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Best Fishing Spots in Southern Illinois

Fishing Spots, Southern Illinois, Welcome Back Kotter

Whenever I hear the someone is interested in the top fishing spots in Southern Illinois, I turn into that kid on Welcome Back Kotter with his hand in the air “Oh me me me!”

I know some of the greatest spots you could possible imagine. I’ve caught everything from walleye to bass, catfish to crappie and blue gill in the lakes around my home.

So here are my top spots to go fishing in Southern Illinois!

Rend Lake

Rend Lake isn’t my favorite spot, but you sure can catch some good-sized bass and catfish here. It’s open all year for fishing and during the summer for boating. It’s a great place for families during the summer and there are plenty of picnic spots.

Harrisburg Lake

This is a great place to catch fish. Here I mostly land catfish and blue gill with the odd bass thrown in for good measure. I’ve been trying for years to catch one of the massive carp that I see roll in the early mornings or late evenings. Haven’t caught one yet and not sure how I would pull it in if I did, but everyone who fishes has to have a dream. That’s mine.

This is a great place to fish but there really isn’t much else to do. That’s ok for me but for others, especially those with small children, it could be an issue. Most of the property around the lake is privately owned.

West Frankfort Lake

Much like Harrisburg Lake, this is a great place to fish but there isn’t much else here other than private homes and camps. But it’s still worth the trip! Catfish, bass and blue gill are plentiful here and they are pretty good sized. Just stake out a spot, drop in your line and get ready to land your dinner!

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Glen O Jones

One of my two favorite places to fish in Southern Illinois. First, lets get the basics out of the way: There is a nice concession stand with clean bathrooms. There are camping spots all around the lake and a boat ramp/dock. There is also horseback riding and a playground. Don’t forget the hiking trail and the cave. There is a ton of stuff to do.

Ok, now to the important things: Fish! I’ve got bass and blue gill, catfish and crappie There is one big bass there, he has one of my best lures….if you catch him please contact me to return the lure!

Dolan Lake

Also known as the Hamilton County Conservation Area, Dolan Lake is my absolute favorite place to fish in Southern Illinois! My boyfriend prefers the point by the spillway. I however prefer to fish a little further down at Catfish Corner! I’ve got catfish, blue gill, crappie and bass there. It’s a fantastic place to fish. There are places to have a fire in each are so you can cook up your catch. Now that is fresh fish!

Over on the other side of the lake, across from Catfish Corner, is a great restaurant and concession area. The bathrooms are clean and you can even rent paddleboats to take out onto the lake. The restaurant is open from late spring to mid autumn. It was fishing off the bank near the restaurant that I caught my first walleye! That was a great day.

Dolan also has camping locations and hiking trails. It’s my opinion that Dolan Lake is the best-maintained recreation area in Southern Illinois.

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The fishing is great in Southern Illinois. If you ever run into a blonde wearing a baseball cap with a red-eyed tree frog on it fishing in Catfish Corner, that’s probably me!