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CANTON LAKE


Lake Information

County: Fulton

Acreage: 220

Average Depth: 14.01 feet

Shoreline Length: 7.2 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? 85hp

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes



larger map link Dam Ramp


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    Dam, Boat Ramp

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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

BLUE CATFISH

Good

In 1999 and 2001, blue catfish were stocked into Canton Lake in three stockings with a total of 15,200 fish stocked. At stocking these fish averaged 4" to 8.5" in length. In 2003, 50 blue catfish were sampled by D.C. electrofishing. These fish ranged in size from 8.7 to 17.7 inches. Blue catfish have been collected annually during targeted low pulse electrofishing surveys. Young of the Year fish were collected in 2012 and 2018. This showed natural reproduction and recruitment has been occurring in Canton Lake. In 2022, 6 blue catfish from 33 to 44 inches were collected by low pulse D.C. boat electrofishing. The present blue catfish population in Canton Lake is at a low density with large individuals present. The body condition was very high at an average Wr of 115.

BLUEGILL

Poor

The bluegill population, catch per unit of effort, was 2.2 fish per minute in 2022. The Proportional Stock Density (PSD)value was very low at 7, and the percentage of fish (RSD7) over 7 inches was awful at 0. The average body condition was an average rating at 90. The bluegill population has been slow growing with stunting occurring before seven inches in length. This poor quality bluegill fishery is mainly due to severe food and space competition with the carp, yellow bass and now gizzard shad.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Excellent

The population has continued to improve in body condition and population levels since 1992. The Relative weight (WR) has improved from poor condition in 1992 to excellent condition by 1999. The gizzard shad forage base is probably responsible for the body condition improvement. In 2022, 17 fish were collected by the electrofishing survey and 31 fish in the spring trap net survey. The body condition was excellent at a 105 average, and 35% of the fish were over 18 inches in length. The turbid water conditions have permitted natural reproduction and recruitment to maintain the channel catfish population.

CRAPPIE

Very Good

In 2022,these populations were sampled by electrofishing and trap nets. The quality of the crappie populations had improved dramatically over the past 10 years up to 2020. Now the white crappie population is doing very good, while the black crappie population has a decreased size structure. The white crappie are present in a much higher density of quality fish. The white crappie population values showed 77% of the fish over 10 inches and the black crappie values showed 0% of the fish over 10 inches. The WR (Relative weight) values were at 97 for white crappie and 91 for black crappie. In 2023, a moderate density of the fish will be available from 9 to 12 inches in length and in good body condition with the larger fish being white crappie.

FLATHEAD CATFISH

Good

Flathead catfish have been annually sampled in Canton Lake since 2001 during the annual spring boat electrofishing survey or during targeted summer boat electrofishing surveys. The current flathead catfish population is present in a moderate density with natural reproduction and recruitment occurring. In 2022, 46 flathead catfish were sampled by low pulse D.C. electrofishing surveys. The size range was from 6 to 34 inches in length. The body condition was very good at an average Wr of 98.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Good

In 2022, the electrofishing catch per unit for bass over 8 inches was at .9 fish/minute which is just below the goal of at least 1 fish per minute. Maintaining a stable bass population density will require consistent recruitment at least every other year. The size distribution and the percentage of bass over 15 and 18 inches maintained a very good level in 2020. 43% were over 15 inches and 6% were over 18 inches. The body condition of bass at all sizes has remained good with the introduction of the gizzard shad. However, the recruitment of bass to the population is still low and this is probably the main factor limiting the bass density. In 2011 through 2013, no bass were stocked. In 2014, 208 bass at 8 inches long were stocked. In 2016, 2242 bass at 4.1 inches long were stocked on 8/22/2016. In 2017, no bass stocking occurred. In 2018, 236,250 largemouth bass at .3 inches were stocked on 6/1/2018. In 2019, no largemouth bass were stocked into Canton Lake. In 2020, 1,033 largemouth bass at 4 inches were stocked on 8/6/2020. In 2021, 805 largemouth bass at 8 inches were stocked on 5/6/2021, and 1,068 bass at 4 inches were stocked on 9/1/2021. And in 2022, 2,590 largemouth bass at 4 inches were stocked on 8/4/2022. Food competition and/or the lack of desirable food (aquatic insects, larval fish) for young bass under nine inches is probably a major factor in poor recruitment of young bass to larger sizes in Canton Lake. Once reaching approximately nine inches the bass are able to eat larger food (small fish) and not have the food source competition with yellow bass, crappie, bluegill and carp. With the introduction of the gizzard shad, the larger bass over 9 inches may benefit, but research has shown that the overall population and recruitment will probably not improve. However, since the 2017 survey, a good distribution of sizes and age groups, has been present. The big improvement since 2010 was the much higher number of bass from 4 to 8 inches and then 9 to 13 inches. This indicates recruitment and maybe the bass stocking has been very beneficial to the bass population. This trend will be followed to help evaluate the opportune bass stockings that have and may occur. Supplemental largemouth bass stocking may occur when surplus fish are available from the state hatchery.

MUSKELLUNGE

Very Good

Pure muskie were first stocked into Canton Lake in 2001. Since 2006 the muskie stocking has occurred almost annually. In 2022, 252 muskie at 12.5 inches long were stocked on 9/29/2022. In 2022, 8 muskie were sampled in the spring trap net survey. They ranged from 16.7 to 32.4 inches in length and were in excellent body condition with an average Wr of 107. The shad forage base will provide fast growth in Canton Lake. The main mortality in Canton Lake for muskie will probably be escapement over the spillway during annual high-water events.

Location: Canton Lake is located 1 mile northest of the town of Canton in Fulton County.

Description: Canton Lake is a 250-acre lake constructed in 1939 and was the primary potable water source for the city of Canton. Canton Lake has a maximum depth of 35 feet and an average depth of 14 feet. This water reservoir holds approximately 3,500 acre feet of water with 7.2 miles of shoreline. The 9,728 acre watershed is 82% agricultural, 12% woodland, and 6% municipal and residential. Historical water quality samples revealed a secchi disk average of 23 inches, a pH of 8.3, and total alkalinity of 135 mg/L. Conductivity readings averaged 375 umhos.

No submerged rooted aquatic vegetation is present in Canton Lake.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The overall sport fishery of Canton Lake has been at an average level over the last 20 years. The high density carp population and sedimentation problem have a direct negative effect of the rooted, submerged aquatic plants. With turbid water conditions, the carp thrive and continue the poor water quality, thus affecting the food chain and sport fish population. The addition of gizzard shad and yellow bass have made Canton Lake very difficult to manage for quality largemouth bass and bluegill.

IDNR conducts annual surveys to measure trends in fishery population dynamics, angling regulations and progress toward management goals.

The sport fishery in Canton Lake has developed into a quality location for flathead, blue and channel catfish. In 1997, 1998 and 1999, a total of 990 flathead catfish were stocked into Canton lake from the Illinois River periodically from June until January. In 1999 and 2001, blue catfish were stocked into Canton Lake in three stockings with a total of 15,200 fish stocked. All three species have established naturally reproducing populations in Canton Lake with quality fish present.

Starting in 2000, pure muskie have been stocked semiannually in Canton Lake.

Supplemental largemouth bass stockings have occurred when surplus fish are available from the state hatchery. Food competition and/or lack of desirable food (aquatic insects, larval fish) for young bass under nine inches is probably a major factor in poor recruitment of young bass to larger sizes in Canton Lake. Once reaching approximately nine inches, the bass are able to eat larger food (small fish) and not have the food source competition with yellow bass, crappie, bluegill and carp.

Additional species that have historically been collected in limited numbers include golden shiner, black bullhead, white sucker, green wunfish, yellow bullhead, northern pike and white catfish.

Additional Lake Information: Listing of the Sport Fish Regulations in Effect
All FISH - 2 pole and line fishing only

Species Size Limit Creel Limit
Largemouth bass 15 inch minimum 3 fish/day*
& Smallmouth bass
Channel Catfish None 6 fish/day
& Blue Catfish
Tiger Muskie 42 inch minimum 1 fish/day
& Muskie

*daily limit includes all largemouth and smallmouth bass
either singly or in the aggregate.

Contact Information:
Canton City Hall
309-647-0020
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Rob Hilsabeck
309-370-5296

There were 7 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Flathead Catfish 1
Largemouth Bass 139

Top 5 Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1     5.90 lbs
2     4.94 lbs
3     4.78 lbs
4     4.69 lbs
5     4.58 lbs

Top 5 Bag Weights of Largemouth Bass caught on this waterbody in 2020 tournaments:

1 94.75 lbs
2 62.06 lbs
3 49.61 lbs
4 44.79 lbs
5 43.58 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.

2020-2021 Approved or Pending Tournaments
Start Date ID Approval Ramp Location Bank/Boat
Hook/Bow
Max Boats Species Youth? Open to Public?
July-0326604ApprovedCanton Lake boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
July-3126606ApprovedCanton Lake boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
August-1025460ApprovedCanton Lake boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
August-1126608ApprovedCanton Lake boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes