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Illinois Panfish Fishing

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All about fishing for panfish in IL lakes and ponds.

Illinois Fishing Lakes

Throughout the state of Illinois you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, warmouth, white bass, yellow bass and yellow perch.

One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Illinois, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish Fishing Lakes In Illinois

While you can find panfish in virtually all fishing waters in the state, the most consistent stringers tend to come from larger lakes including Anderson Lake, Carlyle Lake, Cedar Lake, Clinton Lake, Crab Orchard Lake, Devils Kitchen Lake, Fox Chain O' Lakes, Governor Bond Lake, Heidecke Lake, Kinkaid Lake, Lake Carroll, Lake Decatur, Lake Lou Yeager, Lake Mattoon, Lake Michigan, Lake Of Egypt, Lake Shelbyville, Lake Springfield, Lake Taylorville, Little Grassy Lake, Newton Lake, Otter Lake and Rend Lake. Smaller waters, and especially private ponds, may serve up an occasional monster on occasion.

The Illinois state record bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish and warmouth all came from private pond. The state record redear sunfish was caught at Marion CC Lake and the state record yellow perch came from Arrowhead Club Lake.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.

The list of panfish is comprised of many fishes each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.

Fishing for panfish in Illinois



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

IL State Record: 3 lbs 8 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.1 lbs

IL State Record: 2 lbs 1 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

IL State Record: 2 lbs 4 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

IL State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

IL State Record: 1 lbs 10 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

IL State Record: 1 lbs 13 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

IL State Record: 4 lbs 14 oz

Yellow Bass

Yellow bass

World record: 2 lbs 15 oz

IL State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

IL State Record: 2 lbs 8 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Panfish fishing information for other states.


Learn the lifecycle of a panfish

There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Illinois fishing waters. The panfish fishing videos offer a first hand look a anglers catching panfish.

Contribute IL Sunfish Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to panfish fishing in Illinois, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best panfish fishing lakes in Illinois!