Summer Hunting Opportunities at Carlyle Lake

Published July 30, 2020

CARLYLE LAKE – Carlyle Lake offers a variety of late summer hunting opportunities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources work together to manage public lands and waters at Carlyle Lake. More than 10,000 acres of public lands are open to public hunting to which all-current Illinois game laws and regulations are in effect. All hunters are required to sign in and out daily and record harvest at the nearest hunter sign in box. Access areas are conveniently located around the lake to provide parking and access to public lands. Several wildlife food plots have been planted around the lake. Plots consist of various crops including sunflowers, corn, and other row crops.

Squirrel season opens August 1, 2020; shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. The daily bag limit is 5 and the possession limit is 10, you may possess no more than twice the daily bag limit. All public lands around the lake are open to hunting with the exception of developed recreation areas and a 100 yard buffer zone around the recreation areas and other posted areas marked “NO HUNTING.” Both shotguns and .22 rim fire rifles are permitted on Corps of Engineers public lands to hunt squirrels.

Dove season opens September 1, 2020. From September 1– September 5, shooting hours are from 12:00 p.m. until sunset. Starting September 6, shooting hours are from sunrise until sunset.  The daily limit is 15 and the possession limit is 45. Areas that will be available for dove hunting on September 1 include: Bobwhite Access, Mourning Dove Access, Massassauga Access, and Elmwood Access. Dove hunting at Lotus in the Coles Creek Recreation Area will open on Tuesday, September 8.  Shooting hours are sunrise until sunset. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also offers dove hunting opportunities at Eldon Hazlet State Park and at the Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Management Area; steel shot is required for dove hunting at Eldon Hazlet State Park.

On September 1 and 2, a dove hunt for sportsmen with disabilities will be held at Steins Access. Hunters must call the Carlyle Lake Project Office by August 21 to sign up, this area will open to the general public on September 3. 

Remember to always practice hunting safety and follow all State of Illinois hunting rules and regulations, as well as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site specific regulations.  For more details or information on outdoor hunting activities contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or e-mail us at

Darren Murphy
Kim Hammel

Release no. 20-047