Top Fishing Spots in Edwardsville, IL

When I first moved to New Athens, I was amazed by the sheer number of fishing spots sprinkled around the area. Each spot has its unique charm and a variety of fish that make each visit an exciting adventure. I’d love to share a few of my favorites with you.

Dunlap Lake is, without a doubt, one of the most tranquil fishing spots I’ve ever been to. Surrounded by lush greenery, it offers a serene escape from the bustling city life. I’ve spent countless mornings here, rod in hand, waiting for the gentle tug of a largemouth bass. It’s not just the bass that draws anglers here; the lake is also teeming with catfish and bluegill, making it perfect for anglers of all levels.

Just a short drive from Dunlap Lake, you’ll find Watershed Nature Center. This spot is a bit different from your typical fishing lake. It’s a haven for wildlife and boasts several accessible fishing spots. The peaceful environment here is something I always look forward to, and the variety of fish, including crappie and sunfish, ensures that every visit is rewarding.

For those who enjoy river fishing, Silver Creek is a gem that’s often overlooked. I’ve had some of my best fishing days here, especially in the spring when the water levels are just right. The creek is home to a healthy population of smallmouth bass and trout, offering a challenging yet satisfying experience for more experienced anglers.

Here’s a quick comparison of what each spot has to offer:

LocationFish TypesEnvironment
Dunlap LakeBass, Catfish, BluegillLake
Watershed Nature CenterCrappie, SunfishNature Preserve
Silver CreekSmallmouth Bass, TroutRiver

I can’t talk about Edwardsville’s fishing spots without mentioning Leclaire Lake. It might be more popular among local families for its picnic areas and scenic views, but don’t let that fool you; the fishing here is excellent. The lake is regularly stocked with trout, making it a fantastic spot for those looking to hook something a bit different.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just someone looking to spend a quiet day with nature, Edwardsville’s array of fishing spots has something for everyone.

Lake Lou Yeager

Venturing a bit further from Edwardsville, I found myself at Lake Lou Yeager. It’s not exactly in Edwardsville, but it’s close enough that it feels like a hidden gem just waiting for local anglers to explore. This expansive body of water is a fisherman’s paradise, offering something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned angler or just getting your feet wet.

One of the first things I noticed about Lake Lou Yeager was its impressive size. Spanning a significant area, the lake provides ample space for fishing without feeling crowded. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the tranquility of fishing while still having the opportunity to catch a wide variety of fish. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, which are known for putting up a good fight, making them a thrilling catch for any angler. Besides bass, the lake is home to catfish, crappie, and bluegill, among others.

Fishing at Lake Lou Yeager isn’t just about the catch; it’s also about enjoying nature. The surrounding area is beautifully maintained, with plenty of trees and greenery that contribute to a peaceful fishing experience. There are moments when it feels like you’re completely alone with nature, creating a serene environment that’s hard to find anywhere else.

For those who prefer to fish from a boat, Lake Lou Yeager accommodates that too. There are boat launches available, making it easy to get out on the water. Kayak fishing is another popular option here, providing a quiet way to sneak up on the fish. But what’s great is that you don’t necessarily need a boat to have a successful fishing day. The shoreline offers plenty of great spots to cast a line, with public access areas that are easily reachable.

Fish Type Notable Features
Largemouth Bass Known for their fight, making them thrilling to catch
Catfish Abundant, offering a good challenge for anglers
Crappie Great for anglers looking for a more relaxed fishing experience
Bluegill Perfect for families and beginners looking to get into fishing

Governor Bond Lake

After exploring the serene environment of Lake Lou Yeager, I turned my attention to another noteworthy spot, Governor Bond Lake. This 775-acre reservoir, located just a short drive from Edwardsville, embodies a calm yet vibrant fishing community. The scenic beauty of this place, combined with its diverse fish population, makes it an angler’s paradise.

One of the aspects that caught my attention was the lake’s rich history. Named after the first governor of Illinois, Shadrach Bond, the lake has been a focal point for anglers and water enthusiasts for decades. I found the people around the lake to be incredibly welcoming, sharing tips and favorite fishing spots openly. Their camaraderie added a unique warmth to the fishing experience.

Governor Bond Lake is renowned for its robust Largemouth Bass population. Yet, it’s not just about the bass; the lake also teems with Crappie, Bluegill, and Catfish, offering a well-rounded fishing adventure. Here are some key numbers that illustrate the lake’s vibrant aquatic life:

Fish Species Expected Size Abundance
Largemouth Bass 2-5 lbs High
Crappie 1-3 lbs Moderate
Bluegill <1 lb High
Catfish 5-10 lbs Moderate

Not to be overlooked, the lake’s infrastructure supports both boat and shore fishing, providing ample access points for all types of anglers. I found the boat ramps well-maintained and the fishing pier, a peaceful spot for some quiet shore fishing.

The lake’s surroundings further enhance the fishing experience. Lush greenery frames the lake, inviting not only anglers but also nature lovers and photographers keen on capturing the picturesque views. During my visit, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of tranquility, a testament to the lake’s ability to blend exciting fishing opportunities with moments of serene connection to nature.

