Crab Orchard Lake
5 DAY FORECAST
PRIME FEEDING TIMES
Crab Orchard Lake is a 6,965-acre (28.2 km²) reservoir in Williamson County, Illinois. It is the centerpiece of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. It is fed by Devils Kitchen Lake and Little Grassy Lake, which are also within the National Wildlife Refuge.
Crab Orchard Lake was created when Crab Orchard Creek, a tributary of the Big Muddy River in southern Illinois, was dammed in the 1930s for purposes of recreation and flood control. The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge was established August 5, 1947 following the transfer of all land previously held by the Crab Orchard Creek Project and the Illinois Ordnance Plant to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The lake offers opportunities for boating, camping, fishing, and swimming. Two campgrounds, Blue Heron and Crab Orchard, operate on the northern side of the lake. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has stocked the lake with largemouth bass, and starting in 2006 has also installed artificial spawning beds in the lake's Grassy Bay (the lakebed's eroded clay and soft muck surfaces are not suited to bass spawning). As of 2008, the record largemouth caught in the lake weighed 10.6 pounds.