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Weekend Getaways

The 13 Greatest Lakes In Illinois

Whether or not you fancy spending a day lounging on a tube or going fishing, Illinois has loads of choices for you. A number of notable lakes in Illinois are open to the general public for fishing. The biggest lakes in Illinois are additionally a number of the greatest fishing locations within the state. The vast majority of Illinois’ principal lakes are man-made because of dams constructed throughout rivers. Whether or not man-made or pure, lakes in Illinois present leisure choices for locals and guests alike. As a result of Illinois has so many lakes, figuring out which one is the most important may be tough for some. Beneath, we’ll checklist the 13 greatest lakes in Illinois and different details.

The 13 Greatest Lakes in Illinois

13. Cedar Lake

Positioned in Jackson county, Cedar Lake is a 1,750-acre reservoir and is one in every of Illinois’ greatest lakes.

Jeremiah.jahn / Artistic Commons – License

Cedar Lake is a 1,750-acre reservoir in Southern Illinois produced by the damming of Cedar Creek. The lake’s shoreline stretches for 30 miles, and it reaches a most depth of 40 ft (12 m). It was constructed as a supply of consuming water for Carbondale individuals. Moreover, the lake is used for fishing, swimming, and bodily amusement. Cedar Lake is maintained for largemouth, striped bass, and crappie fishing. Anglers also can catch catfish and bluegill within the scenic coves flanked by towering cliffs. 

12. Baldwin Lake

Baldwin Lake is a 2,018-acre (817 ha) perched cooling lake in Illinois, situated contained in the Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Space. The vast majority of the lake is shallow, boasting a median depth of 8 ft (2.4 m). Nonetheless, there are “holes” within the lake 50 ft (15 m) or deeper.

Incredible fishing potentialities await for each boat and financial institution anglers, with largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, and crappie to be caught. Throughout the winter, the realm may even see peak numbers of 10,000 geese and 20,000 geese. The location is dwelling to about 200 resident enormous Canada geese who nest on the lake levees.

11. Lake of Egypt

Lake of Egypt Illinois
Though Egypt Lake is a personal lake, it’s open to the general public for leisure and water actions.

Lucas W/

A privately-owned reservoir, Lake Egypt contains 2,300 acres and has 90 miles of shoreline. It’s located six miles south of Marion, Illinois. The Southern Illinois Energy Cooperative owns the lake, inbuilt 1962 to supply cooling water for a coal-fired energy plant. Regardless of being a personal lake, the Lake of Egypt is obtainable to the general public for leisure and water actions like water snowboarding, jet snowboarding, and swimming. It’s additionally an excellent fishing space, with channel catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, striped bass, and crappie among the many species that may be caught.

10. Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake Illinois
Masking an space of two,400 acres, Lake Horseshoe is the second-largest pure lake in Illinois.

Marcusscotus1 / Artistic Commons – License

Horseshoe Lake is 2,400 acres (10 km2) in dimension and is the second-largest pure lake in Illinois, following Lake Michigan. It’s nestled within the American Backside of Illinois contained in the bigger St. Louis metropolitan space. The lake harbors varied freshwater fish species similar to buffalo, drum, gar, carp, bowfin, and the usual sport fish. Annually, a portion of the lake is drained to supply habitat for shorebirds. There are no less than 287 fowl species on this lake, which make up the overwhelming majority of the species residing within the state. Mallard geese, white egrets, and little blue herons are additionally frequent. The Eurasian tree sparrow is exclusive to this part of North America.

9. Kinkaid Lake

1653828958 90 The 10 Most Polluted Lakes in the United States - June 25, 2022
In-built 1968, Kinkaid Lake covers 2,750 acres and is well-known for its excessive crappie inhabitants.

Markkaempfer / Artistic Commons – License

Kinkaid Lake is a main good fishing web site in Illinois, situated roughly northwest of Murphysboro in Jackson County. The lake, built-in 1968, is 2,750 acres in dimension. Kinkaid Lake is well-known for its excessive crappie inhabitants. The lake can be dwelling to bluegill, largemouth bass, and catfish, making it a preferred fishing spot. Kinkaid Lake is surrounded by sandstone cliffs, rolling hills, and forests, making it extremely scenic. It’s a incredible web site for tenting, with quite a lot of facilities. Deer, quail, rabbit, turkey, squirrel, pigeon, and waterfowl are a number of the most frequent animals obtainable for searching, relying on state guidelines and seasons.

8. Lake Decatur

Lake Decatur
Measuring 3,093 acres, Lake Decatur is the eighth largest lake in Illinois.

Lake Decatur is a reservoir in Decatur, Illinois, situated east of downtown. The lake boasts a most depth of twenty-two ft and a median depth of six ft, overlaying 3,093 acres. Each two years, the fish fauna in Lake Decatur is completely monitored. Earlier than they’re launched alive, the fish are weighed, measured, and scales are collected. Annual surveys of walleye populations and hybrid striped bass are carried out, and annual provides are made via IDNR hatcheries. Lake Decatur’s 30 miles of shoreline present possibilities for recreation and animal viewing at lakeshore parks and the town marina. 

