Clinton Lake, Illinois, USA

Also known as:  Clinton Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Clinton Lake IL.

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Clinton Lake IL visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Illinois - Central -

Travel to central Illinois and you’ll find Clinton Lake, a 4,900 acre lake just 3 miles east of Clinton. Though the lake was originally built as a cooling tank for the Clinton Nuclear Generation Station, the reservoir pulls double duty as one of the area’s premier vacation destinations.

Open since 1978, Clinton Lake is a fantastic game fish lake, with an unofficial specialization in catfish. Anglers launch their boats from any of of the lake’s six launch sites, or cast off the special piers at the Mascoutin Access Area, Spillway Access Area, and Valley Mill Bank Fishing Area. Pier anglers are likely to catch crappie, while those trolling in boats hook hybrid bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and striped bass, in addition to the lake’s signature catfish. Other fishermen tend to head to the lake’s bridges, where they often reel in stripers and walleye.

Boating is also popular at Clinton Lake, and every boater can find a place here. The upper arms of the lake are no wake areas, providing excellent opportunities for canoeists and kayakers. Those who love to open up the motor and feel the breeze in their hair head to the main channel, where there are no horsepower limitations and plenty of space to have a bit of fun. Sail boaters take advantage of strong breezes to enjoy the lake’s natural scenery.

With the warm sun on your skin, eventually you’ll want to take a refreshing break in the cool waters of Clinton Lake. Luckily for swimmers, a 1000-foot white sand beach paints part of the shoreline, providing the perfect location for sunbathers, swimmers, and picnickers looking to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

Nature lovers also find plenty to do at the lake, with miles of hiking trails winding their way through the natural beauty. Clinton Lake Recreation Area features three hiking trails, between 5 and 10 miles each. Houseboat Cove Trail stretches 5 miles long, running north of the beach and through the woods. North Fork Trail, at a more challenging 9.3 miles, will weave you through forest, up and down hills, and offer unbelievable vistas. Lastly, a 10-mile equestrian/cross country skiing trail lies at the north side of Clinton Lake, providing wider trails and beautiful views.

Clinton Lake is a place where natural beauty combines with modern conveniences to give visitors the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for a beautiful escape, take time to visit and enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures.

Custom Clinton Lake IL house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Clinton Lake IL

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding

Fish species found at Clinton Lake IL

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Clinton Lake IL

The Clinton Lake IL map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Clinton Lake IL photo gallery

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Clinton Lake IL statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Excelon Corporation

Surface Area: 4,900 acres

Shoreline Length: 130 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 690 feet

Average Depth: 15 feet

Maximum Depth: 40 feet

Completion Year: 1978

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