FISHING ILLINOIS LARGEST STATE PARK   Leave a comment

Photo by Shawn Hirst

Photo by Shawn Hirst

Finishing a day’s work on the road early and turning to a couple of hours of fishing fun at Pyramid State Park, Illinois largest state park.  A small collapsible rod and some tackle in the vehicle trunk are for just such occasions.

Getting to the park entrance late in the day, there was no one around.  The staff had gone home for the day but there were maps and brochures about the facility in a box outside the Site Superintendent’s Office.

First up is Crystal Lake to the west of the park entrance.  This long narrow tree-lined expanse of water contains such species of common southern Illinois fish as largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish.

A small white Roadrunner lure cast to the shallow areas along the shore near the fishing pier produces one small bluegill.  Moving on to the boat ramp and fishing from the floating pier results in no further fish.

Moving west to Heron Lake and spending the last of daylight hours fishing there with the Roadrunners leads to some short strikes that promised fish of some size.

Although not a lot of time fishing the evening provides thoroughly enjoyable time in the park.  It was a warm summer week day with no wind.  Having the place virtually empty is a bonus.

Located in Perry County between Pinkneyville and Pyatts, Illinois and west of DuQuoin, the park now encompasses some 19,000 acres.  It is about an hour drive southeast of St. Louis, MO.  It is easy to find south of Pinkneyville.  One takes Illinois Route 13 to where it joins with Illinois Route 127.

Originally, a strip mine the original 924 acres was used by a local college as a research facility.  Later donated to the state in 1968 for a state park, more donations adding more land resulted in the park reaching 19,000 acres by 2001.

The park consists of five units:  Original Pyramid, East Conant, Galum, Captain, and Denmark.  The 0riginal area contains some 30 lakes of various sizes.  Captain contains 11 lakes and Denmark has 7.

District 21 Fisheries Manager, Shawn Hirst, from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has spent years stocking game fish in the lakes of the park.  At this point there are numerous species spread throughout the property.  Controls on the fishing maintain a balance in the fishery of each lake.

I suspect there are lakes in Galum and East Conant but have not had a chance to explore those areas.  Hirst’s stocking reports show the addition of about 100 ten-inch Muskie in Goldeneye Lake in Galum.  The stocking began in 2002 and continues.  The lake contains bluegill sunfish, redear sunfish, channel catfish and largemouth bass.

In addition, to the fish mentioned earlier, Green Wing Lake, Canvasback Lake, Mallard Lake and Blue Wing Lake all contain crappie with both black and white subspecies present.  They range is size up to 10 inches.  Canvasback Lake in the Denmark Area has received some stocking of muskies since 2002 at a rate of about 100 ten inch fish each year.  Mallard and Green Wing Lakes also have walleye from yearly stockings done by the IDNR since 2002.  Both Mallard and Blue Wing Lakes have received stockings of Northern Pike and will get more this summer.  If you catch a northern pike please call Shawn Hirst at 618-687-4546 to report it.  These lakes are located in the Denmark Area.

A special attraction in the Captain Area is Super Lake and some striped bass hybrids placed there in June 2003.  In August of 2008, Hirst added some 460 Muskie.  Plans are for some 100 more each year on the even numbered years.  Redear sunfish up to 9 inches are present.

Muskie anglers will find some in Goldeneye Lake in the Galum Area along with some 9 inch redear sunfish.  The lake contains bluegill sunfish, redear sunfish, channel catfish and largemouth bass.

This property is basically a hunting and fishing facility.  However, there are camping and hiking trails available.  The roads kept up and the picnic areas are clean.

All of the lakes have 10 horsepower limits on boat motors and most have boat launches.  Boat launch areas are often on steep inclines so 4-wheel drive vehicles are a good idea.  Some of the lakes do not have launch areas and some are accessible only on foot.  Canoes and kayaks make perfect sense in most of the lakes.  There is no bait shop, marina or boat rental available on the property.

This facility provides excellent surroundings for the angler in search of a quiet, gentle day on the water.  The heavy brush deadens any sound that might otherwise disrupt ones concentration of the task at hand, Fishing.

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