In terms of amenities, Governor Bond Lake doesn’t disappoint. Picnic areas scattered around the lake make for perfect spots to relax and enjoy a meal amidst nature’s embrace. The local community also organizes fishing tournaments, which I found to be a fantastic way to engage with fellow fishing enthusiasts and test my skills against them. Being part of such an event, even as a spectator, added an exciting dimension to my fishing journey.

Horseshoe Lake State Park

After covering the vibrant fishing scene at Governor Bond Lake, I found myself exploring an equally enticing fishing destination: Horseshoe Lake State Park. Nestled just a short drive from Edwardsville, IL, this park is a haven for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. What makes Horseshoe Lake State Park stand out is its vast expanse and the variety of fishing opportunities it offers.

Spanning over 2,960 acres, Horseshoe Lake is the largest natural lake in Illinois outside the Great Lakes. This impressive body of water is a fisherman’s paradise, boasting a rich ecosystem that supports a diverse range of fish species. Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, and Catfish thrive in its waters, making every fishing trip a potentially rewarding experience.

One aspect I particularly enjoy about fishing at Horseshoe Lake State Park is the accessibility. There are numerous fishing spots scattered around the lake, from serene, secluded corners perfect for fly fishing to more accessible areas ideal for beginners. The park also provides boat rentals, making it easy for anyone to get on the water and find their perfect fishing spot.

But it’s not just the fishing that draws me to Horseshoe Lake State Park. The scenery here is breathtaking, with a tranquil atmosphere that can make you forget you’re just a stone’s throw away from the city. The park is teeming with wildlife, and it’s not uncommon to spot deer, waterfowl, and other animals while fishing or simply enjoying a quiet moment by the lake.

For families and groups, the park offers more than just fishing. Picnic areas, hiking trails, and bird watching opportunities make it a great place for a day out with loved ones. And with the variety of fish in the lake, everyone can have a go at trying to catch something, whether they’re seasoned anglers or absolute beginners.

Fish Species Best Seasons to Fish
Largemouth Bass Spring and Fall
Bluegill Summer
Crappie Spring and Fall
Catfish Summer and Fall

Watershed Nature Center

When I embarked on my quest to uncover the best fishing spots around Edwardsville, IL, the Watershed Nature Center quickly surfaced as a must-visit location. Nestled within the heart of Edwardsville, this serene haven spans over 40 acres, offering a lush escape with its expansive wetlands, prairies, and forests. My expectations were high, but the Watershed Nature Center exceeded them with its unique blend of natural beauty and fishing prospects.

The center is home to a diverse array of habitats. Welcoming Meadows, Tranquil Wetlands, and Shade-Kissed Forests each offer a slice of serenity and biodiversity. I found myself drawn to the wetlands, a prime spot for anglers looking to catch a variety of fish amidst the backdrop of teeming wildlife. The water is clear, and the surroundings are pristine, making for a perfect day of fishing whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner.

What sets the Watershed Nature Center apart is not just its fishing opportunities but also its commitment to conservation and education. While I was exploring, I learned about the center’s efforts to preserve native plant and animal species, which adds a layer of appreciation to every visit. They offer guided tours and educational programs, allowing visitors to learn about local ecology while enjoying their fishing trip. It’s a win-win situation for nature enthusiasts and anglers alike.

For those looking for accessibility, the center boasts well-maintained trails and boardwalks that provide easy access to various fishing spots. I was impressed by the thought put into making the nature reserve welcoming for all, ensuring that everyone, regardless of physical ability, can enjoy the beauty and tranquility on offer.

Before planning your trip, it’s worth noting a few key points to ensure a smooth experience:

  • Fishing Regulations: Be sure to check the latest state and local fishing regulations.
  • Catch and Release: Practice catch and release to help maintain the fish population and ecosystem health.
  • Gear Preparation: Pack accordingly, considering mosquitoes might be present near the water.


I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the Watershed Nature Center and it’s truly a gem for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The blend of wetlands, prairies, and forests creates a serene backdrop for a day of fishing or simply soaking in the beauty of Edwardsville. Remember to respect the local wildlife and embrace the conservation efforts by practicing catch and release. Don’t let the mosquitoes deter you; a little preparation goes a long way. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just looking for a peaceful escape, this spot has something special to offer. Happy fishing!

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We’re Bruce and Karen Carlson. We recently moved to the Metro East area of Illinois. This area is east of St. Louis from the Mississippi River north to Alton, east to Carlyle, back south to Waterloo and the Mississippi River, finally north to Columbia. The center is Fairview Heights, Swansea, Belleville, Shiloh, and O'Fallon. Not to be forgotten is Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Edwardsville. It’s a whole new world out there. Our goal with this website is to share our exploration of the Metro East area. As we find businesses and services we use in our daily lives, we’ll share how these businesses and services have helped make our lives better and easier to live.

We’re calling our move to the Metro East area retirement, but we’re not quite sure what that means. By sharing our story with you, we hope you too will gain a better sense of what the Metro East area has to offer and how their businesses and services can improve your lives and build a better community.