A tremendous variety of outdoor recreational opportunities and natural beauty awaits you at Carlyle Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area, 60 miles east of St. Louis, near Vandalia. The area is at the northern end of Carlyle Lake and at the southwestern tip of Fayette County.
Carlyle Lake is a 26,000-acre multipurpose lake administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Department of Natural Resources has a 25-year lease on part of the Army Corps' property to conduct a variety of habitat management measures aimed at increasing food, shelter and nesting areas for numerous wildlife species.
Recreational opportunities abound on the lake and at Eldon Hazlet State Park, at the southern end of the lake. At the Fish and Wildlife Area, however, the pleasures are simple and revolve mainly around enjoying the beauty and solitude of nature as visitors birdwatch, fish and hunt.
The federal lease land and state property provide almost 9,500 acres of wildlife habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Area is blessed with habitat diversity: approximately 2,000 acres of woodland, 5,800 acres of open water and wetlands, 200 acres of grassland and 1,500 acres of cropland planted for wildlife food and cover. The area is divided by the following management areas: Westside Management Area, Eastside Management Area, Flooded Dead Timber Area and Open Water Area.
Hunting and Fishing
Carlyle Lake is known as one of the top waterfowl hunting areas in the state. The Department of Natural Resources also provides opportunities for hunting white-tailed deer, turkeys, squirrels, quail, rabbits and doves. Trapping is permitted after duck season and requires a permit from the site manager.
Fishing is available on more than 2,000 acres of the lake and on the Kaskaskia River. Two boat ramps on the Kaskaskia River providing fishing access.
Bird watchers will enjoy observing bald eagles, ospreys, cormorants and great blue herons, as well as numerous species of shorebirds and songbirds.