Navigation Home - AA-Fishing Lakes Fish

Fishing Crab Orchard Lake

AKA: Crab Orchard Reservoir

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Pick A LakePick A SpeciesPick A State

Crab Orchard Lake, IL

Popular Fish Species Crab Orchard Lake, IL

Crab Orchard Lake Popular Fish - Crappie

Crappie Fishing

Black and white crappie both reside in Crab Orchard Lake, known to locals as "slabs". Generally the black crappie out weigh white crappie, but they do school together so when you find them you may catch both species. Crappie fishing is on the rise and they can be found in sizeable schools. Crappie always like cover and structure, so locate brush and vegetation. Using a fish finder can help locate schools of crappie, which tend to stack vertically around cover. Live bait and small jigs are the most common method for crappie here. In spring and fall focus on the 8 to 12 foot range. As the crappie move deep in summer and winter, follow points out deep, as well as find ledges near channels in deeper water.

Crab Orchard Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fishing

Crab Orchard Lake offers consistent fishing for largemouth bass. Recently, the fishing for bass has been impressing locals. Some big bass roam Crab Orchard Lake, thanks to excellent fisheries management by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, as well as the availability of extensive cover for both baitfish and bass. When the bite is good, bass typically move shallow and are quite aggressive. If you find them shallow and they are not tempted to bite, slow down and use smaller, lighter baits. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap. Around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In deeper water, big worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons. In winter, spend your time fishing Crab Orchard Lake on deeper structure where the bass spend much of their time.

Crab Orchard Lake Popular Fish - Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish Fishing

This year a healthy population of channel catfish populate the waters of Crab Orchard Lake. They can be found pretty much all around the lake. In Spring channel cats migrate toward incoming water, so stay up river away from the main lake. Night fishing for channel catfish often delivers better results than fishing during the day. In early summer look for rocky banks, the bigger the rocks the better. In summer and winter deeper structure is where to look. The river end of the lake is often the area where the bigger catfish are caught. Fishing for channel catfish is often productive around any kind of structure in the area. Road beds, creek channels and rocky points are all good places to begin. Use a slip sinker or Carolina rig with popular catfish baits.

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill and white bass at Crab Orchard Lake in Illinois.

Crab Orchard Lake Fishing Video

At over 6,900 surface acres, with a wide variety of fish species to pursue, Crab Orchard Lake is an anglers paradise. It is located in southern Illinois a few miles east of Carbondale. If you like fishing around rocky shorelines with trees and brush, the lake has plenty.

Crab Orchard Lake, situated in Illinois, is a haven for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Located in Williamson County, this picturesque reservoir offers excellent fishing opportunities and a serene natural environment. Crab Orchard Lake is known for its diverse fish population, attracting anglers from far and wide.

Bass fishing is a major draw at Crab Orchard Lake, with both largemouth bass thriving in its waters. Anglers can enjoy the thrill of reeling in these powerful game fish while soaking in the beauty of the lake. The lake's varied habitats, including submerged structures and weed beds, provide ideal conditions for bass to thrive, ensuring exciting angling experiences.

Channel catfish are another popular species found in Crab Orchard Lake. These bottom-dwelling predators offer anglers the opportunity to target and catch large, hard-fighting fish. Whether targeting them from the shore or a boat, anglers can experience the exhilaration of battling these feisty catfish.

Crab Orchard Lake is also home to black crappie, which attract anglers with their delicious fillets and challenging nature. These panfish provide enjoyable angling experiences, particularly for those seeking a rewarding catch. Whether fishing from the shore or in a boat, anglers can find satisfaction in catching good numbers of crappie from the lake's productive waters.

White bass and bluegill are also abundant in Crab Orchard Lake, offering additional angling opportunities. White bass are known for their aggressive nature and make for exciting catches. Bluegill, with their vibrant colors and willingness to bite, are often a favorite target among families and beginners. Anglers can enjoy the challenge and the potential for plentiful catches of these panfish species.

