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Lake Information

County: Lake

Acreage: 74

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Electric only

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? Yes

Camping? No

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Lake Status Summary  ( Full PDF Report )

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Fish Status



In 2013 sampling, fish measured from 7" to 11.8" and weighed up to 0.9 lbs., 44% exceeded 9", 31% exceeded 10", and 19% of the catch exceeded 11" long.



In 2013 sampling, bluegill ranged from 4" to 6.7", with the biggest weighing 0.2 lbs. 10% were longer than 6", but none exceeded 7" long. Sterling Lake is an old gravel pit which has matured a little, but is still a fairly infertile lake relative to older systems.



This species is stocked every year at 8" to 10", and channel catfish are a popular species for weekend fishermen enjoying the quiet of the Park.



In 2013 sampling, fish measured between 6" to 15.5" and weighed up to 1.9 lbs. 24% were over 12" long, 17% exceeded 14" and 10% exceeded 15" (legal length). This size structure maintains reproductive potential and helps balance panfish species for better overall sportfishing opportunities.



In 2013 sampling, muskie ranged from 31" to 34" in length, with the biggest weighing 12.6 lbs. Muskie have been periodically stocking in Sterling Lake since 1990 so the possibility of trophy size fish exists.



In 2013 sampling, 1 walleye was collected; the fish measured 10.3". In 2011 a single 19" fish was collected and fishermen report legal catches (>18") for those targeting walleye.

Location: Sterling Lake is located east of I-294 north of Rt 173 in Van Patton Woods Forest Preserve near Wadsworth.

Description: Sterling Lake, formerly known as Vulcan Gravel Pits, was constructed in 1939. The lake is located adjacent to the Des Plaines River and is connected via a 10" to 12" tube with a hinged gate so water can flow in during high water events. The Lake County Forest Preserve District acquired the area in 1974 with an emphasis on providing recreational fishing opportunities. Sterling Lake is 74 acres, has a maximum depth of 23.0 feet, an average depth of 14 feet, and a shoreline length of 2.3 miles. A crushed limestone, multi-use path surrounds the perimeter. There are handicap accessible fishing piers and a gravel ramp for launching a canoe/kayak or electric-motor-only car-top boats. No concession facilities are available. No fish cleaning station is available.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: In 2013, a D/C electrofishing survey was conducted to assess the overall fishery. Sterling Lake receives periodic stockings of 5000 2" walleye, 150 11" muskie and annual stockings of 600 8" to 10" channel catfish. 14 species were detected during this survey. In addition to the species listed, you can also find pumpkinseed sunfish, warmouth, yellow perch, spotted sucker, bluntnose minnow, bowfin, common carp, and yellow bullhead. Historically, yellow bass, white sucker, brook silverside, and johnny darters.

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

Contact Information:
Lake County Forest Preserve District
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Andy Plauck
815-675-2386 ext. 214