CARLYLE LAKE BASS   Leave a comment

Whiskered Bass also inhabit the good bass habitat

Whiskered Bass also inhabit the good bass habitat

Three species of “bass” inhabit the tailwaters below the Carlyle Dam.  The three are Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and White Bass.

The 26,000-acre impoundment that is Carlyle Lake can be located on Illinois 127 and US 50 at the midway point between Interstate 64 and Interstate 57 in Clinton County.  The 15-mile long lake is 3.5 miles wide.  The deepest part is 40-feet deep.

The most popular fishing location for shore anglers is the tailwaters area below the dam.  Often anglers are almost elbow to elbow along the shoreline on both sides.  The least pressure is during the week.  Weekends are busy all year.

With a regular stocking of fingerlings of largemouth a number of very successful tournaments have returned to the waterway.  Although the best bass fishing is in the oxbow lakes, adjacent to the river current, largemouth bass are in the entire waterway.  They like the abundant woody cover to avoid the current.  Local anglers report commonly catching fish in the 3 to 5 pound class.

Habitat development by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has brought the smallmouth back from the brink of elimination.  The best locations are north of the Carlyle area but some fish are finding their way down to the tailwaters below Carlyle Dam.  Fish in the 2-4 pound range are usually in areas with rock or gravel bottoms.  Look for them in the slower water.

The lake areas are usually home for white bass.  But in the spring the greatest numbers of fish make spawning runs up river until a dam blocks their path.  Fish in the 10 to 15 inch class provide some valuable eating.  Look for them in the grave bottom areas with swift running water of the tailwaters.

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