Monday, March 12, 2012

Shabbona Lake “Muskie Capital of Illinois”

“Muskie Capital of Illinois”

Home of four State Record Muskies

(No other lake even has 2)

State Park and Muskie Status Report Information

The following is an excerpt from the Illinois State Parks website:

Just miles west of Chicago, off U.S. 30, urban sprawl gives way to 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318.8-acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

A unique mix of grass-covered meadows, upland mystic woods, bottomland woods, and a native, undisturbed fen, makes this an ideal location for natural relaxation and outdoor activity. You can see sedges, cattail, marsh marigolds, horsetail, skunk cabbage, turtlehead, iris, blue joint grass and bulrushes. Also, enjoy the areas of prairie restoration throughout the park, which features prairie grasses such as Big Blue Stem and prairie flowers such as purple coneflower.

With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.

Whether fishing from a boat or shore, both are popular and productive at Shabbona Lake, which is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, black and white crappie, black and brown bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, Muskie and perch. For fish catch and size limits, contact the park office.

Lake access is available from a double-lane launching ramp. Boat motors are limited to a 10 horsepower maximum. However, an 18-acre upper fishing area is a no-wake zone where only the use of electric trolling motors or rowing is permitted. For further details, including information on special sailing regulations, contact the park office.

The following is an excerpt from the Illinois DNR (Department of Natural Resources)


SHABBONA LAKE - This Lake was built in 1974 and first opened to fishing in 1977. The lake is 319 acres and the basin was shaped and designed with Sport Fish Restoration funds. Standing timber, stump fields, fish cribs, anchored trees, rock piles, fish piers, a gravel road bridge, and a cement blockhouse provide some very interesting structures for the angler. The shoreline is well vegetated with a variety of aquatic plants including water lily.

In addition to Muskie, the lake’s predator population includes largemouth bass in substantial numbers, walleye, smallmouth bass, and hybrid striped bass supplementally stocked yearly. The prey population includes gizzard shad, yellow perch, golden shiners, white suckers, brook silversides, and carp.

The lake was initially stocked with 30,000 tiger Muskie fry in 1976. The stocking success was excellent with 53 tiger Muskie collected in the fall electrofishing survey of 1976. The lake was again stocked with 286 tiger Muskie fingerlings in 1980.

Two state record tiger Muskie were claimed from Shabbona Lake; the first in 1982 from the original stock and the second in 1986 from the supplemental stock.

From 1983 to 1989, the lake was stocked with 2,229 pure Muskie at 11" in size from the Carlton Silt Basin and Muskie, Inc. This stocking effort has been a success since two state records came from the 1985 stocking at 34 pounds, 3 ounces in 1994 and a latter state record in 1997 at 37 pounds, 13 ounces.

From 1990 through 1999 - 4,812 Muskie, the Shabbona Lake Sportsmen’s Club stocked from Jake Wolf Hatchery or through a purchase 8” to 12”. Muskie will be stocked only in odd years beginning in 2001 with 638 fish or 2 per acre followed by 638 fish in 2003.

April trap netting for walleye (1997-2002) yielded 283 Muskie with two estimated to be over 40 pounds. With reduced efforts in 2003, 28 Muskie were captured.

The long-awaited barrier net was completed on August 4, 1998 completely blocking the exit of larger fish over the spillway. Prior to the net’s installation, members of Muskie, Inc. collected 22 Muskie below the dam in the Indian Creek tail waters. A similar September survey found only one Muskie. The 2011 fishing season was very good for Muskie anglers and the 2012 season will be the same.

There is a 48" size limit on Muskie at Shabbona Lake with a limit of one per day.

For more information about fishing this great lake us the contact tab on this blog or click the home tab to book your trip today!

As always, keep a tight line!

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