Fishing at the Local Watering Hole - Carlyle Lake

Heather Raulerson

My sister loves fishing and goes quite often to her favorite place - Carlyle Lake in Illinois. Carlyle Lake is Illinois’s largest human-made lake, ready for you to go boating, fishing, and swimming on their 26,000 acres in the St. Louis District. Thousands of people visit Carlyle Lake every year. Have you been fishing at Carlyle Lake?

History of Carlyle Lake

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Carlyle Lake was designed and built to help prevent the flooding damage from the Kaskaskin River. The Dam at Carlyle Lake, completed in 1967, controls the floods, provides navigation, supports the water supply, and provides a platform for fish and wildlife conservation along with recreation. You can take a dam tour for groups of 10 or more by contacting the Carlyle Lake Project Office. You can enjoy all sorts of water sports at the upper part of the lake, including water-skiing, wake-boarding, tubing, and sailing. Below the dam, you can find the perfect place for fishing. If you want to go fishing at Carlyle Lake, stop at the fishing store right outside the park to pick up bait and lures.

Benefits of Fishing

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Fishing has been proven to offer you many benefits. Some of the benefits include:

  • You are contributing to wildlife conservation funds when you buy your fishing license.
  • Provides stress relief from your everyday life.
  • Fishing together helps strengthen relationships with family and friends.
  • Fishing offers you the chance to improve your self-esteem by mastering outdoor skills and achieving personal goals while respecting the environment.
  • Catching your dinner - wild fish are low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein.
  • Giving you a thrill for the challenge of pursuing and catching fish.

Fishing can be a lot of fun as it offers you an opportunity for fresh air, to be able to connect with nature, and of course, catch lots and lots of fish if you’re lucky. No matter the type of weather in your area, fishing can be a delightful way to spend time outdoors doing something fun and relaxing at the same time!

Fishing at Carlyle Lake

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

My sister and nephew like to fish at Carlyle Lake because you’ll never know what you’ll get. Did you know that there are over 32 species of fish in Carlyle Lake? There are some that she never saw before, like the Gar & Paddlefish. She enjoys being there to see what she can catch. After fishing a little bit, they walk up to the top of the dam to look down and watch hundreds of jumping fish. Carlyle Lake has hundreds of jumping carp that congregate right at the bottom of the dam. This is so entertaining that she even took my niece and nephew to see the jumping fish.

My sister finds relaxation here and goes to watch the people fish even when she isn’t fishing. You can see a lot of people collecting buckets of fish to take home to eat. And even more entertaining to see the oops and the mistakes that happen while fishing. Like watching people actually hook their friends while they are casting their lines - they let go too early, and it goes behind them, and oops, they catch their friend. People get a laugh out of her as well cause my sister wears fishing gloves, so she doesn’t have to touch the fish. FYI...real fishermen don’t wear gloves.

Fishing Memories

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I just watched the movie ‘The War with Grandpa,’ and Robert De Niro took his grandson fishing. It was pretty typical where the young child didn’t want to go and made a fuss before getting on the boat. But, once on the boat and catching fish, the kid starts having fun. I think this happens more often than not when trying to teach younger kids something. They resist at first until they see for themselves how much fun they can have.

I remember my first time fishing; I think I was around the age of 7 or 8. It was on my Granpa’s boat docked at Metro Beach in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. My Grandpa put the bait on my hook and then set me down off the back of the boat to fish while the grownups were all chatting away. When the tug started to happen, I yelled to my dad and Grandpa to come and help me. They came over and encouraged me to reel it in myself, which I did after a struggle. I got the fish in the boat, and low and behold; I caught a catfish. The funny thing is that the minute I got the fish over into the boat, the catfish wiggled around so much that it broke the line and flopped into the boat. My mom and I started screaming and jumping on chairs until somebody could get the catfish. My mom, to this day, still says she didn’t do that, but I distinctly remember her doing that because I did exactly what she did. The catfish was freed back into the water, and I don’t think I have fished since then. Do you know how ugly and giant catfish is to a little girl?

I think I need to find someone who will take me out fishing to get over the past catfish trauma and embrace the fun and relaxing side of fishing!

Where is your favorite fishing water hole? Do you have a fishing story that you would love to share? I would love to hear them!

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Freelance travel writer and photographer who loves sharing her adventures from around the world. It is never too late to pursue your dream!

Rochester Hills, MI
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