Glen Jones Lake perfectly secluded for late-summer trips
By Ralph Loos
Anglers like the serenity of Glen Jones Lake – and in recent years, they also really enjoy the fishing.
The lake, also known as Jones State Lake, produces largemouth bass up to 7 pounds. It is part of the Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area. Most bass are in the 2- to 4-pound range and are caught on plastic worms, but leeches and crickets produce fish in the late summer and early autumn months.
Bluegills, redear sunfish and crappies all will take worms in summer and are the best bets year-round. Tips for landing the panfish include using crickets or minnows.
Channel catfish can be caught using stinkbaits and chicken livers all year long. Nightcrawlers are best bets in fall and spring.
Saline County FWA is five miles southeast of Equality in southeastern Illinois. It was the site of springs and wells that furnished brine for one of the two salt works that historically stood in the region. Although the springs and wells are not visible today, the area primarily is a recreational site. The initial acquisition of 524 acres of land was made in 1959 by the state, and the total acreage now totals 1,270 acres, including a beautiful 105-acre Glen Jones Lake.
To reach the park, take Illinois Route 13 five miles east from Harrisburg to Route 142. One mile further, turn right and go five miles to the entrance of the park.
If traveling from Eldorado, take Route 142 south some 7 miles and turn right at the sign for the site.
The lake, named for a local political favorite, has a shoreline of 2.7 miles. The maximum depth is 33 feet.
Anglers can fish from shore or boat. There are two docks and two boat ramps as well as boat rentals during the summer. Motor power is limited to 10 horsepower.
As for fish, DNR’s regular surveys provide a good look at what populations swim in the lake.
In the late 1990s, a slot size limit of 14 to 18 inches was implemented to address an overabundance of largemouth bass less than 14 inches in total length. The slot limit regulation requires anglers to harvest five fish under 14 inches and only one fish greater than 18 inches.
All bass between the slot size limit of 14 to 18 inches must be released immediately.
DNR’s most recent survey results indicate largemouth bass range in size from 4 to 18 inches. The vast majority of bass in Glen Jones Lake still remains under 14 inches, and anglers are encouraged to harvest fish 14 inches or less to help improve largemouth bass growth rates.
Fishing for largemouth bass less than 14 inches is expected to be excellent. Fishing for bass greater than 14 inches should be fair, as 9 percent of stock-size fish are greater than 14 inches, the DNR survey revealed.
Spring action seems to be best on crankbaits, such as Mud Bugs and topwater lures such as the Pop R.
Anglers can work the wooded shoreline opposite the concession stand and find a number of points and submerged timber.
Catfish collected during DNR surveys range in size from 12 to 18 inches. The channel catfish population is enhanced by frequent stocking of non-vulnerable channel catfish. As a result, excellent fishing opportunities are expected again this year. Catfish action is much better during the spring and summer. Nightcrawlers and dip baits will produce a cat or two.
A six fish per day creel limit applies for channel catfish.
Last summer and fall, good numbers of healthy crappies were reported from anglers.
DNR’s survey showed that crappies collected in surveys ranged in size from 6 to 12 inches. “Anglers should expect good results around fallen trees on the south side of the lake and around fish attractors placed on the north side of the lake,” DNR reported.
Crappies are found almost anywhere on the lake. The area around the beaver dam is excellent. The old dam is between the concession stand and the campground. Small minnows, red worms, and pieces of nightcrawlers make good bait. Small white jigs produce for those who insist in artificial lures.
As for the surrounding park and recreation area, scattered picnic areas with tables and fireplaces are available. Camping areas are available without electric hookups. Most of the camping areas are right on the lake.
Camping permits are available from site personnel upon arrival at the site.
Glen Jones Lake
Nearest town: Equality
Surface area: 105 acres
Average depth: 12 feet
Shoreline: 2.7 miles
Species present include: Largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegills, crappies
Site information: 618-949-3432