Sunday, August 8, 2010

Best Bass Fishing Lake In Illinois?

On Saturday I had the privilege of fishing with professional fisherman Steve Ryan and Dale Rothstein. They have been fishing in exotic places around the world filming and photographing fish for people like In-Fisherman, Rapala, Frabill, Pflueger, etc. It was kind of awesome that guys I have been watching on TV fishing the best waters in the world actually came to Central Illinois to fish with me!

The air was already hot at 8 am, there weren't many clouds in the sky and the water was a blistering 86 degrees. Here was my chance to show the world some of the cutting edge fish projects we have been creating and we had to pick the dog days of summer to do so. I was a little nervous at first, but as the fish kept biting and the cameras kept clicking I was able to settle down, relax and enjoy the day.

Our first lake we went to is called Mike's lake at Otter Creek Preserve. It is a brand new 18 acre lake I started stocking as it was filling back in 2007. This lake is extremely intensively micro-managed to grow superior genetic largemouth bass. Average relative weights for these young fish are 130%! Here are some pics from this lake, we fished here from 8:30 to 11:30 am. Also along on the trip was Ryan Pudik with Timber Creek Land Company. They are the developers and owners of Otter Creek Preserve. They have over 225 acres of intensively managed water on this property!

This is just a fraction of the fish we caught at this first lake. All of the pictures of two fish were caught simultaneously. Monster bluegills hitting spinnerbaits, a bonus catfish on a senko, multiple double and triple hook ups on bass, and we landed 35 bass over 3 lbs! This is a fun lake with enormous potential!

Next we headed out fishing on Big Lake. This lake is between 150-175 acres and is also a brand new construction. We created this lake to be the very best bass fishing lake in Illinois. Every square inch of this lake was designed for raising trophy largemouth bass. Most lakes in Illinois are created for water retention for subdivisions or strip pits from mining coal. This lake was designed only for the purpose of recreational fishing!

We made brush and tree piles with bulldozers along with many contours, shelfs, and flats. We also created fishing reefs the size of football fields with 100's of tons of pea gravel and river rock, added 1000's of tons of rip rap, and placed over 330 big PVC structures on those reefs. We strategically keep water moving in certain areas of the lake with a big vertex aeration system and also have 2 big forage wetlands that drain into the lake.

The lake consists of 30 acres of flooded timber, 50 acres of deep water, and the rest is all food producing littoral zone with many islands, weedbeds, and miles of shoreline! Our forage base is gizzard shad, bluegill, golden shiners, fathead minnows, crawfish, yellow perch, and annual stockings of threadfin shad.

This lake is on pace to grow double digit bass in about 2 years. I have stocked several strains of largemouth bass from various regions of the country. I am a huge believer in starting with the right genetics. Even though this lake is still very young we had alot of fun fishing here already too! Its amazing how fast fish grow under ideal conditions with no limiting factors.

We fished the big lake until about 4 pm and then headed out of Otter Creek Preserve and over to my lake to fish for bluegill. Since we had been fishing in bass boats all day already we decided to just sit on the docks and cast out some nightcrawlers. Here are the pics from my lake. We caught some huge male bluegill, a real nice bass, and a mixed bag of smallmouth, crappie, catfish, and walleye.

8:30 pm and we are all done fishing for the day and snapped this last pic:


  1. freaking awsome!

  2. Wow. Now THAT'S some fish porn. I can't believe the size of those sunnies! Great work.

    Either you need to come manage some lakes here in Minnesota, or I have to move to Illinois.

  3. I am SOO impressed. What a great commentary and photographic support. Makes me want to spend the rest of my life in Illinois!!!

  4. Bruce,
    That is the same lake I took you crappie and walleye fishing in earlier this summer!

  5. Wow. The quality of the fish is exceptional.

  6. wow, way to fake a bunch of pics. it's funny how your arm size grows the closer you get to your hand. fag

  7. were is this located at in IL at

  8. My dad loves bass fishing, but he's kind of a "Keystone Fisherman" if you will. Dad has caught some nice bass in our fishing trips together, but never seems to land one over six pounds for a wall mount.Dads in his sixties now, and I would love to take him on a fishing trip this spring. A fishing trip that would almost guarantee him catch his, ever so illusive, wall mounter. Is there any way you can help me acomplish this goal?

  9. Is this open to the public or is it a private lake?

  10. The gills look impressive because they have been photoshopped. Many of these pictures look "enhanced". Whats up with the floating fish placed above where the fishermans hand should be.My favorite is the picture of the double bluegill (the only picture with 2 gills in it). I fish in the Chicagoland area and all i have to say is you should be ashamed of yourselves.I came to this site on a rainy day for inspiration and now im pissed. Pictures like these are an embarassment to what you are trying to accomplish.

    1. Well, all I can say is that the only 'enhancement' done to any of the fish photos is simple croppings to the originals. We really do grow fish that big! I wouldnt know how to photoshop even if I had it and I definitely wouldnt waste precious time in my day learning it.

      When a bluegill weighs 27-30 ounces it just looks absolutely enormous compared to the normal 8-9 ounce bluegill.

  11. Hi - Will you please post this Blog at The Bass Fishing Community at Our members will love it!
    It's easy to do - just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos, Classifieds, etc. It’s free and easy…
    We are looking for contributors to share with our members. Please help.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    The Bass Fishing Community:
    James Kaufman, Editor

    Our members will love this info?

  12. Stop stealing the Bill Dance shot! 9lb gills and 20lb bass, nice work!!!

  13. Really nice and good fishing images and as well as content
    for more

  14. Living the dream, congratulations. Stay safe and have fun bro.

  15. can the public fish here or is it private?