7. Lake Springfield

Lake Springfield
Lake Springfield is the most important municipally-owned lake in Illinois.

Walter L White/

In Illinois, sure lakes are owned by municipalities. Lake Springfield, the most important municipally-owned lake within the state, is a 3,866-acre reservoir on the outskirts of Springfield, Illinois. It’s a distinguished recreation heart in central Illinois that gives fishing, boating, and water sports activities. Over time, the lake has collected greater than 45 totally different fish species. Carp, northern pike, flathead catfish, and muskellunge are among the many many fish species discovered there, making it a superb fishing spot. 

6. Clinton Lake

Clinton LakeIllinois
Encompassing 4,895 acres in dimension and with a median depth of 19.5 ft, Clinton Lake ranks as one of many greatest lakes in Illinois.

Twin Freq / Artistic Commons – License

Clinton Lake serves a twin function. That’s as a result of the lake is located inside a high-end trip space that may at the moment be present in Illinois. It encompasses 4,895 acres or 19.8 km2 with a median depth of 19.5 ft. Anglers adore Clinton Lake for fish catch starting from crappie to catfish, to bass and walleye. Largemouth bass, channel catfish, bullheads, flathead catfish, bluegill, white crappie, black crappie, walleye, striped bass, and hybrid striped bass make up the game fish group of Clinton Lake, which is typical of central Illinois reservoirs. Though fishing is the first attraction, different leisure actions similar to mountain climbing, picnics, and tenting are additionally distinguished.

5. Crab Orchard Lake

Crab Orchard Lake Illinois
Crab Orchard is the largest reservoir within the Crab Orchard Nationwide Wildlife Refuge and likewise the fifth greatest in Illinois. Pictures

With a floor space of 6,965 acres, Crab Orchard Lake is the greatest reservoir within the Crab Orchard Nationwide Wildlife Refuge and one in every of Illinois’ largest. Crab Orchard Lake was developed within the Nineteen Thirties for flood administration and leisure. Most of its customers come from close by communities. Thus, it nonetheless serves the identical function in the present day. Crab Orchard Lake is the principle level of the Crab Orchard Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, which is dwelling to numerous migrating animals. Boating, fishing, and swimming are frequent leisure actions on the lake. 

4. Lake Shelbyville

Lake Shelbyville Illinois
Masking a formidable space of 11,000 acres, Lake Shelbyville is the third largest inland lake in Illinois.

Lake Shelbyville, Illinois’ third-largest inland lake, is an 11,100-acre lake in central Illinois. Wooded inlets and coves dot the lake’s shoreline, offering greater than 200 miles of picturesque shoreline and man-made seashores neighboring the dam. A multipurpose highway, an equestrian observe, and a spread of golf programs and marinas adorn the lake area. It additionally runs via wetlands the place you’ll be able to see blue herons.

Other than the lake’s principal channel, there are different fishing coves. It provides boat ramps, leases, swimming, picnicking, tenting, and fishing. The lake is deeper than different main lakes in Illinois, making it a favourite summer time boating vacation spot.

3. Rend Lake

Rend Lake Illinois
Rend Lake is the third greatest lake in Illinois. Jennings

With its 18,900 acres (76 km2), Rend Lake is a regional hub for outside leisure in southern Illinois. Rend Lake in Illinois is a good place to catch catfish and crappie. Anglers forged their traces trying to find the lake’s ample bass and bluegill, whereas others loosen up on cruise houseboats and take within the environment. The location is bounded by 20,000 acres of preserved space that gives sandy seashores, tenting, mountain climbing, searching, and fishing. It has a storage capability of 185,000 acre-feet (228,000,000 m3) and offers over 15 million gallons of water every day to 300,000 individuals all through over 60 cities.

2. Carlyle Lake

Carlyle Lake Illinois
Measuring an space of 26,000 acres, Carlyle Lake is the most important man-made lake in Illinois.

Jason Patrick Ross/

Carlyle Lake is roughly 60 miles east of St. Louis within the Illinois prairie. It’s the largest lake completely inside the state’s borders, overlaying round 26,000 acres. Carlyle Lake is a good spot for outside actions. It’s well-known amongst sailors as top-of-the-line and most grueling sailboat programs. It’s, in reality, broadly thought to be top-of-the-line and most tough crusing programs on this planet. Boating, fowl watching, sand seashores, fishing, searching, and tenting spots are all obtainable. Climbing routes across the lake present alternatives to see wild turkey and white-tailed deer. Greater than 200,000 migrating birds use the realm as a relaxation cease within the spring and fall.

1. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is the most important lake in Illinois.

Frederick Millett/

By floor space, Lake Michigan ranks because the third largest of the Nice Lakes, and it is usually one of many largest lakes inside US territory. Whereas the Nice Lakes often contact a number of states in the US and elements of Canada, Lake Michigan is the nation’s lone Nice Lake. With a floor space of 14.34 million acres (22,300 sq. miles), Lake Michigan can be the most important lake touching Illinois’ borders. The lake boasts 1,200 cubic miles, or one quadrillion gallons of water. The lake spans three states, measuring 321 miles (517 kilometers) lengthy and 118 miles (190 kilometers) vast. It’s shared by Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

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