Think about your dream bass fishing destination for a second, just picture it in your head. Visions of Florida, Texas, or even Mexico are immediately conjured in the minds of most anglers but Illinois, probably not on the top of your list, until now. Lake Newton a 1,775 acre power plant lake in Newton, IL was once the best kept secret of locals and even a few pros. But with the opening of The Outdoors Sportsman’s Lodge ten years ago on it’s wooded banks this secluded honey hole has quickly made a big name for itself with even bigger fish.
Tab Walker, owner and founder of the lodge said the idea to build the lodge was given to him by professional bass fisherman Denny Brauer when the two were filming a video together for Bass Pro Shops about Jig fishing on Newton Lake. Brauer was intrigued by the great fishing and pristine wildlife and suggested perhaps Mr. Walker start a resort or lodge on the lake, considering the nearest town was almost 45 minutes away. With an idea planted in his head, Mr. Walker quit his nine to five suit and tie job, purchased a square of land from a farmer on the lake and from humblest beginnings The Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge was born in 2004.
Originally the lodge had just 3 cabins but was expanded to 7 cabins to accommodate the increasing demand from anglers, the lodge can now hold up to 24 anglers at once. And as their website says “with features such as gas fireplaces, central heating and air, satellite TV, and gourmet meals delivered directly to your table, you can count on your getaway being enjoyable from start to finish.” The lodge offers full guide services, boat rentals (the lake has a 25hp max limit), and the guest favorite all inclusive trip which includes 3 nights of lodging 2 days of guided bass fishing and all your meals for the low price of $575 per person.
Now for the fishing, according to Tab Walker Lake Newton is one of the best destinations in the country for consistent big fish. Walker said many days it is not uncommon to catch 30-40 or more bass in the 4-6 pound range and on some of the best days he has seen 100+ fish over 4lbs caught. The lake has produced a few 10lb fish although extremely rare, Walker himself has caught a few over 9lbs and countless fish over 6 pounds. But why do these northern strain largemouth grow so quickly, much like their cousin the Florida strain largemouth? The answer lies in the power plant runoff that makes this lake so unique and keeps the lake consistently warm with water temps in the mid 60’s even in the heart of February. This allows a continuous growing season for the Bass, add in the plethora of forage available including an immense Shad population and you have the perfect recipe for the fish to thrive and flourish. With average fish sizes often beating lakes like Okeechobee, Fork, and Falcon.
45 television shows and countless magazine articles have been done on Lake Newton and some of the biggest names in fishing have stayed at The Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge including Denny and Chad Brauer, Jonathon VanDam, Michael Murphy, and Mark Zona just to name a few. The lake is also unique is the variety of ways you can fish it; from cooler, clear water to warmer, stained water and from rocks to wood to weedlines, Newton offers it all. With so many different types of water and structure, fish can be caught in a multitude of ways but Walker mentioned a few of the local favorites as the classic jig and pig and walking a Boing Lures topwater which, according to Walker has been proven to catch even the most tentative fish who don’t want to bite.
Next time you’re planning a fishing trip, look no further The Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge on Lake Newton for fishing you’ll never forget and an atmosphere you can’t wait to come back to. So many satisfied customers can’t be wrong so book your trip now! For more information visit their website at www.outdoorsportsmanslodge.com and to book please call 618-752-5075.