Sangamon 0001

The full river begins in McLean County and flows in an arc through central Illinois some 250 miles to join the Illinois River near Peoria.  The upper reaches of the river flow east into Champaign County, south through Mahomet, then west through Monticello and Decatur.  It then flows northwest along Springfield.  It is at this point that Salt Creek enters the river and together they flow into the Illinois River about 10 miles northeast of Beardstown, IL.

There is boat access along the course of the river and in particular in the parks bordering Lake Decatur, Rock Springs Conservation Area, Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park, Carpenter Park in Springfield, and the Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area.

IDNR fisheries staff finds the catch rates with electro-shocking efforts are generally low at most sites.  However, the site near Roby, in Christian County is a stand out.  All the catfish were less than two pounds but that represents a thriving population for years to come.

A sampling of fish in Salt Creek below the Clinton Lake dam produces catfish that are less than ten inches in length.  Prospects for finding catfish below the Lake Decatur dam are slim.

According to surveys done in the lower portion of the Sangamon River, it is more productive for the angler in search of big fish.  Studies sampling with survey nets and by electro-shocking in areas near Riverton, Springfield, Petersburg and Oakford were more encouraging.

They find the upstream sites at Riverton and Springfield more productive than the other two for both flatheads and channel catfish.  Riverton was the top for channels.  The largest channel catfish were 27-inches long and over 7.5 pounds.  The average channel catfish are 16 to 23-inches in length and 1.5 to 5-pounds in weight.

Trophy flatheads run from 17 pounds to 43 pounds.  The flathead catfish evenly spread across all size classes.  This is an indication of a large, healthy population.

Illinois is a catfish mecca.  The Sangamon River is just one.  Virtually every river contains at least some fish.  Summer is the time to catch them.


Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hopefully time and good conservation can increase the population.

  2. You are right there. But, sometimes mother nature steps in in with flooding at the spawning time and when the water level goes down the young and eggs are left high and dry. But, this river seems to be making a good try at being a great fishery. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: