Bangs Lake, Illinois, USA

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USA - Midwest - Illinois - Chicagoland -

Bangs Lake is a natural glacial lake located in northeastern Illinois’ Lake County. Bangs Lake is surrounded by the developing northern suburbs of Chicago and found in the Chicagoland Tourism Region. A small portion of Bangs Lake’s northern shore remains unincorporated, but the majority of the 306-acre lake lies entirely within the welcoming community of Wauconda, Illinois.

Bangs Lake and this fertile lake-filled county was once home to the people of the Potawatomi Nation. Both treaties and the migration of settlers forced the Potawatomi tribes westward by 1835. In 1836, Justus Bangs moved from Vermont to claim land near the south shore of Bangs Lake. In 1850, Justus Bangs and a friend named Andrew Cook platted a new village and named it Bangs Lake. Residents eventually changed the town’s name to Wauconda, meaning “Spirit Water.” With the coming of railroads in 1913, Wauconda grew into a pleasant lakeside resort community easily accessible to city-weary residents of Chicago. By the 1930s, Bangs Lake was lined with vacation cabins and summer cottages. The residential landscape began to change in the 1950s and 60s, when city dwellers started moving to suburbia. Today, much of Bangs Lake’s six-mile shoreline is lined with condominiums and housing subdivisions offering private lakeside beaches and boat launches to residents.

The Village of Waconda and Bangs Lake Management Committee, a volunteer advisory committee, oversee the maintenance of the lake. Their hard work and diligence have earned Bangs Lake the reputation of having excellent water quality for swimming and boating. Residents of Bangs Lake participate in the Volunteer Lake Management Program (VLMP) and licensed beaches are monitored on a regular basis by the Lake County Health Department.

Beach Park, located at the south end of Bangs Lake, provides the only public access to the lake. This one-acre park includes a children’s playground and has life guards on duty during from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For a fee, the Wauconda Park District provides public boat slips, launch passes and beach passes.

Boaters should be aware of several restrictions on Bangs Lake. The boat speed limit is 30 mph with no wake enforced between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. Boat traffic is also required to move in a counter-clockwise direction. Enforced by the Wauconda Police Marine Patrol, water skiers and personal watercraft operators must be sure to maintain safe distances from other lake users.

With a maximum depth of 32 feet and average depth of 11 feet, Bangs Lake is known to provide an excellent fishing environment. Be forewarned: week-ends and holidays may attract large crowds of boaters and fishermen. Those who want to cast their line into Bangs Lake will find channel catfish, black crappie, white crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike, yellow perch, yellow bass and yellow bullhead.

With a population of approximately 12,000 people, Wauconda is a growing, family-friendly community. Residents and visitors of Bangs Lake will find an impressive selection of local activities and services in a small town atmosphere. Over 15 public and private golf courses are available for the golf enthusiast. Among the amenities found at Homer T. Cook Memorial Park are ball fields, soccer fields, a picnic shelter, volleyball courts, skate park, walking trails, and access to fishing along the shores of Bangs Lake. Wauconda’s historic downtown invites an afternoon of browsing shops and dining on mouth-watering cuisine.

Also in Wauconda, Lake County Discovery Museum tells the history of Lake County through interactive exhibits. In addition to regularly scheduled classes, events, and changing exhibits, the museum displays “the nation’s largest permanent exhibition on the history and significance of postcards.” Less than a quarter mile east of Bangs Lake is Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve. Seek permission from the Lake County Forest Preserve District before entering the preserve because it does not have developed access. The bog holds over 100 plant species including tamarack, orchids, yellow birch, winterberry holly, and poison sumac. The Forest Preserve District states that this National Natural Landmark is unique in that it provides “a source of relict pollen, preserved in layers of peat, which provides information on plant migration after the retreat of the glaciers.”

Less than 15 miles northwest of Bangs Lake, Moraine Hills State Park continues the trek through glacial history. The park’s Lake Defiance remains in a “near-natural state” from its glacial origins. Surrounded by marsh land and bogs, the park is a nature lover’s delight. In addition to its natural features, visitors may observe red fox, coyote, white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail, mink, opossum, and raccoon. Bird watchers will enjoy looking for mallards, teal, wood ducks, and Canada geese. Fishing is available within posted regulations. Shotgun deer hunting is available with permit.

Enjoy a thirty-mile drive north of Bangs Lake and you will arrive at an angler’s paradise. Chain O’Lakes State Park will satisfy the needs of even the most avid water enthusiast. This 2,793-acre park contains 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline. Grass Lake, Marie Lake, Nippersink Lake, and Fox River border the state park and connect to the remaining seven lakes found in Illinois’ Chain O’Lakes: Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine, and Redhead lakes. Fish species found among Lake Antioch and the Chain O’Lakes may include sunfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish, yellow and white bass. Other amenities include a picnic area and trail designed for disabled visitors, standard picnic areas, water fountains, restrooms, and camping, in addition to dove, waterfowl, deer, and pheasant hunting, hiking, and horseback trails used for snowmobiling in the winter.

The opportunity to enjoy private lakeside living within 50 miles of downtown Chicago has attracted people to Wauconda for decades. What was once a quaint summer resort has grown into a residential community where vacation rentals and real estate properties offer a relaxed way of life. Come to Bangs Lake and enjoy the summer Multisport Festival, the Fall Farm Festival, the winter Walk on Water Ice Fishing Derby, and the spring thaw of Bangs Lake. Select a home on Bangs Lake and celebrate lakeside living any time of year.

Things to do at Bangs Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Bangs Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie
  • Yellow Bass
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • Yellow Perch

Bangs Lake Photo Gallery

    Bangs Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 306 acres

    Shoreline Length: 6 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 766 feet

    Average Depth: 11 feet

    Maximum Depth: 32 feet

    Water Volume: 3,324 acre-feet

    Drainage Area: 5 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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