Anticipating bass and blues as Braidwood Lake reopens

Good news comes for those targeting blues at Braidwood Lake, the cooling lake in southwestern Will County reopening to fishing Friday, March 1.

“We conducted a fall blue catfish survey (using low-pulsed DC-electrofishing, a different setup than the standard fall community surveys) in early October and did very well,” emailed district fisheries biologist Seth Love. “One-hundred and ninety blues were collected ranging from 9.5 – 34.5 inches (heaviest was ~20 pounds).

“We started the survey out of the north ramp and only collected a few blue catfish but did collect a couple handfuls of flatheads. Afterwards, we changed course and went down to the first big bay just east of the large spoil island (across from the south ramp) and found a very large school of blues. They were so thick, it reminded me of electrofishing invasive carp! The survey was dominated by 15 – 20 inch fish, so not whoppers by any means but still fun to catch!”

Last year, 18,000 blue catfish fingerlings were stocked. Also stocked were 30,000 advanced fingerlings and 50,000 fingerlings of largemouth bass and 33,000 hybrid striped bass fingerlings.

“[Largemouth] should continue to be popular in 2024 considering we had a good number over 15-inches and all fish had good body condition values (which indicates they should be growing well),” Love emailed.

Last year was quiet for fish kills (cross your fingers).

Braidwood is open daily from 6 a.m.-sunset.

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