Ill let you in on a secret- at least it was 25 years ago The small pond along 60 at rustoleum was loaded with crappies back then. I also used to fish lake Charles connected to and N of big bear by a creek, I believe lake Charles was a quarry or a natural lake. I learned to ride a motorcycle on the trails that used to be back there. Now I think its houses and a golf course since the Cuneo property sold it off.
-I never did good on bass there though.
I've heard mostly negative comments about the Big Bear and I fished couple times with very little success. Then again, I'm still learning using aritificial baits. Around the piers you can catch lots of small panfish using worms but it's very shallow. I believe someone from here caught a catfish there last year but haven't heard of anyone catching a bass. There are nets on the bottom so you can easily snag too. I'd go to Independence Grove instead if I were you.
Water (Name) Big and Little Bear Lake Owner Vernon Hills Park District
Address of Owner 294 Evergreen Dr. Vernon Hills, IL 60061 Phone of owner Lessee_847/996-6800____
Persons(s) contacted Tom Ritter Identification Park District Representative
Address of Contact Same as Above Phone of contact 847/996-6802
Water classification (check) State Pub-Coop Pub-Other XXX Organ Private_____________
1. Survey initiated by: Frank Jakubicek
2. Water size: 51.0
3. Date of last inspection or work on
4. Purpose of survey: Fish Population Survey
5. Observations, comments, recommendations: During 30 minutes of daylight(D/C) electrofishing a total of 446 fish from 12 species were collected (Table1). Bluegill, gizzard shad, common carp and yellow bass were abundant enough that they were sub-sampled for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes we felt the quantities of these fish we'd collected were large enough to represent their populations in the lake. We tend to collect fish that are most abundant and thus the "average" fish in the lake. Our gear is also good at collecting smaller fish because they're the most abundant but we sometimes miss older, larger fish because of their lower abundances. We sampled for 15 minutes in the north lake and 15 minutes in the south lake. Both lacked near shore vegetation. Vegetation is important to lake "health" and should be managed so it is allowed to grow in areas of low access and controlled in high access areas. Near shore vegetation helps reduce wind driven sediment re-suspension and provides habitat for small fish and invertebrates. Big/Little Bear Lake is large enough to develop an aquatic plant management plan which benefits the lake and it's recreational user's.
Largemouth bass were collected at a rate of 2.4 fish per minute which exceeded management objectives of 1.0 bass per minute. Fish from yearling size (around 4") through age 7+ were represented indicating consistent reproduction, over time. Population indices show the fishery was balanced with a Proportional Stock Density (PSD) of 53. The management goal for this index is to range between 40 and 60. It indicates 53 % of the bass sampled were greater than 12 inches long of all the bass captured that were least 8 inches long. The Relative Stock Density for bass at least 15 inches (RSD-15") was 26% and for bass over 16 inches (RSD-16) was 10%. These data indicate that 53% of the sample (assuming the sample represents the population) was sexually mature and capable of reproducing (greater than 12" long). In a system that relies on natural reproduction to maintain itself this is a good predictor of success.
Our sample contained 12 fish species. The sample was dominated by bluegill (61% of the catch), largemouth bass (16%) and yellow bass (10%). Considering bluegill and yellow bass were collected for half the time as bass they were considerably more abundant. Yellow bass are commonly found in stream connected systems and can dominate a system if predation isn't present and strong. They are prolific spawners and when abundant enough can impact nest building fishes like bass, bluegill and crappie. Unfortunately in most systems they rarely grow large enough for fishermen to target so there's little chance of reducing their population with fishing pressure. The other 10 fish species, with the exception of warmouth and yellow perch, are commonly found in the region and most (carp, gizzard shad, green sunfish, golden shiner, black crappie) are found in a variety of systems and are tolerant of poor water quality. These fish probably entered Big/Little Bear from upstream sources during high water events. Warmouth and yellow perch are native lake species that tend to live in better systems with hard bottoms. Channel catfish can maintain themselves through natural reproduction in larger streams and lakes but generally do not reproduce in smaller lakes or in systems with intermittent flows. They must be stocked periodically to maintain their presence over time. Channel catfish help diversify the predator base, keep forage in check, and provide fishermen with more variety.
Over-all we were surprised by the size structure of the bass population and the abundance of bluegill in Big/Little Bear. Knowing the system was used for stormwater management and it had ample shoreline access we expected the fishery to be in worse shape with an abundance of tolerant species (bullhead, carp, gizzard shad, etc.). We found a consistently reproducing bass populations within our parameters for being balanced (PSD=53) and a lot of pure bluegills. The predator base should be diversified so multiple sizes of forage can be consumed, fishermen have multiple species to target and incase an "event" happens to one aspect of the predator base other parts can continue to contain prolific species.