There are opportunities for shoreline fishing - some with easy access and some may take a bit of walking. The most efficient way to fish this waterway is by boat. Rental boats are available and there are several boat ramps for launching of fishing, pleasure and pontoon boats. Canoes and kayaks can be portaged from multiple locations around the lake. Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Campground offers camping and RV spaces, some right on the water.

Fishing Boats For Rent In IL

Primary fish species residing in Crab Orchard Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Channel catfish Black crappie White crappie Bluegill White Bass

Crab Orchard Lake Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: NEARBY
Convenience Store: NEARBY
Bait & Tackle: NEARBY
Restaurant: NEARBY

Today's Weather & Forecast

In addition to fishing, Crab Orchard Lake offers ample opportunities for boating enthusiasts. The lake's calm waters and expansive surface area make it ideal for various water activities. Whether you prefer cruising on a pontoon boat, water skiing, or kayaking, Crab Orchard Lake provides a serene and picturesque environment for boating adventures.

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Crab Orchard Campground East Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off Campground Drive, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

Crab Orchard Campground West Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off Campground Drive, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with gravel parking.

Crab Orchard - Northwest Boat Ramp And Parking
Located in the northwest corner of the lake, off Spillway Road, this is a three-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Broken Handle Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the south side of the lake, off Broken Handle Lane, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with limited, gravel parking.

Foreville Road Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off Foreville Road, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Highway 13 Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, at the east end of the Highway 13 Bridge, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and plenty of paved parking.

Old Route 13 Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off Old Route 13, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

Refuge Road Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, at the north end of the Refuge Road Bridge, this is a one-lane, gravel ramp with a gravel parking.

Spillway Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southwest section of the lake, off Spillway Road, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with limited, gravel parking.

Fishing Guides On Crab Orchard Lake

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Fishing License

Click here for a Illinois Fishing License.

For those looking to extend their stay, Crab Orchard Lake provides camping facilities. The lake features well-maintained campgrounds that offer a peaceful and scenic setting. Camping at Crab Orchard Lake allows visitors to wake up to stunning lake views, enjoy campfire cookouts, and immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature. The campgrounds provide amenities such as picnic areas, hiking trails, and fishing docks, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Crab Orchard Campground - 618 985-4983

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Campground - 618 997-3344

Crab Orchard Lake IL Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Crab Orchard Lake
Blue Heron Marina & Campground
3697 Old Route 13
Carterville, Illinois 62918
618 985-2572

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge 618 997-3344

IDNR District Biologist 618 993-7094


Fishing lakes in each state.

AL Fishing Lakes AR Fishing Lakes AZ Fishing Lakes CA Fishing Lakes CO Fishing Lakes CT Fishing Lakes DC Fishing Lakes DE Fishing Lakes FL Fishing Lakes GA Fishing Lakes HI Fishing Lakes IA Fishing Lakes ID Fishing Lakes
IL Fishing Lakes IN Fishing Lakes KS Fishing Lakes KY Fishing Lakes LA Fishing Lakes MA Fishing Lakes MD Fishing Lakes ME Fishing Lakes MI Fishing Lakes MN Fishing Lakes MO Fishing Lakes MS Fishing Lakes MT Fishing Lakes
NC Fishing Lakes ND Fishing Lakes NE Fishing Lakes NH Fishing Lakes NJ Fishing Lakes NM Fishing Lakes NV Fishing Lakes NY Fishing Lakes OH Fishing Lakes OK Fishing Lakes OR Fishing Lakes PA Fishing Lakes
RI Fishing Lakes SC Fishing Lakes SD Fishing Lakes TN Fishing Lakes TX Fishing Lakes UT Fishing Lakes VA Fishing Lakes VT Fishing Lakes WA Fishing Lakes WI Fishing Lakes WV Fishing Lakes WY Fishing Lakes