CRAB ORCHARD’S WOLF CREEK CAUSEWAY   Leave a comment

This woman took a nice crappie from one of the docks at the parking lot on Wolf Cree Causeway.

This woman took a nice crappie from one of the docks at the parking lot on Wolf Cree Causeway.

Wolf Creek Causeway in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge near Marion is actually a causeway that joins two areas of the refuge.  Fishing along this causeway is generally good all year.

It is one of the few lake areas with good structure and still available to the shore angler.  The lake itself is 65 years old, old for a reservoir.  A lot of the bottom is silted in with the run-off from Wolf and Salt Creeks.

People think that it is just too good to be true that a public area, easily accessible, produces such a good quality angling opportunity.

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is a complex of wetland, forest and lakes located southwest of Marion, Illinois.  The Visitor’s Center located two miles south of Route 13 on Highway 148 is a good place for the angler to begin a trip to Wolf Creek.

Wolf Creek is a 1/3 mile long gravel road that crosses Crab Orchard Lake at about the middle.  Parking facilities are available on both sides of the roadway at the North end.  You can travel across to the other side but parking is limited on the south side of the lake.

Walking south from the parking lot, one comes upon numerous shore fishing sites.  Several floating docks and other shore fishing areas are located at the bridge where the two lake areas join.  West of the causeway a few feet and you come upon the handicap pier and another long dock.

As one walks along the roadway, there are paths down to the shoreline at a number of points.  Each of these leads to a good fishing point.  Anglers who regularly fish from these points wear down the vegetation.  Most of these locations contain submerged brush in 3 to 5 feet of water.

The key to finding fish along the causeway is finding the brush.  Some locations have it near the shoreline and at other locations it is as much as 20 feet out.  It is important to fish tight to the brush.  It may cost a lot of tackle but is worth it.

About half way across the causeway is the bridge that allows boat traffic to pass.  Wooden stairs on both sides of the roadway and both north and south of the bridge allow anglers access to the water.  The shore is concrete and angles into the water with casting docks.  One can fish from the concrete if it is dry.  If it is wet it is best to avoid it, as it is slippery.

From the concrete, one can fan cast the entire area.  In the colder weather crappies are in the current of the area between the bridge supports.  If they are not there, try the area off the points.  They will be either up near the shoreline or as far as out as 20 feet.

Cast from all four corners of the bridge opening.  The floating dock, between the causeway and the shore fishing at the western parking lot, is an ideal place to cast to the shoreline of the western side of the causeway.  In the past the only way one could do that was to be in a boat.  For the shore angler this could be a boom.

Traveling west to the parking lot, there is a bit of brush off the southwest corner of the lot.  The short dock from the parking lot is a popular place for catfish anglers.

A Special Use permit is required to explore the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Permits either yearly, daily or weekly, are available at the Visitor’s Center.  The center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Day permits are available at the door of the Visitors Center 24 hours per day.  Just follow the instructions printed on the box to the right of the door.  There are also brochures and maps available at the center.  Camping is also available on the refuge.

For additional information about the refuge contact the Visitor Center, 8588 Route 148, Marion, Il 62959.

 

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