fish per day. For more information, contact Region 3 fisheries at (217) 935-6860.

COFFEEN LAKE Coffeen Lake is one of the Prairie State's best largemouth bass fisheries, is the best-kept striper secret in our entire state. Eight- to 10-pound fish are very common." Coffeen Lake is 1,100 acres. Boat launching and various park amenities are on site. For more information, contact site superintendent Brad Tedrick at (217) 537-3351.

HEIDECKE LAKE the top fisheries in Illinois for big hybrids. According to the 2005 Status of Striped Bass/Hybrid Striped Bass in Illinois, numerous hybrids from 20 to 30 inches were sampled. A few pure stripers in the 30- to 40-pound-class were also collected. Heidecke Lake SFWA opens April 1. There is a 10-fish limit on all stripers, and only three can exceed 17 inches. Boat launching, concession and bank-fishing are available. For more information, call (815) 942-6352.

LAKE MATTOON Although the 2005 Status of Striped Bass/Hybrid Striped Bass in Illinois would rate overall fishing prospects in this 1,050-acre reservoir eight miles south west of Mattoon as just fair, some large hybrids call this reservoir home. And with a little searching, Mattoon can provide anglers with the possibility of running into a dandy hybrid. Illinois' Supercharged Stripers "Hybrids up to about 20 inches have been collected from Mattoon. However, few anglers specifically target fish here," said biologist Mike Mounce. A recent fish kill, however, revealed good numbers of fish greater than 20 inches, and anglers have reported fish as large as 15 pounds. Mattoon will produce some big fish in the upcoming year, and will be a lake to watch in the near future. During the spring, concentrate on transitional areas such as bridges where migration is constricted. Points, humps and saddles can also concentrate fish. In summer, hybrids move into the depths around the spillway and levee. Fall sees hybrids corralling baitfish off points, over humps and bars, and in the backs of coves. Spoons, jigs, live shad, chrome Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits catch the most fish.

Lake Mattoon is managed by the city of Mattoon, and there is an access fee to launch a boat. There is no limit for hybrids under 17 inches, but only three fish greater than 17 inches can be kept. For more information, call (217) 234-3611

SANGCHRIS LAKE Biologist Dan Stephenson said that although you probably won't find numbers of stripers over 20 pounds, Sangchris Lake in Sangamon and Christian counties southwest of Springfield is still the state's premier striper lake. stocked stripers every other year since 1983 Sanchris Lake covers 3,022 acres. A number of launches are located throughout, and Sangchris Lake State Park has excellent facilities. For more information, call (217) 498-9208

Anglers in Chicagoland should give the lower Kankakee River a try. Big hybrids migrate out of the Illinois River and stack up in the tailwaters of the Wilmington dam. Ten-pounders are common. April and May are the top months. Call Angelo's Outdoor Sport Center for river conditions at (815) 476-7524.


La Salle Lake in La Salle County is an early-spring magnet for hybrids. Most are between 2 and 4 pounds, and catches of 30 or more fish are common. For more information, call (815) 357-1608.


Clinton Lake hybrids have gone down in recent years, but below the spillway in Salt Creek, good numbers of escapees have gathered, and they provide anglers with an opportunity to take advantage of numbers packed into a small area. Fish up to 12 pounds are possible. April and May are best months. For more information, call (217) 935-8722.


Lake Jacksonville in Morgan County is a trophy hybrid lake. Most of the fish in surveys are between 24 and 30 inches, and some pushing 20 pounds have been reported. For more information, call (217) 285-2221.
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