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FORBES LAKE


Lake Information

County: Marion

Acreage: 585

Average Depth: 15.16 feet

Shoreline Length: 22.2 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes

  Trout stocked in fall

  Trout stocked in spring



larger map link Mountain Phillips Dam


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Dam, Mountain, Phillips

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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

BLUEGILL

Poor

The size structure of the bluegill population remained poor. Overall body condition improved slightly, but body condition continued to remain much higher for smaller fish (< 6” Wr = 100) than larger fish (> 6” Wr = 90). The fishery continued to be comprised almost entirely of fish < 7.5” in length. The bluegill population in this lake will likely always be hindered by gizzard shad. Anglers can expect most fish to be between 5” – 7” and weigh 0.1 – 0.25 pounds.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Very Good

Catfish remain abundant in Forbes Lake and should provide good fishing opportunities in the coming year. Body condition (Wr = 91) improved to over the lake management plan target and electrofishing catch rates remained high. Approximately 99% of the adult channel catfish collected were 14” or longer and 55% exceeded 18”. Most fish in 2024 will range from 1 – 4 pounds with larger fish exceeding 6 pounds. This lake provides many bank fishing opportunities. Drift fishing the main lake is also very productive.

HYBRID STRIPED BASS (WIPERS)

Fair

Hybrid striped bass are uncommon in the annual Forbes Lake surveys, but spring gillnetting catch rates in 2023 were above average. Approximately 38% of the adult hybrid striped bass collected exceeded the 17” minimum length limit. Most hybrid striped bass caught in 2024 are expected to be more than 14” long and fish over the 17” minimum length should exceed 3 pounds. Hybrid striped bass fishing in 2024 will likely be poor to fair.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Average

On April 01, 2019, the 14” – 18” protected slot limit was replaced by a 14” minimum length limit. Following the removal of the slot limit, the bass population size structure has declined. In the 2023 survey, approximately 58% of the adult bass in the sample were longer than 12” in length. Approximately 34% of the adult bass collected were 14” or longer and only 5% exceeded 18” in length (42% of the 2018 value when the slot limit was still in place). The electrofishing catch rate increased slightly from 2022 to 2023 and exceeded the lake management plan target. Average body condition remained stable and above lake management goals. For 2024, anglers can expect most bass over 14” to weigh between 1.4 – 5 pounds and bass in the 8” – 13” range should also be abundant.

SAUGEYE (Walleye/Sauger Hybrid)

Fair

Saugeye are not very common in the annual Forbes Lake surveys. Approximately 75% of the saugeye surveyed in 2023 were over the 14” minimum, but catch rates were very low. Saugeye surveyed in the spring had very good average body condition and those surveyed in the fall had poor body condition. Most saugeye over the 14” minimum should weigh 1 – 3 pounds and a few larger fish may be caught. Saugeye fishing in 2024 will likely be poor to fair.

WHITE CRAPPIE

Good

The size structure of the white crappie population remained relatively poor, but crappie continued to be very abundant. Average body condition for all sizes of crappie remained below the lake management plan target. In 2023, 60% of the crappie collected were less than 8” long and 40% exceeded 8”. Approximately 54% of the total crappie collected were between 6” – 8”, while 28% were between 8” – 9” (82% between 6” – 9”). Approximately 13% of the adult crappie collected exceeded 9” long and 9% exceeded 10” long. On April 01, 2021, a new crappie regulation took effect on Forbes Lake. There is no creel limit on crappie under 8” in length, but only 10 crappie 8” in length and longer may be harvested per day. Crappie fishing in 2024 should be good and anglers can expect most fish to range from 6” – 9” in length with a few larger fish over 10”. Harvest of crappie less than 8” is strongly encouraged.

Location: Forbes Lake is located in Marion County, approximately 13 miles northeast of Salem Illinois.

Description: Forbes Lake was constructed in Stephen A. Forbes State Park near Salem in 1963. The Lake has a surface area of 585 acres, a maximum depth of 31 feet, and a mean depth of 12 feet. The lake has 18 miles of shoreline and a watershed of 13,800 acres.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The sport fish population in Forbes Lake is comprised primarily of largemouth bass, bluegill, white crappie, and channel catfish. The lake is stocked annually with saugeye (walleye/sauger hybrid), channel catfish, and hybrid striped bass (wiper). The lake also contains a strong population of yellow bullhead and large common carp (20+ lbs.). The fish population is surveyed annually, and summaries below are based on the results of the most recent population survey and four-year trends in the population indices.

Additional Lake Information: Two pole and line fishing only.
Two pole and line fishing only.

Site Regulations:
Largemouth Bass: 6 fish daily limit; 14" minimum length limit
Striped, White, or Hybrid Striped Bass: 3 fish daily limit; 17" minimum length limit
Channel Catfish: 6 fish daily limit, no length limit
Black, White, or Hybrid Crappie: 10 fish daily limit 8" or longer. Unlimited creel on crappie under 8"
Saugeye: 6 fish daily limit; 14" minimum length limit


Contact Information:
Stephen A. Forbes State Park
618-547-3381
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Boone LaHood
618-393-6732

There were 33 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 779

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

1     7.00 lbs
2     6.62 lbs
3     6.30 lbs
4     6.19 lbs
5     5.90 lbs

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

1 195.81 lbs
2 142.06 lbs
3 92.90 lbs
4 79.70 lbs
5 74.65 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-0426670ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-1126671ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-1826672ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-2526673ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-27
*April-28
26868ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
May-0226674ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0525277ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
40Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0926675ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1626676ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1825363ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1925285ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
May-2326677ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-3026678ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0126623ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0626679ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0826278ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
June-1326680ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-1525707ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-1625482ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
June-2026681ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-2225736ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-2325766ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
June-2726682ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-3025264ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
July-1126683ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-1325595ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
July-1826684ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-2526685ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-0126686ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-0325245ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
No
August-0425257ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
18Largemouth Bass
No
August-0826687ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1026279ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
12Largemouth Bass
No
August-1526688ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1726451ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2226689ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2425708ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2926690ApprovedWest Launch (no tournaments) boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-0125361ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
No
September-0825278ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-1425475ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-2125368ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-2925250ApprovedEast Launch (Dam Area) boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No