REND LAKE CRAPPIE FISHING   Leave a comment

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This southern Illinois impoundment has produced excellent crappie fishing for the past dozen years. Prior to that, the size and numbers of fish declined since the original damming of Big Muddy River.

In the early days of the lake the Illinois state record black crappie was caught, a record that has stood since 1976. Although fishing has steadily improved in recent years, the record still stands.

The length and creel limits enacted in 2002 and continuing to today have had a significant impact on the size structure and the population according to D-19 Fisheries Biologist, Mike Hooe. “Populations have improved dramatically and remain stable,” exclaims Mike.  The fish are in very good condition and fishing continues outstanding.  The thick fish are the kind anglers refer to as having “shoulders.”

Hooe’s most recent surveys found that the number of crappie has increased for the second consecutive year. This is due primarily to the increase in the population of 2-year old fish in the 6 to 8-inch length.  The number of fish in the 8 to 10 inch class declined in 2013 by 19% over 2012.  They are still about 35% of the total population.  The number of crappie over 12 inches remains abundant enough to provide quality angling.

Mike’s surveys found that the crappie in the 10 to 14 inch group weigh ½ to 1 plus pounds and remain abundant throughout the lake.

The body condition of the fish is at the second highest level in 9 years.

Wet springs mean good reproduction when it comes to crappie in this lake. The high water levels during the spawn the past two years have produced excellent crappie recruitment according to Mike.

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