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Notice (1/28/19): Due to ice related safety concerns, the Powerton Lake power plant has closed access to the lake. This closure could possibly last for the next 2 weeks; we will post the status here as we learn of its reopening.

Lake Information

County: Tazewell

Acreage: 1426

Average Depth: 10.33 feet

Shoreline Length: 10.9 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? No

Camping? No

large map link west end east end

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    West End, East End

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



Since these fish were initially stocked in 2001, they have grown very quickly. We now have an abundance of harvestable blue catfish at Powerton. The 2018 population indices showed 62% of the fish were over 28 inches and 6.2% were over 34 inches in length. Fish weighing up to 50 pounds have been sampled and we have had reports of 50+ pound fish being caught by anglers. A new harvest regulation went into effect in April 2019 and is a 1 fish Daily Harvest Limit for Fish greater than or equal to 35 inches and a 6 fish Daily Harvest Limit for Fish less than 35 inches for blue catfish, flathead catfish and/or channel catfish. This regulation was placed in an effort to protect some of the larger blue catfish but still allow a sustainable harvest.



There is an excellent population of fast-growing channel catfish. In our fall sampling effort in 2015, fish ranged from 16.5 to 35 inches in length. Growth and condition of most of the collected channel cat were within normal limits for Illinois waters. Site Regulation: 6 fish limit.



Alligator gar were obtained from the federal hatchery system and stocked into Powerton in 2011. The purpose of this stocking was to re-establish this rare fish in Illinois waters. The 2018 survey collected 13 alligator gar ranging from 51” – 60” and 46 – 65 lbs. These fish averaged 2.2 lbs. when they were stocked in 2011.



We were able to stock 30,900 hybrid strippers in 2015. These fish were in excellent growth condition and about 5 inches long at the time of stocking. The 2018 fall electrofishing survey collected 3 hybrid striped bass ranging from 17 to 20 inches in length. Site Regulation: 10 fish per day/ with no more than 3 fish greater than 17”.



Bass populations have been recently affected by limited reproduction. Site Regulation: 18” minimum-one fish limit.



Bass populations have been recently affected by limited reproduction. Many 8-15 inch smallmouth bass are found at Powerton, however. These fish grow rapidly and are in fair body condition. They provide excellent fishing in April and May. Site Regulation: 18” minimum-one fish limit.

Location: Powerton Lake is located in west-central Illinois two miles southwest of Pekin, Illinois in Tazewell County.

Description: Powerton Lake was constructed and filled in 1971 by Commonwealth Edison Company. Its purpose was to provide cooling water for a fossil fuel fired electric generation facility. Powerton Station was constructed in the 1930s, but greatly expanded in 1971. Water quality law made it necessary for the plant to construct a cooling lake, rather than using the Illinois River for cooling the heat exchanger. Powerton Lake was built in a drainage district adjacent to the Illinois and Mackinaw Rivers and encompasses 1426.0 acres of water. The Lake was built in the shape of an extended rectangle and has very little structure. The maximum depth is 18 feet with an average depth of about 8 feet. Water flow is from the plant discharge on the East side and flow is directed toward the west by a series of baffles. Water turn-over is about every 48 hours through the plant intake at maximum cooling flow capacity. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources signed a cooperative agreement with Commonwealth Edison Company in 1984 to open Powerton for fishing and waterfowl hunting. That lease was renewed in 2010 to extend another 10 years. There is a double concrete ramp and parking for 90 cars at the access which is located along the Manito Blacktop on the south side of the lake.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: In 2001, blue catfish stocks were obtained from Arkansas and stocked into Powerton Lake with the hope that it would create an excellent trophy fishery for this fish. The catfish grew quickly in the warm water of the lake and had attained a size of 50 pounds by 2011. The lake has been stocked annually with this species and will be evaluated for natural reproduction in the fall of 2016. Striped bass hybrids have been stocked in Powerton to provide an open water predator on gizzard shad and threadfin shad. The success of these stockings is currently being evaluated. Alligator gar were obtained from the federal hatchery system and stocked into Powerton in 2011. The purpose of this stocking was to re-establish this rare fish in Illinois waters. We were able to collect nine of the initial stocking of 78 fish in a survey conducted in August of 2015. In 4 years, they had grown from an average of 2.2 pounds to 37.9 pounds. In 2015 we stocked a total of 221,193 smallmouth bass 0.5 to1.3 inches in length in order to re-establish a good breeding population of these fish in coming years. Because of difficulties in recruitment of smallmouth due to warm water in mid-summer, it is hoped that these hatchery fish will recruit and establish a very large year-class of bass. A total of 38,631 blue catfish were reared at Little Grassy Hatchery and stocked into Powerton Lake as 4.1 inch long fish in 2015. These fish should be able to maintain an excellent catfish fishery for the next few years.

We were able to collect a total of 16 species of fish in our collection for the fall of 2015. They included: Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, bigmouth buffalo, bluegill, redear sunfish, carp, smallmouth buffalo, freshwater drum, brook silversides silver carp, and green sunfish. Not collected were: Pirate perch, shortnose gar, alligator gar, and bighead carp. Powerton Lakes’ fish population is influenced greatly by the elevated temperature of the water. Fish growth is very fast but reproduction is negatively affected. The power plant was off line in November and December of 2015 and water temperatures were much cooler at that time.

Additional Lake Information: There is no horsepower restriction on boating. Pole and line fishing only. The hours for Powerton Lake are as follows:
May 1 – September 30th: 6:00 am - 8:00 pm
October 1 – April 30th: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Contact Information:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Bushman

There were 1 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 2
Smallmouth Bass 10

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1     0.00 lbs
2     0.00 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2018 tournaments:

1 0.00 lbs