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BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Braidwood Lake will be closed for the season October 15.


Lake Information

County: Will

Acreage: 2241

Average Depth: 8.76 feet

Shoreline Length: 15 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? No

Camping? No




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Maps are not intended for navigation.


Fish Attractors:

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

The Fall 2023 targeted electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 190 Blue Catfish collected ranging from 242 mm (9.5 in) to 878 mm (34.6 in), with 185 of those fish > Stock size (300 mm [12.0 in]). Average length was 434 mm (17.1 in). Overall, the population appears to be comprised of smaller individuals with very few Quality and Preferred-sized fish collected. Body condition was poor overall though the larger size classes had better much improved Wr values. This could be due to some interspecific competition with similar sized, superabundant Channel Catfish.

BLUEGILL

Fair

The Fall 2023 community electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 354 Bluegill collected ranging from 40 mm (1.6 in) to 180 mm (7.1 in), with 313 of those fish > Stock size (80 mm [3.0 in]). Average length was 113 mm (4.4 in). Bluegill CPUE remained the same as the 2021 survey, with Stock-sized fish making the largest proportion of the catch. Average length remained similar and the PSD value was almost identical, suggesting no size structure change. Body condition was good for all size groups.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Good

The Fall 2023 community electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 47 Channel Catfish collected ranging from 256 mm (10.1 in) to 692 mm (27.2 in), with 45 of those fish > Stock size (280 mm [11.0 in]). Average length was 383 mm (15.1 in). Channel Catfish CPUE remained high for a community electrofishing survey. High Channel Catfish densities have historically led to poor body condition and size structure, which continues to be evident in the relatively low PSD value and body condition index. A brief YouTube search will reveal the ease with which anglers catch Braidwood Lake Channel Catfish. It would be worthwhile conducting a targeted Channel Catfish survey utilizing baited hoop nets to periodically assess this fishery.

FLATHEAD CATFISH

Fair

The Fall 2023 targeted electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 14 Flathead Catfish collected ranging from 6.1 in to 38.4 in, with 10 of those fish > Stock size 14.0 in. Average length was 21.4 in. Multiple sizes of fish were collected, indicating that natural reproduction is occurring. Flathead Catfish were originally stocked many years ago and have managed to hang on.

HYBRID STRIPED BASS (WIPERS)

Average

The Fall 2023 community electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 2 Hybrid Striped Bass collected measuring 447 mm (17.6 in) and 490 mm (19.3 in), with both of those fish > Stock size (200 mm [8.0]). Hybrid Striped Bass catches have historically been mediocre in electrofishing surveys on Braidwood Lake. Targeted Hybrid Striped Bass surveys (utilizing gill nets) are being planned to better assess this popular fishery. Site Regulation: 10 Fish Daily Limit (only 3 Fish > 17 inches).

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Very Good

he Fall 2023 community electrofishing survey resulted in a total of 170 Largemouth Bass collected ranging from 4.3 in to 18.8 in, with 75 of those fish > Stock8.0 in]). Average length was 230 mm (9.1 in). Largemouth Bass CPUE slightly increased from the 2021 survey, with a majority of the catch comprising Sub-Stock size fish (which negatively influenced average length). This is also evident in the relatively high YAR value compared to previous years. Size structure was decent with a higher PSD and a very high PSD-P. Body condition of all fish was well above the 90th percentile indicating good forage availability. Site Regulation: 15-inch Minimum Length Limit (3 Fish Daily Limit).

REDEAR SUNFISH

Fair

Excess production in the State Hatchery System has allowed for the stocking of redear sunfish on a few occasions, and while not as prevalent as bluegill, larger specimens are occasionally caught.

Location: Braidwood Lake is located in Will County approximately 1.25 miles south of the Village of Braidwood adjacent to U.S. Route 53.

Description: Braidwood Lake is a 2,640 acre, partially perched cooling lake. When impounded in 1981 several old strip-mine pits were flooded within the lake proper. No horsepower limitations; maximum speed limit is 40 mph except in designated "no wake" and "hazard" areas; working gasoline engine required as main propulsion unit; boats under 14' are not recommended. County Line Road Access (south access) has a four-lane concrete boat ramp with 35 car/trailer parking. An additional 75+ car lot is located adjacent to the ramp area. Cemetery Road Access (north access) has a two-lane concrete boat ramp with parking for 35 car/trailers. A majority of the shoreline is open to bank fishing, and these areas are clearly marked. Access to the interior islands by anglers is prohibited. Steep drop-offs, rock piles, man-made habitat, current and thermal breaks and woody cover are all present. The nature of this lake requires extreme care in boating and a good topographic map is well worth the expense.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: Braidwood Lake is maintained by periodically pumping water from the Kankakee River. As a result, the lake supports a variety of nongame fish species which include Common Carp, Quillback, Freshwater Drum. Braidwood Lake is supported by a thriving Gizzard and Threadfin Shad forage base as well as various other minnow species. In terms of stocking, the lake receives annual stockings of Largemouth Bass, Blue Catfish, and Hybrid Striped Bass.

The fishery is evaluated via biennial major surveys and species-specific ancillary surveys. Fish habitat enhancement has been conducted for several years and most recently involves the installation of commercially made units. Braidwood Lake supports a persistent phytoplankton bloom which suppresses rooted aquatic vegetation.

No special mercury advisory or other contaminant-related consumption advisories pertain. However, the statewide methylmercury advisory for sensitive populations is in effect (one meal per week of predatory sportfish for the most sensitive populations) .

Additional Lake Information: Swimming, wading, water skiing and sail boating are prohibited. Braidwood Lake is open to fishing daily from 6:00 a.m. till sunset from March 1 until 10 days prior to the opening of the waterfowl season (Central Zone). Portions of Braidwood Lake are restricted to unauthorized access (these areas are clearly marked), and bank fishing boundaries are posted. Fishing within the old Walleye Rearing Pond is permitted. Since windy conditions can produce treacherous waves, the lake can be closed at the discretion of the site superintendent.

Additional Site-Specific Fishing Regulations:
All Fish Species: 2 Pole and Line Fishing Only.
Large or Smallmouth Bass – 15-inch Minimum Length Limit (3 Fish Daily Harvest Limit)
Striped, White, or Hybrid Striped Bass – 10 Fish Daily Harvest Limit (only 3 Fish may be 17-
inches or larger)
Recreational Use Restriction: Closed for Waterfowl Season
Recreational Use Restriction: Closed to Tournaments During July and August

Contact Information:
Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area
815-237-0063
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Seth Love
630-360-4772

There were 11 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 364

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

1     5.31 lbs
2     5.12 lbs
3     5.12 lbs
4     4.94 lbs
5     4.62 lbs

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

1 215.73 lbs
2 155.00 lbs
3 152.00 lbs
4 150.44 lbs
5 58.44 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?
April-0625546ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
April-0725001ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-1325042ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
April-1425003ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
April-2025005ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
85Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2125913ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
April-2526256ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
April-2626294ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
14Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
April-2725914ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
April-2825119ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
May-0226297ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
24Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
Yes
May-0425548ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
May-0526353ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
May-1824986ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
100Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
May-1925056ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
May-2525550ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
June-0926155ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
16Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
June-2925978ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
October-0625184ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Yes
October-1325068ApprovedSouth Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No