Apple Canyon Lake, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Northern -

Set among the rolling hills and fertile farmland of far northwestern Illinois, life at Apple Canyon Lake is an eternal vacation. Located in scenic Jo Daviess County, this private lake sits five miles southeast of Charles Mound, Illinois’ highest natural peak at 1,235 feet. Only miles south of the Wisconsin border, Apple Canyon Lake shares the Northern Illinois Tourism Region with the neighboring historic cities of Elizabeth and Galena. Apple Canyon Lake is also a nice drive for Quad City dwellers 85 miles to the south, and Chicago residents, about 170 miles to the east.

Today’s patchwork of green fields was once the native land of the Sac and Fox Nation; an 1804 treaty forced the Native Americans westward across the Mississippi. They returned under the leadership of Black Hawk, an appointed war chief from the Sac Nation, and the failed attempt to reclaim their land became known as the Black Hawk War. In the town of Elizabeth, eight miles southwest of Apple Canyon Lake, Apple River Forest State Historic Site tells the history of the only fort attacked by Black Hawk during the summer of 1832.

In 1969, Branigar Organization, Inc. created the resort community of Apple Canyon Lake by impounding Hell’s Branch Creek, a branch of the Apple River. Upon completion, the three-mile long lake had a maximum depth of 70 feet and a surface area of 480 acres. The residential community surrounding the 15-mile shoreline is designed as a “greenway” where open land winds among the properties and as much as 75% of the shoreline remains undeveloped. Today, many of the homes surrounding Apple Canyon Lake are second homes, vacation rentals and retirement residences.

Apple Canyon Lake has formed a community of residents who actively support and participate in the care and maintenance of the lake. Led by a nine-member board of directors, Apple Canyon Lake Property Owners Association oversees the management of the lake. Community involvement is encouraged through participation in volunteer committees. Residents actively oversee lake monitoring, watershed conservation, architectural control, maintenance of common properties, and lakeside events. To stay abreast of Apple Canyon Lake’s news and calendar of activities “The Apple Core” newsletter is published monthly.

Life on Apple Canyon Lake was built for healthful activity and relaxation. Open to residents and guests only, this planned community offers a nine-hole golf course, lakefront restaurant, club house, swimming pool, tennis courts, and a 13-mile trail system used for cross-country skiing in the winter. Swimming is permitted in no-wake zones and the main body of water within 75 feet of the shoreline. Nixon Beach is the center of many community events and is the site of the annual Galena Triathlon. Apple Canyon Lake Campground provides showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities. In addition to a full-service marina, the Property Owners Association offers boat rentals and boat slip rentals.

Sailing, canoeing, and kayaking are popular boating activities. A large number of bays, coves, and no-wake zones make wonderful stops to view deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and other small wildlife. Power boats are restricted to a 40 mile per hour limit on the lake and five miles per hour in no-wake zones. The lake is stocked and always ready for fishing. Among the species found in Apple Canyon Lake are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, catfish, muskie, crappie, and bluegill.

More rustic outdoor activities are found at 297-acre Apple River Canyon State Park located six miles east of Apple Canyon Lake. Multiple hiking trails cut through the woods and along limestone bluffs carved by the Apple River. Cast a line at the riverbank and try your hand at catching stocked trout or smallmouth bass, sunfish, crappie, carp, and suckers. Multiple picnic sites and shelters, some handicap accessible, are available along the riverbank. Tables, grills, drinking water, and restrooms are provided. Hunters may contact the park office for information on approved hunting areas.

Beautiful scenery and historic sites line the mighty Mississippi, 20 miles west of Apple Canyon Lake. Running from Rock Island, Illinois to Wabasha, Minnesota, this portion of the Mississippi is the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Along this 261-mile stretch of river are found more than 600 species of plants, 200 bald eagle nests, 5,000 great blue heron and common egret nests, 119 species of fish, and 42 species of mussels.

The Illinois Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the Mississippi down 550 miles of Illinois’ western boundary. Especially picturesque during fall foliage, the wooded river banks and rocky bluffs make a spectacular view any time of year. Travelers will find numerous opportunities to stop at parks, scenic lookouts, and rural communities along their drive.

The historic community of Galena is located 12 miles west of Apple Canyon Lake. Beautifully restored buildings, unique gift shops, and fine dining add to the hospitality and charm of this rural town. The Old Market House State Historic Site and Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site are only two of many museums open to the public. Additional parks, golf courses, galleries, and theatres make Galena a delightful place to visit.

History buffs should not miss a short 30-mile drive across the Mississippi River to the city of Dubuque, Iowa. Settled in 1788, Dubuque’s history is closely tied to the Mississippi River. At the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium you can walk the decks of a steamer, view exhibits, watch living history demonstrations, or sit along the riverbank and watch river barges drift by. Stop at Eagle Point Park at the north end of the city and look over the bluffs. Here you can enjoy the view and watch river traffic pass through the massive locks and dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While in the city, visit one of the country’s last remaining shot towers. Built in 1856, locally mined lead was melted and dropped down the tower to make lead shot for the U.S. military.

Whether you come to Apple Canyon Lake to vacation for a week or a lifetime, you will enjoy the combination of nature and healthful activity in this close-knit community of friends and neighbors. With over 800 homes built on approximately 2,700 acres, you will find vacation rentals and real estate properties built to suit your taste. Apple Canyon Lake was built so you could know the freedom to sail the lake, stroll the wooded trail, or play a round of golf whenever the spirit moved you. Consider the possibilities and then come home to your own vacation spot every day.

Things to do at Apple Canyon Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Apple Canyon Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Apple Canyon Lake Photo Gallery

Apple Canyon Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Apple Canyon Lake Property Owners Association

Surface Area: 480 acres

Shoreline Length: 15 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 801 feet

Maximum Depth: 70 feet

Drainage Area: 20 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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