Illinois EPA Phase I – Diagnostic Study
Clean Lakes Program Lake Paradise
When construction of the lake was originally completed in 1908, a fish hatchery was built
at the northeast corner of Lake Paradise by the Illinois Department of Conservation (currently the
Department of Natural Resources) to provide the Department with fish for stocking lakes
throughout the state. The fish hatchery no longer exists.
Since 1940, IDNR has conducted fish stocking in Lake Paradise. The records of fish
stocking and other lake management activities are summarized in Appendix C. Lake Paradise
has been stocked with bluegill, largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, tiger muskellunge,
muskellunge, and other mixed fish. The most recent stocking was with channel catfish and
largemouth bass in 1996.
The IDNR has conducted five standard fall fish population surveys at Lake Paradise
during the past decade: in 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. The lake was surveyed for 2 hours
with an electrofishing boat and two trap nets on all occasions. The species collected were
enumerated, weighed, and measured. Species were then categorized into groups by length.
Each length group was given a condition factor rating to estimate the overall health. The
condition factor is a constant that relates height and width to length for estimation of growth
rates. A general summary of the major fish species (largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish)
collected from the 2000 survey follows.
The largemouth bass population has been increased from the previous (1998) survey, but
there are no significant changes in the density or quality of this population. The survey collected
71 fish during 120 minutes of sampling, ranging in length from 3.9 to 19.7 inches. The catch is
well below the desired range. The optimal goal would be to collect at least 1-fish per minute of
sampling. Also, the distribution of fish is weak in the 8 to 12 inches length range. The lack of
suitable nursery habitat has likely contributed to this problem. Several thousand fingerling bass
were stocked and CPUE (catch per unit effort) has increased to 46 per hour, which meets the
Lake Management Program (LMP) goal. The IDNR recommendation was to continue stocking
300 bass of 6- to 8-inches per year in order to increase the population.
The white crappie population has somewhat improved. Catch rates were higher in recent
creel surveys as compared to the previous surveys. The angling quality of crappie likely
fluctuates periodically but continued strong recruitment should maintain this fishery in the near
The population structure of bluegill is poor to moderate quality. No preferred size
(greater than 8 inches) fish have been collected in the fish population survey, but several were
recorded in angler catch. Numerous other species of sunfish were collected and do not appear to
contribute significantly to a quality fishery.
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