Channel Lake, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Chicagoland -

Also known as:  Fox Chain O'Lakes

Over 7,000 acres of water make up the lakes in the Fox Chain O’Lakes in northeastern Illinois. With almost 500 shoreline miles lined with vacation rentals, resorts, and restaurants, the Chain draws almost 60,000 visitors on summer weekends. The entire Fox Chain O’Lakes is navigable with hundreds of miles of water stretched out along the Fox River for boating, fishing and exploring. Nine major lakes make up the Fox Chain O’Lakes. Water level control on the chain is controlled by a series of dams on the Fox River. The dams, under the control of the Illinois Division of Water Resources, maintain recreational water levels and control flooding.

Channel Lake is the northernmost lake in the Chain and a fantastic start to a Fox Chain O’Lakes getaway. Channel Lake and Lake Catherine comprise the northern start of the Chain — from the surface, what looks like one lake is actually two separate lakes, since Channel Lake and Lake Catherine are separated by a submerged ridge. Lake Catherine is 155 acres with an average depth of 45 feet and is the smaller of the two lakes; access to the lake is through one of the public boat ramps. Channel Lake offers 352 acres with several public boat ramps and additional access from private concessions.

Downstream, Lake Marie has a sandy bottom and promises fantastic fishing. There are several boat ramps with access to the 480-acre lake. Bluff Lake is just 86 acres and is known for its exceptional shoreline fishing. Petite Lake has 167 acres of water and offers abundant populations of perch. With an average depth of three feet, Grass Lake is the shallowest lake on the Chain and one of the three major lakes that border the Chain O’Lakes State Park. Grass Lake has 1,360 acres of water and, like the other Chain lakes, it has very good fishing. Fox Lake, with its 1,700 acres of water for both anglers and boaters, is known for its great catfish and crappie fishing. At 420 acres, Nippersink Lake connects to Fox Lake. The southernmost lake in the Chain, 1,700-acre Pistakee Lake, has plenty of room for boating and abundant populations of fish.

Fishing along the entire Fox Chain O’Lakes is excellent and each lake boasts its own specialty. The Chain has been stocked with walleye since 1978, and the entire Chain is full of muskie, largemouth bass, yellow perch and crappie. Additionally, Channel Lake is known for its bass and northern pike.

Downstream from Channel Lake, the Chain O’Lakes State Park borders three of the Chain lakes and bumps up against a 3,230-acre conservation area. The 840-acre park was established in 1945. Today, trails for hiking and horseback riding cross the 2,450-acre park that also offers overnight campgrounds. Hunting is permitted in season for doves and waterfowl; there is an archery season for deer. In the winter there is ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

The Fox Chain O’Lakes is public navigable waterway managed by the Fox Waterway Agency and under the Department of Transportation, the Division of Waterways, and the Department of Conservation. The Chain covers part of Lake and McHenry Counties and dips as close as 40 miles northwest of Chicago in the Chicagoland region of Illinois. Channel Lake is located just a few miles from the Village of Antioch. Established in 1836, Antioch sits between Chicago and Milwaukee and is considered the gateway to the Chain O’Lakes. Additionally, Antioch is only a few miles from Lake Michigan. Visitors can stroll through the charming historic shopping district and pause to shop or lunch at one of the many stores and restaurants. For anyone intending to extend their stay in the Chain O’Lakes area, there is real estate available for sale in Antioch and the surrounding communities.

Channel Lake and its sister Lake Catherine have hundreds of acres filled with fsh and amenities lining their shores; restaurants, marinas, and vacaton rentals are all available from the water. Channel Lake is the perfect starting point for a Fox Chain O’Lakes getaway, and the gateway to over 7,000 acres of water, fish, and fun.

Things to do at Channel Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Channel Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Channel Lake Photo Gallery

    Channel Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Illinois Dept. of Transportation-Division of Water Resources

    Surface Area: 352 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 737 feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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