Pistakee Lake Fishing Report Guide

Pistakee Lake Fishing Report Guide

Hey there, fishing enthusiasts! If you’re looking for a fantastic fishing destination in McHenry County, Illinois, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to our Pistakee Lake Fishing Guide. This guide is packed with all the information you need for a successful fishing trip. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a newbie, Pistakee Lake offers something for everyone. So grab your fishing gear, and let’s dive in!

About Pistakee Lake Fishing

Pistakee Lake is part of the Chain O’Lakes, a system of interconnected lakes and rivers in northern Illinois. This natural lake is well-known for its scenic beauty and excellent fishing opportunities. It’s a popular spot for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and quaint lakeside communities, making it a perfect getaway for nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts alike.

Pistakee Lake has a rich history and has been a favorite spot for anglers for many years. Its diverse fish population and picturesque setting make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy a day on the water.

Pistakee Lake Fishing Details

To help you plan your trip, here are some key details about Pistakee Lake:

  • Water Surface: 1,700 acres
  • Shoreline: 22 miles
  • Average Depth: 5.6 feet
  • Max Depth: 30 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 737 feet above sea level
  • Location: McHenry County, Illinois
  • Coordinates: 42.3947° N, 88.1870° W
  • Accessibility: Easily accessible by car, with several public boat launches and marinas
  • Type of Lake: Natural lake, part of the Chain O’Lakes
  • Lake Amenities: Boat rentals, fishing piers, picnic areas, public restrooms, and nearby restaurants

Types of Fish in Pistakee Lake

Pistakee Lake is home to a variety of fish species, making it a great spot for anglers of all skill levels. Here’s a rundown of the types of fish you can catch and where you might find them in the lake:

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are one of the most popular fish in Pistakee Lake. They prefer areas with plenty of cover, such as submerged structures, fallen trees, and weed beds. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to catch largemouth bass, as they are most active during these times.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass are typically found near rocky areas and drop-offs. They prefer cooler, deeper waters and are often found near the edges of the lake. These fish are known for their fighting spirit, making them a fun catch for anglers.


Bluegill are abundant in Pistakee Lake and can be found in shallow waters near docks, piers, and weed beds. They are particularly active during the warmer months and are a great target for beginner anglers and kids.


Crappie are often found near submerged structures like brush piles and fallen trees. They tend to gather in schools and are most active during the spring and fall. These fish are known for their delicious taste and are a favorite among anglers.


Walleye prefer deeper waters and can be found around points, humps, and weed lines. They are more active during low-light conditions, such as early morning, late evening, or overcast days. Walleye are prized for their tasty fillets.

Northern Pike

Northern pike are aggressive predators that can be found in weedy areas and along the edges of drop-offs. They can be caught year-round and are known for their size and strength, making them a challenging and exciting catch.


Catfish are commonly found in deeper waters and near structures like bridges and logs. They are most active at night and during overcast days. Catfish are known for their tough fight and are a popular catch for anglers.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle for Pistakee Lake Fishing

Choosing the right bait, lures, and tackle is crucial for a successful fishing trip. Here are some recommendations for fishing at Pistakee Lake:

Largemouth Bass

  • Baits: Live minnows, worms, and crayfish
  • Lures: Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and soft plastic worms
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod with a 10-20 lb test line

Smallmouth Bass

  • Baits: Live crayfish and minnows
  • Lures: Jigs, tube baits, and small crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium rod with an 8-15 lb test line


  • Baits: Live worms, crickets, and small insects
  • Lures: Small jigs and spinners
  • Tackle: Light rod with a 4-8 lb test line


  • Baits: Minnows and small jigs
  • Lures: Soft plastic grubs and small crankbaits
  • Tackle: Light to medium rod with a 4-10 lb test line


  • Baits: Nightcrawlers, leeches, and minnows
  • Lures: Jigs, spinner rigs, and crankbaits
  • Tackle: Medium rod with an 8-15 lb test line

Northern Pike

  • Baits: Live minnows and dead baitfish
  • Lures: Large spoons, spinners, and jerkbaits
  • Tackle: Heavy rod with a 20-50 lb test line


  • Baits: Cut bait, chicken liver, and nightcrawlers
  • Lures: None, typically use bait only
  • Tackle: Medium-heavy rod with a 10-20 lb test line
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  • ✅ Purpose and Size: These grubs for fishing attract a wide variety of fish including trout, crappie, panfish, bluegill, bream, roach, carp and more. Using grub fishing lures that imitate worms offers many advantages over live worms or minnows. These crappie lures are equipped with an optimal size hook and a rubber grub. The hook dimensions are 10 mm wide and 25 mm long, and the length of the larva itself is 22 mm.

Best Fishing Spot Locations at Pistakee Lake Fishing

Knowing where to fish can make a big difference in your success. Here are some of the best fishing spots on Pistakee Lake:

North Bay

North Bay is known for its deeper waters and is a great spot for catching walleye and northern pike. Fish around the points and drop-offs for the best results.

Fox River Inlet

The inlet where the Fox River enters Pistakee Lake is a hotspot for largemouth bass and catfish. Fish around the mouth of the inlet and along the river channel for some great catches.

Weed Beds

Weed beds are scattered throughout the lake and are excellent for catching largemouth bass, bluegill, and northern pike. Cast your line near the edges of the weeds for the best action.

Submerged Structures

Look for fallen trees, brush piles, and other underwater structures. These areas are prime spots for crappie, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. Using a fish finder can help you locate these structures more easily.

Shoreline Areas

Fishing from the shore can be productive, especially near docks, piers, and other man-made structures. These spots are great for catching bluegill, crappie, and largemouth bass. Make sure to explore different areas along the shoreline for a variety of catches.

Fishing Tips and Recommendations for Pistakee Lake Fishing

Here are some tips and recommendations to help you have a successful fishing trip at Pistakee Lake:

Time of Day

Early morning and late afternoon are typically the best times to fish, as many fish species are more active during these times. The low-light conditions make fish less cautious and more likely to bite.

Weather Conditions

Overcast days can be great for fishing, as fish are more likely to be near the surface and less cautious. However, always check the weather forecast and be prepared for sudden changes. A little rain can improve fishing conditions, but safety comes first.

Seasonal Patterns

Different fish species have different seasonal patterns. For example, spring and fall are excellent times for crappie fishing, while summer is great for bluegill and bass. Understanding these patterns can help you target the right fish at the right time.

Patience and Persistence

Fishing requires patience. If you’re not having luck in one spot, don’t be afraid to move to another location or try a different bait or lure. Sometimes a small change can make a big difference.

Local Regulations

Always check and follow local fishing regulations, including size and bag limits. This helps ensure the sustainability of the fish population and the health of the lake. Respecting these rules is important for preserving the lake for future generations.

Pistakee Lake Fishing Reviews

Here are five positive fishing reviews from anglers who have enjoyed fishing at Pistakee Lake:

John D.:

“Pistakee Lake is my go-to fishing spot. I’ve caught some of my biggest bass here, and the scenery is just beautiful. Highly recommend!”

Sarah L.

“Had a fantastic day fishing with my family at Pistakee Lake. The kids loved catching bluegill near the shore, and we even got a few nice crappie. We’ll definitely be back!”

Mike R.

“This lake is a hidden gem. The northern pike fishing is phenomenal, and there are plenty of spots to explore. Great place for a weekend fishing trip.”

Emily K.

“I love fishing at Pistakee Lake. The variety of fish is impressive, and the lake is well-maintained. Caught some nice walleye last time I was there.”

Tom B.

“Pistakee Lake never disappoints. The bass fishing is top-notch, and the peaceful surroundings make for a relaxing day on the water.”

Nearby RV Parks and Campgrounds – Pistakee Lake Fishing

If you’re planning to stay overnight, here are five nearby RV parks and campgrounds with their features, amenities, hookups, and distance to Pistakee Lake:

Chain O’Lakes State Park

  • Features: Spacious campsites, hiking trails, boat rentals
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic areas
  • Hookups: Electric hookups available
  • Distance to Lake: 10 miles

Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort

  • Features: Private beach, fishing pond, playground
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, laundry facilities
  • Hookups: Full hookups (water, electric, sewer)
  • Distance to Lake: 15 miles

Timberlake Campground

  • Features: Large sites, swimming pool, fishing pond
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, camp store
  • Hookups: Electric and water hookups available
  • Distance to Lake: 12 miles

Grass Lake Marina and RV Park

  • Features: Marina, boat slips, lakeside sites
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic areas
  • Hookups: Full hookups (water, electric, sewer)
  • Distance to Lake: 8 miles

Oak Ridge Family Campground

  • Features: Wooded sites, swimming pool, playground
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, camp store
  • Hookups: Electric and water hookups available
  • Distance to Lake: 14 miles

Pistakee Lake Fishing Summary

Pistakee Lake is a fantastic destination for anglers of all levels. With its diverse fish population, beautiful scenery, and excellent amenities, it’s no wonder that so many people love fishing here. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weekend getaway, Pistakee Lake offers everything you need for a memorable fishing experience. So pack your gear, head out to the lake, and enjoy all that Pistakee Lake has to offer. Happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions – Pistakee Lake Fishing

1. Do I need a fishing license to fish at Pistakee Lake?

Yes, a valid Illinois fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 16.

2. What is the best time of year to fish at Pistakee Lake?

Spring and fall are great times for crappie and walleye, while summer is ideal for bluegill and bass.

3. Are there boat rentals available at Pistakee Lake?

Yes, there are several marinas around the lake that offer boat rentals.

4. Can I fish from the shore at Pistakee Lake?

Absolutely! There are plenty of great shoreline spots for fishing.

5. Are there any fishing tournaments held at Pistakee Lake?

Yes, there are several fishing tournaments held throughout the year. Check local listings for dates and details.

Thanks for reading our Pistakee Lake Fishing Guide! We hope you found this information helpful and that it inspires you to plan your next fishing trip. Tight lines and happy fishing!

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Best Fishing Bait, Lures & Tackle

Here’s some of the best fishing bait, fishing lures and fishing tackle Pistakee Lake Fishing Report Guide: