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PRAIRIE LAKE (Site M)- JEPCSFWA


Lake Information

County: Cass

Acreage: 210

Average Depth: 18.01 feet

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes


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Maps are not intended for navigation.


There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.

Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLACK CRAPPIE

Average

Black crappie were not stocked by the IDNR, but have appeared in yearly surveys for more than 10 years. Of the black crappie collected in the 2016 spring trap net survey, fish ranged in size from 7-14”. All crappie were in less than desired body condition. Anglers can catch crappie in the spring and fall on submerged structures and stickups with spinners, jigs and minnows.

BLUEGILL

Poor

The original management plan for Prairie Lake was to provide a trophy panfishery, but the bluegill populations did not progress as planned. Therefore, a new management strategy was implemented in 2010 that focused on other facets of the fishery. Bluegill populations in Prairie Lake are poor, displaying large numbers of small fish. A Columnaris disease outbreak occurred in late July, 2016, that affected mainly the bluegill population. Columnaris is a naturally occurring bacteria that can cause a fish mortality under the appropriate conditions (warm water temperatures and a stressed fish population followed by a rain event).

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

The channel catfish population is excellent both in quantity and quality. Many 2–8 lb fish are collected in surveys every year. Channel catfish are stocked into Prairie Lake on a biennial basis to supplement the population. Anglers can catch channel catfish around brushy areas, coves, and along the shoreline in the warmer months of the year using bottom fishing techniques with cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or night crawlers. Site Regulation: 6 fish daily limit.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Excellent

The largemouth bass population is doing well. 17% of catchable fish collected in the spring 2016 survey measured over the 15” minimum length limit, while 8% measured over 18”. Largemouth bass catch rates have increased over the last several years; our 2016 collection rate was the highest catch rate observed in the last 10 years. This may be due to the switch from 3-phase AC to pulsed-DC electrofishing gear rather than an increase in bass density. The largest largemouth bass that was collected in the spring 2016 survey measured 20.5” long and weighed 5.2 pounds. This lake can be difficult to fish due to its maximum depth of 45’, steep sides, and abundant vegetation and woody cover, but very rewarding. Anglers can catch largemouth bass during the warmer months of the year around beds of aquatic vegetation, points, and deadfalls with plastic worms, jigs, spinners, crank baits, minnows, crayfish and worms. Site Regulation: 15" minimum length limit, 3 fish daily limit.

MUSKELLUNGE

Very Good

Over the last 10 years, the muskie collected via electrofishing were few and far between and in poor body condition. Many angler accounts also reported muskie in poor body condition. A gizzard shad stocking was implemented in 2010 to supplement muskie diets and improve body condition. We conducted a trap net survey in the spring of 2016, and were pleasantly surprised collect over 100 healthy muskie. We set 24 trap nets for two nights. In total, we collected 101 muskie. We collected 24 females, 75 males, and 2 immature fish. The females ranged in size from 37.3" and 16.1 lbs - 45.2" and 26.9 lbs, while the males ranged in size from 26.2" and 4.7 lbs - 40.8" and 19.2 lbs. The average body condition is average. Biennial muskie stocking will continue on even years. Anglers can catch muskie in the spring and fall around beds of aquatic vegetation using minnows, spinners, spoons, jigs, jerk and crank baits. 48" minimum length limit, 1 fish daily limit.

REDEAR SUNFISH

Poor

The original management plan for Prairie Lake was to provide a trophy panfishery, but the redear sunfish populations did not progress as planned. Therefore, a new management strategy was implemented in 2010 that focused on other facets of the fishery. Redear sunfish populations in Prairie Lake are poor, displaying large numbers of small fish.

Location: Prairie Lake is located at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State and Fish and Wildlife Area, 8 miles north of Ashland and 40 miles northwest of Springfield.

Description: In the early 1990s, the Department of Natural Resources purchased 15,575 acres of ground from Commonwealth Edison. Ten old farm ponds on the site were rehabilitated and restocked, and three new larger lakes were constructed. Gridley Lake was completed and stocked in 1997, followed by Prairie and Drake lakes in 1999 and 2002, respectively. Prairie Lake is the largest lake, spanning 210 acres. It has a maximum depth of 45' and an average depth of 18'. It is steep sided, has extensive beds of aquatic vegetation and woody cover, and is very clear with visibilities of 10-14'.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: For information on the other bodies of water in the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish Wildlife Area:


Gridley Lake

Drake

Gurney Road Pond

Additional Lake Information: 2 pole and line fishing only. Prairie Lake has unlimited horsepower with a no-wake zone for the entire lake. Sail boats are allowed.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth bass: 15" minimum length limit, 3 fish daily limit
Muskie: 48" minimum length limit, 1 fish daily limit
Channel catfish: 6 fish daily limit

Contact Information:
Site Office
217-452-7741
Nerissa McClelland, IDNR County Fish Biologist
309-357-0387

There were 37 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2016.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 835
Muskellunge 15

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this
waterbody in 2016 tournaments:

1     6.40 lbs
2     6.12 lbs
3     6.12 lbs
4     6.12 lbs
5     6.05 lbs

2017 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date End Date
(if different from start)
ID Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Public?
March-257799Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-018892Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
5Largemouth Bass
No
April-089130Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
April-148311Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-148371Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
8Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
April-298550Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
No
May-057930Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
May-067635Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
May-127370Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
May-19May-207368Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
May-268006Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
May-278729Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-027414Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-037587Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
June-098566Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-109101Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
6Largemouth Bass
No
June-149012Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
No
June-168052Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-248246Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-307427Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
July-018622Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
July-087438Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
July-118680Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
July-147420Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-158086Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
July-228026Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
July-288783Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
July-297800Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-048121Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
August-058111Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-117697Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
August-129135Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
5Largemouth Bass
No
August-197814Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-257600Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
September-01September-028124Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
September-098880Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-198837Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-229284Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Muskellunge
Yes
September-29September-308058Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
October-06October-077704Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
25Muskellunge
Yes
October-137494Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
October-148164Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
12Muskellunge
Yes
October-218593Prairie Lake Ramp (off Rt 11) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes