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POWERTON LAKE

The lake will be open for waterfowl hunting season. Bank fishing will reopen on Dec. 23 and boat fishing will reopen in the spring.


Lake Information

County: Tazewell

Acreage: 1426

Average Depth: 33.89 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



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    West End, East End

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.


Species

Rank

Fish Status

BLUE CATFISH

Excellent

An initial stocking of blue catfish (35,000) was made in October of 1999 from stocks received from Arkansas and reared at the Little Grassy Hatchery to 4.5 inches in length. We have stocked a total of over 100,000 blue catfish in the past 5 years. This stocking program has created a sport fishery that anglers enjoy for both harvest and trophy size fish. Shoreline fishing in the warmwater discharge area is a prime destination at the start of January. The 2023 fall electrofishing survey collected 57 blue catfish. These fish ranged in size from 18 to 37 inches in length. The body condition has been exceptionally good for these fish in Powerton. The population indices showed 29.8 percent of the fish were over 25 inches and 8.8 percent were over 33 inches in length.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Good

The 2023 survey collected 14 channel catfish ranging from 11 to 17 inches with a body condition of 97. Historically it has been a high-density population of fish under 16 inches in length in average to poor body condition. A PCB advisory for channel catfish was lifted in 2012 as three years of testing resulted in levels below the action limit.

GAR SPECIES

Developing

On 8/1/2023, 8 Alligator Gar were collected by IDNR Fisheries from the intake canal at Powerton Lake. Five of these fish were 14 years old, and they were stocked, and PIT tagged as 2-year-old fish on 6/9/2011 into Powerton Lake. On 8/1/2023 they had an average length of 59.4 inches and 59.4 pounds each. The other 3 fish collected in 2023, were fish that were stocked in 2016 as YOY fish on 9/20/2016 at 10.4 inches. On 8/1/2023 they had an average length of 50.7 inches 40 pounds each.

HYBRID STRIPED BASS (WIPERS)

Very Good

The 2023 fall electrofishing survey collected 25 hybrid striped bass. These fish ranged from 2 to 24 inches in length and had a body condition value of 83.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Fair

The largemouth bass population has in recent years been in low densities but with large fish present. Stockings have taken place over the last few years to bolster the population. In 2022, Jake Wolf Memorial Fish Hatchery stocked 533,250 largemouth bass at 0.5” and 268 largemouth bass from 12” – 18”. The 2023 fall electrofishing survey collected 10 largemouth bass. These fish ranged from 4 to 19 inches in length. The average body condition was excellent at a 118 value.

SMALLMOUTH BASS

Improving

The population of smallmouth bass at Powerton Lake has declined in both number and condition over the past several years. They were minimally present in 2014 and did not represent a good fishery for anglers. The sudden decline of this fishery had not been anticipated as they have been present since 1987 at Powerton Lake. As a measure to supplement smallmouth bass reproduction, stockings of both adult and fingerling smallmouth bass, have occurred since 2014 In 2022, IDNR stocked 146,370 smallmouth bass between 1.5” – 2” and 119 between 14” – 16”. It is hoped that these fish will recruit and provide a shot in the arm for the smallmouth bass fishery at Powerton Lake in the coming years. The 2023 fall electrofishing survey collected 21 smallmouth bass ranging from 3 to 18 inches in length. The body condition was good at a value of 93.

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. 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. Since the initial stocking Alligator gar have been collected up to 60" and 65 lbs. 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 2018. 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: Summer Hours (May 1 - Sept. 30): 6 A.M. - 8 P.M.
Winter Hours (Oct 1 - April 30):8 A.M. - 4 P.M.

Powerton Lake is closed to boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters from one week prior to regular waterfowl season to February 15 and closed to all unauthorized entry during regular Canada goose and duck season.

There is no horsepower restriction on boating. Pole and line fishing only.

Additional boating regulations include:

- Boat use restricted to fishing and/or waterfowl hunting.
- All boats must be powered by a gasoline engine
- No recreational boating or sailing
- No kayaks or canoes
- No swimming or wading

Site Regulations:
Blue Catfish, Flathead Catfish, Channel Catfish: 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.

Contact Information:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Bushman
309-435-1010