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Lake Information

County: Hancock

Acreage: 13

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Electric trolling

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

  Trout stocked in fall

  Trout stocked in spring

There are no zebra mussels in this lake.



Fish Status



A group of black crappie survived the winter kill in 2013/14, and are now measuring 9 – 12". We collected a few young of year in the 2016 and 2017 fall survey. Our 2017 survey showed 46% of the catchable population measured over 9” and 0 measured over 10”. There is currently no restriction on crappie harvest at Horton Lake. Anglers can catch crappie around submerged structures throughout the lake in the spring and fall with spinners, jigs and minnows.



The bluegill population at Horton Lake is currently characterized by a high density of fish measuring 3–4" in less than desirable body condition. The bluegill population should do better in the future with continued establishment of predator species. Anglers can catch bluegill on their spawning beds in the spring or near shoreline cover year round with worms, crickets or night crawlers.



Little is known about the channel catfish population following the winter 2013/14 fish kill. We collected 3 channel catfish in our 2017 survey ranging in size from 17 – 22" and weighing up to 3.7 pounds. Channel catfish are stocked from the State Hatchery system on an annual basis, so the population should recover well. Anglers can catch channel catfish near deadfalls and stickups in the warmer months throughout the lake using bottom fishing techniques with cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or night crawlers.Site Regulation: Creel limit 6 per day, no length limit.



The largemouth bass population consists of only brood fish stocked from the State Hatchery system in June 2106. The brood fish range in size from 15.5 – 21.5" weighing up to 4 pounds. Anglers are asked to practice catch and release with largemouth bass for the next serval years until the population becomes established. Laregemouth bass are not sexually mature until the age of 2, so protecting these fish until they have had a chance to spawn multiple times until age 4 or 5 is necessary to create a self-sustaining population. Anglers can catch largeemouth bass of of points, deadfalls, and stickups in the warmer months of the year with plastic worms, jigs, spinners, crank baits, minnows, crayfish and worms. Site Regulation: 18" minimum lenght limit, 1 fish daily limit.



Two groups of norther pike were stocked into Horton Lake following the 2013/14 winter fish kill with an attempt to establish a trophy northern pike fishery. Generally, northern pike do not reach harvestable size in Illinois, and the stocking was discontinued. We collected 5 pike in the 2016 survey, ranging from 13 – 20" and 5 pike in the 2017 survey ranging from 21.5 – 28”. The 2017 survey showed poor growth rates and body condition. Anglers can catch pike in the spring and fall around beds of aquatic vegetation using minnows, spinners, spoons, jigs, and jerk and crank baits. Site Regulation: 1 fish/day limit; 36" minimum length.


Very Good

Rainbow trout are stocked with our Catchable Trout Program in the Spring and Fall. Trout creel limit is 5 per day, except for spring and fall closed seasons when catch-and-release fly fishing is permitted.

Location: Located in Nauvoo State Park in western Illinois' Hancock County, on the south edge of Nauvoo along Illinois Route 96.

Description: Horton Lake was built in 1967 to provide fishing opportunity to patrons of Nauvoo State Park. The lake is 13 acres with a maximum depth of 26 feet, an average depth of 13 feet, and shoreline length of 3000 feet. A primitive boat ramp and bank fishing are available. The lake features clear water and a peaceful setting located on the edge of town. Camping, picnic areas, hiking trails and a museum are available. The lake is stocked in the spring and fall and is part of the “catch- and- release only fly fishing season,” which occurs 2 weeks prior to the regular trout harvest seasons.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Initially stocked with black bullhead to provide a catchable fish population, Horton Lake was stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish following lake rehabilitation in 1971. Both black and white crappie showed up in 1972, apparently stocked by an angler. Today the sport fishery includes largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. In addition, rainbow trout are stocked for the spring and fall trout seasons. There was a severe fish kill in the winter of 2013-2014 due to heavy ice and snow cover.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only for all species. Boats can be powered by electric trolling motors only.

Site Regulations:

Largemouth bass: 6 fish/day limit
Channel catfish: 6 fish/day limit
Northern Pike: 1 fish/day limit; 36" minimum length

Contact Information:
Nauvoo State Park
Park Staff
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Ruebush