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Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge

Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge

Mar 16, 2012

Big, obliging Midwest bass

Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge, Newton Lake, Illinois

Hey, Zona! I’m waiting to collect.

“I owe you, man. Big time!” Mark Zona confessed in New Orleans on the eve of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. The Bassmaster analyst had recently filmed an episode of “Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show” with Jonathan VanDam at Illinois’ Newton Lake. I had made the initial contact for him.

The “Z Man” went on to say that his “awesome’ episode at Newton, shot in January 2011, was perhaps the easiest show he has ever filmed. And note that he was fishing in January in Illinois — not exactly an escape to the tropics!

Credit a good portion of Z’s success to Newton’s big and obliging bass and the lake knowledge of Tab Walker, Zona’s advisor during his Newton stay.

No one knows Newton Lake better than Walker, guide on Newton Lake and owner of the Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge (OSL) near the town of Newton, Illinois.

Walker introduced me to some of the best bass fishing in all of Illinois – heck, to some of the best bass fishing anywhere! While shooting photos for  this month’s Small Waters video on

I caught this 7-pound-plus Newton bass on The Porker from Uncle Josh. Minutes later, Tab Walker stuck a second 7-plus on the same bait. --MP

The Porker from Uncle Josh Bait Co., we took back-to-back seven-pound largemouth along with more bass from four to six pounds than I’ve encountered anywhere north of Alabama.

Matt Bichanich of Uncle Josh Bait Co. flipped a jig with Kalin’s trailer into the mouth of this Newton Lake bass.

The cooling plant discharge waters of an electric power generating plant initially built by Central Illinois Public Service  warm Newton’s 1,700-plus acres and provide year-round fishing most seasons, though parts of the lake are restricted to hunters during the waterfowl season. (OSL is a premier cast-and-blast destination with outstanding deer, waterfowl and wild turkey hunting to mix with its world-class bass fishing.)
Come with a group, and take advantage of the handsome and spacious log cabins that Tab and wife Vicki own and operate. The rustic rooms, filled with mounts and replicas of trophy bass and wildlife and photos of past triumphs, are some of the finest sportsman’s accommodations in the state.

Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge owners Tab and Vicki Walker in one of OSL’s rustic cabins

Newton is one of those very special lakes where almost every style of bait and technique will prove effective at some time or location. It has a 25 hsp limit, and, with its many coves and two launch ramps,  you can fish it with most small craft.

And, hey, Z! I’m still waiting for that beer you promised!

–                                                                  – Mike Pehanich



Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge

Phone: 618/752-5075



  1. Great story, we have a good number of our artificial habitat units in Newton. Maybe that’s the key to holding those huge “slouche’s”!!

  2. I get pleasure from, result in I found just what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye


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