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Lake Information

County: Tazewell

Acreage: 660

Average Depth: 2.89 feet

Shoreline Length: 5.2 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 25hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

larger map link Spring Lake North Spring Lake South

    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Spring Lake North, Spring Lake South

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



The channel catfish population indices showed that 46.7 percent of the population was over 18 inches with an average body condition value of 91.4. The annual stocking of channel catfish provides a population that many Spring Lake anglers target from the shoreline. An annual stocking of 9,000 non-vulnerable size fish is anticipated.


Very Good

The black crappie population indices showed only 11 percent of the fish were over 9 inches and 2.7 percent were over 10 inches. In 2018 a new harvest regulation started for crappie. This regulation is a harvest limit of 25 fish per day with only 10 fish over 10 inches allowed. This regulation will allow harvest pressure on the large percentage of crappie that are under 9 inches in length.


Very Good

This lake is characterized by a heavy growth of aquatic vegetation for much of the spring, summer and fall. The largemouth bass population is in transition from many large fish to many young, intermediate-sized fish. A common carp spawn in 2011 produced this change in the bass fishery. The Lake is starting to produce a better largemouth bass population as some control of carp spawns has occurred. IDNR is in the process of undertaking management of the weeds to increase bass numbers and sizes available to anglers. There is a window of opportunity for anglers to access the fishery from March 15 through April 30, or until the aquatic vegetation becomes too dense to fish. Fishing with surface lures at night has been a traditional method of catching large bass at South Spring Lake. The 2018 fall electrofishing survey showed that quality indices had improved. The percentage of bass over 14 and 15 inches had doubled from 2017 to 24 and 19.4 percent respectively. The percentage of fish over 18 inches at 2.3. In 2018 a new harvest regulation started for largemouth bass. The regulation is a protected slot from 12 to 18 inches with 3 fish per day harvest. This regulation should help restructure the population to larger sized individuals in the coming years.



The northern pike population indices showed the majority of the population is from 20 to 28.7 inches in length and in poor body condition with a value of 77.5. Currently the northern pike stocking program has ended in Illinois and South Spring Lake has not received a stocking since 2015. A muskie stocking program may be considered for South Spring Lake in the future as the northern pike population diminishes.

Location: South Spring Lake is a 610 acre body of water located 6 miles north and west of Manito, Illinois, adjacent to the Illinois River.

Description: South Spring Lake is an elongated backwater lateral marsh of the Illinois River. It was separated by a high levee from the Illinois River in 1916. The South Lake was separated from the North Lake in 1978 by a stop log structure and a spillway for discharge water. South Spring Lake receives 103 acre feet of recharge daily from springs and seeps. Spring Lake currently has a 25 horsepower limit for outboard motors. The main access is via the Spring Lake blacktop road. A single lane boat ramp is located south of the causeway which crosses Spring Lake. South Spring Lake is a shallow, very fertile backwater. It has a 60% coverage of aquatic vegetation after April and until November of each year.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: South Spring Lake was rehabilitated in 1986 to remove an undesirable carp-gizzard shad fish population. As a result of the rehabilitation, an excellent fish population resulted. Water clarity improved and aquatic weeds flourished. Good fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and catfish soon resulted. As part of an effort to develop a brood source for northern pike, Spring Lake has been stocked with that species for 25 years. Northern pike are trap netted at the lake and spawned at the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery in March of each year. A total of over half a million eggs are produced for state-wide northern pike needs each year. Because of its shallow water and clarity, South Spring Lake has a tremendous coverage of aquatic vegetation. As part of an effort to reduce coverage of Eurasian milfoil (an exotic invasive plant), South Spring Lake is treated with DMA4-2, 4D each year.

Additional Lake Information: The lake is closed to boat fishing one week prior to regular waterfowl season, and until the end of waterfowl season each year. Horsepower limit: 25hp. Rental boats available. Tournaments must register at the site office no later than 30 days before the tournament.

New Site Regulation Effective April 2018:
Largemouth bass: protected slot length from 12 to 18 inches, with the harvest of 3 fish either over or under this protected slot.

Contact Information:
Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Site Superintendent
7982 South Park Rd.
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Bushman

There were 3 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2018.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 50

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

1     6.33 lbs
2     5.74 lbs
3     5.56 lbs
4     5.48 lbs
5     5.28 lbs

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

1 39.89 lbs
2 26.71 lbs
3 11.50 lbs

Multiple day tournaments are listed with *end date and

Interested in participating in one of these public tournaments? Contact us with tournament ID for more information.

2019-2020 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
April-0414707ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
20Largemouth Bass
May-0214674ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
20Largemouth Bass
July-1214444ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
12Largemouth Bass
August-1614154ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass