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SARA, LAKE


Lake Information

County: Effingham

Acreage: 614

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? Yes

Skiing? Yes

Swimming? Yes

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? Yes



larger map link Shumway Cove Larsons Landing Gypsy Cove Moccasin Cove Ridgerunner


    Click on area names for a more detailed map.
    Gypsy Cove, Larson's Landing, Moccasin Cove, Ridgerunners Cove,     Shumway Cove

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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

BLUEGILL

Poor

The size structure of the bluegill population remained poor. All the bluegill in the sample were less than 7” in length. Body condition remained stable, but poor, and growth rates remained below average. The bluegill population in this lake will likely always be hindered by the presence of gizzard shad. Anglers can expect to catch an abundance of fish 5” – 7” in length.

CHANNEL CATFISH

Developing

Channel catfish numbers are low in Lake Sara due to low natural recruitment. Recent supplemental stocking may help to improve numbers in the coming years. In 2023, average body condition was below the lake management plan target. Anglers can expect to see most fish in the 1 – 3 pound range.

CRAPPIE

Good

Both black and white crappie are present in Lake Sara, but white crappie are the dominant species. Data collected from the 2023 survey indicated that 31% of the adult white crappie were greater than 10” in length and 69% were in the 8” – 10” size range. Average body condition for white crappie remained below the lake management plan target. Black crappie collected in 2023 also had poor body condition and all black crappie collected were less than 9.5” in length. Crappie fishing in the coming year should remain good with most fish weighing 0.2 – 0.5 pounds.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Improving

In an attempt to improve the size structure of the population, regulations were changed on April 01, 2017, to a 15” – 18” protected slot limit. Early results indicate that the regulation appears to be working. In 2023, the percentage of the adult bass in the sample over 15” was 23% and 6% exceeded 18”. Bass over 15” were in good condition. Bass numbers below the slot remained high and body condition was still poor but should improve with time and increased harvest. For 2024, the majority of bass below the slot should range from 0.5 – 1.5 pounds, while those exceeding 18” should be 3 pounds or greater. Harvest of bass below the slot limit (less than 15”) is encouraged.

WHITE BASS

Fair

White bass numbers increased in 2023 and they remained abundant. Average body condition fell below the lake management plan target. Angling opportunities for white bass should be fair/good in 2024 with most larger fish between 10” – 14” long and weighing 0.5 – 1.1 pounds. Harvest of white bass in Lake Sara is encouraged.

Location: Lake Sara is located in Effingham County approximately 5 miles southwest of Effingham, Illinois.

Description: Lake Sara was constructed in 1957, and it has a surface area of 614 acres, a maximum depth of 47 feet, and a mean depth of 19 feet. The lake has 38 miles of shoreline and a watershed of 7,560 acres.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: The sport fish population in Lake Sara is comprised primarily of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, white and black crappies, white bass, and channel catfish. Other common species include yellow bullhead and common carp. 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: Boat permits are required and can be purchased at either of Lake Sara's two Marinas, the Mach 1 gas station on Rt. 33 West, or Lake Sara Marina in Effingham.

Site Regulation:
2 pole and line fishing only
Largemouth bass: 6 fish daily limit, protected slot length limit of 15 – 18"
White, black, or hybrid crappie: 25 fish limit (collectively)

Contact Information:
Lake Sara Water Authority
217-868-2787
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Boone LaHood
618-393-6732

There were 41 tournaments held on this waterbody in 2020.

Species Total Fish Caught
Largemouth Bass 2190

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

1     6.19 lbs
2     6.19 lbs
3     6.12 lbs
4     6.00 lbs
5     5.88 lbs

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

1 362.28 lbs
2 248.65 lbs
3 241.42 lbs
4 172.40 lbs
5 171.25 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-06
*April-07
24995ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-13
*April-14
26258ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Spotted Bass
No
April-2025246ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
April-2126093ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
35Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
April-2526477ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
April-27
*April-28
25283ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
May-0226478ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0425136ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-0926479ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1626480ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-1826321ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
No
May-1925843ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
10Largemouth Bass
No
May-2326481ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
May-2525258ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
May-3026482ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-01
*June-02
25082ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0626483ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-0826108ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
June-1326484ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-1525281ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
June-2026485ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-2225269ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
June-2726486ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
June-29
*June-30
25594ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
July-1126487ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-1826488ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
July-2025291ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
July-2526489ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-0126490ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-0826491ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1526492ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-1725301ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
August-2226493ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
August-2425527PendingMarina Ramp boat
hook
25Largemouth Bass
No
August-2426494ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
30Largemouth Bass
Yes
September-1426188ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-1526189ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
15Largemouth Bass
No
September-28
*September-29
25447ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
20Largemouth Bass
No
October-0626021ApprovedMarina Ramp boat
hook
17Largemouth Bass
No
October-12
*October-13
24996ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes
October-19
*October-20
25060ApprovedAnthony Acres Ramp boat
hook
50Largemouth Bass
Yes