CARLYLE LAKE BASS FISHING   Leave a comment

Carlyle Tailwater 1

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

The 26,000-acre impoundment that is Carlyle Lake is on Illinois 127 and US 50 at the midway point between Interstate 64 and Interstate 57 in Clinton County.  The city of Carlyle is located at the south end of the lake near the dam.  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 tailwater area below the dam.  Often anglers are almost elbow to elbow along the shoreline on both sides.  The least fishing pressure comes during the week.  Weekends are busy virtually all year.

With a regular stocking of fingerlings of largemouth, a number of very successful bass tournaments have returned to the waterway.  It is host to the High School State Championships in the spring.

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 to find them are north of the Carlyle area but some fish are finding their way down to the tailwater 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 the white bass.  But in the spring the greatest numbers of fish make spawning runs up river from below the dam until their path is blocked by it.  Anglers often catch fish in the 10 to 15 inch class.  Look for them in the gravel bottom areas with the swift running water of the tailwater.

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