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  Mermet Lake - State Fish & Wildlife Area   

South Region

1812 Grinnell Road
Belknap, IL 62908

lake view
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Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is an old cypress swamp which has been made into a waterfowl hunting area. The area was developed primarily for duck hunting, but several thousand Canada, blue and snow geese frequent the area each winter. The shallow lake also is very productive for largemouth bass, channel catfish and most panfish. The lake is closed in November prior to waterfowl hunting season and is re-opened in January directly after waterfowl season. The original acreage acquired in 1949, in Massac County, 0.5 miles southwest of Mermet on U.S. 45, has been increased to 2,630 acres, of which 690 are permanent water.

reservoirOne of the first major developments at Mermet was the 1962 construction of a system of levees creating a lake. The lake serves as a reservoir and a supply of water to temporarily flood two walk-in duck hunting areas and a duck hunting area with permanent blinds. These permanent blinds are allocated on a no-charge daily draw system. The water in the lake is dropped 2 feet each fall to accommodate duck hunters. After waterfowl season, water is returned to the lake, and due to a normal lack of rainfall run-off, a system of wells and pumps is used to return the lake to pool stage.


A few picnic tables with camp stoves are available and there is one shelter with a group grill. Pit toilets are on the grounds. No drinking water is available. Camping is prohibited.


The shallow lake features rip-rap, standing and fallen trees, depressions, lotus pads and stick-ups. The lake has largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, buffalo, carp, and other feeder and rough fish.


The area has two trails. The nature preserve has a small ˝-mile, interpretive trail with tree identification markers and a small boardwalk extending into the cypress swamp. Another nature area has a 1-mile interpretive trail with tree identification markers along the way.


The 452-acre lake, with a maximum depth of 12 feet, is a major attraction at the refuge. Private boats use the four launching ramps and motors up to 10 HP are permitted. Rental boats, paddles and life jackets are available from site staff.


During waterfowl season, a check station is in operation and a daily drawing is held for the no-charge use of the 30 permanent blinds. Two flooded walk-in areas also are provided. Hunting for dove, deer, squirrel, rabbit and quail is permitted in designated areas. Hunter Fact Sheet | Sielbeck Forest Hunter Fact Sheet

  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

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Springfield, IL 62702
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